I first saw “Chasing Amy” as a college student, and during those four years, I probably racked up at least half a dozen viewings. I loved the twist in an otherwise traditional romantic comedy: boy meets girl, girl loves girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl.
While I would never call myself a conservative person, I related to Holden (Ben Affleck). I understood how intimidating another person with a wide array of sexual experiences could be, and I thought his climactic last-ditch effort to save both his relationship and his friendship was kind of funny.
Fast forward a decade-plus … and I’m almost ashamed that I ever related to such a judgmental tool bag. And his last-ditch effort is embarrassing at best and damned insulting at worst.
The major thing that’s changed is my understanding of LGBTQ+. In college, gay people made me uncomfortable. I had never known anyone who was out, and I just felt sweaty and uncomfortable when people talked about it. It was 100 percent due to a lack in any experience with anyone who out.
Today, I’m just … not that girl. I no longer feel any differently around someone based on who he or she sleeps with (and am puzzled by those who do, even baby Jac), and I’ve made it an effort to not just feel comfortable, but to be helpful; I work in a community college, and I’ve gone through Safe Space and Safe Zone training. It’s not to say I’m an expert in any kind of non hetero-normative people or relationships, but I make an effort because
- I am interested in relationships.
- I understand why I used to think how I did and why I no longer think that way.
- I think it’s important that we do our best to not be assholes.
As such, I look at Alyssa (Joey Lauren Adams) and find her transformation as a character to be wild and beautiful and honest and lovely. In college, she was just a funny girl.Similarly, I see Hooper in a completely new light. I’m not sure I gave the black, gay character a second thought the first half a dozen times I saw this movie. Today, I feel like there could be entire theses written about Hooper and race and machismo in both the black community and the comic book community, where men are men when they like women with giant breasts and tiny waists.
One of my favorite scenes–Hooper & the kid in the record store
In my recent viewing, I’m left with a major question I’ve not had before: Is Banky gay? I ignored all the direct and indirect references to the possibility in earlier viewings, but now, I can’t decide if I think the movie is pointing to the fact that he’s closeted or if it’s instead rolling its eyes at the idea that anyone who is a homophobe must just be unaccepting of his own sexuality.
I find it fascinating to rewatch or reread favorite stories from my youth or my 20s and see how experience has caused me to view them so differently. The same thing happened with “Forever …” and I’m dying to reread a teen favorite, “Inherit the Wind,” for the same reason. I should probably give Dogma a re-watch, too (they’re the only two Jay and Silent Bob movies I liked, and I really liked them).
What media has changed for you over the year?