This post is for the 2012 Queer Film Blogathon. This is also the first entry in hopefully what will become a recurring topic, my all time favorite movies.
“An artist should create beautiful things, but should put nothing of his own life into them.”–Oscar Wilde
(I first heard this quote in the film)
I thought about just writing a movie review of the film but that seemed impossible. It’s not like I’ve only seen this film once or even a dozen times. There is no way that I could count how many times I’ve seen it and it means so much to me. There was a time (I call in 11th grade) that was particularly bad so I chose one favorite movie every month and watched it every day because it somehow helped me. One of those was Velvet Goldmine. In fact, it would only be slightly dramatic to say that this film helped keep me alive in high school. I say this because for me high school was like prison, which is when the VHS was first released.
Well Velvet Goldmine is an amazing movie. The fact is that it pulls from so many amazing sources that once my fascination with the movie was in full swing I was able (via newsgroups, totally showing my age) to find out about all of influences that went into the movie. Many of these were by my now favorite writer, Oscar Wilde. Yes, I bought a paperback copy of the collected works of Oscar Wilde, fell for his words and carried it with me for the remainder of high school, rereading whatever was my fancy that day. This was quite lucky for me as when we did get to a play by Oscar Wilde in one of my academic English classes the teacher skipped the entire section it was in and when I asked why I was told that the teacher didn’t enjoy “those writers”.
What else did Velvet Goldmine introduce me to? Well of course, the magic of glam rock. You don’t know how many times listening to David Bowie and Iggy Pop have gotten me through a tough time.
It could be said that I love the film so much because it introduced me to so many wonderful artists, because it helped teach me that I am not the only woman who gets turned on by guy/guy action (or slash if you like fanfic, and yes, I did used to read my fair share), that sexuality is fluid or the theory that I was ostracized so I felt that I fit right in with these characters. Yes, one year I dressed as a glam rock star for Halloween (in high school, I know). This means that I wore shiny pants and a fairly ugly orange and yellow striped sweater with huge boots and no one knew what I was.
The fact is that it’s simply an amazing movie. Years later I would visit New York City and become even more impressed when I picked up Velvet Goldmine creator Christine Vachon’s Shooting to Kill at the now defunct Biography Bookshop and found out how little money it was produced on and despite that fact it looks amazing.
So finally let’s forget about me and talk about this aFUCKINGmazing movie! Velvet Goldmine is basically an homage to the Iggy Pop/David Bowie/Mick Jagger bisexual glam rock days. In the film a former fan but now writer gets to track down all of the people involved in the superstar, BRIAN SLADE‘s, life. What happened to him everyone wants to know? He went out on top. He faked his own death. Did he really die or who is he now? This is basically about how Bowie later distanced himself from his Ziggy Stardust past and went mainstream with Let’s Dance in the ’80s.
I don’t feel the need to tell you about the entire film because you need to experience it.
Instead here are some beautiful screencaps from a movie that saved and influenced my life many times over. Right click and then choose “view image” for the full sized photos which you can use as amazing backgrounds for your computers.
“…it’s okay you didn’t like Broken Hearts Club or Kiss Me Guido. Let me tell you a little secret that we try to keep within the community, gay movies suck, but until the law is changed we’re still obligated to go see ’em” – Will & Grace
I tend to disagree with W&G on that one but it’s gives me a chuckle.
I just discovered the fun classic film blog Garbo Laughs and their Queer Film Blogathon recently. It’s a great idea and open to all film bloggers. According to the site “The Queer Film Blogathon will be held on June 27, 2011. The focus is on lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, or otherwise non-heterosexual, non-gender-binary depictions or personages in film.” So even if you found it late, like me, you should go contribute. This is to celebrate that June is Gay Pride Month. P.S. Congrats New Yorkers! Same-sex marriage was legalized Friday in the state of New York.
This is one of RuPaul’s reality shows that airs on the Logo network. They have various competitions to determine who the best drag queen is. I actually haven’t gotten around to watching it yet because I always realize it’s on when the season is already halfway through. Luckily I can watch the whole second season all the way through now. I have watched Drag U though which features drag queens who give women makeovers to improve their self esteem and win, of course. I really want a drag queen fairy godmother. It would so fun. In the meantime you can use the Dragulator, I did.
