Thursday, October 13, 2005

Leviticus 18:22 Says This Movie Will Burn In Hell. I Am Less Leniant.

The Phantom of the Opera
2004, USA
Joel Schumacher

It must be tough being gay. I wouldn’t know from personal experience, despite having experimented with hair products in college, but I’m guessing that it’s a pretty hard life. You can’t walk past a guy in a baseball cap without flinching, you’re contractually obliged to watch Will & Grace and pretend to enjoy it, and everyone you meet automatically thinks you’ve got full-blown AIDS, despite the fact that you’re only HIV positive. And worst of all, every time a movie involves anything other than extreme sports or the rise and fall of a noble crack dealer in the hood, you get associated with it. The Phantom of the Opera is no exception. It’s got men in capes, singing, and bright colours, all things that are associated by American fraternities and Jamaican dancehall musicians with homosexuality. Granted, the preceding description does seem as if it could apply equally to a Liberace concert or a Pride parade, but none of those elements necessarily makes a movie ‘gay’. Joel Schumacher makes it gay. They just make it bad. There’s a reason that musicals went extinct in the 1960s, and why numerous attempts to revive them failed as surely as a Pauly Shore sitcom. People were clearly getting sick of music, as evidenced by the rise of Led Zeppelin and Queen in the 70s, and judging by the fact that the current scene is in state where the music underground sounds exactly like the music mainstream except the band names make less sense, the stagnation hasn’t abated. Plus, there’s absolutely no way to put a man in a cape on screen without having him look like an 18th century nobleman. I’m sure Little Lord Fauntleroy has the potential for gravitas somewhere underneath his frilled collar and thickly perfumed shirt, but it’s a little difficult to take him seriously when he takes regular snuff breaks between dramatic beats.

I'm sensing a pattern. A pattern that's causing my pants to swell.

It’s not that there isn’t anything redeemable about Schumacher’s version of The Phantom of the Opera. There’s a no-name cast, which can be helpful in creating an engrossing viewing experience. Star power is one thing, but I’m not going to get sucked into the tragic mood of impending doom in Othello if I have to stare at Eddie Murphy’s cornrows the whole time. The score is huge and well-conducted, which would be a good thing if it did not consist of Andrew Lloyd Webber songs, penned by a man who appears to believe that everyone needs to sound off in expository monologues like G.I. Joe villains set to a mix of timpani and Ted Nugent guitar licks. And the set seems to have been designed for the express purpose of getting film critics to sprain their thumbs flipping coins while deciding between overusing the word ‘lush’ or ‘sumptuous’ in their review, thus crippling their typing hands and leaving them unable to pan the film. But something doesn’t quite come together in the film. Something’s missing. The film showed up to the club, but it forgot its poppers back at the bathhouse, so instead of enjoying an amphetamine-fueled blowjob through a washroom stall glory hole while Boy George spins a predictably house-heavy DJ set, it comes all the way downtown and spends all that time dressing up just to end up at home masturbating sullenly while watching Joe Rogan on Fear Factor.

And just a hint of chest hair to seal the deal.

There I go again, falling into the homophobic trap of calling a film gay just because it cares about its grooming, gets regular manicures, and has sex with men. By the usual logic by which the WWE watching, arm-band tattoo sporting imbeciles decide our entertainment fate with the dollars they earn working at Nautilus gyms the world over, any movie that a woman might remotely be interesting in seeing is gay. That rules out romances, heavy dramas, films based on novels not by Clive Cussler, and comedies that don’t involve gas passed within the first five minute. So what’s not gay? The answer is Vin Diesel. He’s got biceps bigger than my head, ego included, he’s got a gravely voice that sounds like he’s about to cough up asphalt to testify to his testosterone levels, and he has none of that pansy hair to need styling with a variety of Vidal Sassoon Mousses. He’s been in World War II movies, so we know he’d never leave a man behind, and is aware of the fine line between male bonding and homosexual lust. He’s also been in XXX, so we know he can participate in all manner of ridiculously death-defying sports, and nothing is more manly than being stupid, if Bam Margera has anything to say about it. Yes, Vin Diesel is the most heterosexual man there is, the kind of man who wears Axe Body Spray instead of cologne, and can has elevated leaning against a bar sipping a Labatt 50 while nodding his head slowly to an art form. Vin Diesel is the man we all want to be, but can never quite emulate, possibly because we’ve read a book before. Which is pretty damn gay.


