Powered by Blogger

Friday, March 31, 2006

Iron Jawed Angles

I stayed up way too late watching this movie, which I should have seen when it came out. WOW. I had no idea those women had such a harrowoing experience. It's sickening to think how few women bother to excercise the right that these women sacrificed so much for (and it's crazy how few women know anything about how sufferage was obtained). It also makes me feel like I'm not doing much of anything to fight for any good cause. I'm not in a position to devote myself as utterly to anything the way Alice Paul did (but not many can), but certainly there are enough worthwhile causes out there that need some help. Something to ponder.


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Actors playing gay

I'm glad that Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal are being lauded for their bravery in appearing in Brokeback Mountain because I think they are brave and they deserve the kudos. However, it's odd how many critics and writers (not to mention the general public) completely ignore the many high profile actors who have appeared in gay-themed movies without any noticeable impact on their stardom. Case in point is Leonardo DiCaprio who played gay poet Rimbaud in the movie Total Eclipse long before he shot to prominence in Titantic. Russell Crowe, who is now viewed as some kind of he-man prototype, played a gay man in a terrific Australian film, The Sum of Us (based on a great play). While Guy Pearse is somewhat off the radar now, he was quite idolized for a time, when he starred in Memento and The Time Machine. Long before these star vehicles, he played a very gay character in Pricilla, Queen of the Desert. And how about Mr. Romantic Comedy himself, Hugh Grant, who appeared in the movie An Awfully Big Adventure as a cold, gay theater producer. Granted no one saw any of the movies I mentioned, and they were all produced outside America, but it still annoys me when I hear the argument about how playing gay kills your career and no one will do it, because it's just not true.


Monday, March 13, 2006

Desperately dull

This, from the Philadelphia Inquirer, utterly conveys my opinion, though I didn't watch Bleak House (yet) and have never watched The Sopranos:

Desperate Housewives has plunged so far off the radar screen, Bode Miller couldn't find them. Personally I haven't watched the series in a while. Like all of 2006. The ladies of Wisteria Lane were preempted last week by the Academy Awards, but prior to that I had spent six Sundays at 9 p.m. wrapped up in the machinations of Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce on PBS's Bleak House. That would have been unthinkable last season when I never missed a minute with Bree, Susan, Lynette and Gabrielle. I didn't even answer the phone when they were on. Now I'd rather watch dark, plodding Victorian intrigue on Masterpiece Theatre than their airhead escapades. I don't know what made the show lose its mojo. Maybe it was the unsatisfying way Housewives wrapped up the Mary Alice mystery; maybe it was the way the plots started to feel recycled. Or maybe it was burnout from how overexposed the leading actresses became. All I know is that a series that was so fizzy and fun last year now seems artificial and cloying. Maybe I can catch up now, give the merry housewives one more chance. Oops, I forgot. The Sopranos returns to that time slot tomorrow night after its criminally long stay in the witness protection program. Forget about it. So long, ladies. It's been fun. For a shockingly brief period of time.


Sunday, March 12, 2006

High ranking Bush official supplements his income with retail theft

I just heard this story, though it broke a couple of weeks ago. Claude Allen was a Domestic Policy Advisor to President Bush, a very high-ranking African-American in the Bush Administration. He resigned because he was arrested for stealing about $5000 from Target stores (he would buy an item, take it out to his car, take the receipt back into the store, take the same item off the shelf and return the unbought item for a refund). Several things about this story strike me as odd. It seems like such a labor-intensive way to make money -- in fact, I'm surprised someone with such a demanding job had the time to do this. It's especially weird, because he could make twice what he stole in a single honorarium by giving a speech at a university or other organization. Obviously he has a problem, because it's just not a rational thing to do. The spin is that he "snapped," but that doesn't sound viable. It took awhile to rip off $5000 in this way. There's something more serious going on. Sad and weird. Seems like the wheels are really coming off the Bush/Republican bus (see, for example, Duke Cunningham).

Monday, March 06, 2006

Brokeback Mountain Crashes

I'm not sorry that Crash won the Best Picture Oscar, because it's a really great movie that I loved. And I think it's win will lead a lot of people to see it that might not have seen it, and that's a good thing, because it really deserves to be seen by lots of people. However, I really thought it was Brokeback Mountain's year, and I was rooting for it because I thought it was really brave and really heartfelt and I really wanted to see that be recognized. I can't help feeling like Brokeback Mountain lost as opposed to Crash winning -- I suspect that too many people in the Academy just couldn't bring themselves to vote for a gay-themed movie, no matter how stupendous it was (no one thought anyone would beat Ang Lee for the Director prize). I'm disappointed for the same reason that I've been so happy that Brokeback Mountain has been something of a sleeper hit -- it's success says that America doesn't care about homosexuality as much as the religious right would have us believe. If it had won Best Picture it would have been the first gay-themed movie to do that. That would have been such a triumph, but I guess America is just not ready.