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Everything posted by DougieB

  1. What Ever Happened To Baby Jane (1962)

    I don't use the term camp all that often either. It's always been notoriously hard to define since its emergence in the 1960's. I think you're exactly right that it depends on what's NOT said, something the audience itself can see but which the movie itself either doesn't acknowledge or maybe slyly hints at without saying or showing it outright, sort of a cinematic form of punning. I think it also applies to movies which go about their business with great self-importance but don't really add up to much of an experience for (at least some of) the audience. It's the disconnect between intention and perception which can strike us as humorous. Anyway, I agree with you, james, that Bette's makeup and character in Baby Jane don't "cross over" into the unreal. Our perception is very close to her intention in that case.
  2. Random Alerts!

    Nijinsky's performance of "The Spectre of the Rose" is on my short list of historical events for which I wish I could have been present. After a young woman has fallen asleep in a chair holding a rose from her lover, Nijinsky "flew" through the open window and danced in her dream. According to accounts, he departed by leaping through the window, always ascending, with no hint that he was about to land offstage. (If someone was there to catch him, I wonder who the lucky guy was who got that job.) By the way...THOSE THIGHS!!! I loved Buckle's book. Parts of Nijinsky's diary have also been published.
  3. What Ever Happened To Baby Jane (1962)

    I've never felt as though Baby Jane qualified as camp in the sense that it's so bad it's good. There's so much about it that's good that you really have to look hard to find anything bad. You're right that these are major performances, Bette's in particular. Maybe it's the clownish makeup, which I understand Bette had to fight for, which is the trigger for people's laughter, but the best clowns have always known that the secret is showing the pathos underneath and Bette's performance is masterful in that respect. She never breaks character to signal that underneath she's the Academy Award winning actress who gave us Charlotte Vale and so many other classic characters. In fact, her incredible concentration and focus is probably the single most compelling reason why this movie is not camp. The one off-putting thing to me, and it's not a major drawback, is that it was obviously budgeted as a B movie, though its success at the box office probably eclipsed that of other "major" Warner releases that year. I think it shows in some scenes, in particular the stage show at the beginning where the costuming and general ambience seem to be approximated rather than fully realized. It's kind of indicative of the state of many studios at that time, who were quickly moving into television production where approximation was the name of the game. Warner's television unit was one of the first and one of the most prolific, with lots of hit TV shows and TV-groomed actors to show for it. The problem was that in some of Warner's theatrical product there seemed to be a scaling back in terms of production values, which were more in line with what they were getting away with on television. It seemed that there was more and more overlap during this period and that TV production people and crews were finding their way into Warner's films, just as some of the TV actors were making the leap to films as well. Anyway, this is a long way of saying that some of Baby Jane appears to me to have the look and feel of a television project, probably accentuated by the fact that it was filmed in black and white. Thankfully, the performances, particularly that of Bette Davis, elevate the whole project and make it the classic film audiences still respond to, sometimes with laughter which isn't always appropriate, but that's only a personal opinion. We all appreciate any given film for our own particular reasons.
  4. Ideas for LGBT essentials

    Just a couple more things to say, then we should probably return the thread to TB for its intended purpose. For people who haven't seen To Wong Foo, the fact that these actors play drag queens doesn't mean that occasionally we see three men throw on a frock and lip synch something onstage. The only one we ever see as a man is Patrick, stepping out of the shower and beginning his transformation under the credits. Wesley is seen in mid-transformation and John is seen fully transformed but carrying his wig, all under the credits. For the rest of the film all three are the characters of Veda, Noxema and Chi Chi in every aspect of their lives as they travel cross country in their (junky but fabulous) vehicle. These are sustained performances, totally in character and in a wide variety of situations, including encounters with police, bullies, a battered woman, and a shy closeted young man. Again, this movie is as far from being a joke as it could be, which makes the fact that it's so basically lighthearted and comedic all the more remarkable. The script, by the way, is especially witty and clever and, like any good drag queen, knows how to "go there". Another side note: In both the pageant sequences which open and close the film in New York and then Los Angeles, the contestants all represent the cream of then current drag performers in each city. That's basically all the approval you need and confirmation that the filmmakers (Stephen Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment, by the way) were on the right track, and the presence of RuPaul as the New York M.C. confirms the confirmation.
  5. Tiffany and new male host, feb 2018

