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Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Religious Halloween merchandise featuring born-again pumpkins:
"Daddy, does this mean the pumpkin is saved?" "I suppose it does, Timmy." "So even a pumpkin's sins can be washed clean by the blood of the redeemer?" "Well, er, yes. I suppose so." "Daddy?" "Yes Timmy?" "How can an inanimate object sin?" "You're going to hell for heresy, you know that, right Timmy?" "Yes Daddy."
Speaking of "judging" Guggenheim said a lot of people who aren't reading Spider-Man or refuse to read Spider-Man are judging it based on misunderstandings. "Part of the problem with the controversy behind One More Day is the understanding of what was retconned overstates the extent of what was done," he said. "Everything that happened in the last twenty plus years of comic book history happened! The only difference is that Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson weren't married. They still dated. They still lived together. They still love each other. They just weren't married. Judging from the letters and death threats we received, I think some people were confused. It all still happened."
"Here's my attitude, if anyone is upset about the marriage going away, then they must all be pro gay marriage," he continued. Because if you're pro gay marriage, you understand the distinction between a marriage and a civil union -- that a civil union is not equal to a marriage. We downgraded Mary Jane and Peter to a civil union. If that bothers you, then you're pro gay marriage."
See what he did there? That's a rather nice bit of gay-baiting he pulled off. Guggenheim basically just called anyone who didn't like the One More Day story-line a faggot, while phrasing himself in such a way as to make it look like he's being gay-supportive. Now, it's possible that Guggenheim isn't really meaning to call people who didn't like the storyline faggots. You could read his statement as a knowing dig at the homophobia of comic fans. But, if so, that doesn't really help his case, because he just compared an ongoing civil rights issue, an issue that is at play in the current election cycle, an issue that affects real people's lives, to a fucking super-hero melodrama. That kind of belittlement of the issue is even more offensive.
"I'm sorry Kara, but according to the Techno-Priests of Rao, Kryptonian life begins 0.000287828 seconds after conception. If it makes you feel any better, we can put the baby in a rocket and send it into space after it's born."
"And I know, from personal experience, that children who aren't raised by a mother and a father grow up with deep emotional problems. That's why the Wayne Foundation is proud to donate $5,000,00 dollars to outlaw gay adoption in this state." "But Mr. Wayne, you yourself have adopted a number of teenage boys. Who all look remarkably simi-" "This interview is over!"
"I'm surprised, Mr. Osborn, that a successful businessman such as yourself doesn't see how it's vital that the nation return to the gold standard for it's currency." "You know I'm banging your girl-friend while you're at your 'Paul in 08' meetings, right Parker? You think maybe there's a connection there you're not seeing?"
"Whazzat? How did Stark Industries get awarded a no-bid reconshtruchtion contract in Iraq or Iran or where ever it is? Chertainly not by getting the President druhnk."
"What makes you believe you have sufficent foreign policy experience to be Vice-President Ms. Prince?" "I can see Cuba from Themyscira."
"But, why do we have to move to San Francisco, Professor? Won't FEMA rebuild the mansion after this latest Shi'Ar attack?" "I'm sorry, Scott, but George Bush doesn't care about mutants."
"Doctor Blake...I'm a little confused. You say you want our school district to adopt geology textbooks that claim that earthquakes are 'the shaking of the Midgard serpent'?" "Ja. I vøuld like før yøu tø teach der cøntrøversy."
So, I go into the comic shop over the weekend, and I see this:
I'd heard of this a few months back and was intrigued enough at the notion of Euro-comics takes on super-heroes to want to check the book out when it came out. I flipped through it...and it looked okay. Not as porny as most Euro-comics, understandably, but still recognizably not an American production. And certainly the sort of thing that I'm curious enough about to give a shot.
And then I take a closer look at the cover, and realize that isn't a retro-ironic corner box picture of a character from the comic:
No, it's a fucking ad for Secret Invasion. An ad for a cross-over I have no interest in because of it's uninspired execution and eye-straining art. A cross-over that, two years from now, will be largely forgotten, a post-script to whatever mega-cross-over event Marvel will be in the middle of. An ad they stuck, glaringly, in a stupid position on the cover of a comic that stands a strong chance of appealing to people who might not otherwise be interested in reading a Wolverine comic.
