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30 July 2006 @ 08:36 am
Why has this movie affected me so much??  
Maybe because it's a hauntingly true story... maybe because the movie is such a moving tribute... maybe because it's the first movie that I've seen that effectively conveys a real sense of love and admiration and the real desire for two people to connect... In any case, you're all probably tired of hearing me talk about it by now, but "It's My Party" is a wonderful movie that I've been completely taken with ever since catching it on Showtime during my LA trip in April... And since it's affected me so deeply, it's taken me a while, but I'm finally able to share my feelings about this very special film. It's truly a touching and beautiful story that I believe everyone can relate to... I've also added screencaps of the movie to break up my words below. ;)

"It's My Party" is an autobiographical movie about Hollywood director and writer, Randal Kleiser (who, among other things, directed "Grease" for the movie screen) and his former partner, Harry Stein who ended his life in 1992 after a three year battle with AIDS. The actual timeline of the movie is uncertain... until I found Mr. Kleiser's list of credits on IMdb.... Interestingly enough, Harry Stein is credited in the crew of "Summer Lovers" - a movie Mr. Kleiser shot in Greece (and where the movie says they met...) in 1982 and certain bios for Kleiser confirm the two met while filming that movie.

The movie starts off at their 2 year anniversary as they are moving into their new house together. Brandon (the Kleiser character) seems very shy about his relationship with Nick (the Stein character) and the showing of public displays of affection, especially in front of Nick's Mom and Aunt. In the movie, we have no idea how much time passes between that and the scene in which Brandon comes home to find Nick - lying on the couch with bad news that he has tested positive for HIV. One telling thing is that Brandon initially bursts into the house with the happy news that they received funding for his next movie and that he was off to England to film it.

This makes sense in Kleiser's bio since he directed and produced "Getting It Right" in the UK in 1989. The next few scenes show the relationship between the two deteriorating... And it's beautifully done where you don't hate the Brandon character for retreating a little. You can actually see the pain that Brandon goes through as he tries to deal with this devastating news himself. In one scene, Brandon comes home to find Nick partying with his rowdy friends. Brandon has apparently come home early from one of his "business trips" (and one might guess it was England where he still must've been filming - or at least in post production for "Getting It Right")

Not too sure when the following scene takes place, but Nick (who is still living in their shared house, but with his new boyfriend) has a confrontation scene when Brandon brings by his new, younger boyfriend. Brandon introduces his boyfriend as someone who's helping him with his new film... (which, I believe is "White Fang" - so that would make it about 1990 or so...) In the deleted extended version of that scene, Nick threatens to publicly "out" Brandon to the tabloids if Brandon forces him out of the house. Brandon has a big family film opening and Nick tells him that it would be awful to have a famous filmmaker of family films be known as someone who evicted his boyfriend because he had AIDS.

In the movie, the problems between the two get so bad that Nick eventually moves out and the film actually picks up in real time, one year later... Nick finds out that he has the advanced stages of PML and within days will lose, not only his sight, but his ability to reason and think clearly. He decides that he will end it all before he gets to that stage and plans a huge party to say goodbye to his loved ones.

When we pick up with Brandon, a year later, he's directing - probably "Honey I Shrunk the Audience" - since the movie shows him at work with a bulldog who is being coaxed by an animal trainer and a lot of talk is being done about shooting blue screen work. He's not invited to the party, but a mutual friend, Charlene (Margaret Cho) decides to intervene and bursts in on Brandon's work to bring him to the party.

Brandon shows up, uninvited to a cold reception from Nick, his family, and virtually everyone else at the party. As he realizes what's about to happen, he remains at the party, intent on working out all of his unresolved issues with Nick. Giving up a holiday trip to Australia, he comes back for the second day of the party to spend more time trying to resolve issues he and Nick had. Much more goes on at the party, but the side stories would take forever for me to get into and I'll spare everyone...

During another deleted scene, Brandon asks Nick if he wants to call Helena in England to say goodbye. I can only guess that Helena is Helena Bonham Carter (who appeared in Kleiser's film "Getting It Right" - which he shot in England.)

The rest of the movie goes as you'd expect it to, with heartbreaking moments at every turn... goodbyes to all his family and friends. Eric Roberts does an amazing job playing Nick so unsympathetically that you really end up caring for him (because he's not spending time caring for himself.) In a particularly moving scene in the beginning of the movie, when things are starting to go downhill for the two, Brandon places his hand on Nick's shoulder and when Eric Roberts looks up at Greg Harrison, you can see the love he has for Brandon and the desire he has to be close to him.