    If you go to Page 3 in this General Discussions forum, there's a thread called "The End of TV" (Tiffany Vasquez) where the whole thing is discussed in more detail.
  6. Call Me by Your Name

    Thanks for the feedback, guys. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the facts that it's set 30+ years ago and in a remote, rural European locale both could be a source for dissatisfaction in some viewers. Nobody is constantly glued to their smartphone and they all interact, for God's sake. And the slower pacing would only prolong the agony until those viewers could get back to the screens which matter, their own. I know that's an unfair blanket indictment, but I still bet there's some truth there. In the age of Grindr, a tentative exploration of feelings seems quaint and makes Elio and Oliver seem as relatable as Pilgrims on the Mayflower. The critic's argument you mentioned that the boy's family is too privileged makes me crazy. Love and discovery happen where they happen. That's another aspect of our times which bugs me: the mania for "egalitarianism" which would reduce everything to the least common denominator and make no provision for excellence, so that any indicator of superior intellect or achievement needs to be obliterated, the way Black Lives Matter needs to be obliterated by All Lives Matter. Like a boy raised in a home dedicated to learning and the arts needs to be humbled in some way. I was born poor and raised poor and I love the dynamic of loving mutual respect in Elio's family. The idea that such people shouldn't be attended to because they've achieved a place of comfort offends me, frankly. The isolation of Elio at the ending is a more legitimate point and, as I said before, it gnawed at me a little too. But the fact that he's allowing himself to fully experience his pain, as his father had recommended to him, gives me the hope that all will be well. His immediate future is a holiday celebration with the family who love him and it seems likely their love will help define his remoter future.

    There are some choices we make freely in life and some choices we feel compelled to make. Both can lead us to happiness and success and both can lead us to disaster. As TB said, a horribly sad situation.
  8. Ideas for LGBT essentials

    Agreed. I think Wesley Snipes probably had the most on the line since his specialty had been male-oriented action films. If he had tanked as a performer in To Wong Foo there could have been a very negative effect career-wise, beyond the mere fact of him playing a drag queen in the first place. His seemingly effortless embodiment of Noxema Jackson is a truly heroic achievement for an actor at a career mid-point, where all could have been lost. I have the most respect for him because I think his reach to get the character was the farthest. As you said, Swayze and Leguizamo both nailed it as well. The women in the film are also notable, especially Stockard Channing, Blythe Danner and Melinda Dillon.
  9. any lucky folks to see the play---BOYS IN THE BAND???

    I don't expect to see it, but I'm super excited. Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer and Andrew Rannells are all white hot career-wise and are the cream of the crop of out young actors. It sounds like it could be stunning.
  10. Ideas for LGBT essentials

    I understand that your project has been pretty much finalized after considering some excellent suggestions, but I feel so strongly about a film which I think has been unfairly marginalized that I want to throw it into the mix: To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar (1995). Such a high-profile project from a major studio caught many people off-guard at the time. Who threw up this hairball on the living room rug? It was an oddity then and probably remains so, but it's a very special and endearing film if you suspend disbelief (a cardinal rule for the performing arts) and let it work its magic. It's a movie which understands that it's a fantasy (as when their shabby room becomes instantly transformed a-la "Bewitched") yet gets very real very fast about the things that matter in life. What that says to me is that this project was taken very seriously from the top down. Otherwise, this would have been some kind of Adam Sandler/Will Ferrell-type movie with none of the depth and finesse which the three leads bring to their characterizations. It's a road movie and, like the best of them, it focuses on what the journey teaches you rather than on what to expect at the end. The three straight leading actors morph into the three hapless drag heroines in a way that, in my opinion, has never been sufficiently heralded. There's no self-conscious wink-wink and not one of them holds back in a way which would telegraph that we shouldn't forget that they're only playing a role. These are major performances by established actors, fearlessly done. Anyone who thinks of this movie as a joke or as a trivial footnote in the evolution of "gay" cinema either hasn't seen it or should see it again. It's an experience which has always moved me and I'm rising again to its defense because I think it's existed for too long in the shadows outside the accepted gay "canon". More than that, I think it represents a milestone in the evolution of "gay" cinema and deserves to be seen as essential, if not as one of the five essentials. We all understand what passion means in terms of the films we love, so I hope mine for this movie isn't unwelcome.
  11. Call Me by Your Name