Marvel talked me into saving my money by shoving a reminder of a comic I don't like on a comic I might have liked.
It's frustratingly difficult to find good, gay themed erotic comics. Oh, sure, there's a seemingly endless flood of yaoi titles on the racks, if you like your men adolescent and wispy and strictly conforming to heteronormative gender roles. There are some good European comics, but one of the few outstanding American contributions to the genre was Dale Lazarov's and Steve MacIsaac's Sticky. And so I was really pleased to find that Lazarov has a new work, due out in early November from Bruno Gmunder, Manly, a new collection of word-less short stories with collaborator Amy Colburn on art.
The challenge with word-less comics, primarily, is that the art must be especially expressive, to convey both emotion and plot clearly. Colburn's art is very expressive, with clear, nicely laid out pages that allow the story to flow smoothly. I'm particularly taken with her faces. She is very deft at portraying, in particular, lust and embarrassment in a way that makes the characters very relatable and recognizable. It's also very appealing that the character and body types are extremely varied throughout the work. This is typically my number one complaint about gay porn comics; that everyone looks the same. That is certainly not the case here, with a physically and ethnically diverse cast that seems certain to include at least one character that appeals to a reader with a specific "type" to look for in their porn comics.
The pairing of Colburn's art with Lazarov's stories is particularly successful. Lazarov displays a knack here for creating situations with strong erotic potential that nonetheless manage to resolve in a manner displaying a sly sense of humor. The characters are never mocked, but the slightly comic elements to their experiences is suitably explored, giving a human warmth to the stories and keeping them from being purely mechanical displays of position and technique. Not that those are skimped on, either. The stories, frankly, are hot.
Manly is an 80 page hard-cover to be published in November by Bruno Gmunder. It is available for pre-order at Amazon, with a retail price of $25.99. If you're looking for good gay porn comics, this is one of the best yet. Witty stories and sexy art combined in a fantastic combination.
Fall is a dicey time of year for movies. What you basically have to choose from are the films that aren't considered quite good enough money-makers to release in the summer or over Christmas, and the early batches of the Oscar-bait films. Frankly it's a miracle anything worth watching ever comes out between the firsts of September and December.
Full Price Milk: It's horribly Oscar-baitey, but I'll forgive that, given that it's a fantastic cast, a director who, frankly, needs to make a good film again, and a historically important subject that feels particularly relevant in contemporary politics again.
Ghost Town: I have high hopes for this. The reason is simple: I laughed at the trailer despite Ricky Gervais being in it.
Eagle Eye: It looks like dumb action movie stuff with a ridiculously implausible plot. That's what I want from my action movies usually. I'm not necessarily proud of that (or the sick sick sick Shia LaBeouf thing).
Watchmen: I have to admit, my curiosity about what the final product is going to look like has overcome my significant reservations about the ultimate unfilmability of the original comics. I'm not expecting this to be the breakout, maturing of the genre that some expect it to be. I just don't see this going over well with the public at large. For all the film-maker's statements to the contrary, they've crafted a trailer that makes the story look like a super-hero beat-em-up. If the final film is not, the majority of the public that has not read the comic is going to feel cheated. If it is, they'll have missed the point of the source material. So it looks like a lose-lose situation either way.
Quantum of Solace: I'd written off the Bond films a long time ago. Let's face it, the last good one was On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and even that is stretching the definition of "good" to the breaking point. So it took me awhile to get around to seeing Casino Royale. But when I did...man. It was like someone had actually read a Fleming novel and based a film on it, rather than trying to remake In Like Flint. Again. And so, yes, I'll be more than happy to put down my $10 to see a follow-up to that.
Netflix-able Bolt: It's a doggie movie, so I'm intrigued despite myself. I'd really much rather see the Chris Sanders take on the subject, rather than what we're getting.