Dorian Gray (2009) (Available Until February 16, 2012)
Dorian Gray was a pretty good adaptation of my all time favorite book, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. They stick to the story, the dialogue (!) and there is plenty of debauchery. My main peeve is that the lead, Ben Barnes is a little odd looking. Dorian Gray is the story of a young, handsome man who finds out that the painting that was painted of him is what will age and show his sins while he stays eternally young looking. You can imagine how much bad stuff one can get into in that situation. There is a gay kissing scene, which is why I included it. Colin Firth (yum) and Ben Chaplin co-star.
This is a romantic comedy starring Gretchen Mol (The Notorious Bettie Page), Elizabeth Reaser (Grey’s Anatomy), Justin Kirk and Julianne Nicholson. It’s about a lesbian who starts wondering if she’s really gay after a breakup. It’s a good little movie with a great cast.
When two seasonal sheepherders unexpectedly fall in love they have to deal with their own feelings, their wives and life in general is this stormy drama. The leads are played by the fantastic late Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal. Their wives are played by Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway. Randy Quaid, Linda Cardellini and Anna Faris costar. The film was directed by the super talented Ang Lee (The Ice Storm). If you haven’t seen this yet then you must, as soon as possible.
The L Word seasons 2-5 (doesn’t include 1 or 6) (2004) (Not Currently Available)
The L Word was the lesbian answer to Queer As Folk. It’s definitely more downbeat but still a great show. I simply chose a picture of Katherine Moennig as Shane because she’s my favorite character.
Tying the Knot (2004) (Available Until October 11, 2013)
This is a documentary about same-sex marriage laws in the US. It is from 2004 so I’m sure that much of the info is out of date but it looks interesting. If you want to get riled up you may also want to check out another documentary, 8: The Mormon Proposition, which is about the LDS trying to prevent the gay marriage bill in California. Reviews by Mormons say it’s biased, but of course it would be. That’s the point, to show how ridiculous their views on this are.
Nip/Tuck Seasons 1-6 (full series) (2003-2009) (Available Until July 1, 2014)
Man, I love Nip/Tuck and it’s over the top lifestyle and problems (many caused by their own egos) of 2 handsome plastic surgeons. Over the course of the show creator Ryan Murphy (Glee) featured many LGBT plots including transgender arcs. There was also a bit of a tease plot line about Christian (Julian McMahon) worrying that he might be gay (he’s a real horn dog for the ladies).
Wet Hot American Summer has to be included for the young, giddy makeout scene between Bradley Cooper and Michael Ian Black whilst a bit of a way away their friends are talking about how to get them chicks. From the mind of David Wain this is a hilarious satire of camp counselor movies. The cast also includes David Hyde Pierce, Janeane Garafalo, Molly Shannon, Paul Rudd, Michael Showalter, Amy Poehler, Elizabeth Banks, Marguerite Moreau and Ken Marino.
Boys Don’t Cry is based on the true story of Brandon Teena (Hilary Swank) who was a trans man (a person who is born female but gender identifies as a man) who falls in love with the pretty Lana (Chloe Sevigny) and the hate crime that follows. Peter Sarsgaard and Brendan Sexton costar. Netflix also has The Brandon Teena Story, which is the documentary about the real Brandon Teena.
Plot: “A gay teen finds out who he is and what he wants, who his friends are, and who loves him, in this autobiographical tale set in middle America in the 1980s. Growing up, learning about life, love, sex, friends, and lovers.” (from IMDB.com). I was a big fan of this adorable movie as a teen. It stars Chris Stafford, Tina Holmes, Andersen Gabrych and Lea DeLaria.
This comedy is uneven but it starred Brad Rowe (who Bop promised me would become a star, what happened?) at the height of his hotness. It’s no wonder that the movie is about Sean Hayes’s photographer character trying to turn him gay so he can romance him.
Kiss Me Guido is definitely one of my favorites. Back before Jersey Shore (ew) not everyone was into the macho Italian American guy from NYC. Nicki Scotti (Detroit Rock City) plays this guy who really wants to be an actor but is working in a pizza shop. He’s a few slices short of a loaf so when he sees GWM in an apartment ad he thinks that it means “Guy With Money” instead of “Gay White Male”. When he meets his new effeminate, gay roomie (in the theater scene, score) laughs and friendship ensue. My sister and I still use that abbreviation incorrectly today for giggles. The movie costars Anthony Barille, Anthony DeSando, Craig Chester and Jennifer Esposito.
