A Deal with the Devil
“Crocodile Tears” is the story of Simon an outspoken guy who learns that he is HIV positive and makes a deal with the devil to perform three deeds in exchange for becoming HIV negative again. He is an outspoken guy who cannot keep a job. When he learns of his HIV status he writes to the devil for help and sure enough Satan appears and agrees to make him negative again if Simon will do what he says.
Simon’s first task was to become a gay bashing comedian delivering jokes written by the devil to overflow homophobic crowds. Simon becomes wildly successful and a national sensation. He marries his best friend, Muse, to complete his cover but this does not work out and in the meantime his ex-lover Carl (Dan Savage) has full blown AIDS. Simon turns his back on him and on everyone he has ever had feelings for.
This is quite a dark comedy that was written bySeattle playwright Ted Sod from his 1990 stage play “Satan and Simon DeSoto”. The film was directed by Ann Coppel and Sod also stars as the main character, Simon.
The feared HIV discovery follows years of procrastinating about taking the blood test. It took the suicide of a good friend, Phyllis Steen (Wade Madsen), a drag queen to get Carl to force Simon to get tested. Simon’s best friend and former lover, Carl, to force the issue. The film, while grounded in realism goes in another direction when Simon bargains with the devil, Mr. Chesebro (William Salyers), the devil claims that he can make Simon HIV-free in exchange for certain favors. The problem I had with Simon as a stand-up comic was how his act made nasty entertainment out ofnasty, anti-gay jokes. Here the movie navigates tricky waters. It makes foul entertainment out of the twisted hate jokes.
Simon’s second task is to renounce his homosexuality but this does not work out well when he gets married and enters into a relationship with terrible emotional consequences. The third task never really matters. This year the film celebrates its 20th anniversary.