Rock N Rolla: Guy Ritchie films are usually worth renting, at best. But Dark Castle films are usually worth ignoring entirely. Combine them, and you've got something that might be worth renting, so long as you keep your finger right on the "disc tray open" button so that you can end the film immediately if you need to.
Changeling: Clint Eastwood is an iffy proposition as a director. He tends towards the self-important, if not the downright self-indulgent. But the story here is compelling enough that it's hard to imagine Eastwood going too far off the rails (though scenes of Angelina Jolie in an asylum might suggest otherwise). Now if only I could hear the title without shuddering at the thought of someone remaking the George C. Scott film.
Role Models: It looks utterly horrible and like a rehash of a dozen other films. And that's without getting into the ongoing love affair with man-children that Hollywood seems to be in. But, it's Paul Rudd and Sean William Scott. I'll just turn the volume down real low and stare at them for ninety minutes.
Max Payne: So, it's a movie based on a video game that was a break-through because it incorporated into it's gameplay a cinematic technique that's become played out and cliche in actual films. Gotcha. Pretty, though, and who knows, Marky Mark may take his shirt off.
The Spirit: I'm curious to see it, in a "how bad can it get" sort of way. I mean, I was in the minority in thinking Sin City was lousy (though I get the impression that critical consensus has shifted in my direction on it), and the attempts to replicate that look is not encouraging. But there's been some almost wit in some of the footage that's been shown (and some beefcake), so rental it is.
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist: I've been assured that the source material is better than this trailer makes it look, so I'm tentatively overlooking the fact that Michael Cera is in this and I'm willing to give the rental a shot.
Sex Drive: I laughed more than once. For this kind of film, that's the one and only clue that it might be even remotely worth my time to watch.
Australia: Has Baz Luhrman made his second good film, after Strictly Ballroom? Time will tell, but lord knows it can't possibly be as bad as Romeo+Juliet.
Choke: I seem to be one of the few American adult males who didn't think Fight Club was a revelatory work of genius. I don't know, maybe my daddy did love me enough. But I like Sam Rockwell well enough, and there's a darkly comic edge on view here that makes me think I can give the film a shot at least.
Known To Cause Spontaneous Blindness Doubt: Oh, look, it's The Children's Hour with an evil nun instead of a vicious brat. Or is it The Crucible with an evil nun instead of a vicious brat. Or is it Atonement with an evil nun instead of a vicious brat. You know, I'm getting the impression I've seen this kind of film enough times already.
The Soloist: Nothing like a little white liberal guilt sprinkled into your "give me an Oscar" film. But hey, it worked for Crash.
The International: So Hollywood is just now getting the message that banks are evil and people hate them? I'm tempted to say that I admire the restraint the film-makers show in the trailer; after all, they don't show any bankers biting the heads off babies, but it looks so fundamentally stupid a film (first clue on that score, Clive Owen is in it) that I just sigh heavily and move on.
Nights and Weekends: Another "pretty straight white people have romantic issues" movie. Coupled with the least interesting trailer I think I've ever seen in my life.
Madagascar 2: If this is the kind of uninspired garbage that's going to be foisted on the public, I've got no problem banning animation entirely.
Fast and Furious: Well, we've seen the most interesting stunt in the trailer, so there's no reason for anyone to pay money to see the film now. Ah well. I guess Vin Diesel's career won't recover after all.
The Haunting of Molly Hartley: It's looking to be a pretty dire Halloween for horror fans if sub-basic cable level stars in kid-friendly anti-Christ movies are up on offer.
Nothing Like the Holidays: While I respect the efforts to get a family Holiday movie made that doesn't follow the usual "white people with problems" model, the fact that this looks nearly identical to every other "wacky, dysfunctional family hijinx at Christmas" movie ever made is a huge strike against it.
Real Time: I'm pretty fed up with films that ask us to identify and sympathise with people whose troubles are entirely of their own making. And just because every other crime film features, inexplicably, a British actor in the cast, that's no reason to make Randy Quaid speak with a silly accent in your allegedly "quirky" film.
