Milk is a must see. It's an extremely well done movie about a story worth telling. It may have happened in the 70s, but it is no less relevant today. What I think impressed me most is Milk never tried to blend in, never made apologies for who he was, never took the back door.
Utah is gearing up for a political battle over gay rights. It's called the Common Ground Initiative. Theoretically the LDS Church does not have a problem with equal rights for GLBT folk. They know they are safe in saying so because they know no such laws will pass here. Already law makers are opposing the legislation because they fear it will eventually lead to marriage rights for all.
But Equality Utah, the gay rights organization here, is releasing statements saying, "This is not about marriage." Perhaps. Perhaps it is more about calling the LDS Church's bluff, but it still seems disingenuous to me. For one, yes. it. is. It is absolutely a way to get the proverbial foot in the case law door. For another, they are not fooling anyone. Utah's anti-gay amendment will have to be amended or struck down because of the "or anything like unto it" language that exists, and conservative legislators here know it. That is just one reason why I have always disagreed with an "incremental approach."
Separate is never equal and civil unions are already proving to be mostly worthless as far as protecting the rights of the couple when someone decides they don't want to acknowledge them as such. I do not understand why GLBT folk seem so eager to accept table scraps. All we are doing is admitting to ourselves and everyone else that we don't deserve any better.
I've finally sat down and watched Four Weddings and a Funeral. You know what? I really liked it. OK, granted. I'm gay. Chick flicks are not exactly foreign territory. And I must admit the whiskey probably has had some influence on my thinking...or at least what passes for thinking when one has consumed as much whiskey as I have...
Apart from being a sappy love story, what I really liked about it was the gay couple. I suppose the best word for it was poignant. I don't know that D and I will ever get married. For my part: Been there. Done that. D, I think, has marriage bound up with all things religious, which tends to give him the heebie jeebies. Honestly, I cannot blame him.
Spoiler Alert (Surely I'm not the last person to see this movie...)
Nevertheless, married or not, the gay couple in Four Weddings and a Funeral was nice to see. An adorable May to November couple, the funeral was both touching in the expression of love that was given by the surviving partner as is was poignant (do you know how hard it is to spell that word when drunk?)—not only in the fact that they were careful never to appear a couple in public, but also when the surviving husband was introduced as "Gareth's closest friend" and not even in the course of the funeral proper, but as a preface thereto.
How sad is that? OK, the movie is still 20th Century. And over ten years ago, that was probably an extremely progressive move (even if it was "over there" in liberal, god-forsaken Europe). Still, even now in 21st Century America, homosexuality is still "the love that is only just beginning to dare speak its name." There are states where heterosexuals do not even have to make a formal declaration of their love. Spend enough time together and it's a done deal. On the other hand, out of 50 states, only two allow two men to claim the title of husband, as if love and devotion were the purview of human institutions.
Still, married or not, I love D. I know that one should never say never, but at this point in my life I cannot imagine myself ever loving anyone as much as I love my cute Mexican. And you know what? Government sanctioned or not, that should be good enough.
Went and saw "Another Gay Movie" last night. I didn't go with real high expectations. Teen sex movies aren't generally my cup of tea. I watched about 20 minutes of "American Pie" before I got bored and turned it off. Still, when you work from home, sometimes any excuse to get out of the house is welcome.
"Another Gay Movie" is exactly what the title suggests: a gay rip off of all the straight teen sex movies that have been produced over the years. Apparently part of the reason I've never found them even slightly entertaining is because I couldn't relate. Yes, the movie is inane, predictable, and way over the top (some guy behind me kept saying, "Ohhhhh! That's just wrong!"), but I nevertheless found myself laughing, pretty hard in a couple of places. The scenes lifted directly from other productions such as "The Edge of Seventeen" and "Queer As Folk" were fun. I suspect if I had seen more gay themed movies I might have caught onto more of them.
Intellectual stimulation it's not. Profound explorations of the human psyche should be sought elsewhere. Still, there are worse ways to kill 80 minutes. If you're just looking to check out for a few minutes, get a peek at some cute butts and have a few chuckles along the way, I'd recommend the movie. If potty humor and non-stop raunchy sex references is beneath you, then stay home.
Took the girls to see "Superman" yesterday. The 14 year old has a new superhero heartthrob now, Brandon Routh having supplanted Christian Bale.
At first I was bugged by how much Superman looked and sounded like Christopher Reeve. I tried to tell myself they were just trying to stay true to Superman as he had already been created, but that's not something Hollywood has ever worried about before. Indeed actors in general are anxious to make a role "their own." Once it finally dawned on me that it was probably done as a tribute to Christopher Reeve, I was okay with it. By the time the movie was over I was having fewer moments of deja vu.
I liked this Lois much better than the earlier one. Kate Bosworth did a fine job of making her a modern woman and human. I also thought Kevin Spacey was marvelous as Lex Luthor. The man's versatility never ceases to amaze me. And I hope that Bryan Singer keeps making superhero movies, because, frankly, his are the best ones out there.
