Amoeblog

The Dangers of Swordplay: Cruising (1980)

Posted by Charles Reece, December 20, 2007 11:59pm | Post a Comment
A quick Google search reveals (well, confirms) that the snooty de rigueur critical terms ‘lyrical’ and ‘poetic’, which let you know that a film is serious art, rather than déclassé entertainment, pop up frequently with discussions of Claire Denis’ BEAU TRAVAIL, but only accidentally, if at all, with William Friedkin’s CRUISING.  (‘Poetic’ even shows up as a plot keyword in the former’s IMDB listing, whereas the latter gets words like ‘perversion’, ‘evil’ and ‘stabbed in the back’.)  Yet both films feature extended sequences of men with beautiful bodies, clustered together and moving in rhythm to music; both are concerned with men of uniform in their habitus, either diurnal or nocturnal, performing a ritual; and both argue for a certain degree of fluidity in male sexuality – however, degree is implicated by using highly different narrative styles.  The “poetic” homophilia of BEAU TRAVAIL is more a suggestion through the recognition of the beauty of male movement, so any of its purported gayness has plausible deniability (like obsessive wrestling fans rewatching old matches of Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka), whereas CRUISING quite literally and graphically depicts the lure of homosexuality for even the most macho of men, NYC cops.  If the object of audience identification, a straight cop, Steve Burns (Al Pacino), can catch it by breathing in the salty air of late 70s S&M clubs and dirty rags drenched in amyl nitrate, then you might, too.  I guess lyricism and poesis don’t spring to mind when our hero is starting to get turned on by a greasy depiction of fisting.

That homosexuality might be taught, or that it could lure someone in, remains a controversial idea among gay rights advocates.  Essentialism qua naturalism tends to be a more comforting thought, and not without some good reason.  Religious demagogues work up the fear of right-wing parents by suggesting that their children might catch the immoral queer “meme.”  Thus, the possibility that homosexuality is as natural as heterosexuality becomes a way of assuaging these bigoted fears, or at least as a scientistic defense.  But this has always been a fallacious debate.  Just because something’s natural doesn’t give it moral propriety.   If a murder-gene were found, society wouldn’t suddenly start calling murder moral.   And so it goes with homosexuality: regardless of whether Steve Burns starts off as latently gay, or begins to become more gay as he goes undercover in the gay S&M outre-mer to investigate a string of murders is unimportant, the moral questions raised by the film shouldn’t be any different.  Homosexuality is no more nor less moral for being biologically natural than heterosexuality.

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Captive Rage

Posted by phil blankenship, December 20, 2007 11:34pm | Post a Comment
 





Forum Home Video FH79016

christmas records, hollywood icon style

Posted by Whitmore, December 20, 2007 09:11pm | Post a Comment


Celebrities, actors, politicians, actually any one with an ounce of fame and without an ounce of shame seem to always want to get into the glamorous record business. That is as true today as it has been for many, many a decade. And one of the simplest ways to back into a recording career is to release a Christmas record, either novelty or a heartfelt, weepy ditty. But I have to say it’s very odd when a cultural icon steps into these murky waters.

When Cary Grant recorded “Christmas Lullaby” in 1967 it was just a year after he retired from the movie industry, leaving as one of the most popular and respected actors of all time. Obviously, Grant learned a few things from his occasional, and unintentionally amusing, stabs at singing on screen. Check-out his performance as the Mock Turtle in the 1933 Alice in Wonderland, or his attempt with a ballad in Kiss and Make Up, because in 1967 Grant mostly recites “Christmas Lullaby” in that perfectly invented accent of his. He gently whispers to his sleeping daughter the joys she’ll find on Christmas morning, about the time Grant promises that angels will always be there to watch over and bless her he breaks into song … well sort of … I guess it was easier for the former Archie Leach to invent the actor we know as Cary Grant then it is for Cary Grant to invent a singer. But who cares, it’s still Cary Grant! Like Audrey Hepburn’s line in Charade whenshe asks and purrs, "Do you know what's wrong with you?  Nothing." 

December 19, 2007

Posted by phil blankenship, December 20, 2007 06:57pm | Post a Comment

Best Of 2007, Part 6 - 13 Suggestions For Christmas Gifts

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, December 20, 2007 12:40pm | Post a Comment
Best Of The Latin American Compilations
                                                           
THE ROOTS OF CHICHA: Psychedelic Cumbias from Peruroots of chicha
Colombia!: The Golden Years of Disco Fuentes -
The Powerhouse of Colombian Music 1960-1976
Si, Para Usted: The Funky Beats of Revolutionary Cuba, Vol. 1
Bachata Roja: Acoustic Bachata From The Cabaret Era


Latin Influenced Electronica
Up, Bustle and Out- Mexican Sessions
Nickodemus -Endangered Species Remixed (2007)
Geko Turner- Chandalismo Ilustradomexican sessions
Mexican Institute of Sound -Pinata


Fresh Blood in Old Genres
Jose Conde y Ola Fresca -(R)evolucion
The Budos Band-The Budos Band 2
B-Side Players Fire In The Youth
Antibalas-Security
Sharon Jones And The Dap Kings 100 Days and 100 Nights
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