Humboldt County: Having actually lived in Humboldt County, I've met more than my share of pot growers. They're not kooky yet lovable eccentrics. No, they're pretty much just shiftless hippies.
Body of Lies: You can stick as much fake facial hair on him as you want, Leonardo DiCaprio still looks to be about twelve. I just...no, there's no possible way for me to take him seriously.
Appaloosa: I'll start caring about Westerns again when the people making them stop mistaking "hard man" cliches and moral ambiguity for interesting film-making.
High School Musical 3: Senior Year: I've managed to stay blissfully ignorant of the whole "High School Musical" thing, and seeing as how I'm not a pre-teen girl (or Chris Sims), I'm okay with that. This trailer is the most I've ever seen of any iteration of it, and it doesn't look like I'm missing anything.
Yes Man: Bradley Cooper is seriously endangering my fondness for him by appearing in a movie with Jim Carrey. One with an embarrassingly unsubtle Red Bull ad inserted into the trailer at that.
Shiver: Man, when did the European horror directors start making the same sort of tired-looking shlock the Americans are doing?
What Just Happened: Can we please stop making movies about the film industry? Film is a narcissistic and masturbatory business as it is.
Saw V: Fuck me, what's it going to take to get people to stop giving money to the people who make this shit?
How to Lose Friends and Alienate People: And the "need to buy a bigger house" phase of Simon Pegg's career officially begins. Gross out comedy with a man-child character...yes, this is exactly the sort of thing we didn't need more of.
W.: I know some people are worried about Stone pulling a Nader with this film, but let's be honest: does anyone actually think people are going to go see an Oliver Stone movie anymore?
Quarantine: I guess Cloverfield made at least enough money for more sub-Blair Witch faux-verite films to get made. And here's the "zombies in an apartment building" film that one guy who still gets excited about zombie movies was clamoring for...
Twilight: Even if I didn't hate vampire movies out of all proportion to their impact on my life, I'd still have to pass on the film version of the books that are all about using them as symbols for sexual repression in teenage girls.
The Day the Earth Stood Still: While I have to admire the sense of humor of whoever cast Keanu Reeves as an emotionless alien, I have to say that the best thing about this movie is that it increases the likelihood of a third Bill and Ted movie getting made.
It's time once again to look at the sublime, the ridiculous, the mockable and the proofs of Satan's existence in Diamond Previews.
A new edition of Bryan Talbot's The Adventures of Luther Arkwright is due for release, at a very reasonable $18.95, which is nice, as it's a book I've been oddly unable to find easily. This new edition also promises to be based on new scans of the original artwork, so there's an implied promise of this book looking spectacular as well.
Thing That Should Not Be: Example 1
Godfather busts. Because Scarface merchandise wasn't quite tacky enough.
An Amanda Conner drawn Terra series? Oh, yes please, more Amanda Conner comics are always a good thing.
Hey, you know what the Superman books need? A ton more Kryptonians. (Yes, I am just poking Sims with a stick there.)
Hey, you know what Justice Society doesn't need? A bunch of Kingdom Come tie-in specials.
Oh, fuck you, Japan.
Hey, when did uncensored, bare nipples become okay for ads in Previews?
Little hint, guys. If you put the information in your ad, it stops being a "surprise."
Finding a fourth volume of Cavalcade of Boys solicited this month is a very pleasant and unexpected surprise, as I had somehow managed to overlook the fact that Tim Fish had continued the serial as a weekly strip.
There is also a new book by Maurice Vellekoop, featuring beefcake pin-ups in his unique art-style. Definitely a must have book.
In more upsetting book news, I was terribly excited about Rogue Leaders, a retro-spective on LucasArts adventure game glory days, especially since I have a choice of Guybrush Threepwood or Purple Tentacle covers. But not at $60. And not after what Mike did to ruin the Monkey Island games for me.
I can't fucking believe someone thought a Secret Invasion hoodie was a good idea...
