Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Senior Thesis: Saratoga Trunk

Next up after my takes on Ordinary People and Spice World comes Saratoga Trunk, a little known 1940's epic starring Ingrid Bergman and Gary Cooper. This film has haunted my psyche for years after seeing it initially and a subsequent viewing a few months ago only deepened my love for this gloriously insane disaster. Now, if only more people could see it; currently, it's only available on a hard to find VHS copy and TCM once in a blue moon. What a goddamn shame.

When I first saw the little-seen 1946 drama
Saratoga Trunk, a Sam Wood-directed epic based on a novel by notorious author Edna Ferber and starring Ingrid Bergman and Gary Cooper, some years ago, I was not quite sure what to make of it. Even as a neophyte film watcher, I recognized that the film was not perfect: the leads, especially Bergman, were horribly miscast, the story bounced around between various plot points and situations without much cohesion, the whole mood of the film is just, for lack of a better word, weird. For whatever reason, however, I was enthralled by Saratoga Trunk. Not in the way one may be by a “camp” film or one that is “so bad it’s good” like Mommie Dearest, but, rather, in the almost indescribable fashion one watches a car wreck with curious interest long after they know they should look away. For years after my initial screening of Saratoga Trunk, long after memories of other more technically proficient films had faded away from my memory, it persisted as one of the most oddly memorable films I had ever seen. When I decided to rescreen it recently, I hoped that my fondness towards the movie would not falter as sometimes happens with movies you build up in your mind. Only, you realize far too late, they weren’t worth all the affection you heaped upon them the first time around. Thankfully, that did not occur, and, if anything, a second viewing helped me verbalize what exactly makes this inconsistent, deeply flawed film so immensely fascinating.

From the onset of the film, it becomes heavily apparent that Saratoga Trunk is Jack Warner’s attempt to cash in on and duplicate the success of Gone With the Wind seven years earlier. With a story about a determined woman, with the help of a strapping rogue that loves her, breaking social taboos and norms simply to get ahead alive and get petty revenge on those who had done her and her family wrong in the past, Warner obviously realized the potential for another mega hit. Adding on Ingrid Bergman and Gary Cooper, quite possibly the most sought after stars in Hollywood by that point, What is so surprising about this is not the fact that Saratoga Trunk made so much money (although nowhere near Gone With the Wind’s record profits), but, rather, the fact that Bergman and Cooper were cast in the first place given their miscasting. Cooper is not a terrible match for the rugged he-man lead—he played them all the time in his long career. Rather, the role depends on an actor like Clark Gable who could be completely charming but also a jerk at the same time. Cooper has a hard time balancing the two contradictory aspects of the character; he has charm to spare, but you never quite dislike him as much as you are probably supposed to. Bergman, on the other hand, is all wrong for the Scarlett O’Hara clone she plays. Always at her best in films like Notorious and The Bells of St. Mary’s which allowed her to emote with her expressive face, Bergman is at an obvious disadvantage in Saratoga Trunk where most of the movie is spent with her delivering chunks of dialogue in either a haughty, impatient manner or a coquettish fashion.

But, all of this miscasting aside, Bergman and Cooper are actually not bad in the film. Although it hardly ranks with each of their respective performances, both actors manage to be relatively engaging throughout the entire runtime of
Saratoga Trunk, managing to both stay grounded and keep up with the film’s increasing strangeness. The situation is very similar to Cate Blanchett’s performance in Notes on a Scandal. The brainy, clinical actress is hardly the first person you would think of to play the dull, almost vacant school teacher, yet she is completely fascinating and entertaining in the moment, perfectly over-the-top during the film’s climactic showdown between herself and Dame Judi Dench.

