Friday, December 18, 2020

freakboy on film: NOWHERE (1997)

I Googled my book (Dark Excursions: the complete set) one evening and spotted a copy on eBay.  This lead me down an eBay rabbit hole of searching for whatever popped into my mind.  Eventually, a DVD of Gregg Araki's NOWHERE was on my screen and it was reasonably priced.  So, I placed my very first order from eBay.  I've enjoyed a lot of the Araki films, but this one has long been my favorite and I had been hoping to find it on DVD for years.



                    "Are we still in reality?" - Dingbat 

(written & directed by Gregg Araki)

Dark is having a really strange day.  His girlfriend believes in giving love and sex freely to anyone.  A dreamy boy from class has been occupying his mind.  He feels his time is near, like a premonition of his own death.  An alien (directly out of Star Trek) is wandering around abducting people.  Oh, and it's Armageddon Day, but all Dark wants is someone to love him completely.  What's a morose 1990's teen gonna do?  Buy a bunch of CD's, play kick the can, go to a drug-fueled party and brood, of course. 

What else can I say about this neon saturated, alterna-pop, frenzied sci-fi, satirical drama of teen angst and ennui at the end of the world?  The plot, if there is one, weaves through various oddly named characters and their romantic entanglements.  All of these threads connect through sex, violence and music, culminating at Jujyfruit's party, the social event of the season.  When viewing NOWHERE, I recommend checking your critical mind at the door and just go with the crazy dialogue, the surreal visuals and the fun cameos. 

Beverly D'Angelo (Vacation) is Dark's loudly blunt mom.  Eve Plumb and Christopher Knight (The Brady Bunch) are parents of a very troubled son.  David Leisure (Empty Nest) is a father to a very troubled daughter.  Charlotte Rae (The Facts of Life) is an intense street corner fortune teller.  Lauren Tewes (The Love Boat) is a talking head on the perpetually bad news program.  John Ritter (Three's Company) is a televangelist leading the teens to a questionable salvation.  Plus, in a tragically all too brief scene, Traci Lords (Cry-Baby), Shannen Doherty (Heathers) and Rose McGowan (Scream) turn up as a trio of post-'80's Val-Chicks.

There is also plenty of familiar faces to be seen in the main cast.  James Duval (Independence Day) is our moody protagonist Dark.  Rachel True (The Craft) is free-lovin' Mel.  Ryan Phillippe (Cruel Intentions) is oversexed Shad.  Heather Graham (Boogie Nights) is sex bomb of little to say "Dogs eating people is cool" Lilith.  Scott Caan (Varsity Blues) is the nice guy with the epitome of nice guy names...Ducky.  I could go on and on with this list but there is one familiar face that stands out and is truly a revelation.

Christina Applegate (Married With Children) expertly leaves vixenish Kelly Bundy far behind as awkward, kind of nerdish Dingbat.  She's smart, down-to-earth, and brave, despite her ridiculous name.  There's a genuine sweetness and innocence in Dingbat, which is a stark contrast to the debauchery going on around her.  In a film full of highlights, Christina Applegate shines bright and gets some great lines.  "Am I like the only person on this cosmic plane who ever goes to class?"

So, that is NOWHERE in a nutshell. 

The DVD I ordered arrived in about a week and was exactly in the condition described.  My only complaint, which has nothing to do with the seller, is the company which released this DVD omitted a post-end credits scene.  A little disappointing, but I can live with this oversight.  Overall, the first half of my first eBay experience was a success.  Yes, there's a DVD of a recently reviewed film heading my way from Greece.  It probably won't arrive until 2021. 

In conclusion, watch your step, grab a corn dog, keep an eye out for roving gangs named after classic gaming systems and enjoy NOWHERE!  

"I'm outta here." - ????? 

Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words.

Freak Out, 

P.S.  A recently reviewed film... 😉
The Collective Eye for December is open!


  1. Nice review, John. This really sounds intriguing, and what an eclectic cast! Thanks for discussing a movie that definitely doesn't get mentioned very often.

    1. Thanks, Barry!
      Nowhere is definitely an obscure gem from the 1990s.
      to my knowledge, it's not even available to stream anywhere.