Chasing Amy is a great comedy that proposes the question “Isn’t Ben Affleck so hot that a lesbian would fall for him?”. Just kidding, she falls for him as a person. The problem is that he can’t get her exes out of his head (which could happen in any relationship). Because it’s a Kevin Smith film (from his View Askew oeuvre) it has his trademark filthy humor but is also touching. Plus they are all comic writers (or tracers) so it’s like a good geek fantasy. The film stars Joey Lauren Adams, Jason Lee (Banksy!) and Jason Mewes. Characters from this film make a cameo in his later film, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.
In & Out (1997) (Not Currently Available)
Yes, I did already mention In & Out in one of these and while I don’t usually do repeats I had to do so with this film. You have to love Kevin Kline as teacher who struggles with coming out late in life but in a quite silly manner. Tom Selleck plays his love interest. The film costars Joan Cusack, Matt Dillon, Debbie Reynolds, Wilford Brimley, Bob Newhart, Shalom Harlow, Shawn Hatosy, Lauren Ambrose, Selma Blair and Glenn Close. It was directed by Frank Oz.
The Birdcage is a lot of fun. It’s one of those movies that any time that you come across it on TV you have to watch it, yet again. It’s a remake of the 1978 French-Italian film La Cage aux Folles. The adorable Dan Futterman is about to marry a pre-Ally McBeal Calista Flockhart. The problem is that his fathers (Robin Williams and Nathan Lane) are both gay and the owners of a drag club while Flockhart’s father (Gene Hackman) is a Republican Senator. So Williams fakes a different profession, Lane dresses as and pretends to be Futterman’s mother and they pretend not to be Jewish. Of course tons of hilarious scenes ensue. Diane Wiest, Hank Azaria and Chrstine Branski costar in this Mike Nichols film.
Jeffrey handled the fear of Aids with humor, not easy to do. Wings era Steven Weber stars as Jeffrey who is worrying but falling for a guy while trying to be celibate due to his fear. Definitely a flick that I’ve watched quite a few times. The film costars Patrick Stewart, Nathan Lane, Michael T. Weiss and Sigourney Weaver. Weber even tweeted about the movie Friday night in reference to NYC’s gay marriage approval.
Yeah, you probably already know how awesome this movie is but we still have to address it now. I loved this movie so much that I used to covet this bus when I was young and imagine traveling cross country having adventures in it. It’s about a group of drag queens who travel across Australia to perform in fantastic outfits and deal with prejudice on their awesome bus, Priscilla. Terence Stamp, Guy Pearce and Hugo Weaving costar. If you’re already a big fan then you may want to pick up the Blu-ray which, according to the screencaps, here, looks amazing.
Heavenly Creatures (1994) (Available Until January 1, 2012)
This drama is about the tumultuous friendship of two young ladies played by Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey that leads to horrifying revenge. I recommend checking out the Film Experience’s Best Shot thoughts on it as well as Melanie Lynskey’s on the same site.
My So Called Life The Complete Series (1994) (Available Until March 1, 2013)
Though most of us first recall ah, Jordan Catalano (i.e. Jared Leto, front man of a pretty so so band) in all of this teen angst about high school we not only got to see Angela (Claire Danes) break out of her shell with the help of her drunk bestie Rayanne (A.J. Langer) but also their other bestie Rickie Vasquez (Wilson Cruz) who was actually out, in high school, in 1994, that takes balls. It’s a fantastic show that despite it’s super quick cancellation is discovered by new crops of teens every year, who still identify with it. It can also bring back the nostalgia for those of us who are a bit older but were here for the 90s.
I watched this flick a few months ago during one of my revisiting Cary Elwes phases. It’s a story about a young gay student (Rupert Everett) attending a boarding school in 1930s England. It’s very slow moving but worth checking out to see all of these hot guys in their super young days, including Colin Firth!