The fact that Saratoga Trunk was made during the height of the Production Code is quite surprising given the twisted nature of the film. With its wacky, downright strange supporting characters and subplots involving sex, manipulation, blackmail and con artistry, Saratoga Trunk is in sharp contrast with the traditionalism of the typical Ferber American epic. A film that revolves around Ingrid Bergman, flanked by a dwarf and British character actress Flora Robson in blackface as her mulatto servant, traveling from France to her now deceased mother’s home in New Orleans to (a) get revenge on the family that ruined her mother’s life and (b) land a rich husband using every cheap, shameless tactic in the book does not sound like the typical output from the woman who wrote Show Boat and Giant. The relationship between Bergman and Cooper in the film is also interesting because it takes the sexual dynamic between Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler that made Gone With the Wind so popular and twists it to another level. If you thought Scarlett and Rhett were morally dubious, Bergman and Cooper’s characters make them seem like church folk. At first, Bergman makes it blatantly clear that she is only with Cooper for his money and he accepts this. They eventually break up once Cooper realizes just how scarily hell-bent she is on her mission for revenge. Once that mission is complete, however, Cooper becomes her partner in crime in trying to get her hitched to a rich mama’s boy. He makes up lies for her, moves into the next hotel room so they can work together on a plan and then sits back and watches her squirm when confronted by people who doubt her story. To make things even more complicated, there are moments where the two characters simply look at each other and pure animalistic lust passes between them. Some of these looks are so blatantly lusty, it is hard to believe they passed the censors.

Another fascinating aspect of Saratoga Trunk is that it manages to transcend the “camp” label applied to similar-sounding movies. Camp films tend to go overboard in certain respects, whether it is in overacting, over directing or over stylizing with the camera. They have big “moments” where, either through ineptitude or sheer carelessness, the viewer realizes that the film has become something entirely different from what the creative team envisioned. The rape scene in Myra Breckinridge would be one such moment, or the infamous wire hanger scene in Mommie Dearest. A legitimate “camp” film is normally punctuated with moments like these to liven up dull bits in between. Saratoga Trunk has no such moments. The film has campy aspects, certainly, but nothing artistically or stylistically is pushed in that direction. Each individual scene feels carefully crafted, and no one moment takes you completely out of the film. The weird vibe that permeates Saratoga Trunk is only noticeable when considering the film as a whole. In each individual scene, nothing the dwarf or Bergman’s servant says or does is incredibly “out there,” yet, when you think of them in context of the entire film, they stick out like a sore thumb, almost to the point of laughter.

Saratoga Trunk belongs in a class of films I like to call “beautiful disasters.” An example of a film that belongs in this specialized group would be the recent The Box, a nonsense thriller that falls short of whatever insane vision director Richard Kelley had in his head but fails spectacularly. Or, Francois Truffaut’s Hitchcockian misfire Mississippi Mermaid which makes up for a hackneyed story with its stars, the most beautiful couple in the history of film, Catherine Deneuve and Jean-Paul Belmondo. They may be lacking in some department, but they are far more fascinating to ponder for hours on end than a film like Frost/Nixon which may be technically proficient but offers nothing of interest once the runtime ends. I do not know about most people, but, good or bad, I would rather have more films like Saratoga Trunk that leave me guessing as to why they are so fascinating--even during moments when they shouldn’t be.

This May or May Not Be My Computer Background Right Now. Oh, and This is Probably NSFW.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Other Franco Boy

For no reason in particular, over the past week or two I've fallen in love with Dave Franco, younger brother of James. These pretty pictures certainly helped, but I think it's because I just found that he played Rose's dorky boyfriend on my beloved TV show Privileged (which I still miss, by the way) from a couple years ago. He was so adorable on that show. And I recently read that he's going to be in The Life and Death of Charlie St. Cloud, Zac Efron's first "serious" movie out later this year. First Privileged and now this? What a fantastic way to get on my good side, Dave!

Last night, I decided to check out those Funny or Die clips that have probably been around for a year of James, with the help of Dave, teaching viewers how to act. This one is my favorite, although all of them are equally hilarious:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Senior Thesis: Spice World

My collection of senior thesis writings continue today with Spice World. After rediscovering this film in high school (I had seen it millions of times as a kiddie), I have always wanted to defend it. Yes, Spice World is hardly a "great" movie, but there are some smart things going on. This is by far the silliest essay of the bunch, however this needed to be said.

