Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Everybody be quiet, I have something to say.

While we should be toasting the first Birthday of Now Kindly Undo These Straps, I am interrupting our regularly scheduled gay shit for an important message.

It has come to my attention that a lot of little gay pumpins have been killing themselves lately. This is not okay.  This is not amusing or fabulous.  Kids, DO NOT kill yourselves. It's not worth it.

Sure, our government hates us. Yes, we aren’t supposed to shop at Target because they hate us too. Of course, women in politics speak a lot of nonsense - they don’t know how to apply their own eyemakeup!  You have to take heart, dolls, that it really does get better. These people are not you.  This time in your life hurts like hell, I know. We all have been there. I had to hitch-hike in the pouring rain on Christmas Eve after being thrown out of the the house at fourteen.  I couldn't even be gay with another boy until I was 18 because there was no one remotely cute enough to be gay with and Joe Seely still won't return my calls...Who cares?!  We ALL have our stories and it does get SO much better, I promise.

Believe it or not, being gay is not about Liza Minnelli or even Faye Dunaway.  For better or worse, being gay is about being an outcast.  Being gay means that you sometimes get called "Faggot" for buying Haagen Daz at the drugstore.  Being gay means it's socially acceptable for your neighbors to put up signs saying that your family isn't legitimate during political campaigns and it's okay for them to throw rocks at your car when no one's looking.  Being gay means the president can go on network television and say that you're what's wrong with this country.  But it also means that you're prettier, smarter, and faster than the rest of them! I, for one, wouldn't trade that for a lifetime of acceptance.

It is a scientifically proven fact that anyone hateful in high school (including teachers) will be morbidly obese in ten years.  They are going to always live in the same town their parents grew up in.  They will embark in loveless marriages and treat each other terribly because that is all that anyone has expected of them.  This is not your story. You won't even remember the names of these monsters in five years, I promise.

Now pick yourself off that dirty bathroom floor, put on the Exorcist 2 soundtrack and dance.

Remember what Bette Midler used to say:

I love you very much.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

if i could turn back time...

I have a lot of jobs.  I have a lot of DVDs. I have a lot of opinions.  I get distracted. 

Living and working in Los Angeles, it's easy to get lost in the cavalier negativity and hearsay pervading the industry.  Everybody thinks they know the inside track, despite the fact that the rules are changing from day to day.  I stay out of it.  I'd much rather eat sheet cake in bed with my boyfriend than network at a pool party with the a-gays and their gay-for-pay boyfriends. 

The fact of the matter is, unless you're a $300 million dollar comic book franchise remake or a romantic comedy starring Kate Hudson (or a minstrel show), your movie is never going to see the light of major theatrical distribution. With ticket prices soaring upwards of $20 and 3D-conversion guaranteeing a miserable theatre-going experience, netflix and on-demand services are the new distribution model.  The days of being marked a pariah for having your film go "Direct to DVD" are long gone.

Caught in the eye of this tornado was a movie made for Warner Bros in 2007.  This movie had no stars attached, no gratuitous sex scenes, and it was a dark comedy (an anathema to studio executives), so the film was secretly shopped around to other studios for distribution.  When this happens, for whatever reason, it puts a stink on a project where, regardless of the actually film being interesting or competently made, people automatically assume it's terrible.  Websites start publishing editorials, agents assume the hearsay is fact, the filmmakers stop getting meetings and the films winds up on the shelf, indefinitely.

By the time Trick 'r Treat was released in 2009, whether due to the word of mouth or to my inherent loathing of Leslie Bibb (and maybe because I felt slighted for never having been invited to one of Mike Dougherty's Halloween parties), I disregarded the movie entirely.  When my work buddy went to the "premiere" at Screamfest, I openly mocked him.  I was foolish.  I was wrong.

The Good.

Trick 'r Treat is beautifully designed.  This movie feels like the greatest Halloween you've ever imagined in your dreams - too perfect to ever exist corporeally.

The Bad.

Why is Leslie Bibb in this movie?

The Exquisite.

Mike Dougherty is a great artist, but with Trick 'r Treat, he proves to be a great director as well.  Lots of care and research went into presenting the mythology and atmosphere of Halloween.  In addition to creating one of the most adorable and malevolent serial-killing pumpkin-scarecrow toddlers ever captured on film, there are quiet moments of unexpected sympathy and pathos interlaced amid the mayhem and gore of Trick 'r Treat.  This movie feels personal, as if everyone involved genuinely cared about telling these stories and presenting this world to the best of their ability. Mission accomplished, gentlemen.  Time is serving this movie well, it holds up better than most horror anthologies. Ten years from now, it will be Trick 'r Treat, and not Charlie Brown that happy families will relish while carving their jack-o'-lanterns and gorging themselves on candy corn.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

the miracle worker

"You know what they can do if they can't take a joke."

