Friday, September 05, 2003

Chasing Amy Addendum

I posted Wednesday about the movie Chasing Amy, the Kevin Smith film. Since, I've seen the movie again, with the director's commentary, and just had a couple more points to make. Warning again! *MASSIVE SPOILER WARNING* Skip to the next post if necessary.

First, is Alyssa's mutable sexuality. She makes a point in the scene after she and Holden first have sex that she decided early on not to limit herself to just one gender in her search for the one true love. But, in her earlier, first, argument with Holden, she explicitly says, "I'm gay." C'mon, Kevin, ya can't have it both ways! I think even more strongly that Alyssa was turned off by men at some point and went strictly with women in reaction. This is reinforced by the end of the movie, where we see post-Holden Alyssa with another female partner. But, again, if you see Alyssa as just one person, and not a symbol of all gays, this is less a problem than otherwise.

Second, the Banky (sorry I misspelled it below) question: is he gay? On rewatching the scene where Holden lays out his plan, when Banky agrees it is after much soul-searching. But when the deal's off, he's very visibly relieved. In the commentary, everyone with Smith immediately says, "Gay!" But Smith demurs on answering. I think it's because he's not sure, and as the scriptwriter/director he would be most intimate with his characters. I lean strongly to thinking Banky's a self-loathing gay, but it's also possible that Smith saw Banky as so dedicated to his friend (fraternitas, as it were; a frequent Kevin Smith theme) that he was willing to do the most repulsive thing he could imagine, to keep his friendship and keep his friend happy. Maybe. But it's more likely Banky's just gay, horrified to face it, and not admitting it. It's a better explanation for the complete rupture of their friendship.

Last, I did a Google and found copies of the script on line. You can find one here. Note that the site is even more poorly designed than mine! You may have to go to the URL line and manually change the page number to navigate to the next page. I would recommend that fans look at this longer, original script as it contains a lot of material that didn't survive to the final, edited film.

I wanted to share the climactic scene where Alyssa explains herself and lets Holden know just what he is to her and what her choosing him means. It's powerful, beautiful stuff. And, of course, Holden's too damned dense to understand just what she's saying. Picture Ben Affleck as Holden, very cool, restraining his anger and wanting to hurt Alyssa as he thinks she's hurt him. Now picture Joey Lauren Adams as Alyssa, raw, trying hard not to cry but failing, angry and unapologetic. She's very, very pissed. Warning: graphic language ahead.

[NOTE: This is long. If you just want to skip on ahead, click here.}

So it’s true?!

Yes Holden! In fact, everything you
heard or dug up on me was probably
true! Yeah, I took on two guys at
once! You want to hear some gems you
might not have unearthed? I took a
twenty six year old guy to my senior
prom, and then left halfway through to
have sex with him and Gwen Turner in
the back of a limo! And the girl who
got caught in the shower with Miss
Moffit, the gym teacher? That was me!
Or how about in college, when I let
Shannon Hamilton videotape us having
sex - only to find out the next day
that he broadcast it on the campus
cable station?! They’re all true -
those and so many more! Didn’t you
know? I’m the queen of urban legend!

How the hell could you do those

Easily! Some of it I did out of
stupidity, some of it I did out of
what I thought was love, but - good or
bad - they were my choices, and I’m
not making apologies for them now -
not to you or anyone! And how dare
you try to lay a guilt trip on me
about it - in public, no less! Who
the fuck do you think you are, you
judgmental prick?!

How am I supposed to feel about all of

How are you supposed to feel about it?
Feel what ever the fuck you want about
it! The only thing that really
matters is how you feel about me.

I don’t know how I feel about you now.

Why? Because I had some sex?

Some sex?

Yes, Holden - that’s all it was: some
sex! Most of it stupid high school
sex, for Christ’s sake! Like you
never had sex in high school!

There’s a world of fucking difference
between typical high school sex and
two guys at once! They fucking used

I used them! You don’t think I
would’ve let it happen if I hadn’t
wanted it to, do you?! I was an
experimental girl, for Christ’s sake!
Maybe you knew early on that your
track was from point ‘a’ to ‘b’ - but
unlike you I wasn’t given a fucking
map at birth, so I tried it all! That
is until we - that’s you and I - got
together, and suddenly, I was sated.
Can’t you take some fucking comfort in
that? You turned out to be all I was
ever looking for - the missing piece
in the big fucking puzzle!
(tries to calm down)
Look I’m sorry I let you believe that
you were the only guy I’d ever been
with. I should’ve been more honest.
But it seemed to make you feel special
in a way that me telling you over and
over again how incredible you are
would never get across.

She touches his face. He pulls back. She stares at him,
hurt and pissed.

Do you mean to tell me that - while
you have zero problem with me sleeping
with half the women in New York City -
you have some sort of half-assed,
mealy-mouthed objection to pubescent
antics, that took place almost ten
years ago? What the fuck is your

Holden’s eyes are downcast. Alyssa waits for a response.

I want us to be something that we

And what’s that?

A normal couple.

Holden skulks off. Alyssa stares after him, and then
starts kicking and punching a car beside her, finally
slumping to the ground. She cries.

Man, that's powerful. It's why I love this movie so much. I identify with Holden. I also feel inadequate and have made the same stupid mistake he did, though to lesser degrees and much more often. She says the most amazing things to him and he can't hear past his own inadequacies. Poor guy, he pays for it.

Go rent the movie.

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