During the credit sequence a text title comes up that announcing that this is another 'homo movie from Gregg Araki'. This bit of humor is right in line with the iconoclastic attitude that Araki brought to most of his early movies. It also has a bleak streak that is tough to shake.
Andy (James Duval) is an Asian teenager who is bored with life, doesn't believe in love and isn't even convinced he is gay. But it's the only life he knows. His friends - three teen-age boys and two girls - all hang together. Each of them deal with the kinds of things that a lot of teens deal with; love, sex, boredom, drugs - only they have it a bit tougher.
One evening Andy meets a young guy name Ian. They begin to date and eventually sleep together. But then things go badly when Ian starts to sleep around with one of Andy's friends. Then another friend gets beaten up by some homophobes and things get bleaker.
This is not a happy-go-lucky gay teen film like Show Me Love or The Incredibly True Story of Two Girls in Love. If anything stands out about the film it is that Araki doesn't sentimentalize anything. He presents the characters as narrow minded, opinionated teens who suffer because of their alientation.
Stylistically, the film is rough and dark but edited in a dynamic way. It is shot cheap but it completely fits the bleak mood that Araki wants. He also captures Los Angeles in the early 90's with many shots at night with oddly empty streets and a lot of billboards dominating the skyline in the background of many shots.
He also - like Jean Luc Godard who's Masculine Feminine is an influence - breaks the film into fragmentary sections and uses text on the screen every so often. And, like Ranier Werner Fassbinder, Araki pulls no punches. The problem is he doesn't attempt to shine a light on the subject of gay teens any more than a filmmaker critical of gay teens might. He presents their world so tough that it's almost as if his hidden message is, 'stay straight - it's easier.'
Still, Araki has a self conscious side to his narrative with the often humorous texts that he drops in every so often that say things like 'To Live and Fry in L.A' or 'Insert Narrative Here.' He also takes time to skewer both Mel Gibson for his anti-homosexual reference in Braveheart to Tom Cruise who is rumored to be gay.
Anyway you look at it Araki has something serious to say about gay teens and he doesn't seem to care if he scares away a good portion of the audience to get it said.