American Fabulous

A film by Reno Dakota  

Jonathan Rosenbaum in The CHICAGO READER
July 30, 1993

One hundred and five minutes of spontaneous talk from a homosexual named Jeffrey Strouth, seated in the back of a 1957 Cadillac in Columbus, Ohio, may sound like thin fare for a feature, but Reno Dakota's 1992 movie- a tribute to his wild and uninhibited friend, who subsequently died of AIDS- kept me mesmerized and entertained. Recounting various episodes in his difficult life- bouts with his alcoholic and abusive father; being kept at age 14 by a 400-pound drag queen; hitchhiking to Hollywood with a campy boyfriend, a tiny dog, and a caged bird; numerous tragicomic scrapes with the police; and much, much else involving sex and drugs- Strouth often calls to mind some of the comic gross-outs of William Burroughs (whom he openly imitates at one point) and the picaresque hard-luck stories of Nelson Algren, not to mention the road adventures of Kerouac. This has more flavor of an epic American narrative than most conventional features, and it certainly offers a more comprehensive look at our national life.



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