Tuesday, June 02, 2015
Thursday, June 05, 2014
Guttenberg was just a couple of years away from the role in Diner that would make the rest of his career a disappointment. He's exuberant and manic, and it gets old right around the time he takes off his rollerskates. Perrine does what she can, but in the end, she's saddled with being the straight man to this motley crew. The Village People themselves, most of whom aren't given much to do in the way of acting, remain the stars of the show despite all the nonsense going on around them. They're each fun and appealing in inverse proportion to how many lines of dialogue they have.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Okay, it's lame to leave my blog lying fallow like this for so long. Even if no one reads it. There are a few recent posts on other sites that link to here, so I might as well send you back where you came from? Anyway, here are some things I've posted over the past, er, decade:
Here's my Best of 2008 at Charlotte Viewpoint.
Here's myReview of Steven Soderbergh’s CHE and my 2009 Best of Tribeca from the same site.
And here's my list.
And here's myBest of the Decade
And my from the All Movie Guide blog.
And myBest of 2009
from the All Movie Guide blog.
I'll be back soon to write um, addenda to those last two, and maybe I'll write something about David Cronenberg's SHIVERS, too, the last movie I watched, and a great one.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Jumbo-core: This is just like mumblecore, but with obese people.
Jumble-core: Antisocial young folks compete to finish puzzles in the daily paper.
Mumbly-core: Romantically fumbling twentysomethings inadvertently cut off each other's fingers.
Fumble-core: Post-collegiate pals ill-advisedly join a fantasy football league.
Grundel-core: It's insane, this guy's taint. Probably the next step for Joe Swanberg.
Grendel-core: Ill-at-ease part-time grad students try to impress each other by discussing Beowulf.
Dumbo-core: Socially inept young adults sit around and talk about which Brooklyn neighborhoods they would live in if only they could afford it.
Rumble-core: Rival gangs of white middle-class twentysomethings clash on the street. Voices are raised.
Stempel-core: Overeducated vicenarians cheat on a nationally televised game show.
Core-core: At the cusp of a delayed adulthood, affluent caucasian kids (and one Asian) sit around eating apples.
Bumble-core: Like mumblecore, but with more buzz.
Is this thing on?
Well, whatever you want to call it, I've only seen what's available on video. I want to make it down to the IFC Center while they are having their "New Talkies" series, especially for Hannah Takes the Stairs and Quiet City, but finishing my MA and finding a job are a higher priority the next couple weeks. (Hmmn. I sound like one of "them.") I adore the two Bujalski films. (I think I mentioned them somewhere else on this blog.) I'm less thrilled with Kissing on the Mouth and The Puffy Chair, but I do dig all the naturalism and I am eager to see more of it.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
A sensitive type like me goes into a film like I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry expecting to find fault. I was prepared to find the type of gay stereotypes portrayed here by David Spade (mercifully briefly) and Nick Swardson. I was unsurprised when the gruff, macho, angry firefighter played by Ving Rhames turned into a Chaka Khan-singing, mincing exhibitionist after coming out of the closet. I was only a little bit surprised that Chuck (Adam Sandler) and Larry (Kevin James) never found themselves in a situation where it was necessary to demonstrate any physical affection for one another. I mean, that would be gross, right? I’m not exactly shocked that the film tries to have it both ways, mocking gays throughout and then preaching a message of tolerance at the end.
I was surprised by some things, though, and not pleasantly. I haven’t read anything about the crude way the film objectifies women, and there are even some critics who don’t see fit to mention the key role that Rob Schneider plays in the film. I think I’ve figured out the social hierarchy the film presents, so let me break it down for you.
-Straight men (except the ones who devote their lives to homophobia, as opposed to practicing it casually like our heroes, and except Steve Buscemi, for some reason)
-Gay men (ridiculous, but mostly in an amusing way. What can you do?)
-White women (The pretty ones are vapid sex objects. The unattractive ones (Rachel Dratch, Mary Pat Gleason) are ridiculous for wanting to be sex objects. Sometimes one is so damn hot that they transcend mere sex object status and become one’s primary sex object.)
-Asian women (sex objects)
-Asian men (of such low status that even Rob Schneider needs the addition of a funny wig and huge Coke bottle glasses to convey just how ludicrous they are)
Now, as critics, maybe we’re not paying attention. Maybe we’re scouring the film so conscientiously for signs of homophobia that we don’t notice the way women are portrayed. But in hindsight, the film is more repugnant in its treatment of women than in its (still somewhat troublesome) portrayal of gay men.
