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Film / Nowhere

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"L.A. is like... nowhere. Everybody who lives here is lost."
Dark Smith

Nowhere is a 1997 movie written and directed by Gregg Araki as the third part of his "Teen Apocalypse Trilogy", following Totally ***ed Up and The Doom Generation.

It's a bizarre, surreal and sex-saturated black comedy set in a vaguely futuristic and apocalyptic Los Angeles, filled with petty, pretty, vacuous, bisexual, drug-addled teen friends. Throughout the movie, they get abducted by aliens, killed, or commit suicide amidst lots of Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll as they try to get to an exclusive, rave-type party for more of the same. It is described as "90210 on acid" on the VHS cover box, which is apt.


  • Addled Addict: Bart's heroin use threatens his music career and relationship with Cowboy, who threatens to break up with him if he doesn't get clean. After using, he spends considerable time slumped on top of a billboard, barely able to talk.
  • Aggressive Submissive: Elvis is a hyper macho, murderous jerk but loves being slapped and tied up in bed.
  • Alien Abduction: A man in a big green rubber lizard suit uses his Ray Gun to zap multiple teens.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Alyssa is deeply in love with Elvis, a violent, murderous asshole. Her friends don't get what she sees in him, but he fits the bad boy archetype of a leather clad motorcycle rider.
  • Auto Erotica: Shad and his girlfriend not only have sex in an old convertible, he starts driving it in the middle of sex.
    Shad: "I want to die!"
  • Big "NO!": After the credits, there's a shot of Dark screaming "noooo" in anguish, covered in blood after Montgomery turned into a space alien.
  • Bisexual Love Triangle: The emotional heart of the film comes from Dark being torn between his desire for a more old-fashioned, romantic relationship with his girlfriend Mel (their relationship is anything but) and his yearning for mysterious twink Montgomery.
  • Bizarrchitecture: The sets are filled with hyper-saturated colors and patterns that give the film a very surreal, trippy feel. Dark's room has a 20 ft ceiling and no apparent doors, and is covered with a giant mural of him shooting himself in the head. Bart's wall is entirely covered in giant printed text, while every surface in Egg's room is covered in multicolored flowers.
  • Braces of Orthodontic Overkill: Dingbat has enormous braces.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Twins Alyssa and Shad's Dirty Mind-Reading as they think of their Parental Incest.
  • But Not Too Gay: The film has a number of bi and gay characters, but only heterosexual sex is shown. There is a lot of male nudity, though.
  • Cassette Craze: A variant. Dark carries a camera with him everywhere and does a video diary where he talks about his feelings.
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: Egg meets the Teen Idol when he opens the door on her in a bathroom stall.
  • Chest Burster: At the end of the film, Dark and Montgomery are in bed together when a giant cockroach alien emerges from Montgomery's chest, presumably killing him. This explains why he'd been feeling off the whole movie.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: A random news broadcast provides foreshadowing about the Atari Gang, who later show up to jack Zero's mom's car.
  • Creepy Crossdresser: Zero gets his car jacked by the Atari Gang, a band of violent, gun-toting, and sexually-ambigous nihilists.
  • Cringe Comedy: Lots of talk about bodily functions and diseases.
    Cowboy: Did you hear about Marcus? His butt hole fell out and he has to have surgery!
    Dark: Oh, Henry.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: Dingbat manages to revive near-drowned Ducky with only a couple of mouth-to-mouth breaths, no chest compressions, and no side effects. This somehow causes him to spit out water.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Played with. Everyone is too vapid and concerned with having sex to notice the space aliens taking over or really care about one another. On the other hand, Dark's determination to find true love and emotion with Montgomery makes him sympathetic and something of the Only Sane Man in the bleak world of the film.
  • Driven to Suicide: Egg and Bart kill themselves rather violently after becoming hypnotized by a televangelist. In Egg's case, it's probably also a response to her violent rape by the Teen Idol.
  • Enter Stage Window: Nobody ever uses their bedroom door. Dark's room seems only accessible through a chest-height hole in the wall, or through the outside window.
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex: Exaggerated. Most of the characters get a sex scene and everyone who doesn't is implied to have an active sex life.
  • Everyone Is Bi: Most of the characters seem to be.
    • If you listen closely to the gossip being passed by the Valley Girls at the bus stop, everyone in their social circle is sleeping with everyone else, regardless of gender.
    • Mel and Dark stand out in particular, as they both have same-sex love interests while dating each other.
  • Evil Laugh: Elvis, after beating Handjob's face in.
  • Fetish: BDSM, armpit licking, threeways, and hermaphrodite porn stars that can Screw Yourself and other Conveniently Common Kink.
  • Gainax Ending: While in bed with Dark, Montgomery turns out to have been an alien cockroach, who immediately leaves.
  • Gay Cowboy: Referenced with a gay character known as Cowboy.
  • I Call Him "Mister Happy":
    Zero: "I missed you."