    The people responding to this thread have done a good job of letting us know what they think of this movie, but I'm wondering what they've heard from other sources. My husband and I had planned to see the movie together, but in the meantime he had read a bunch of stuff on Facebook about how it was too slow-paced and that it was all "bike rides and picnics." I never try to coerce him into doing anything (and expect the same) so I went alone, which I have no trouble at all doing. I have no problem with movies which unfold at a leisurely pace; it can put me in a state of bliss but I know it bugs people who aren't the "Merchant-Ivory type". I'm curious what others have heard about it, specifically anything negative, because I didn't find much fault with it. I'm one of those old f*arts who never joined Facebook, though I respect its value to others. I know how exhausting exposure to negativity can be just from my experience with some posters on these Message Boards, but I have to admit I'm curious why some people, especially gay people, would have negative feelings about Call Me by Your Name, other than the mere fact of it being a same-sex love story. Can anyone fill me in?
  12. Tab Hunter on an island

    Hmmm....What are the spurs for, Tab?
  13. Call Me by Your Name

    An absolutely gorgeous picture.
  14. Tab Hunter on an island

    Sounds like a good candidate for jaragon's "Classic Films with a Gay Twist" thread.
  15. Tab Hunter on an island

    I know I would have brought MY camera. Interesting that the name still hasn't been changed in the pre-release publicity. I've seen the movie but I can't remember at what point the pants devolve into the loincloth. (He looks great in both.)
  16. Call Me by Your Name

    Finally saw it. I wasn't expecting the movie to be so frankly erotic; it's true to the book in that way. But I can see how it might be a problem for people who are already iffy about homosexuality. Lets face it: in Brokeback Mountain all those people were really asked to endure in that respect was some grunting in the dark tent and the kiss/dry hump outside Ennis' apartment. I have a feeling that kind of thing goes down easier with the more reluctant viewers because it can be dismissed as "heat of the moment" stuff. (Their "glands" got in the way.) In Call Me by Your Name there's a slow build of erotic tension, with tenderness and respect, which may make it a tougher sell to naysayers who don't really believe the expression of same-sex attraction could be that intentional. But, as that great American philosopher Bette Midler has said: "**** 'em if they can't take a joke." The ending is pretty stark; I can't think of any other example of a movie lead being held in an emotional close-up the entire time the end credits roll. Chalamant deserves his nomination for that alone; it never looked faked or forced. !SPOILER!: The book has a couple of codas to show Elio's emotional evolution after that summer, once eight years later when Elio visits Oliver's school and sits in on a lecture and again after twenty years when Oliver visits the house after Elio's father has died. We learn then that they have written to each other over the years and that each has kept the other's letters. On this final occasion Elio has hopes that Oliver will remember to call him "Oliver", something which he has previously forgotten to do, but there is uncertainty. It was probably a good choice to end the movie soon after that summer with each having acknowledged the other by their own name during the phone call, but for me there was still a gnawing feeling at the end of the movie that Elio may have been damaged in the way which Oliver had hoped he wouldn't be. In the book we got to see with more certainty Elio's acceptance of how their lives had turned out. Anyway, as an old man looking back I can see myself in each of those men at their respective ages. It's a great job of filming one of those "unfilmable" books.
  17. 50s-70s romance movies?