So, so tempting. Especially since I had one of those Autobot mini-radio things back in the day that I still had an intact Gen 1 Optimus Prime.
Man, if I'd taken better care of my toys when I was a kid, my pocketbook would be less in danger of losing weight when things like this come along.
Oh wow! German Fetish Model Barbie is back in production!
Things That Should Not Be: Example 2
"Let's play Staw Waws, Timmy!" "Okay." "My guy attacks youw guy wif his wight sabew." "My guy...my guy attacks youw guy wif his candy cane." "Youw guy's dead, Timmy." "I know..."
You know, every month I'm convinced that the bottom of the "Marvel Super Hero Bust" barrel has been well and truly scraped.
Every month I'm wrong. I'm sure Marrina's fan will be very happy.
No, seriously, fuck you, Japan!
"Come hither" stares on half-dressed underage cat girls is a new low...
Okay, I'm out of booze, that's all I can take of Previews.
I usually ignore those "XXty Greatest XXXXXX Movies" lists because, honestly, the lists are so subjectively put together and so barely plausible in their justifications of what belongs on the list and what doesn't that it becomes a fool's game to try to make any sense of them. And, shockingly, I find it hard to believe that anyone really cares how many of the "200 Greatest Car Chase Films" I've seen. But then AfterElton had to go and make a list of the 50 Greatest Gay Movies, and I realized that, oh yeah, I can be infuriatingly opinionated about gay films.
1. Brokeback Mountain: It's probably fair to quibble over whether or not this really qualifies as a "gay" film. Everyone involved in the production was straight, after all, but it's probably the most successful and well made film on gay themes to come out so far. The acting is superb, and it's an emotionally moving story, but it's problematic that the most widely acclaimed gay love story set to film is about two closeted men, one of whom dies at the end.
2. Beautiful Thing: The gay film genre is crowded with coming out stories, so it's nice to see the best example of the trope placed so highly, as it really is the only one you ever need to see to know everything there is to know about that particular sub-genre.
3. Shelter: I suspect this film places as highly as it does because it's very recent and well regarded. And it is a good film, to be sure, I'm just not certain it's "third best gay film" good. It's another coming out story, and it has the pacing problems common to independent films, but it's mercifully free of that irritating gratuitous male nudity that many gay films feel obligated to have while still showing intimacy between men very tenderly and believably.
4. Latter Days: Another film to benefit from recent memories, I suspect. It's a coming out film, again, but the religious back-ground of the story is an innovative and compelling variation of the genre, and the film-makers deserve some credit for taking the "sexy Mormon" subgenre of porn mainstream and taking it seriously.
5. Maurice: Unwatchable, melodramatic clap-trap, in my opinion.
6. Trick 7. Get Real
8. Big Eden: A surprisingly good film about being gay in a small town, even if the notion that no one in rural Montana is homophobic or racist is a bit fantastic.
9. The Broken Hearts Club
10. The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert: While the film is worth watching at least once, it inspired America's love affair with films about magical drag queens that solve people's problems, and I'm afraid that is a sin it cannot be forgiven for. And no, lots of shirtless Guy Pearce scenes don't make up for it.
11. Longtime Companion: A bit too earnest to really be good or enjoyable, but historically an important film. And still loads better than what Hollywood gave us when they decided to finally acknowledge AIDS.
12. Torch Song Trilogy: The second gay film I ever saw, and still one of the best. It's a funny, humanistic story about one man's search for love, and is easily one of those films that everyone really owes it to themselves to see at some point.
13. My Beautiful Laundrette: Probably my choice for "best gay film" and another one of those movies that anyone who calls themselves a film fan should have watched by now. One of the things I like most about it is the casual, matter-of-fact way that the gay relationship is handled. It's a film about two gay men in which the central conflicts have nothing to do with their sex lives, and that's still remarkably rare.
14. Parting Glances: A film important to indie film history and gay film history...and yeah, that's about it. It's at best mediocre, and even after all these years I strain to find any reason why everyone is so hung up over Steve Buscemi's character, as he's just a morose loser.