    Zoe (Zero's girlfriend): "You mean Gilligan here missed me?"
  • Hollywood Atheist: "You have to believe in something!" "No I don't. Tie me up."
  • Kick the Dog: Multiple times, but especially the affable Handjob's Warhol soupcan-to-the-head murder, and also when the Teen Idol beats Egg and says I Have You Now, My Pretty before raping her.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Lucifer seems only attracted to women, and has a feminine appearance that includes makeup, a well-coiffed blue bob, and dresses.
  • Mind Screw: Has its moments, such as the alien sub-plot that goes on in the background.
  • Moment Killer: Alyssa decides to interrupt Shad while he's having sex on the dance floor at Jujyfruit's party in order to ask him something mundane about mowing the lawn.
  • Mood Whiplash: The whole damn movie. Jumps from amusingly awkward dialog to erotic sex scenes to brooding sad moments to sudden, over-the-top violence to space aliens.
  • Mr. Fanservice: James Duval's character spends a lot of time naked, and a number of shots linger on his nude butt.
  • My Girl Is a Slut: Played with with Mel, who Really Gets Around. Dark is accepting of her dalliances, but longs for a deeper relationship.
  • Mysterious Waif: Montgomery is a male example. He's a blonde, skinny, and waifish twink with heterochromia and a perpetually lost expression. He seems to suffer from amnesia and has a strange spiritual connection with Dark. In the end it turns out he's a host for an alien cockroach.
  • Night and Day Duo: Mel's two main love interests have this in their theme-naming. She's interested in both Lucifer (light) and Dark.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Most of the characters goes by strange and seemingly symbolic nicknames.
    Egg: Well, I mean my real name's Polly, but my friends all call me Egg. Dweeby, I know. But it just kinda stuck.
  • Only Sane Man: While Dark is angsty and self-absorbed, he's the only character (except for maybe Montgomery) that seems interested in deeper meaning beyond sex, and is also the only person who's remotely aware of all the space aliens kidnapping people.
  • Paint the Town Red: After Egg kills herself and after Montgomery's chest burster incident, the walls end up splattered with lots of blood in both cases.
  • People in Rubber Suits: The space aliens are humanoid lizard monsters that are the same size as humans and are clearly played by someone in a rubber suit.
  • Random Events Plot: Most of the movie is a series of vignettes of the characters bumming around and trying to make it to a crazy party, while space aliens menace the town in the background.
  • Really Gets Around: Mel, who's in an open relationship with Dark and Lucifer, sleeps with almost anyone and says that people aren't meant to be monogamous.
  • Rule of Pool: Dark leaves the party to brood by the pool alone. A few minutes later, Ducky comes along and tries to drown himself in it, and Alyssa has to save him.
  • Sex Is Cool: "Your tongue is cool!"
  • Sex Montage: Full of them. One scene cuts between a bunch of different characters having sex, juxtaposing kinky sex with Egg's violent rape and then ending with Dark and Mel's tender post-coital moment for a large helping of Mood Whiplash.
  • Shower Scene: The first scene, which features Dark masturbating in the shower.
  • Sinister Minister: The televangelist that makes teens commit suicide.
  • Skewed Priorities: Ignoring a car wreck and talking about zits.
  • Sorry, I'm Gay: Lucifer's fist when a guy asks, "My jizz on your face?"
  • The Stoner: Bart and Handjob mostly, but everyone else too.
  • Sudden Morbid Monologue: Happens constantly in a minor way in the way that characters constantly bring death and disease into everyday, snarky conversation, but there are a couple of instances of more extensive monologues on dark subjects, delivered with unnerving enthusiasm:
    • While a bunch of friends are casually hanging out at a coffee shop, Alyssa suddenly gets a dreamy look on her face, and starts talking rapturously about how the day is Armageddon Day, and how the world is about to end.
    • Shad decides to tell a disturbing story about a woman who got her face eaten off by a dog in the middle of sex. His partner's response?
    Dogs eating people's faces is cool
  • Symbolic Blood: Played with. Elvis beats Handjob to death with a can of Campbell's tomato soup, which splatters the red soup and actual blood everywhere in equal measure.
  • Teen Idol: The, well, teen idol that Egg encounters. Deconstructed in that he resents his status and exploits his allure to get revenge on the fans he resents, raping and driving Egg to suicide.
  • Terror At Makeout Point: The overarching plot of the film is that space aliens arrive on Earth amidst a bunch of drug-addled teenagers who are too busy having sex to notice. Throughout the film, vapid teens have sex in cars and get offed by the aliens.
  • Thematic Series: With The Doom Generation and Totally F***ed Up.
  • The Twink: Bart and Montgomery are both young, skinny gay men.
  • Twin Telepathy: Alyssa and her twin brother Shad seem to have a telepathic link, as her palms itch when Shad is getting his palm read.
  • Twin Threesome Fantasy: Mel seems pretty into sleeping with both Surf and Ski, two blond identical twins, at the same time, though neither Dark nor Lucifer are happy about it.
  • Valley Girl: Applies to all the female characters to some extent, as they're all vapid Angelinos, but in particular Rose McGowan has a cameo as a sunglasses-clad fashionista who spends the whole scene gossiping in an exaggerated Valley Girl accent, before promptly getting killed.