    Shutoo mentioned The Owl and the Pussycat (1970) and that's got to be one of my all-time favorites. It's Barbra before the "grande dame" overlay got between her and her audience. She and George Segal work wonders with the Buck Henry script, taking the old introvert/extrovert dynamic to a whole new level. There's a brilliant scene where Segal helps insomniac Streisand go to sleep by doing a whole late-night-tv sign off (of which there is no such thing today) through a fish tank. It's the classic situation where two people irritate each other no end until they begin to see themselves through the other's eyes and start to change accordingly. It's adult and witty and a great "modern" romantic comedy.
  18. The Assassination of Gianni Versace

    Sophie played the coworker and friend of the guy whose apartment Cunanan was staying at who brought in the police. She was checking on him when he was a no-show at work; at that point everyone assumed the body was his. Yeah, I'm really curious about that relationship. She seems to blame him for infecting her brother.
  19. The Assassination of Gianni Versace

    I don't know how involved Ryan Murphy is in the casting but I've enjoyed seeing some familiar faces. I love Cathy Moriarity so I was pleased to see her as the pawnbroker. And Sophie Von Haselberg (Bette Midler's daughter) was a nice surprise this past week; she did a great job. Overall it's a pretty big cast and everyone seems to be in really good form. I hope they go back to the Ricky Martin character because so far he's basically just been wandering around.
  20. The Assassination of Gianni Versace

    You're both right; this week's show was really difficult to watch. I watched ESPN's lengthy OJ documentary but I never watched Murphy's OJ series so I don't know how the murders were treated in that one. They seem to be done almost lovingly here and the casting of Darren Criss, who is visibly hotter than the real Cunanan, seems to glamorize the killer in a way which works against our understanding of him. Unless I'm mistaken, I think we've seen all of the murders already, so hopefully there'll be a shift to the police investigation and to Versace himself. There wasn't a trial in this case so a lot of this information never got to the general public; I guess the series is the trial in a sense but if the focus stays on the bloody stuff, I may bail.
  21. Call Me by Your Name

    Judging by the trailer it looks gorgeous. Plus the fact that James Ivory wrote the script should put this in the class of must-see movies. I really hope it doesn't fall victim to the current political climate where prejudice has such license. In the book (and I assume in the movie) the boy's parents get it; let's hope the public can get it.
  22. Call Me by Your Name

    Timothee Chalamet is the one with the Oscar nomination so I guess it makes sense to feature him in the advertising, but you're right to wonder if it's a mistake. It will get all those people who're led to believe it's simply a "coming of age" story into the theaters, people who might not have gone if they had realized it's a gay love story. We're movie freaks here and keep up, but for a lot of people movies (and politics) are something more remote which they get information about in snippets here and there and from ads on the entertainment page of their local paper. The ad you mentioned is a calculation made for financial reasons and it's a compromise. I'm sure for media outlets which are perceived as being the most gay-friendly the advertising is more specific. Naturally I'd like to see the movie succeed financially, but it's eye-opening that a gay-themed movie still can't be allowed to do it entirely on its own terms.
  23. February 2018 TCM Guest Host

    I'd be curious to see what his personal choices would be, but it's 31 Days of Oscar so he won't get to add much other than his pleasant onscreen manner and sweet face. I'm glad he's being pulled into TCM's orbit; in some ways he's a modern equivalent to the young Robert Osborne in terms of his position within the industry and his obvious enthusiasm for movies. As well as being somewhat of a scholar, Robert was a very social being with an amazing array of friends and contacts, as well as opinions on lots of subjects. Robert's "gravitas" was earned over time, as I think Dave Karger's will be. I haven't watched the Today Show in years, but did catch him a few times on E!, where those red carpet chatterboxes would bring him in to actually voice coherent thoughts in the midst of their gown-centric blathering. His Oscar "predictions" didn't always pan out, but his positions were well-supported and passionate. Personally, I hope he likes it here and sticks around.
  24. "The Times of Harvey Milk" on TCM tonight 07/10/14

    The Times of Harvey Milk is coming up again on Monday, February 5 at 9:45 PM as part of a run of documentaries. If there were a gay "Essentials", this would be part of it.

    Can I have your life, please? You see the best stuff. Thanks for sharing it here.

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