Plot: “Perhaps the first film to put a human face on the AIDS epidemic, Longtime Companion follows the lives of a small circle of friends from the first mention of the disease in the New York Times in 1981. First referred to as “Gay-Related-Immune-Disorder,” we watch the effect of the disease as it devastates the lives of our protagonists. Jumping between Manhattan and Fire Island, vignettes carry us from the it-couldn’t-happen-to-me mentality of the early days of the disease to the invasive effect it has had on all of our lives, today. The title of the film comes from the New York Times’ refusal to acknowledge homosexual relationships in their obituary section during this period. Instead, survivors were referred to as “Longtime Companions” of the deceased.” (from IMDB.com). This drama stars the talented cast of Campbell Scott, Stephen Caffreey, Patrick Caddiy, Brian Cousins, John Dossett, Mary-Louise Parker and Dermot Mulroney.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show was not only the first movie that introduced me to a sweet transvestite but also overpowering horniness in general as a child. It was one of my dad’s favorites. It’s an awesome musical about sci-fi, rock and roll and horny oddballs that a square couple meet on their honeymoon. Tim Curry and Susan Sarandon are fantastic. The whole cast is pretty amazing though (I still need to be Magenta for Halloween one day!). The whole cast is pretty amazing though (I still need to be Magenta for Halloween one day!). The film co-stars Barry Bostwick, Richard O’Brien and Meat Loaf. The movie has a huge following and tons of live shows as well as audience participation shows (that are sometimes aired on TV for Halloween) are often going on. A really neat looking Blu-ray book set was released for the film’s 35th anniversary in 2010.
Chris Kattan played the adorable male stripper who could hypnotize any man into falling for him on Saturday Night Live during the late ’90s. Kattan was a cast member from seasons 16 through 23. There isn’t a definitive list out of each episode that featured Mango but you can watch Saturday Night Live The 1990s and Saturday Night Live The 2000s to find out. My sister even got me a Mango birthday cake back in the day, super neat.
Unfortunately Kattan used to get ragged on all of the time by his cast members for this character so in later episodes his unknown (but we were assuming at least bi) sexuality is revealed to be straight and he’s married, boo. SNL has also featured The Ambiguously Gay Duo cartoon mainly through those years but also once last season as well (with Jon Hamm and Jimmy Fallon as the live action versions). You can read a little more on gay sketches on SNL here.
“If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There’s nothing behind it.”
“An artist is somebody who produces things that people don’t need to have.”
“It’s not what you are that counts, it’s what they think you are.”
“I never fall apart, because I never fall together.”
So tonight instead of talking you to death with my nonsense, I offer you the nonsense of a talented artist/business man, Andy Warhol. Yes, I adore Andy Warhol. The crazy thing is that I’m not sure when this started. At first I thought it was when I fell for the film Velvet Goldmine in high school. It referenced so much so maybe some Andy reference from that started this? But no, I remember reading his bio from our shitty ass library prior to that. Hmm, was it growing up near Pittsburgh, where the Warhol Museum is located? No (although I have been there more than once). I’m really not sure. And let me tell you, Pittsburgh likes to act all hip, “oh, Andy the genius, was from here”. Well let me tell you, HE GOT THE FUCK OUT, of this whole closed minded state.
“When I got my first television set, I stopped caring so much about having close relationships.”
“Before I was shot, I always thought that I was more half there than all there, I always suspected that I was watching TV instead of living life. People sometimes say that the way things happen in movies is unreal, but actually it’s the way things happen in life that’s unreal. The movies make emotions look so strong and real, whereas when things really do happen to you, it’s like watching television, you don’t feel anything. Right when I was being shot and ever since, I knew that I was watching television. The channels switch, but it’s all television.”
However Andy wasn’t just a free spirited artist who didn’t care about money or fame, he was very smart but very insecure. Many of the paintings that are floating around these days with his signature weren’t even done by him but by his minions. i.e. friends, many who were unpaid or barely paid, who hung out at The Factory. Yes, it was called the factory because it was about making things quickly for profit.
“My idea of a good picture is one that’s in focus and of a famous person.”
“Art is what you can get away with.”
“Most people in America think Art is a man’s name.”
“I’d asked around 10 or 15 people for suggestions. Finally one lady friend asked the right question, ‘Well, what do you love most?’ That’s how I started painting money.”
“Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.”
He also wore a wig glued to his head, was pretty much anorexic, in the closet, didn’t make the Campbell Soup painting as a statement (it was because he ate it growing up), believed in copying others and was addicted to TV. I’m just telling you this to break the whole “perfectly odd” or “oddly perfect” stigma, read some bios on him, watch a documentary, one of his ‘movies’, etc. and see what he was really like, awesome but flawed like all of us.
“I love Los Angeles. I love Hollywood. They’re beautiful. Everybody’s plastic, but I love plastic. I want to be plastic.”