Name this movie: a British musical group, playing themselves soon after achieving quick, meteoric success in the UK and US, is documented right before a very important live performance. While traveling in and around London, the group has to deal with inane members of the press, crazed fans, strict managers and wacky, drawn-out comedic situations to highlight each group member’s personality and sense of humor. There is a crisis of faith and a moment when it looks like they will not make it to their live performance. However, they pull it together at the last minute and make it to the show, precisely showing us in their performance what made everyone fall in love with them in the first place.

If you guessed Richard Lester’s A Hard Day’s Night, then, obviously, you would be right. But if you guessed Spice World, the oft-reviled film starring late 90’s pop phenomenon the Spice Girls, you would also be correct. Fascinating, isn’t it? I find it interesting that these films are so similar, yet A Hard Day’s Night is often touted as one of the greatest rock ‘n roll films ever made while Spice World has become something of a pop culture joke after the critical bashing it took when it was released in late 1997/early 1998. So why exactly is Spice World one of the most hated films ever made while A Hard Day’s Night continues to enjoy popularity 45 years later? I have a couple of theories: One, the film’s study of 90’s British girl group pop music is much narrower than Night’s 60’s British rock and, consequently, less approachable to viewers who do not like that type of music. Two, the predominantly middle-aged white male film critic was never going to appreciate a film that caters principally to both 10-year-olds and gay men with its camp aesthetics and (however misguided they may be) ideas about “Girl Power.” Three, audiences increasingly raised on and in love with meat-headed action blockbusters that treat silly plots and wayward dramatics like they were depicting the Holocaust have no idea how to react to a film like Spice World, which continuously pokes fun at itself and its own ridiculousness without thinking twice about it. I am not here to argue that Spice World is some sort of lost masterpiece worthy of study in film schools around the country; rather, the film deserves a reappraisal now that 10-plus years has passed since its release.

One of the biggest complaints about the film is the criticism that the Girls are terrible actresses and do not give good performances in the film. I will admit that the Girls are not actresses in the traditional sense and certainly do not approach the film in the manner Meryl Streep or Philip Seymour Hoffman would, but to simply dismiss them is too easy. Outside of the film, the Girls were giving performances every single time they had to step in front of the camera, every time they had to give an interview, every time they met an adoring fan. Their “Spice” identity certainly stemmed from their own personalities, but they had to embellish it for the public to the brink of insanity. This 24-hour commitment to character, simply transferred on-screen for Spice World, may not be “acting,” but it becomes almost a tribute to “star persona” performances from the Studio Era . In the film, the Girls completely own this style of “acting” and repeatedly bring it to our attention, whether to enhance or poke fun at their identities. The Spice Bus, their main mode of transportation, is split up into five sections, each styled to reflect the Girls’ identity (for example, Posh has a lighted runway while Sporty has an exercycle). They often retreat within these identities without even thinking about it, like it has been so ingrained in their heads it just comes naturally now. After hearing a snippet of a radio interview that tries to understand the “real” them, the Girls have a conversation about their identities, which prompts Sporty to ask rhetorically, “Why do we feel we have to play into stereotypes…all the time?” The moment becomes almost revelatory for them, as they are forced to consider just how much of their “Spice” identity has become blurred with their true self. A photoshoot follows, which grants them the perfect opportunity to, borrowing a phrase from Jean-Luc Godard, “return to zero” and try to find themselves again. A montage follows where the Girls dress up as each other and parody their defining characteristics (for example, Ginger, portraying Sporty, punches the air shouting, “Ha! I’m so Sporty!”). While all in good fun, this moment highlights two important ideas about the role of identity in the film. First of all, these roles are just that and not meant to be mistaken for their “true selves.” Secondly, the roles are perfectly cast as is, with these parodies proving that, for instance, Emma does not and will never make a good Scary Spice.

