You guys, the Oscars this year were so gay! Neil Patrick Harris and his giant stuffed bulge were so gay. That acceptance speech Graham Moore made for winning Best Adapted Screenplay for The Imitation Game was so gay. The Imitation Game itself, nominated for Best Picture was SO GAY.. Oh wait. NPH is the most innocuous non-radical faggot to enter the public sphere since Sean Hayes, Graham Moore is STRAIGHT (wtf?), and the gayest thing about The Imitation Game is that its leading actor’s name sounds a little porny if you pronounce it drunk. Not to mention, where THE FUCK was Joan Rivers’ slide in that In Memorium segment?!
Such unabashed heteronormativity makes a cake boy like me go straight to the Netflix Instant Gay & Lesbian section looking for solace. To my chagrin, eCupid is still there, mocking me for even considering clicking play. But what ho, salvation from the soft-core standbys; a new addition to the dreck that is gay cinema, and this one really seems like a doozy. Inter-racial, closeted gay, British, tragic death mope-fest Lilting creeps up in my queue, promising something more than a Kickstarted Wolfe Video. I want to click play, but after viewing the trailer multiple times I think, “no. I don’t need to feel even shittier about myself”–watching a room full of completely out of touch celebrities celebrate each other already made me feel numb and numb-er and it was getting late. But then a quick Google search leads me to the revelation that lead actor Ben Whishaw is not only super cute but ACTUALLY GAY. Hold the phone, or at least put it on vibrate, Mama is in for this ride, even if it promises to depress the shit out of me.
As I sit here, with my obese cat by my side and a dry martini in hand at 4pm, I reflect on the bygone year(s) – deplete of Homoflix posts, but full of regional theater, drag debuts and global crises. Where have we been? What have we been watching? What’s the T? It’s time we caught up.
What happens when film imitates fashion, post-production imitates Instagram, and Julianne Moore imitates a 60s divorcee shut-in with amazing winged eye liner? Why A Single Man happens, of course. The 2009 film debut from fashion designer cum director Tom Ford stars Colin Firth in an emotionally restrained portrayal of an aging gay professor who’s recently lost his longtime companion. Based on the novel by Christopher Isherwood, the filmic adaptation (penned by Ford and David Scearce) is morose, terse and depressing: all things a good Fall/Winter 2015 Lookbook should be.
Eva Green: where ya been all my life? Sometimes, I think I live under a rock because when a specimen so fine as Ms. Green (Casino Royale, Camelot) escapes my mental clutches for this long, I have to wonder how strong my devotion to pop culture really is. And she’s not just a complete babe – sister can act to boot! Alongside, Homoflix regular Juno Temple and bombshell supporting players Imogen Poots and Maria Valverde, she tears up the screen in melodramatic brooding so committed, it’s sure to make you reach for a stiff drink and that old copy of Nightwood faster than you can answer Cracks opening line: “Do you have desire?”
Set in a random British boarding school in 1934, Green’s Ms. G is a rogue hottie in a sea of sexless Protestants, known for her amazing stories of exploits abroad while managing a dorm of rich, abandoned young women led by Temple’s grumpy bitch alpha princess Di. Her only definite responsibility at the school seems to be leading the girls on diving expeditions. (You can pause and let that sink in. Really. I don’t mind.) Anyway, Ms. G and Di have a “special,” if unconsummated, flirtation and clear love of water sports, but all shit breaks loose when a prodigious Spaniard hits the scene, making waves as a Catholic and foreigner with a past to boot. Fiamma (Valverde), an asthmatic with flawless skin, is immediately loathed for being the most cosmopolitan lady on campus, inspiring jealousy and rage in her overly sheltered, hormonal peers. Ms. G is of course completely smitten with the well-travelled 16 year-old, but Fiamma quickly discerns that G might have at least one screw loose, catching her in a white lie of inflated storytelling that will eventually have tragic consequences for the sharp minor. What follows are fucked up mind games involving an inhaler, a decadent dorm party, an implied lesbian rape and a prolonged, terribly upsetting Lord of the Flies chase scene. And this at 3 in the afternoon on a Thursday! My heart, my heart!
Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story
of that man skilled in all ways of… butt sex
Kudos to anyone who got the Homeric reference, but you don’t need to be an ancient Greek scholar to be enlightened by the great, marginalizing mythology of the young gay. It is a simple and easily repeatable one. All you need are some female props, like a tiara and beauty pageant sash to establish early onset partial gender-identity dysphoria, an insecure straight boy to lead you astray only to betray you ultimately (in abundance these days, especially in Flanders, apparently…) and an older ally or mentor to have a semi-fucked up relationship with that will probably help you learn something about yourself. Once you’ve got all these elements just throw them at your young gay male protagonist, and voila! You’ve got yourself an Odyssey (of ass). Stacked to the brim with cliché coming-of-age tropes, North Sea Texas is a perfect execution of an unfortunately staid and obnoxious stock gay narrative.