Imagine a movie audacious enough to open on a little girl drying out in the Helen Keller Clinic for the Emotionally Crippled. 
Having been put away for dressing up like a clown while killing her stepmother, little Jamie is a mute and she's having some sort of epileptic fit, sweat pouring through her best dinosaur pajamas. The doctors need to perform an emergency tracheotomy to get her to breathe.  
Just as the surgeon prepares to make the incision that will save her life, Donald Pleasence from Halloween cries out, “No!”  Yes, Dr. Loomis is in the Emergency Room for some reason – and yes, boys and ghouls, Halloween 5 (1989) is really this good!

“Dr. Loomis, leave the little girl alone.”

One would think that the proposed bastard daughter of Laurie Strode would be averse to Halloween, but not our little Jamie. She loves it. There are pumpkins in her hospital room, and God help the kid who thinks he has her beat at this year’s costume pageant! Jamie came to win. She even has a gay bestie to help her apply the perfect face before competition.  

Jamie's life would be practically perfect if it weren't for that creepy Dr. Loomis screaming, shaking her, and constantly berating everyone about Michael Meyers!

Meanwhile, in life outside the asylum, there's a girl who looks like Demi Moore and she's telling what may be the greatest fashion story ever assembled on film.  I'm talking about a zebra on denim jacket with pearls, acrylic hearts, and a purple taffeta collar. I'm talking bedazzled denim pantaloon-style daisy dukes and a black lace body stocking!  Looks. Besides turning looks, she's there for some reason and saying some things, but I can't concentrate on anything but her outfits, so who knows? I do know that Demi and a couple of her friends get super drunk, steal a box of kittens, and wind up alone in a barn with Michael Meyers.  I told you. This is a good movie.

In a futile attempt to bring these two stories together, Jamie and her best gay break out of the nut house and set off to bring down Michael Meyers once and for all, turning Halloween 5 into the Bugsy Malone of slasher films.  The kids have their work cut out for them.  Gone are the days of plodding along atmospherically with a butcher knife, in Halloween 5 Michael Meyers drives a Camaro.  
How good is Halloween 5?  When the going gets tough, moments after her closest family members are brutally massacred (again) at the hands of Michael Meyers, Jamie goes upstairs to brush her hair under police supervision. A girl after my own heart.  
How good is this movie?  After driving himself to Jamie's house in a police car and killing all the attendant police officers, Michael Meyers stops to have a chat with Dr Loomis at the top of a gothic stairwell.  Without giving away the camptastic ending, I'm willing to wager money that Michael Meyers is played by Piper Laurie in this film - it's THAT good.
Call me crazy, but I love nothing more than seeing a child actor terrorized irrevocably for ninety minutes for our entertainment.  With the exception of Donald Pleasence (who sometimes falls asleep mid-dialogue - bless), the performances in this movie are over-the-top, alternating exclusively between hysterical sobbing and screaming hysterically.  Like Jamie's gay bestie, Halloween 5 is a much-maligned and misunderstood pair of ruby slippers.  Get those slippers out of the closet and let them shine for all the world to see - you won't be sorry that you did! 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Maybe it's Maybeline

"Look, she's suffered some sort of memory loss..."

First and foremost, let it NEVER be said that horror is not a gay man's medium.  The fake IMAX theatre in Century City was festooned with upwardly mobile homosexuals last night, hellbent on seeing the Faggotyass Best Actress of 2009 fight zombies while in her first trimester.  I was invigorated (and maybe a little drunk).  The time had finally come for Resident Evil: Afterlife.

I have never played video games.  I have no idea what on Earth is going on in these Resident Evil movies - but who cares?  Paul W.S. Anderson makes them with so much joy, you've got to be a grouch or just soulless not to appreciate their reckless abandon and complete disregard for continuity.

In this particular movie, Milla Jovovich is a on a quest to find Ali Larter.  After a quick stop at Vidal Sasson in this season's best wool-lined parka, she heads off in a biplane from Japan to Alaska. Unfortunately, Ali Larter has been implanted with a robotic spider between her bosom that has left her in a state of amnesiatic savagery.  Luckily, this conflict resolves itself with a quick dissolve to her lying unconscious, sans robotic spider.  You may be thinking that with the Umbrella Corporation hiding around every corner, a girl doesn't have time to look her best... Not so!  Just because we're some eight years into the zombie apocalypse, that doesn't mean a girl doesn't deserve a full face.  You never know who she could run into.  In one of the most touching sentiments of sisterhood ever captured in horror cinema (albeit off-camera), Milla applies a perfect face of 90s neutrals to Ali before they set off on an adventure down the coast.  It's a good thing she did because Milla and Ali wind up making an expected pitstop in zombie-infested West Hollywood where they happen upon Ali's gay brother.  Naturally.  Hilarity ensues.

