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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
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May 2013

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