Quick sum-sum: Pim is a little gay boy who likes to put on his deadbeat mom’s makeup. He falls for this boy next door straight-but not narrow kid named Gino. They jerk off together and Pim collects Gino’s cumsock and other autistic memorabilia. Then, lo and behold, Gino starts dating chicks. Pim is betrayed and slashes Gino’s tires. Gino’s sister Sabrina, feels slighted by Pim, who she’s triangularly fallen for, when she finds out he’s a fag. They end up bonding when Pim’s mom skips town with Zoltan, a gypsy that Pim has had a crush on his whole life. Doubly-betrayed-Pim has really been through the ringer at this point, when Gino and Sabrina’s mom gets really sick. On her death bed, mom silently requests that her son and Pim be friends (or more!?) by joining their hands, then kicking the bucket. This kind of reunites Gino and Pim and it kind of maybe ends happily.
When’s the last time a foreign exchange student with a chronic bloody nose and ridiculous baby doll dress fell into your lap? I thought so. But that’s why we have movies, and with XTube mysteriously non-functional in my dismally furnished out-of-town apartment last night, I said: what the hell – how about romance instead of sex this eve? (Who ever said self-reflexive chivalry was dead?) Decision made, I cued up Jack and Diane, a relatively new addition to Netflix, which mercifully has no direct relation to John Cougar Mellencamp and gets extra points for numerous scenes of adolescent face-down bed masturbation. So much for courtly love, but a good reminder that high school wasn’t all bad.
Before I embark on my usual low-brow, fast and cheap analysis, I think I need to address the last review I produced, a little puff piece on that snore-fest Puccini for Beginners. An ex recently called me up to ask what was wrong after reading my blurb, to inquire after the tepid writing and bland pronouncements. I was somewhat taken aback, knowing in my heart she wasn’t off-track. I’ve recently been experiencing a deep sadness around the queer cinema available to me these days and that has been exacerbated by the reality of being far from accessible queer culture for the last month. (okCupid! Hartford = slim pickin’s.) Everytime I refresh my Netflix browser, all I pray to see are some moderately cute people telling me some moderately decent stories. All I get are message like, “Queer actors don’t exist!” … “This will be better if straight people can watch along!” … “Sure, nails like that won’t be a deterrent to awesome sex!” Granted, there are still the classics … Desert Hearts, Parting Glances, does High Art sort of count … but all these films are at least fifteen years old.
Hello, fans. We acquired two more of you in the last week, so I figured I owed a little update. Chris and I are currently in Hartford, CT, home of the Mark Twain House and one of the most confusing crosswalk situations I’ve ever navigated. Anyway, we’re doing a little bit of regional theater, a moderate amount of substance abuse and a lot of shopping. But I decided to take a pause from pointless consumption today in exchange for a culture infusion which would also allow me to remain in sweat gear until my six thirty PM call. Enter Puccini for Beginners, a film about a commitment-phobic lesbian writer with questionable sexual mores and a lack of purpose. That equalled no-brainer to me this afternoon, as I struggled to bathe my dog and consume an entire box of mac ‘n’ cheese all by my lonesome.
Allegra (Elizabeth Reaser) is a once-successful novelist who’s just broken up with her hot and (as we’re reminded several times) tall girlfriend, Samantha. Something about nine months together, you can’t say you love me, I might not be gay and I’m going back to Jeff, etc. Our heroine is of course devastated to the point of phone stalking and binge eating, but quickly meets a new object of affection at a bourgie Manhattan social gathering. The problem: he’s a man! After a few too many cocktails and a drunken proposition that involves dangling her Lesbian, But Willing status over his Progressive Liberal Male’s head – each one of them – Allegra throws up on Phil’s shoes and he’s smitten. Around the same time, leading lady has another meet-cute with an investment banker who secretly dreams of becoming a professional glass blower, Grace (played adorably by Gretchen Mol). And the big twist – are you ready for it? – Phil and Grace are a couple! In a loveless long-term relationship! And they break up! And they both fall for Allegra! And thing get really messy!
Hi. You probably didn’t notice, but a few months ago, homoflix slid off the face of the earth in a poof of sparkle and santorum, but now we’re back, astroglidden and ready to rock once more. What better way to ring in the new year, Chinese or otherwise, than with an understated, Brit flick about a one-night stand turned lovey dovey? Yes, ladies, you too can Grind(r) your way to love. Weekend proves it… then shits on it.
Before we dive in, I must issue an important warning. I hesitated to put the FOREIGN label on this film. It is technically “foreign” as it was made ‘cross the pond, but it’s in English, and the FOREIGN category is really for films that require some kind of translation. These people are definitely speaking my language, but they still get the title because boy do they mumble! I had my MacBook’s speakers cranked up to full blast, and I could barely make out one flirtatious British murmur. These blokes share a lot of things with us during the course of this film, but not their voices. I strongly advice getting some speakers or get some headphones ready before settling in to this one. Seriously. You’re gonna think it’s fine and then 10 minutes in, you’re gonna have to put your dick down and get those $99 Altec-Lansing speaks your mom got you for christmas in college from your storage nook. Oh yeah. Did I mention that there’s GAY SEX in this film? And jizz!? JIZZ!!!!