“LIE DOWN WITH DOGS”
I have heard “Lie Down with Dogs” (Miramax) dismissed quickly as disappointing. I am never disappointed if I have no expectations and that was how I looked at Wally White’s movie about letting go of guilt and the embracing of promiscuity and trashiness. Granted, it is not a great movie but it is a very finny look at gay life in Manhattan and the burbs. Maybe you had to be around New York during the golden age of promiscuity to like the film. I wasn’t and I still enjoyed it. I suppose having come out during the period that the movie was about had something to do with it.
Everyone n the movie is gay and what the movie is, in actuality, is a gay “How I Spent My Summer Vacation”. In the movie the summer was passed in Provincetown, Massachusetts, a long established gay resort where many New Yorkers vacation. Tommie, played by Wally White, who also wrote and directed the film, goes to P-town to experience a summer of love. He is let down when there are no jobs, freeloading men, and acquaintances without much sense. In the prologue to the film, he lets us know that what we see is not going to be pretty. He lets us know that the movie is about a guy who is following his own heart. And pretty this movie is not. Using untalented actors, a threadbare script and every cliché about gay life that has ever existed, we are witness to a really sloppy movie that has a lot of laughs and beautiful bodies. What the movie does do is to promote sex for the sake of sex alone.
I suppose the movie appealed to me because I had been there and done that. Keeping with the theme of the film “when you lie down with dogs, you get fleas” a very unfair picture of gay men is presented but I tell you, that is the way it was. When Tommie begins his journey of self-discovery all he gets is meaningless, nonstop sex. There are many excesses here and today, I doubt many people would live that way but we aren’t talking about today. The point of the film is that you should live your life to the fullest-no shame, no guilt.
I kept waiting for an apologetic conclusion to the movie but t never came. Sure, the behavior of the men in the movie is outlandish but, as I said, this is what gay life was like before we learned we could die a horrible death from having sex with the wrong person.
The movie is self-indulgent, poorly acted, poorly written, and photography is no great shakes, but it is fun and as much as we may have to admit it, some of us got fleas.