This self-awareness is what truly separates Spice World and A Hard Day’s Night, serving as a reminder of what separates 1960’s pop culture from the late 90’s. When The Beatles became the largest band in the world, pop culture as we know it today was just beginning to emerge. It would have been impossible for The Beatles to joke about pop personas in the same way the Spice Girls do simply because people had not developed these expectations. By the time Spice World had come around, the public had been exposed to pop culture and imitations of A Hard Day’s Night for decades. This allowed Spice World to poke fun at the Girls’ personas without worrying that the audience would not understand. If anything, the boy band craze that followed soon after the Spice Girls proved that pop acts could be further reduced to a mere formula, with singers chosen mostly for how well they fit into a mold (such as the “bad boy”) rather than molding their persona from their own identity as the Spice Girls did.

Spice World, for the most part, is a silly film made for the sole purpose of cashing in on the Spice phenomenon. There are moments, however, when real and interesting issues are brought up and dealt with in the film’s unique, offbeat way. A Hard Day’s Night may have the respect and critical adoration, but Spice World, because of its quirky humor and adoration of nonsense plots and dialogue will forever have a small yet eternally devoted legion of fans ready to defend it to the death. Not bad for one of the worst movies ever made.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bieber Mania

In case you've been living under a rock (Or haven't signed onto Twitter in three months. Or have an, you know, actual life), Justin Bieber is taking over the world. Over the past eight months, the floppy-haired Canadian teen has gone from YouTube sensation to overnight tween mega idol. His meteoric success has come quickly. I remember checking out tween magazines such as Bop and Tiger Beat back in October or so and saw the usual Miley and Jonas cover stories. One month later, every damn magazine had this Bieber kid's face plastered dead center on the cover. I had no idea who or what he was, but as soon as I found about his fans, I knew he wasn't going away anytime soon. My God, those 12 year old girls who are obsessed with him are quite literally INSANE. Remember, I'm a child of the late 90s/early 2000s. I lived through Backstreet Mania and NSYNC Mania during the TRL Era. Those bitches were crazy, crying every time they appeared on TV, camping overnight for their new CD, getting into petty arguments over which group was better (very similar to the Team Edward/Jacob debate raging today). Those girls were amateurs next to these Bieber Heads. With Twitter becoming the new Mecca of social networking, the site's "trending topics" have come a big clue into what every day people are talking about on a given day. His fans are every bit as crazy as those in the BSB/NSYNC days, but they take it to a new extreme with Twitter. Every single day, Bieber's name is on that list of popular topics. He doesn't even have to do anything special; if his biggest plan for the day is to take a shit, these fans would still be talking about him.

I realize this all probably makes me sound like a hater, but here's the truth: I actually like Justin Bieber. Given my expressed admiration for many a tween Disney star, this probably comes as no surprise, but I think he's a cool cat. First of all, unlike many of the Disney/Nickelodeon manufactured pop stars, he can actually sing. Yes, he sings teen pop and, yes, it's inherently cheesy. But it's excellent teen pop, very reminiscent of the days when Britney and Christina ruled the airwaves. Songs such as 'Somebody to Love,' 'Baby' and especially 'One Time' (I'm eagerly anticipating an acoustic cover of this song from either Kris Allen, Darin or Nadine Coyle at some point) even transcend this slightly negative label and become true pop gems. Say what you want about him (and his lesbianic haircut), but this kid has the stuff to be a "legitimate" artist someday. It will be interesting, however, to see if his young fan base will allow him to grow up and mature with his music. I can totally see him going down the JT/Jesse McCartney path in a couple of years, but who knows if he'll stick around. Tween girls are a notoriously fickle group.

I leave you now with a couple Bieber videos. The first is his latest single 'Baby' (hopefully you can just ignore Ludacris' lazy rap). The second is the moment I truly fell for him: the SNL sketch from a week ago where Tina Fey, as a very Liz Lemon-y high school teacher, falls in love with Bieber. He's obviously not the most natural actor on the planet, but those songs were hilarious. "Hey girl, I wanna watch you do pilates. And skip the hard parts," spoken like those horrible interludes in any typical boy band ballad, makes me laugh every time. And, at one point, Tina Fey pushes Justin in a baby carriage. Yeah, enough said.