No words are spoken, but his face says it all... When Brandon retreats yet again, you can see the look on Eric's face slowly change to reveal his hurt, and then finally anger as Brandon leaves for a "meeting" he claims he's late for. Gregory Harrison does a superb job as Brandon and really shows the heartbreak of someone who has to watch the love of his life leave him - and the desperation of wanting to resolve everything and reconcile before he does...

LOVED it... it's more than a gay movie... more than an AIDS movie... it's even more than a movie about dying with dignity... To me it was pure and simply about love. It could've been about ANY two people and it could've been about someone dying of some other disease... To me, those who don't like the movie just aren't open-minded enough to see that the whole movie isn't about the issues it deals with, it's about love and sharing your love with those around you and making the most of your life in the time that you have left on earth. Perhaps they're too blinded by the moral issues that this film brings to our attention (chosing to die with dignity, AIDS, etc.) and focus less on the human emotions the movie stirs in us that everyone, no matter what religion, sexual orientation, or political belief will agree with... And yes, it's about having the choice to die with dignity... on your terms... but most of all, it's about appreciating the people you hold dear in your life and letting them know, before it's too late.

If you have the chance, it's a movie well worth watching. The fact that it's based on a true story just makes it all the more heartbreaking and important to see...

End of "It's My Party" babble - I thank those of you who were nice enough to read my ramblings...
Current Mood: touchedvery moved...
Care: the rosecareleswhisper on July 30th, 2006 07:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you for breaking this movie down like that, Sheri. I hope I can get a chance to see it someday. It seems like a wonderful movie to sit down and watch.
Sheri: It's My Partyshutterbug93 on July 30th, 2006 07:49 pm (UTC)
It's truly a beautiful movie and made even more touching by the fact that it's a true story! I cry just thinking about it!
Sabine: Mickisabine10 on July 30th, 2006 11:26 pm (UTC)
Thank a lot for sharing this, Sheri! It seems to be a very touching movie, only reading it brought tears to my eyes. I'll see if I can get it here somewhere. Big *hugs* to you!
Sheri: It's My Party - dvd titlesshutterbug93 on August 3rd, 2006 06:11 am (UTC)
It's a very touching movie! The fact that it's based on a true story makes it that much more heart-breaking to watch. I had a hard time finding this movie!! My local video store told me, "We don't carry THOSE kind of films." And I'm thinking, "What kind? Beautiful, moving films about love?" Geez... :( In any case, it's really a film worth seeing, at least I think it is. Big *HUGS* to you!
karen: euanwakedistracted on July 31st, 2006 01:33 am (UTC)
I read that! I think it's wonderful when you can find a piece of art (either a picture or a song or a movie or a musical) that touches you that deeply. There are certain things I feel that way about, too. The movie sounds like it's absolutely wonderful and I'd love to see it someday.
Sheri: It's My Partyshutterbug93 on August 3rd, 2006 06:14 am (UTC)
Thanks for reading through the whole thing, Karen! I didn't think anyone would read through it... It's such a beautiful movie and I just love the sweetness of it. The fact that it was based SO closely on a true story makes it that much more heartbreaking. I think you'd really enjoy it.
Όμορφη καρδιάqueenstacey_25 on July 31st, 2006 03:24 am (UTC)
WOW, that movie sounds great! I want to see it. I've actually NEVER heard of it before. HHHMMM now how can I get a hold of it! LOL
Sheri: It's My Party - dvd titlesshutterbug93 on August 3rd, 2006 06:16 am (UTC)
It was SUCH a beautiful movie, I can't even begin to tell you... I've heard a few bad reviews of it, but I loved it. It was so touching and I thought, beautifully made. I had a hard time finding it myself (I ended up getting it on Amazon) because my local video store told me they didn't carry "THOSE types of films." What types? Beautifully made movies? Geez, talk about being closed minded! :P
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Sheri: It's My Partyshutterbug93 on August 3rd, 2006 06:19 am (UTC)
It was an extremely beautiful movie with incredible performances! I usually am not a fan of Eric Roberts, but he's just incredible in this! And Gregory Harrison... well, you know my history of having a crush on him since I was 12... :) He was great in the movie as well. Lee Grant, and Marlee Matlin too, were both VERY good it this. :)