Blogger nyx said...

Well Vin Diesel also played AD&D as a kid, and wrote the foreword for some AD&D anniversary celebration. That should definitely raise him some points on the faggot meter.

11:52 a.m.  
Anonymous Je Suis said...

Yes, reading books IS gay. Also, Vin Diesel may prefer heterosexuality, but he is contractually gay. It's right there in his resume, under the word "actor". All actors are gay. There are no straight men in Hollywood. Therefore, Nathan Fillion is also gay. Serenity now!

12:17 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this your way of coming out...I mean you sure do seem to constantly surround yourself with things that have been established as "gay".

1:36 p.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

nyx - I do believe called the faggometer. And AD&D is not gay, it's really, really, lame.

Anonymous - I wish I was gay. It's a lot easier to meet women that way, although they're much likelier to make you go to a Margaret Cho set. I'm just a geek. It's a subtle difference, and you still end up not sleeping with girls.

1:45 p.m.  
Blogger gretchkal said...

well, i for one agree with you, vin diesel is the epitomy of maleness, musicals and reading are both gay, and the movies that most women would want to see are gay. i personally like to think i've not the typical woman who wants to watch meg ryan movies and cry when there's a happy ending. god, does that make me a man? lol

5:34 p.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

Nope. Just intelligent.

5:38 p.m.  
Blogger Lactose said...

Your blog is outstanding. By comparison, my reviews are those of but a lowly padawan. Nice one, man. Nice one.

11:16 a.m.  
Blogger Jerk Of All Trades 2.0 said...

Ho.LY. Shit.

Ash has a groupie!!

Unless you're Lactose intolerant.

Lame yes, but as long as I think it's funny...

5:15 p.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

Thank you, Lactose. My reviews, however, are not outstanding. They are just long, which makes people fall asleep and dream that they're being entertained, which is the same reason why Gone With The Wind is a classic.

7:03 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just to let u know, the phantom of the opera is very very beautiful, if u can't tell that music is inspiring and uplifting than so b it but don't go bashing it! its the most gorgeous musical on earth and andrew lloyd webber, who made it, was brilliant in the way he used the organ and many other instruments! he's much smarter than u by far!

9:56 p.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

U R rite. He is smarter than me bye far so this muvie must b good. But I bet my dad could beet up his dad.

10:55 p.m.  
Blogger Sam Kahn said...

To answer anonymous's comments about the Phantom of the Opera... even if the musical is good (which it's not), it doesn't automatically make the movie good. Who's the ignorant one now?

12:47 a.m.  
Blogger Fatman said...

Hey I agree with anonymous. Andrew Lloyd Webber uses the sh-t out of his organ. Which would explain his haggard expression and sprained wrist. I don't think anyone should shy away from disagreeing with Ash. I know I frequently do. But Goshdarn, if you feel the need to clog up the comment section with your opinions ( instead of, say, writing your own reviews and staying the f-ck away from a film review blog that is obviously a tongue-in-cheek one) can't we at least do it in Song?

1:26 p.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

I would respond in kind, but I am tone deaf. Please, disagree all you like. Even I don't agree with me most of the time, though when I argue with myself I tend to spell check and make sense. But please, dissent away.

2:16 p.m.  
Anonymous (behind the) pine curtain said...

"Gone With the Wind" a bad movie? Shhhhhh...people around here don't know that. They think it's a documentary, but not one of those faggoty kind - you know - it's one that shows the truth about slaves and The Lost Cause.

Don't get me started.

10:21 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ash, my dear, sweet boy. Call me an unsophisticated romantic if you must but the movie worked for me.

7:59 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know what ur problem is, but just because u like the Phantom of the Opera, doesn't make you gay. Ur definition of homosexuality is that of wanting to be a prancing fairy flying on a rainbow. This buys into every stereotype that leads to descrimination and I won't stand for it. Just letting you know that your perception is a bit distorted...****

8:00 p.m.  
Blogger Ash Karreau said...

Did I just get flamed by a flamer? Neat.

12:28 a.m.  

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