“A picture means I know where I was every minute. That’s why I take pictures. It’s a visual diary.”
“Some people spend their entire lives thinking about one particular famous person. They pick one person who’s famous, and they dwell on him or her. They devote almost their entire consciousness to thinking about this person they’ve never even met, or maybe met once. If you ask any famous person about the kind of mail they get, you’ll find that almost every one of them has at least one person who’s obsessed with them and writes constantly. It feels so strange to think that someone is spending their whole time thinking about you.”
“What’s great about this country is America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you can know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good.”
“I don’t know where the artificial stops and the real starts.”
“Sex is more exciting on the screen and between the pages than between the sheets.”
“It’s the movies that have been running things in America ever since they were invented. They show you what to do, how to do it, when to do it, how to feel about it, and how to look how you feel about it.”
“Everyone winds up kissing the wrong person goodnight.”
“Everybody has a different idea of love. One girl I know said, “I knew he loved me when he didn’t come in my mouth. ”
“Fantasy love is much better than reality love. Never doing it is very exciting. The most exciting attractions are between two opposites that never meet.”
“Sex is the biggest nothing of all time.”
“In the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.”
“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”
“Sometimes people let the same problem make them miserable for years when they could just say, “So what.” That’s one of my favorite things to say. “So what.”
“I’ve decided something: Commercial things really do stink. As soon as it becomes commercial for a mass market it really stinks.”
“I’m afraid that if you look at a thing long enough, it loses all of its meaning.”
“Being born is like being kidnapped. And then sold into slavery.”
“And your own life while it’s happening to you never has any atmosphere until it’s a memory.”
“Dying is the most embarrassing thing that can ever happen to you, because someone’s got to take care of all your details.” “I always thought I’d like my own tombstone to be blank. No epitaph, and no name. Well, actually, I’d like it to say figment.”
(Everything in quotations/italics interspersed throughout are Andy Warhol quotes.)
“I’m the type who’d be happy not going anywhere as long as I was sure I knew exactly what was happening at the places I wasn’t going to. I’m the type who’d like to sit home and watch every party that I’m invited to on a monitor in my bedroom.”
Despite the fact that I’m not that old (27 at the end of the month) I’ve seen a lot of change on the internet. My household got the net when I was in Jr. High. I was the first child in my school who used it. Some of the well off kids’ parents had it but they wouldn’t let them use their expensive computers. Back then the net was more information based instead of socially based. Although I always had a hard time finding any factoid I needed, funny considering what I donow. Initially I (naively) thought that chat rooms would be a cool way of talking to people all over the world. Turns out they were mainly for picking people up.
So I contributed to a forum or two and some newsgroups. This was all well and good but it was very plain to see that women were often under represented, then insulted when they spoke up. In a forum of malcontents I hung out in men habitually bitched about their love lives and in a Seinfeld sort of way always had “good reasons” for it. If a woman spoke up and said the same thing the men turned on her saying “She had it easy and should be able to get any guy she wanted easily if she wasn’t “fat and/or ugly”. And what were we women doing hanging around here anyway when we should be off tanning, cleaning or cooking?
I think this is why I’ve gotten into reading a number fashion blogs lately. I enjoy the blogs featuring women who feel like it lets them express themselves in a way that they weren’t able to before. A lot of them preface their site with “I know I’m fat, ugly, short, poor, ____ (insert imagined imperfection here)” but then they post what they want anyway. (FYI: I’m guilty of this too). That might sound harsh but those are the ones I prefer. The girls who are more in the vein of “Now I’m off to party with a billionaire” don’t forge a real connection. I know that there are other types of female run blogs but they don’t speak to me as I don’t cook or have children.
On the surface it seems silly to be inspired by someone modeling their shoes until you think about it.
TRUE TO YOURSELF QUOTES
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”- E.E. Cummings
“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”-Oscar Wilde
“He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away.”-Raymond Hull
“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”-Judy Garland
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”-Dr. Seuss
“A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.”-Jim Morrison
“I think in art, but especially in films, people are trying to confirm their own existences.”-Jim Morrison
“I think of life itself now as a wonderful play that I’ve written for myself, and so my purpose is to have the utmost fun playing my part.”-Shirley MacLaine
“If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There’s nothing behind it.”-Andy Warhol
“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”-Andy Warhol