My Senior Thesis: Ordinary People

I don't know if you've noticed, but I have been absent here for the past couple of weeks. Okay, so I wasn't exactly "absent" so much as I haven't done any substantial posting. Well, don't fret because I am back and hopefully better than ever (Cue massive sighs of relief)! School got in the way, unfortunately, but one of the projects I was frantically working on was my senior thesis. Instead of doing a traditional research paper, I chose to do a collection of film reviews and essays. Some I used for this project were a couple of pieces I had already done on the blog before, but a majority were brand new. Now that everything's complete, I want to share them with you. This first piece is about 1980 Best Picture winner Ordinary People, one of my ten favorite movies of all time and a film that leaves me emotionally devastated for days after I watch it. I hope you enjoy and thanks for your patience while was gone!

Winning an Oscar, as stated numerous times before, can be both a blessing and a curse. Hearing your name on the night of ceremony is a thrilling sense of accomplishment, proof that even for a fleeting moment of time you have the enthusiastic support of your peers. But, later on, if you somehow end up beating an “obviously” “superior” nominee, whatever glory you may have achieved on Oscar Night gets flushed down the toilet faster than you can say, “How Green Was My Valley.” This is exactly what happened to the reputation of Robert Redford’s directorial debut Ordinary People, a then highly lauded look into how a typical middle-class family deals with the death of their oldest son. Over time, resentment has built against this film for one reason and one reason only: it beat Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull for the Best Picture Oscar in 1980. Every time a list is made of the worst Best Picture winners, Ordinary People is usually found based on this. Not to dispute Raging Bull’s status as a classic--far be it from me to question the film’s gorgeous black and white cinematography or Thelma Schoonmaker’s sharp editing--but Ordinary People is just as laudatory and original in its own, quieter way. The emotionally damaged son/cold and distant mother dynamic the film establishes is one very rarely, if ever, discussed in the movies. And the way Redford sets this up is in ways more uncomfortable than any of the wife-beating and bloody violence in Raging Bull.

A cold and distant father who cannot quite connect with his children is not an infrequent sight in the movies; they have probably around as long as the movies have. Mothers of this sort, however, are highly unusual. Whenever you have a “monster” mother, she is either an alcoholic/drug addict of some sort, physical or mentally abusive or, the be perfectly blunt, a whore. There is always some kind of behavior to “excuse” her lack of warmth and feeling toward her children. In Ordinary People, on the other hand, Beth, matriarch of the Jarrett clan, has no such crutches. She is a well bred, middle-class ice queen with the ability to mask her lack of emotions with a completely fake friendly demeanor. The fact that Beth is someone we have all probably run into our lives, most likely without even realizing it, makes her all the more fascinating and real than another bad mommy like Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest.

Even after confronting us with a character type never show in movies before, Redford does not stop there in highlighting the uncomfortable tension and lack of connection between Beth and her youngest son Conrad, the survivor of a tragic boat accident that killed his older brother. Subconsciously, Beth has always loved the older son more than Conrad, but it was never brought out in the open until this accident drastically changes their lives. Conrad, now receiving therapy after attempting suicide, has started to realize the toxic effect her distancing is having on their relationship. At one point, Conrad tries to start a conversation with his mother about his recent trigonometry test. Beth lets it slip that she was awful at trig and Conrad, seeing an opportunity to connect with his mother, excitedly asks her, “Oh, you took trig?” Then, as quickly as she brought it up, she shuts the conversation down by awkwardly asking herself, “Did I take trig?” and then closing the door of her bedroom in Conrad’s face. The moment is incredibly awkward and even stranger to read in written word, but it is the perfect example of what has become of Conrad and Beth’s relationship by this point. Beth was always closer with Bucky, her now deceased older son. Now that he is gone, Conrad has become the sole reminder of what she lost in the accident. Instead of embracing him closer, she continually pushes him away and shuts off any attempt at an emotional connection between the two of them. As shallow as this trig class may seem, this similarity between her and Conrad is too much for her to handle.

