Just prior to its DVD release on September 18, Warner Bros. will re-release William Friedkin's Cruising (1980) in selected theaters across the country, including the Castro in San Francisco. If it plays well there, the film will have come full circle, having begun its life sputtering amidst howling controversy. Few films have been as reviled; the gay community protested it during its production, critics hated it and audiences stayed away. I first looked at Cruising back in the 1980s on VHS and likewise found it repulsive. But looking at it again years later in a cleaned-up transfer, with some big city experience and some knowledge of Friedkin's work gave me a whole new perspective. Not to mention that just about every Friedkin film except The French Connection (1971) and The Exorcist (1973) has been misunderstood in its own time. And, ironically, Friedkin insists that even The Exorcist has been misunderstood, since he never considered it a horror film.