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Last week my previous journal style mysteriously disappeared. Sign of livejournal going tits up? {tm Nikki Wade} So I went back to the boring old style.

Now that Todd Haynes is done with Mildred Pierce, perhaps he could consider a movie version of Highsmith’s The Price of Salt? Angst, period outfits, and I’m sure you can work Julianne Moore in there somewhere (but not as Carol, please). Because after all the films I’ve seen lately, I could use a good lesbian movie. “They don’t exist, THI!” you will say. I think you may be right. There are gleans of hope here and there but—well, let me go through my recent experiences with ladies who munch in movies.

The Kids Are All Right: Some of you may recall an unfortunate convo reported in this here livejournal (locked post) several months ago involving this movie and one of my stranger coworkers. But this film was actually…all right. I went in expecting to dislike it because of the lesbian-sleeps-with-dude angle. Enough with that already. But it is interesting/refreshing to see a lesbian couple representing the status quo—one is a doctor, the other can afford to be a sort of (frustrated) housewife, they have a fabulous house. The only way you know they’re lesbians is the funky kid names: Joni (from the Great Joni Mitchell, of course) and Laser, who you expect to be named “Birkenstock” but who knows, maybe Annette Bening and Julianne Moore had their first date at a laser tag place.

Much is made of the infamous (lack of) sex scene between the women, and the gay male porn they watch (what I found interesting is that it’s 70s porn on videotape). Director Lisa Cholodenko does play it for laughs, but there is a definite farcical and awkward element in the hetero scenes too, particularly the one where Moore is smacking and hitting Mark Ruffalo in the face repeatedly while banging him. Because really, he does have the kind of smug-sleazy-sexy face you want to smack during the act, particularly if one is feeling guilty about screwing him in the first place. Ruffalo’s character, Paul, is basically a surface disturbance upon the lives of this family, and his positive influence possesses a similar lack of force. The director, I think, wants us to believe that Paul is somehow influential on the kids: That he gets sensitive Laser to recognize that his so-called best friend is an asshole, and that he spurs Joni on to some much-needed rebellion. But Laser witnessing his buddy attempting to abuse an animal does the trick (not Paul’s vague mumbled warnings) and the tightly wound, overachieving Joni is already so frigging stressed out by the looming prospect of college (not to mention a pretty boy) that she probably would have ridden on the back of anyone’s motorcycle and sassed her mamas no matter what. (I recall having similar rebellious freakouts the summer before college.) So in the end the movie lives up to its title, and happily implies that even the lesbians will be all right too. It’s a good thing, but I still want my Big Gay Romance and not neurotic California dykes.

I Am Love: OK, this was not really a lesbian film, although it has Sapphic object of desire Tilda Swinton in it. Tildaroo plays a respectable married lady who falls in love with a chef, a friend of her son’s, after he makes her some really gross-looking seafood dish. And shut up, that’s not the lesbian angle. One day Tilda comes across a letter (or was it a journal entry? Forgetting now) that her daughter has written about a woman she has fallen in love with. This confession serves as the catalyst for Tilda’s own falling in love. It is a very gorgeous and erotic film (not to mislead, the sex scenes are hetero, although there is a girl on girl kiss), filmed mostly in Milan. And what a lovely typeface in the title cards! [/nerd]

Black Swan: If you liked this movie, turn away now.

We watched this movie with a friend. And several bottles of wine. And I went into it with a preexisting bad attitude: Of all art forms, dance is the one that I don’t get at all. I love all kinds of art, music, literature, opera, theater, I EVEN LIKE CRAFTS FESTIVALS—but ballet? Modern dance? Hell to the motherfucking no.

And then there’s the Natalie Portman thing. The friend we were watching the film with assured me that she is actually quite a good actress (I can’t recall seeing her in anything aside from this), and is very smart in real life and even speaks like five languages, etc. She may have five languages, but in this film she has two facial expressions: Crazy! and Crying! I am confuzzled as to why this merits an Oscar. Maybe because she sometimes combines BOTH facial expressions? IDK. Frankly, Winona Ryder and Mila Kunis steal the film from her. And Natalie? When someone like Mila Kunis goes down on you, even if it’s only in your head, maybe you should look really happy about it.

And I don’t know what was going on with Vincent Cassel’s hair. I only know I wish I had his accent so I could scream crazy things like “Attack it! Attack it!” with great Gallic convinction.

OK, the sex scene was good.