Robert Redford also reinforces this lack of connection between Beth and Conrad with more subtle moments. One such instance is a minor shot towards the beginning of the film which speaks volumes about the relationship troubles in the Jarrett household. Beth is setting the table for breakfast. In a very quick overhead shot, we see her set glasses of orange juice in both hers and her husband Cal’s spot at the table. Then, in a separate motion a couple seconds later, she sets Conrad’s glass in his spot. Even at this very early stage in the movie, it becomes clear that Beth, however subconsciously, sees Conrad as disconnected from herself and the family. There is another scene later on in the movie where Beth, in an uncharacteristically warm and nurturing gesture, sees Conrad sitting outside by himself and decides to have a conversation with him. When she first steps outside and approaches him, Beth and Conrad are shown in completely separate frames to highlight their disconnectedness. As their conversation warms up to a civil debate about whether Conrad needs to wear a coat, they are slowly pushed into the frame together. Sadly, this moment is the closest Beth and Conrad come to having a true moment of emotional connectivity. Then, Conrad wants to talk about a random memory involving Bucky, and Beth completely shuts down. They both start talking over each other about completely different topics, at which the camera starts separating them in different shots again. Conrad eventually starts barking like a dog to get Beth’s attention. She is stunned by this and decides to exit the conversation before anything more happens. By this time, Beth and Conrad are in such different places emotionally, they cannot even occupy the same frame together. Doing that would represent some kind of false connectivity in their relationship.

But to think of Beth as a complete monster is both unfair and too easy. Sure, she is not a terribly warm person, nor is she completely upfront with her emotions, but that does not make her a horrible woman. Plenty of people have a hard time expressing themselves, just as there are plenty of people who are too expressive with their emotions. Where Beth’s problem lies is in the fact that she cannot see how her lack of warmth is affecting those around her, namely Conrad. When Cal confronts her towards the end of the movie, she appears aghast at Cal’s insinuation that she does not love Conrad. “Mothers don’t hate their sons!” she exclaims, completely missing the point of Cal’s outburst. Later on in the film, Conrad hugs Beth. She, instead of hugging back, sits completely stone-faced and dazed by the display of warmth. The moment exemplifies that she is in pain from losing the son she loved more, consequently blocking her from showing any affection towards Conrad. This does not make her a monster--rather, she is a victim of her own pain. Unlike Conrad, who has found some kind of outlet with his psychiatrist, Beth is trapped and will not be able to fully function again until she can deal with Bucky’s loss.

To continuously pit Ordinary People against a powerhouse of a film such as Raging Bull is unfair to both films. Both films have their own merits and work for completely different reasons. Whether or not it deserved the Oscar, Ordinary People provides an engaging and original viewpoint of mother/son dynamics within the confines of the traditional family melodrama. Ordinary People is not nearly as earth shattering as Raging Bull is in any given moment, but the film pushes boundaries in subtler, succinct ways that can be reflected upon much later.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sam Rockwell Mackin' on a Dude

Daniel from Ugly Betty, no less. Let's just forget that this is completely out of context.

Word of Advice: If you have even the slightest attraction to Sam Rockwell, Lawn Dogs will be like porn for you.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

10 Films I'm Excited for in 2010

I realize April has now approached us, but I feel it's never too late in the year to anticipate (hopefully) good upcoming films. One thing I noticed when trying to come up with this list was that I was more drawn to run-of-the-mill studio films than any Oscar bait or prestige pictures. Also, these films are very gay; either they star a hot guy or a fabulous female. Needless to say, I think 2010 is going to be an interesting year. So, in no particular order, here are ten films I'm positively dying to see.

Special Mentions: Before we get started with the list, I have to pay a special tribute to two films I couldn't add for various reasons. The Runaways has already been released, even though it won't be anywhere near my area until this weekend. When my friends recently asked me why I wanted to see this, my response was, "Kristen Stewart, in all of her hard edged indie glory, as a drugged-out lesbian rocker is like porn for me." The Loved Ones isn't supposed to get an Australian release until summertime, so I'm not holding my breath America will get it this year (if at all). This horror film, which stars Australian hottie Xavier Samuel, received ecstatic reviews at Toronto last fall. I'm hoping that after the release of Twilight Saga: Eclipse this June, American audiences will be clamoring for more Xavier and this film will see the light of day here.

