Friday, October 27, 2006

New, for fans of Rushmore and Hedwig:

Shortbus: In a society in which it's assumed we're all familiar with the various sexual acts that are out there, with what permutations are possible, showing married couples in seperate beds, or even failing to show any sex onscreen, starts to seem a bit dated. That said, John Cameron Mitchell's decision to begin his movie with a one-person sex act that was on the nauseating side didn't so much feel real as feel, well, nauseating. That said, his movie's completely brilliant. What makes both this movie and Hedwig so great is the fact that outrageous sexual exploits are neither celebrated nor judged. Or, more precisely, they're celebrated as freeing in some instances and condemned as detrimental to an ideal of monogamous couplehood in others. While Mitchell is clearly not a partisan of the religious right, his perspective is not so different from the David Brooksian, it's fine to be gay, as long as you couple off all marriage-like. Experimentation is looked at as a means to an end, a way of finding fulfulling partnership, but the orgy is presented as a form of therapy or transition, not as an end in itself. To make this movie, nudity--and them some--only makes sense.

Marie Antoinette: It's a whole lot like bringing your iPod to Barneys. Looking at pretty shoes while listening to hipster music isn't a disaster, but it's not a worthy use of two-plus hours of your life. There's something subversive and interesting about a mainstream movie that's not just not liberal, but so reactionary that it's actually full-on royalist. However, there's something unfortunate about a movie in which a super obnoxious character you know is soon to be beheaded not actually losing her head onscreen. What makes this movie is that Max from Rushmore is Louis XVI. So what if Jason Schwartzman only got the part because he's Sofia Coppola's cousin, or if the Schwartzmen only got emancipated in 1791, thus adding to the movie's anachronism. He is a fantastic Louis, and he makes the movie bearable. His "Obviously!" in this movie rivals his "Oh, are they?" in the other.

1 comment:

Petey said...

"It's a whole lot like bringing your iPod to Barneys."

If I were doing the marketing, I'd put this quote on the poster.

"there's something unfortunate about a movie in which a super obnoxious character you know is soon to be beheaded not actually losing her head onscreen."

If they'd shown the beheading, everyone would've loved this movie instead of hating it.