A Room in Rome: Girl, don’t even think about it. Couldn’t even get through the first 15-20 minutes of this. But this was after Black Swan and I think we were all on the fourth bottle of wine, so persistence was futile. There’s sex, and it not’s bad, but there’s no Mila Kunis. And then they open their mouths to speak. Oy vey, dialogue that means the screenwriter should put down her/his Paulo Coelho books and Screenwriting 101 guides for a spell and maybe rethink everything. Because it’s all faintly mystical, and one woman is Russian and the other one isn’t, and maybe they’re using fake names or maybe not, and maybe one had a child and then there is a creepy Italian guy in the hall and one of them wears plaid very briefly. Note to Eurolesbians: We, your American sisters, have fought long and hard to throw off the yoke of plaid’s oppression. So it pains us to see you give in to the devil’s tartan.

Someone, please: Write me a good lesbian movie.

Abbreviated soundtrack for my imaginary lesbian movie, or just for this post in general:

”Movies in My Head,” by the 6ths

”All Time High,” Pulp

“Absolutely Cuckoo,” Magnetic Fields

”A Case of You,” Joni Mitchell

Date: 2011-04-21 06:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] psimilarity.livejournal.com
Well, thank you! I started to watch _I Am Love_ the other day but dreary work got in the way. I will aim to see it over Easter. Someone posted the trailer on facebook and that was enough for me, and that was before I realised it had a lesbianic slant. So gorgeous, including that typeface you relish.

I differ mildly re Black Swan -- am totally with you on the ballet question, though. I love it all, too, except ballet/modern dance. What is that? It's nice to know someone feels the same. Perhaps you were forced to do ballet as a toddler like I was?

But I enjoyed _Black Swan_. Perhaps some external factors are relevant: I was in San Fransisco on holiday, there was a beautiful, enormous screen before me, I decided it was essentially Showgirls in the first ten minutes and that kept me happy. I loved Hershey and Ryder, too! Natalie Portman is sappy, and I think it was totally odd she won the Oscar, but all my interest was anchored otherwise. Ah, Mila.

I will skip _A Room in Rome_ on your counsel.

I almost wish you hadn't floated the idea of a Haynes-Highsmith feature because I would do just about anything to see that movie, and it doesn't exist! I might like to see Hope Davis in it.

Date: 2011-04-21 05:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sandyosullivan.livejournal.com
I'm sorry to chime in with a me-too on what might be the least interesting of this fascinating review (thanks THI), but I loathe ballet. I have a friend who used to force me to go, and I have some friends who are professional contemporary dancers and sometimes make me see them, but I hate it. I've never slept as well as I did at the Australian Ballet.

Natalie Portman made one good movie, the one about the lady in Walmart. That was it. And it was good in a Sally Field is playing her mother and is evil and that's always good to see, kind of way.

Ballet as a toddler. I'd pay money to see those photos. Do the picspam meme, Psim!

THI... I love this review. I have only seen the kids are alrighty one, and then on a plane, and I never know if that counts.

I dunno if I'll see Black Swan. Something bad happens to Natalie Portman in the end? Okay then I might see it.

The Tilda Swinton film sounds good. I like Tilda but think she's not in the world at all. I only ever hear about her magically being in a film. Also, you can //// all you want, but you cannot turn off your inner nerd.

Date: 2011-04-22 12:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] psimilarity.livejournal.com
I don't think there are any photos extant of my tutu days. As a second child of ... what's the word ... semi-focused parents, baby photos of me are pretty thin on the ground. I will promise to post photos of me with eighties hair when I dig up those '89 snaps, though fingers crossed the hair was starting to look a bit nineties by then (or should I uncross my fingers?).

Date: 2011-04-23 04:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theholyinnocent.livejournal.com
I dunno if I'll see Black Swan. Something bad happens to Natalie Portman in the end? Okay then I might see it.

Yes, you should! Also, Vincent Cassel heaps tons of French-accented abuse on her, so that is fun too. If you like camp, you'd enjoy it. Who knows, maybe you will see it on your next plane ride (they do count, I think, unless you don't want them to...I guess it is kind of like Clockwork Orange, you are shown them against your will!).

Date: 2011-04-23 04:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theholyinnocent.livejournal.com
I love it all, too, except ballet/modern dance. What is that?

Whatever it is, we're not alone...my gf feels similarly, and the friend we were watching Black Swan with also concurred. (Forced to do ballet? You poor thing!)