Black Swan

Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis play rival ballerinas. I'm expecting a lot of bitchiness and cat fights. Plus, Sebastian Stan plays a ballerina. Hopefully in tights. I apologize in advance to whoever sees this movie with me. There will be a lot of sighing and passing out.


Christina Aguilera plays a "burlesque" dancer (aka stripper). Cam Gigandet plays her boyfriend. CHER PLAYS THE BURLESQUE CLUB OWNER AND A FORMER "DANCER". What self-respecting gay man isn't excited for this movie?!

The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud

Zac Efron in his first serious role. This will either be great or flop horrendously. Can't wait to see which it is.

The Eagle of the Ninth

Jamie Bell plays Channing Tatum's slave boy. Channing Tatum is Jamie Bell's master. I swore after the twin disasters of G.I. Joe and Dear John my obsession with seeing every Channing movie in theatres was going to end, but I just can not say no to this movie.

The Fighter

This is going to sound incredibly shallow (even by my admittedly low standards) but I'm primarily interested in this film for Mark Wahlberg's torso. When I saw this picture around the interweb some months ago, my ticket was already bought.


I enjoy Christopher Nolan's films, but I'm mostly excited for this eccentric cast. I just can't even imagine what Ellen Page, Leonardo DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are going to do in their scenes together. Their acting styles are on totally different planets so it will be interesting to see what Nolan does with them to make it work.

The Kids Are Alright

The last time Julianne Moore played a lesbian was in The Hours. Remember how I felt about that one?

Love and Other Drugs

My Jakey and My Annie reunited after Brokeback Mountain. This sounds like Jake's most promising project in ages (probably since Brokeback) while Annie has already received rave reviews for her performance as a woman with Parkinson's Disease. As with Charlie St. Cloud, this could either be majorly good or completely bomb. Either way, I'll be there supporting my loves.

Rabbit Hole

I read the original play over the summer and, if this adaptation is done properly, Rabbit Hole will be fantastic. I love Nicole Kidman long time, so it's nice to see her once again with a strong role to sink her teeth into. Plus, Dianne Weist!

The Roommate

Leighton Meester plays a psychotic killer roommate. I'm hoping that all the energy she's been sorely lacking on Gossip Girl this season has been channeled into her performance here.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Tom Ford is My Daddy

A couple of days ago, I asked my Formspring peeps about which men old enough to be their fathers they would want to have sex with. My guys did not let me down, coming up with a wide variety of older hunks that put many of today's younger generation to shame. One name that popped up repeatedly was fashion designer and film director Tom Ford. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't been crushing on him ever since one of Oprah's numerous Oscar specials when he came on with Colin Firth to talk about A Single Man. He is such a smooth motherfucker; every word that came out of his mouth literally had me melting into my chair. When I saw him on a couple of people's lists, I decided to do a little investigating of my own. I knew he was older, but I didn't realize until I checked Wikipedia that he is old enough to be my father! In face, he's actually nearly four years older than my own father. My jaw nearly dripped to the floor when I saw he was born in 1961. Nearly 50 years old and he looks like that. Shit son, if I look half as good as he does now when I'm 30 I'll consider myself lucky. And, as a healthy 21-year old male, I'm proud to say that I would tap that in a heartbeat. I would have no problems calling Tom "Daddy" if he asked me to.

I have to admit something though: I find Tom Ford interesting beyond his general sexiness (and his potential as a director). From the way he styles himself to his ad campaigns, he brands himself as this taboo-shattering, sexually-liberated playboy. When I look at him, I imagine him hanging out at all the clubs with his famous model friends and leaving with two or three hot 20-something men hanging off his arms which he takes back to his place for a hot orgy. I also like to think that behind the scenes of A Single Man he was banging his "muse" Nicholas Hoult just because he could. But then I read he's been involved with the same man, a man who's around 20 years older than him, for decades and I'm doing the Miley "Whuuuuuuut?" Those two images do not go together in my head at all. Like, I'm happy that he's found someone to be in a committed, stable relationship with, but it seems like such a waste. That sexy man-goodness belongs on top of a hot 20-year old, not a senior citizen.