Touch Me (1997) from Tuna

Touch Me (1997) is a soap opera about AIDS. Normally, I would soundly trash any film that was produced to be like a Soap, but, in this case, it can't be dismissed that quickly. The director was trying to present two things. First, he wanted to explore what being HIV positive is really like for a hetero woman. Second, he wanted to show that the gay community has been there for AIDS victims, without regard to sexual orientation, age, sex, color or creed. He accomplished both. The cast was also a pleasant surprise. Amanda Peet plays a young actress who teaches yoga in a health spa as a day job, and has just landed a choice role in a play. Kari Wuhrer has a short role as her roommate, who bales as soon as Peet tells her about being HIV positive. Peet has just slept with Michael Vartan, the owner of the spa, and is hoping for a lasting relationship, when she finds that her ex boyfriend is dying of AIDS.

Peet is tested, and proves to be HIV positive. She goes to tell Vartan, and finds him wet from a shower, and with him is his ex girlfriend, Jennifer Loto who stopped in unannounced, and jumped naked into the shower with him, only to be turned down. Peet believes the worst. Former Olympic diver Greg Luganis has a small role as an AIDS councilor. The rest of the film deals with a love story (Vartan Wants to be with Peet anyway), and deals with the effect of AIDS on several people, including Erica Gimpel as a black single mother who has to deal with setting things up for those she loves before her death. Gimpel did an excellent job with the part.


The only exposure was from Jennifer Loto, who shows a nearly perfect pair of breasts.

While I would have preferred a less soap-like approach, the film did have a lot to say, and said it effectively. It made the point that HIV positive is now more of a health maintenance issue than a death warrant now, and that the reaction of so-called friends is a serious problem for victims.  

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The People Vote ...

IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C+.

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