04 May 2009

Movie Review: Hey, Happy!

My adolescence was marked by watching Gregg Araki's independent films like Totally Fucked Up!, Doomed Generation and then Nowhere. For someone growing up on a small rural island province, the films really expressed the mysterious and almost meaningless excitement of the big city. (Especially Nowhere where James Duvall's "Dark Smith" character discovers his love for Nathan Bexton's "Montgomery" character and the surprise ending). Even Gregg Araki's meaningful and tragic Mysterious Skin captivated my heart and was able to better show the meaning behind the seemingly meaninglessness of the other three films.

I got Hey Happy! because it was on someone's list of must see Asian gay cinema. I was suspicious because of netflix.com's synopsis:

DJ Sabu scratches apocalypse in his mythic quest to sleep with 2000 guys. His quest finally ends with Happy, a paranoid UFOlogist to whom aliens promise to appear (as his love child). Spanky, an evil hairdresser and self-proclaimed "biggest wench in the world," is trying to foil Sabu's mission at every turn. The action unfolds at a series of raves on old Garbage Hill in a strange place we call Winnipeg.

DJ Sabu is Jeremie Yuen. Yes, he's a hottie Eurasian guy but that is about the only interesting thing in the movie. Having gone through adolescence with Gregg Araki, I am well qualified to judge strange and unusual postmodern films from crap. I ended up putting the DVD on 1.4 speed to get through it and then read a few magazines along the way. That is how awful it was. I'm shocked it got into Sundance. However, I can see how someone who didn't emotionally relate to Gregg Araki's trilogy would not be able to differentiate between Hey, Happy! and Gregg Araki's films and mistake it for being in the Araki genre.

If you are really interested in watching a gay independent movie that is unusual and strange, I'd pick up Nowhere (if you want a gay tragedy) or Doomed Generation (if you want a silahis-style tragedy). If you like movies that make up for a dull plot with strange two dimensional characters, are a budding Director of Photography or are interested in electronica music, then watch this movie.


  1. I rarely see indipendent gay films. For the simple reason that there's nothing in it that I haven't seen/heard/experienced before.

    Please see "Kiss Of The Spider Woman" and tell me what you think. =)

    FYI, it is the first independent film in Oscar history to have been nominated in the top categories (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay (Adapted), and Best Actor (William Hurt won)).

    I really REALLY love this film. =)

  2. haha. Yes. I put at the top of my netflix queue so it should be coming in the mail by Tuesday.

  3. oh no. not another bad gay indie movie!!!

    i saw mysterious skin a few years ago. i thought joseph gordon-levitt was brilliant in this movie. araki is pretty talented (based on what i saw in mysterious skin). i'm a little confused. how did we go from a crappy movie to gregg araki?

  4. Mysterious Skin is nothing like the famous Araki Trilogy that I mentioned above -- nothing. Mysterious Skin just gave a context (through the ways in which survivors of child molestation deal with the trauma). I also think Hey Happy tried to copy Araki's famous Trilogy and failed totally -- in part because I don't think the writer was a survivor of child molestation/rape. so, that's how we got to Gregg Araki. lol.

  5. darn, i need to have a copy of this....

    before, i was really into this but because of my schedule and everything in between, i lost track. this post in a way gave me the drive to go back in track!