First off, we have the twins, Darla and Donna (portrayed by Rebecca and Jessica O’Donahue). Outer borough types, and easily duped by Chuck (apparently, despite the fact that he’s played by Adam Sandler, some kind of amazing lothario), who cheats on one with the other, and then uses their competitive nature to trick them into kissing each other for the amusement of his firefighter pals.
Then there are the Hooters girls. These women are apparently a stable of women that Chuck keeps around. For some reason, they are all Asian. They are giggling, squealing morons, not much smarter than household pets. Chuck shows Larry (Kevin James) how he can trick them all into bending over for his scopophilic pleasure.
Then there’s “Doctor Honey,” called such because when the hospitalized Chuck calls her “honey,” she corrects him, demanding to be addressed as “Doctor.” Finally, a woman with some self-esteem, who is not charmed by Chuck’s good looks (?) and his boorish manner. I did think to myself, I admit, that she looked more like a porn star than a doctor, and later realized that she is played by Chandra West, who actually plays a porn star on the HBO series, John from Cincinnati. So that may explain my confusion on that point. In any case, Dr. Honey stands up to Chuck’s piggishness in the hospital, and the next time we see her, she’s dressed up in fetish gear, in Chuck’s bedroom with the Hooters girls. So, haw haw, stupid women thinking that they will ever be respected or treated as equals when it’s guys like Chuck who really know how to treat them. I was less than amused. Was there a way to treat Dr. Honey’s apparent self-respect as something other than a cheap joke? I guess the important thing was to establish that Chuck is a pimp.
And then there’s Alex, the lawyer played by the smokin’ hot Jessica Biel. Biel is undeniably attractive and a likeable presence, but she hasn’t shown such great judgment to date in choosing her roles. Because Chuck is pretending to be gay when he meets Alex, she doesn’t get to experience the full impact of his charm. He surreptitiously ogles her; she mistakes him for a nice guy. Their relationship never really progresses much beyond that point. Even while pretending to be gay, Chuck’s masculine charm is apparently so overwhelming that she finds herself attracted to him. He adores her, but it’s never clear that this attraction is substantially different from that he feels for his twins and his Hooters girls. She’s just hotter than they are.
Meanwhile, that Rob Schneider character had me wondering what Guy Aoki is doing these days. (And if you haven’t seen Jesus is Magic, you should.) I mean, Mickey Rooney’s clownish “yellow-face’ performance as Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany’s is offensive, but at least the film’s many defenders can point out that it was made over forty years ago. Hasn’t our culture progressed past this type of thing yet? How does Rob Schneider get on his high horse about Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitism and then turn around and play a degrading role like this? It makes me wonder how firm he is in his commitment never to work for Gibson. Heh.
There are a few laughs in the film, and there are bit parts from people far too talented for this like the aforementioned Rhames, along with Rob Corddry and Robert Smigel, but in the end, it was more depressing than entertaining.
Edit: In surfing the internets during my "research" for this story, I found out that Rob Schneider's mother is actually Filipino, so maybe that makes his portrayal of a Japanese man less offensive somehow? Anyone?
Here are some photos of him, as a baby, as a Mexican, and as a hot chick. You decide.
One more thing I had to add here: Dan Ackroyd might, and Sandler might, but NYC firefighters, in general, do not love Rudy Giuliani, nor should they. Nor should anyone who actually lived or worked here during his mad reign. He's as venal and opportunistic and dishonest as they come, and he'd make a fine successor to GWB, but I thought we were sick of that crap.
Monday, July 02, 2007
-My favorite line from William Friedkin's Bug, which I saw earlier tonight at the Museum of the Moving Image, and liked quite a bit. I can't understand how the normally astute Stephanie Zacharek found the film so unbearably self-serious. While an intense and not altogether enjoyable experience, I thought the film was darkly funny. That whole exchange where Peter (Michael Shannon) emphatically asks Agnes (Ashley Judd), "What don't you know?" was amusing in a dreadful, doomed way, as I think was intended.
Also, I was unfairly dismissive of Rise: Blood Hunter. There were a couple of moments, between Avid-farts, that amused/surprised me, along with the relative heartlessness of the lead character. Still...