Even after my champagne wore off, I had a blast.  The 3D is breathtaking - this is the first movie actually shot in 3D since Avatar (discounting cartoons), and it shows. Sure, the acting is nonexistent, the plot makes no sense, and the setpieces are obviously just shot in a room in Canada someplace - that's the fun!  Like a delicious bag of candy corn, Resident Evil: Afterlife is the perfect film to kick-off the Autumn season and it provides ample inspiration to start our Halloween diets on Monday.  How lucky can you get?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I'll drink to that.

Normally I take anything that Nikki Finke says with a grain of salt.  I can't get past the image of her eating a full box of Entenmann's powdered donuts alone with her cats with smug self-appreciation smeared across her mottled face - certain that she's done us all a service by talking shit about Renee Zellweger...

But today, I tip my hat to Nikki for letting me know that A Nightmare on Elm Street has been named one of the Independent Film&Television Alliance's 30 Most Significant Independent Films.

I approve.

(via Mike Fleming @DeadlineNewYork)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

no country for gay men

"Hey, did you go to the shooting today?"

I don't know about you, kids, but this Target nonsense has me out of sorts. I’m positively depressed. It's not Back to School season without being able to pick up a New Kids on the Block TrapperKeeper and a couple of chintz picture frames. I don't even know where to buy socks anymore! Alas, no one ever said that being gay was easy. We must stay the course.
All of this political sacrifice, coupled with the sudden availability of pumpkin ale in my Whole Foods, has me harkening back to the days of being a schoolboy. Clutching my textbooks to my chest, tempra paint on my flat-front khaki pants from last night's all-nighter, cramming for that omnipresent Final Exam (1981).

Maybe we should all take a page out of the student handbook of those kids at Lanier College. Their student body was renowned for their elaborate political performance art projects in times of conflict. Take for instance the time that they staged a terrorist shooting on campus to get more funding for the arts (mind you, this was well before Columbine and 9/11 so it was still okay to laugh) – these kids were living!

Of course, the students were living until they start dying off one by one at the hands of a psychotic killer dressed up like Javier Bardem, but you can't make an omelette...

You see, Final Exam isn't really about a campus plagued by a serial killer.  The real story here, what separates this from the other ultra-low budget slasher dreck, is Radish. Radish is the school's resident old-school  sissy gay. Perpetually lemon-faced, Radish walks with a proud sashay as words slither from his mouth like a gay snake with sibilant s’s to spare. Whenever he speaks, eyes roll and midwesterners pray for a mercy-killing. 
This kind of gay isn’t at all exclusive to Final Exam.  Let me tell you a story.

The year was 1986. I was in second grade at Saint Agatha’s Parochial School and there was a little boy in my class named Paul. While my own budding homosexuality was subtle enough to pass as aloof intellectualism (unless, God forbid, someone brought up Ellen Greene), Paul wasn’t so lucky. Paul wore his gay with a badge of honor that, at 7 years old, left me mortified. I made the obvious second grade assumption that if I were to even look at Paul, it would draw attention to my own secret and they'd come for me in the night with torches. I avoided him like the gay cancer.

One day Paul was having a birthday party and he handed out the most beautiful invitations.  They were handmade with construction paper and glitter and dyed feathers. In a flash, it came to me - I figured out the perfect way to show that I was nothing like that sissy, Paul. In front of all my classmates, I tore up his invitation and sprinkled it on the floor to a chorus of laughter.  This was the worst moment of my life. I was Judas Iscariot. I was Nancy Allen!

"I should have had a salad instead of this spaghetti."
"Well, why didn't you?"

We all know about Mean Girls, but nothing trumps a mean gay. Gay on gay hatred is tricky business and it’s everywhere. No different than the Phelps clan or Target, this hatred is spun out of fear – fear of being taken down, fear of being questioned, fear of change. As long as it’s socially acceptable for everyone else to hate the gays, how about we take it easy on each other?

Whether in school or at work or at the grocery store, there's always a Radish – a gay who can’t be anything other than the precious little butterfly that God made him. And he shouldn't have to be.
If your first instinct is to cringe and distance yourself, I get it. I was that way too, but I got over it. Take a moment to acknowledge that feeling and then try to amend that behavior.  Why not? Let's evolve together. Straight people hate us enough; we don’t have to hate each other.
The next time you see a Radish, think about what it’s like to be in his shoes (even though they may be sandals with socks and even though they may make you throw up in your mouth a little). You don’t have to invite him over for a movie marathon sleepover or to your next vodka infusion brunch, but a little kindness can go a long way.  We’re all in this together.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010