I will agree that Black Swan was nothing if not campily entertaining. So perhaps you are right. It's like Showgirls, but with ideas above its station. I wasn't bored, that's for sure. I'm just kind of flabbergasted that Portman got an Oscar for that. Everyone else seemed to be acting circles around her. (Did Barbara Hershey get a facelift?)

I hope you like "I Am Love." There is something Visconti-like in it, particularly in its slow, stately beginning. I liked it very much although there is a plot turn near the end that reminded me of a terrible movie I didn't like. But Marisa Berenson is in it, and I must ask the same question of her that I did about Barbara Hershey!

Hmm, Hope Davis. Now I must consider casting for the imaginary Haynes-Highsmith movie.

Date: 2011-04-26 07:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] psimilarity.livejournal.com
Yes, forced to do ballet. And that's about all I can say about it.

As for _I Am Love_ -- I *loved* it. Mrs Psim turned to me at the end and said "Visconti," echoing your own comment. Exactly. I am sure MB has had work, because as far as I could see her face never moved. But what a beautiful film, thoroughly engrossing.

Hope Davis & Kristen Stewart for Haynes-Highsmith. I saw a snippet of KS on Oprah while cruising foxtel earlier today and Mrs Psim said "why are you all crushy on her?" causing me a moment's embarrassment. It's a good question, but I can't answer it.

Date: 2011-04-26 05:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theholyinnocent.livejournal.com
Glad you liked I Am Love. Mrs. THI was enjoying it until the tragic twist at the end...and I have to admit it annoyed me a little too, mainly because it reminded me of a similar development in this idiotic film. (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104237/) (Of course, you could argue that the idealist of the family has to die....) But aside from that, I Am Love was fantastic.

It's a good question, but I can't answer it.

I admit I never got the K-Stew thing...until the Runaways, of course.

Similarly, I cannot explain the lusty power that Lucy Lawless exudes over me, even after all these years. So you can tell Mrs. P. that she should be thankful you're not so lame...or else prepare to ask you the same question 15 years later.

spot on

Date: 2011-04-21 01:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maroukian.livejournal.com
Can't agree with you more on all of your commentary.

Room in Rome: I lasted 15 mins. M... 10

Black Swan: Yes, by all means, let's make another movie about a lunatic who, just happens to be what? gay. yes, of course. This beautiful, provacative film was, in aggregate, a fomulaic noir, "Gee, they really had me hooked for awhile" piece

Kids are Alright: loved it! real people who happen to be what? gay.
yes, of course. Refreshing.

I Am Love: So happy that Tilda Swinton got that role. She's so talented, and yes, so wierd-- but lovely wierd. This was a gorgeous film.

Loved reading your reviews. Enjoyed it!




Re: spot on

Date: 2011-04-23 04:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theholyinnocent.livejournal.com
Thank you, my dear!

Ha, I'm surprised your other half lasted 10 minutes watching that dreck. She must have been holding out to see the sex scenes.

I like your description of Black Swan as a "noir." It is rather fitting.

Date: 2011-04-21 01:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] noir-moll.livejournal.com
Now that Todd Haynes is done with Mildred Pierce, perhaps he could consider a movie version of Highsmith’s The Price of Salt?

Oh, man, I would hand over the contents of my IRA to help fund such a project! Haynes would be a perfect director. It seems I remember someone was developing a version about 10 years ago that, obviously, hit the skids in pre-preduction.

Much is made of the infamous (lack of) sex scene between the women, and the gay male porn they watch (what I found interesting is that it’s 70s porn on videotape).

I actually really enjoyed The Kids Are All Right, even though, other than Nic's wine consumption, I have very little in common with the characters. But, yeah, I was most intrigued by the '70s gay male porn, not because it was guy-on-guy (because I watch more than my share of that), but because it was porn from the Carter Administration. Two dudes banging in the back of an El Camino? Priceless! Anyway, what I want to know is if that was the couple's kink or something? Otherwise, ladies, there is a universe of better stuff out there!

Date: 2011-04-23 04:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theholyinnocent.livejournal.com
I've always wondered why no one tried to make a film out of Price of Salt. Didn't know someone had tried, though. Maybe we need to start a petition to get Haynes to make it! Because otherwise some idiot like Brian DePalma will option it and make it into a grisly "kill the dykes" period piece.

Two dudes banging in the back of an El Camino? Priceless!

It must be their kink...they dig the period (hairy macho 70s guys) maybe, or the cars. "Let's watch 'Banging in the Mustang' tonight!"

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