15. Just a Question of Love 16. Mysterious Skin
17. Summer Storm: Hey, everybody! They remade Beautiful Thing in German!
18. The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Really? Fifty films to list and you put this one there? Don't get me wrong, I love it for the pansexual, cacophonous riot it is, but to put it on a "best gay films" list is to narrow the point of the film so much as to make it laughable.
19. The Birdcage: And every gay man who voted for this film needs to go ahead and slap themselves right now. Hard. And promise never to take any drugs before voting in an online poll ever again. While the original French version might (and that's a pretty fucking conditional "might") deserve some leeway for being both a product of it's time and French, the people who unleashed this abomination on the world have no excuse. Unfunny, homophobic and just plain bad are the three words that come to mind when I think of this gut-churningly awful movie.
20. Sordid Lives
21. Hedwig and the Angry Inch: An amazing film with a fantastic soundtrack, that also feels strangely limited by trying to pin it down as just a "gay" film. You need to see it. It's as simple as that.
22. Shortbus: John Cameron Mitchell managed to pull off what many have tried to do and failed miserably at; making a sexually explicit film that is both dramatically satisfying and non-pornographic. It's a brilliant work, and I wish I could recommend it unconditionally, but I can't, because there is a lot of sex in this movie, in occasionally graphic detail. It works, because sex is such an important aspect of how humans relate to one another, and it never feels exploitative or cheap in the film. But we're Americans, we don't want sex in our films, especially not anything that reeks of non-heteronormative serially monogamous sex.
23. All Over the Guy: It's telling that I had to look to see who was in this film to remember if I'd seen it or not. It's that memorable. I remember enjoying it, but apparently it was very slight.
24. Another Gay Movie: A guilty pleasure. I'm not sure if it's a good thing or not that the gay film genre has matured enough that we can get cheap, exploitative teenage sex comedies on the level of American Pie, but we've got 'em.
25. Boys in the Band: It's a little disappointing this didn't place higher, as historically it's an important film, but it can be very hard going, especially to viewers used to more positive and upbeat gay films. It's probably best to view it as something of a time capsule; this used to be the reality for gay men all over the country. And, you know, it's actually good. It's funny when it needs to be funny, and dramatic when it needs to be dramatic, and pretty much every character is memorable and recognizable. And it's got one of the best "character introduction" lines in film history: "What I am, Michael, is a 32 year-old, ugly, pock marked Jew fairy, and if it takes me a little while to pull myself together, and if I smoke a little grass before I get up the nerve to show my face to the world, it's nobody's god damned business but my own. And how are you this evening?"
26. Philadelphia: How telling that when Hollywood finally deigned to making a movie about AIDS, it was all about a straight man learning to have pity on those disgusting faggots.
29. The Wedding Banquet: Ang Lee's first crack at a gay movie, and slightly more relateable than his masterpiece. It's obviously an earlier example of his work, but there's some nice character development here, with more recognizable motivations.
31. My Own Private Idaho: The fetishistic devotion some people have to this film astounds me. It's really, honestly, not very good, with some truly dreadful acting and an absolutely charisma-less leading man. It's cold and emotionally uninvolving, but one of the stars died young, so we have to pretend that it was some great work of genius.
32. Jeffrey: One of my favorite films, to be sure. Yes, it's fluff. But it's funny, but a gay romantic comedy was almost unheard of at the time, and it managed to deal with the reality of AIDS without getting (too) preachy. Plus, it's the finest work of Patrick Stewart's career. He's amazingly good in this.
33. The Trip
34. Edge of Seventeen: It's...okay. It's, yet again, a coming out film. Anderson Gabyrich is good in it, but the main cast are not particularly compelling, and the big dramatic "coming out" scene is so unintentionally comically melodramatic that screen-writer Todd Stephens even parodies it in his later film Another Gay Movie.
35. Priest: You watch it now, and you're hard-pressed to see why it was so gosh-darned controversial at the time of release. I guess, given all the things people suspect of Catholic priests nowadays, for one's big bad secret to be that he's gay is small potatoes. Still, it has a love scene that I've had more than one straight man tell me almost converted them.