It never ceases to amaze and disturb me how much the themes of isolation present in every superhero movie and story continue to resonate with me. It's been decades since I was a quiet, geeky teenager who hung out on the fringes of high school society because I didn't really fit in anywhere else. College wasn't much better either. Not that I'm some kind of super socialite now. Maybe that's why it doesn't seem to take much to transport me back to those days. Bleh.
After my wife informed me that Crash had gotten the best-picture nod, I went to sleep with the thought, "there will be hell to pay."
Brokeback wasn't just a movie, it was a cause. We were going to accept gay romantic leads whether we liked it or not (not too different from gay marriage). Dismal box office was spun to become 'per screen revenues', and the fact that anyone at all saw the film in Utah was a sign of a cultural tidal wave (In spite of Utah Jazz-owner Larry Miller putting the kibosh on screening Brokeback in his theaters, the film did play in an art house theater in Salt Lake City)1
Where to start? How about it opened at an art house. Brokeback actually played in several mainstream theaters in Salt Lake County. I'm sure that down in Utah County (a.k.a. God's County) they were better able to resist the temptation to see this subversive and wicked movie.
Dismal box office? Compared to what? Current domestic grosses for this year's Oscar nominations: Brokeback(79M), Captoe(25.4M), Crash(53.4M), Good Night and Good Luck(31.2M), and Munich(46.7M). Yeah. Dismal. It is true, I must admit, that none of them have even come close to such box office smashes as Meet the Fokkers(279.2M), The Wedding Crashers(209.2M), and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me(206M).
A cause. How exactly? Because it's a movie about a minority? Crash is a movie about a minority. Isn't it a cause, too? Or is it because people generally agree that racism is bad, but there is still general disagreement about two men being in love? If it was "a cause," where is all the outcry? Where are the throngs of homos taking to the streets to decry the injustice of "our" movie not being chosen for this year's Oscar? Where are the letters to the editor shaming The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for its rampant homophobia? (OK. That's funny.)
I sat and watched the Oscars with a bunch of homos. Did any one of us go into hysterics when Crash was chosen for the Oscar? No. We turned of the TV, hugged everyone good night and went home. It didn't ruin anybody's life. It didn't even ruin anybody's evening. So much for there being "hell to pay."
And the only reason anybody saw it was because of a cultural tidal wave... A tidal wave. Hmmm . . . cause . . . tidal wave . . . cause . . . Does that work for anyone? Which is it, Mick, cause or tidal wave? I'm afraid, luv, you're going to have to pick one.
Now, I was a little put off by the self-congratulatory nature of the Oscars this year. It's always that way a to some degree, but this year it was over the top. Still, if Meet the Fokkers, The Wedding Crashers and Austin Powers are "American mainstream," you can keep it. Titantic is the all time winner coming in at 600.7M and it's a movie about disobeying your parents and premarital sexual relations. I guess that just proves that Falwell, Dobson, Ratzinger and Co. aren't mainstream America either.
The "mainstream" is overrated. Where would we be without radicals such as Tomas Paine, Martin Luther, and Rosa Parks? So you guys can stand over there and make faces at us. We'll stand over here and make faces at you. We'll both congratulate ourselves on how much better people we are than the other and the world will go on as it always has, without so much as a hiccup.
Despite doomsday predictions1 by some conservative watchers and the "righteous" efforts of Larry H. Miller2, Brokeback Mountain is doing phenomenally at the box office. Obviously it can't compete with major studio releases on the weekend. This past weekend it came in at #9 with about $7M in box office receipts compared to Glory Road's $16.9M.3 What is surprising is yesterday Brokeback was #1 at the box office,4 this with Brokeback showing in 1,076 theaters5, compared to Glory Road's 2,222 theaters6, Narnia's 3,224 theaters7 or Kong's 2,814.8 Granted, it's mid-week, but since no one expected a gay love story to even register on the charts, I think it's pretty damn cool.
What does it mean? I don't know. Could it mean that despite ignorant rants like from the likes of Rip Rense,9 America is a lot more open to the idea of two men in love than conservatives would have us believe? We can always hope.
*Box Office Mojo links require registration
Finally saw Brokeback Mountain yesterday. It was the third weekend since it opened at our little independent film house and the theater was packed. D and I were lucky to find a couple seats in the middle instead of sitting against a wall.
It can be hard to be objective about a movie that hits rather close to home and stirs up a whole pile of emotion. While most of the commentary I have seen has been positive, those who have contrary opinions seem to be picking at details. For example, I have issues with the pacing, but I still think Brokeback did a remarkably good job telling the story. On the other hand, no movie that makes me feel like that one does will ever fall into the "I love that movie" category.
I suppose I'm duty bound to offer a spoiler alert at this point. So if you haven't seen the movie or read the story and don't wish to know anymore than you already do about the movie, stop reading here.
