Wednesday, October 19, 2011

take it to the limit

 "What did you expect?"

Look, I haven't been writing. Sorry. I think part of me died when people responded so negatively to Scream 4. Besides, try and name one good movie released this year. Go on...  Exactly!  Anyway, I'm inspired.

Did you ever have one of those childhood besties - you know, the ones who go through all your major life moments with you?  You put on her face for Prom.  You promised her she wasn't a slut while driving to her first abortion and she assured you that you weren't bulimic just because you always threw up chicken lo-mien.

Invariably, something innocuous happens in your twenties and you stop being super close.  Then you go from not being close to assuming you might be in a fight so more years go by without talking until you bump into each other in the champagne aisle at CVS and you both just start sobbing, vowing never to be parted again.  The next thing you know, you're the best man at her wedding where, even though she swore up and down that she's off the sauce, she downs a fifth of Jack Daniels and winds up fucking a cater waiter on the golf course in her wedding dress.  Does any of this sound remotely familiar?

This is the experience of Lars Von Trier's Melancholia (2011).  Thank God.

Chock full of homages to Tarkovsky and Cassavetes, Melancholia is a return to form for Lars - much closer in DNA to Breaking the Waves than his past few features.  But who cares?  The real story is here Kiki Dunst.  I love her.

I love how fantastic she looks in her wedding dress (Kiki, where did you get all those boobies!?).  I love that we're in our thirties and we can put the past behind us.  I love that she's not afraid to look like hell.  I love that she's boozy.  I love how much she can convey without dialogue.  I love her teeth.  I love that we both get near-crippling anxiety.  I love the contempt she has for Charlotte Gainsbourg (really, Lars, you couldn't get Nicole back?).  I love this movie.  Melancholia is your best coffee table book come to life, infused with unexpected, raw emotionality juxtaposed alongside state of the art effects better than anything you'd see in Transformers.

It's nice to feel something again.  I was getting worried.

eat your heart out.

"You're pissed at everyone because you're gay."

I have a complex relationship with Jeffrey Dahmer.

I hold him personally responsible for robbing me of my best slut years. While the kids nowadays can go to any bar or club or theatre festival or app to find a hot in high-waisted jeans and metallic frames, I stayed locked inside my room throughout twenties – absolutely certain that any clandestine affair with even the most devastatingly handsome investment banker was going to end with me face-down stapled to the floor of some Tribeca loft. I’m getting ahead of myself.

A while back, I was talking to my friend about the death of gay cinema and he explained that the issue at hand is not the death of gay cinema at all, but the death of independent cinema. Oh, yeah.  He's right.  We all sort of took for granted that pop culture would always be Nirvana and My So Called Life. We were wrong.

Don't get me wrong - the '90s wasn't all Crystal Pepsi and hypercolor.  Unlike the 1980s, the nineties was actually a shitty time to be a gay teen. Liberace and Keith Haring were dead. Gone were the days of jelly bracelets and pouty-mouthed camp counselors. AIDS and the recession took all the fun out of being a fag.

Queer Cinema was alive and kicking thanks to Gregg Araki and Gus Van Sant, but average kids  who were looking for role models (and who didn't live in LA or Portland) were SOL. We didn’t have Glee.   We didn't even have the questionable queer content on TV like Soap or Dynasty.

In fact, aside from Marty from Showgirls, the most famous gay of the 90s was Jeffrey Dahmer.

Despite the proliferation of queer cinema in the nineties, it wasn’t until the early aughts that a proper movie based on Dahmer would see the light of direct to Blockbuster distribution.

Dahmer (2002) is the kind of movie that Chloe Sevigny and Brett Easton Ellis watch ironically projected on a tarp in someone’s backyard thinking they're such a riot while they talk incessantly about themselves and not even bothering to learn the name of their hostess.

It is not very good, this Dahmer film, but it does teach us some very important lessons.

  • Lesson #1:  Banjees are a gays best friend.

True story.  In the middle of Jeffrey's Korean phase, a lobotomized gay boy managed to escape the manse. Mute and naked, this poor kid came stumbling across a couple of Banjee girls on their way home from walking their little brothers to school.  These girls were concerned. The cops were not.  Refusing to get involved in another faggoty domestic dispute, they brought that poor boy right back to Jeffrey's house where he was promptly dismembered.

  • Lesson #2  Don’t go home with any guy who talks like Emma Pillsbury.

No good can come from it.

  • Lesson #3  This is what Jeremy Renner’s O-face looks like.

In case you were watching Thor and, you know, got to wondering.

  • Lesson #4  If I lived in Wisconsin in the early 90s, I would be DEAD.

With his shaggy hair and lanky build, Jeffrey Dahmer was a catch!
I mean, he worked in a chocolate factory…