36. In & Out: This is just merely bad. It has it's heart in the right place, but that's about all you can say in the film's favor. And yes, some men come out late in life, but it strains believability to think that a man could reach his fifties without the question ever occurring to him.
37. Eating Out: Utter garbage, and patently offensive. The "gay guy in love with straight guy" angle is played out and tired in porn! The only reason why anyone ever recommends this movie is the nudity. It certainly can't be for the plot or acting, because you know what? THERE ISN'T ANY! So, naturally, it was a massive success and generated a sequel...
38. Velvet Goldmine: A love-letter to the glam rock era. It's very good, and criminally under-rated, with fantastic music. The pastiche of Citizen Kane was a clever touch, and the shadow of Oscar Wilde that hangs over it is a brilliant element as well. For you slash fans, it also has Obi-Wan making out with Batman.
39. Angels in America
40. Love! Valour! Compassion!: I know I've seen it. But, even straining, all I can remember is that John Glover plays a stock "tragically doomed" gay man. So not a very memorable or compelling picture, then.
41. The Sum of Us: Amazingly, this is not the film which gave rise to the phrase "maybe someday Russell Crowe will play a straight character." Father/Son dynamics are frequently overlooked in gay themed films, as most film-makers seem obsessed to nearly Freudian levels with dysfunctional Mother/Son relationships. It's nice to see the focus turned the other way, especially since this is also one of those rare Father/Son films in which the Son is not beset with maddening Daddy Issues.
42. Burnt Money
43. Transamerica: I want to like it, but ultimately I just find it a little too problematic. I get prickly about actresses being cast as male-to-female transsexuals, especially when, as in this case, they seem to have cast a woman only to have an excuse to bury her in prosthetics to make her look like a man. She doesn't, she looks like a woman in a prosthetic mask.
44. Victor Victoria: Now, I love Blake Edwards. I love Julie Andrews. I love James Garner. I love Lesley Ann Warren. I love Robert Preston. And I love the songs. But this? Very much of it's time. You've got the "Magical Fairy" thing going on with Robert Preston's character, you've got the "he thinks he's in love with a man, but he's really a she" bit that worked in Elizabethan drama and not since. It's an amusing little comedy with some pleasant actors to watch, but oh, it can be cringe-making viewed out of it's time and place.
45. Bent 46. Yossi and Jager 47. Bad Education 48. Gods and Monsters
49. Making Love: Any goodwill the film might have earned is undone when you remember that it came with a fucking disclaimer.
Why No Love? The films I'm surprised not to see on the list. Adam and Steve: It suffers a bit from indie-itis at times, but it's a refreshingly mature romantic comedy that deals with issues that many, if not most, gay men will recognize and relate to. It's not a fantasy of gay life, nor is it a melodrama, but it's warm and funny and squishy-feeling romance. Straight-Jacket: A snappy comedy about a closeted, Rock Hudson-esque actor, set against the back-drop of the anti-Communist witch-hunts in Hollywood. It's got great comic timing and characters, and a setting that's been underused. The Ritz: The first gay film I ever saw. It's another one of those time-capsule films, possibly best viewed today as a reminder of what the gay world was like. But it's an early gay-themed film in which the gay characters are not the butt of the jokes. And I can only imagine how the world reacted to the notion of a comedy set inside a bath-house. It's worth seeing for Rita Moreno's role alone, in any case. The Hanging Garden: Magical realism comes to gay drama. It's a heavily symbolic film with the lines between reality and fantasy and shared fantasy heavily blurred.
Oh Thank God It Wasn't Listed Hellbent: If anyone ever tells you this is a good movie, you can safely ignore their opinion on anything. Even by the standards of "basic cable stars in peril" horror movies, this is a sub-par example of the genre. That we're meant to pretend that it is somehow transgressive or ground-breaking because all the victims are gay is just perplexing, if not downright insulting. Honestly, we're supposed to be glad that the "the gay guy dies at the end" school of film-making has come back?