Did it make me cry? Yes, but not like many who left the theater with moist eyes. It would not have stopped there for me. I retreated into a safe place about two-thirds of the way through the movie and waited until D and I got back to his place where I sobbed on his shoulder.
Ennis was certainly the hardest for me to watch, for a variety of reasons. Ennis was certainly a reserved man of few words, and seemed to tolerate Jack's exuberance much as animal kingdom parents tolerate the antics of a puppy or cub, but there was more to Ennis that only found expression when Jack was around. There was his sense of humor that was not in evidence anywhere else. He talked to Jack like he talked to no one else. Upon their first reunion was it Ennis or Jack who pinned the other to the wall? None of these things could find expression anywhere else in Ennis' life, tied as they were to a love that was forbidden, not even for his girls for whom he seemed to have genuine affection.
I spent much of my life exactly like that, just without the "couple of high altitude fucks a year." There was a time when my ex-wife believed I was a Jack. When my one little affair that I did have ended, she seemed to believe it was because I had failed to convince the other guy to run away with me. The truth is, I ended it because a wife, children and a white picket fence was the world I wanted to live in. A dual life was not an option for me. Like Jack, I would not have been satisfied with that arrangement. I had to pick one or the other, and having picked one did my best to not even contemplate the other, something I generally failed at. When my wife left me, I spent the better part of a year convinced Ennis' fate would be mine: to grow old alone, unfulfilled, poor and living in some crappy apartment somewhere. I knew that I would never marry again.
Having been there, I tend to empathize all too well with the Ennises out there: those unfulfilled and unhappy, those whose potential for love and passion (which is different from lust) goes largely unrealized. This isn't the 1960s, but there are still far too many such men out there. Nor is Jack's fate is a thing of the past. Even here in "God's Country" people still seem to believe that killing a faggot is a service to society. At least it's getting harder to get away with it.
Brokeback Mountain is also just one story. It doesn't tell the story of men like the roommate of a guy I dated a for a while, who, shortly after T. and I stopped pursuing romance together, put a plastic bag over his head rather than face explaining to his family why he never brought a nice girl home for Sunday dinner or why he wasn't going to be get married in the forseeable future. As far as I know, his family still has no idea what led their son to take his own life.
Still, even amidst the sorrow stories like Brokeback stirs in me, there was something else in there as well. At one point in my marriage, when my wife and I were trying to figure things out, she said to me, "You just don't want to be happy."
"Yes, I do," I said in an uncharacteristic moment of complete candor. "I just don't believe I deserve to be happy."
Even though there is plenty of time yet, Ennis' fate does not seem to be mine. I have known more happiness in the last few years than I thought I would ever find out of life, and right now I am sharing an amazing love with a truly wonderful man. That belief of mine having had over 30 years to ingrain itself in me, it still baffles me and I constantly ask myself what I've done to deserve the good life that I have.
To whatever higher power is out there, thank you.
Some of you may know Larry H. Miller as the owner of the Utah Jazz. Those of you not living in Utah may not know that he is one of the wealthiest men in Utah. In addition to the Jazz, Mr. Miller owns half a dozen large car lots, untold real estate, and a chain of movie theaters. There's the Megaplex 12, the Megaplex 17 and the recently acquired (and renamed) Megaplex 8.
Several weeks ago while checking out movie times I was pleasantly surprised to see Brokeback Mountain advertised as "Coming Soon" on the Megaplex 17 web site. "Wow," I thought. "Utah might actually be moving up in the world." I was a little confused to be back on the Megaplex site a day or two later and unable to find any mention of Brokeback Mountain whatsoever. Perhaps I had been mistaken. This is Utah after all.
Well, last night at a party I learned I had not been mistaken. Brokeback had indeed been slated to open at the Megaplex, but Larry pulled it. Not terribly surprising, but it gets better. Apparently after the movie opened at the local independent film house and was filling up the theater (the first two days sold out before the show opened), our friend Larry changed his mind and decided to screen the movie after all. However, the conscience of this fine, upstanding Mormon got the better of him and he pulled the movie again, an hour before show time. Rumor is the show was sold out. Whether or not that is true, people showed up to see the movie only to be sent home with apologies.
So let me get this "straight." Two men struggling with their love for each other in a world where such love is forbidden (and still looked down on) is unacceptable for Mr. Mormon. On the hand, movies like this are no problem.
Nice. Care to rationalize that for us, Mr. Miller?
Just so you know this wasn't mere party gossip, the Associated Press ran a story this morning.
Gayle Ruzicka, president of the conservative Utah Eagle Forum, said not showing the film set an example for the people of Utah.
"I just think (pulling the show) tells the young people especially that maybe there is something wrong with this show," she said.1
Calling the Eagle Forum conservative is like calling Pat Robertson out of touch with reality. "Maybe" there's something wrong with this movie? There is something definately f***ed up about The Hostel, but you don't see Gayle getting her panties in a wad about that one.
Gotta love conservatives and their myopic obsession with gay sex.