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Common Ground

Erik Knudsen , Brittany Murphy , Donna Deitch    R (Restricted)   VHS Tape
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Product Description

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In Common Ground director Donna Deitch (Desert Hearts) uses three stories to explore attitudes toward homosexuality in the fictional small town of Homer, Connecticut, over a period of almost half a century. "A Friend of Dorothy's" tells the story of a girl who returns to Homer in 1954 after leaving the Navy. When it emerges that she was discharged after being arrested in a gay bar, she is ostracized by everyone except the owner of a local diner, a woman who has her own reasons for wanting to help Dorothy to escape. "M. Roberts" is set in 1974, when a gay teacher (Steven Weber) has to decide whether to jeopardize his career in order to help a troubled pupil who has been targeted by homophobic bullies. Finally, in present-day Homer, "Andy & Amos" follows the preparations for a gay wedding. While protesters gather on the town commons, Amos's father (Ed Asner) has to choose between long-held prejudices and his love for his son. Thanks to a Harvey Fierstein script that combines sexual politics with humor and believable characters, this is the most successful part of Common Ground. Ed Asner's gradual realization that his son's monogamous, long-term gay relationship is more conventional than most heterosexual marriages is deftly handled, achieving a balance between message and drama that the other stories lack.

Despite the credentials of their authors (playwrights Paula Vogel and Terrence McNally) the first two segments feel more like lectures than stories. Their impact is weakened by clumsy dialogue (Dorothy's mother actually says, "I have no daughter") and stereotypical characters. The film's message is an important one: the road to equality is built upon the struggles and sacrifices of past generations. Unfortunately Common Ground is too uneven to deliver that message with the force it deserves. --Simon Leake


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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and Timely May 13 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Unforunately, this video is still very relavent today. Contrary to Mr. Diamond's comments - LGBTQ youth are still beaten and murdered today and are four times more likely than their straight peers to commit suicide (Mass. Youth Behavior 2000). I was harassed severely in high school and had to transfer due to physical threats. To say that youth today do not know what it was like is just plain wrong. As an active member of several queer youth organizations trust me, we know and we are grateful. But we have our own issues that maybe you are ignoring Mr. Diamond.
This movie is moving, and hey, JTT IS HOT!
Mark Snyder
20 yrs old.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best March 16 2003
Format:VHS Tape
I felt this film was very well made and acted. The stories are powerful and informitive. I would buy it again if I didn't already own it. A fantastic look at the change of acceptance over about 40 years in one small town. Lots of exceptional actors doing exceptional acting. This will entertain and can be used as a learning tool that is tactful and otherwise done in very good taste.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Cliche's Made Palatable for Middle America Feb. 26 2003
Format:VHS Tape
I have an idea. Let's take as many gay cliche's as we can possibly put together in 3 amazingly short segments. Oh wait, we don't have to, it's all here in "Common Ground". In the 3rd, 30 minute sement alone we have veterens protesting a gay wedding ceremony, the military dad who doesn't approve, one of the groom-to-be about to run away cause he's unsure, two lesbian caterers, the straight supportive female friend, the gay florist, a third lesbian who is getting sperm from the other groom-to-be to inseminate her on his wedding day and a priest who is rethinking the church's stance on homosexuality. I haven't met all of these citizens of the gay world in my 26 years as an out gay male much less in 30 minutes.
I'm all for gay representation in any form, but this is not a flick for the gay community. It is clearly intended for middle american to gain an (unrealistic) glimpse into "those crazy gays and their antics".
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful movie for anyone! Feb. 2 2003
By Ross
Format:VHS Tape
I want to start off by saying this movie is great for anyone. I am a [age] year old gay teen and caught this movie on Showtime one night. I watched and really felt the movie. It really made me think about my life and future. I saw what it was like for people like me in the past and felt grateful for living today. Even though our society isn't completely open towards gay/bi sexuality, it is so much better than earlier years. Hopefully the world will become more accepting in the future, and I think with more movies like this...it will make it a lot easier.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A Fair Movie July 9 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Someone's idea of what goes on with the gay life, but mostly colored by Grenwich village types.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific piece of work by a great ensemble cast June 21 2002
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
One town, three stories -- each taking place in a different era. The interweaving thread is not really about being gay or lesbian, it's about the "common ground" that all human beings share. This is a tremendous movie that deserves all the praise it receives. See this film.
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By P Leach
Format:VHS Tape
This timeline movie shows how acceptance changes over time as the GLBT community is being slowly accepted for who and what we truly are human just like everyone else the best line in this movie is "What's it like to make love to another man?" coming out of Jonathan Taylor Thomas's mouth talk about a dead hult and quick rewind this movie is a must see for anyone gay or straight
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4.0 out of 5 stars Returning to Romantic Comedy May 21 2002
By tamiii
Format:VHS Tape
Time was in the 1930's that homosexuals were portrayed as tragi-comic figures. So my hopes rose with the opening segment where we see the beginning of a lesbian/gay community arising from the ranks of WWII veterans. Then it was pleasure to recognize the post-Stonewall 'coming out' moment. But then my heart sank when serious lesbian/gay politics disappeared once again into a world of romantic comedy. While perhaps a fair characterization of the current subculture (Big Eden), I am disappointed that a director known for her keen eye should join in the fantasy rather than portray the kind of lives which would yearn for it.
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