Author Topic: Leonardo DiCaprio and Armie Hammer as lovers Hoover and Tolson in "J. Edgar"  (Read 22632 times)

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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http://movies.nytimes.com/2011/11/09/movies/j-edgar-starring-leonardo-dicaprio-review.html



Movie Review
J. Edgar (2011)


Finding the Humanity in the F.B.I.’s
Feared Enforcer

By MANOHLA DARGIS
Published: November 8, 2011



Leonardo DiCaprio, left, and Armie Hammer in "J. Edgar," directed by Clint Eastwood.


Even with all the surprises that have characterized Clint Eastwood’s twilight film years, with their crepuscular tales of good and evil, the tenderness of the love story in “J. Edgar” comes as a shock. Anchored by a forceful, vulnerable Leonardo DiCaprio, who lays bare J. Edgar Hoover’s humanity, despite the odds and an impasto of old-coot movie makeup, this latest jolt from Mr. Eastwood is a look back at a man divided and of the ties that bind private bodies with public politics and policies. With sympathy — for the individual, not his deeds — it portrays a 20th-century titan who, with secrets and bullets, a will to power and the self-promotional skills of a true star, built a citadel of information in which he burrowed deep.

To find the man hiding in plain sight, Mr. Eastwood, working from a smart script by Dustin Lance Black (“Milk”) , takes a dynamic approach to history (even as it speaks to contemporary times), primarily by toggling between Hoover’s early and later years, his personal and public lives, while the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The film opens in the early 1960s with a shot of the Justice Department building, the original home of the bureau, establishing the location, as well as the idea that this is also the story of an institution. As Hoover croaks in the voice-over (“Communism is not a political party — it is a disease”), the scene shifts inside, where the camera scans the death mask he kept of John Dillinger, former Public Enemy No. 1, and then stops on Hoover’s pale face: a sagging facade.

Old, stooped, balding, his countenance as gray as his suit, Hoover enters while in the midst of dictating his memoirs to the first of several young agents (Ed Westwick) who appear intermittently, typing the version of history that he feeds them and that is dramatized in flashback. The earliest episode involves the 1919 bombing of the home of the attorney general, A. Mitchell Palmer (Geoff Pierson), a cataclysmic event that — accompanied by terrified screams and a wide-eyed Hoover rushing to the conflagration — signals the birth of an anti-radical. Hoover, a former librarian, subsequently helps deport hundreds of real and suspected extremists; hires his lifelong secretary, Helen Gandy (Naomi Watts); and begins amassing secret files on possible and improbable enemies that, like a cancer, grow.

Without rushing — a slow hand, Mr. Eastwood likes to take his time inside a scene — the film efficiently condenses history, packing Hoover’s nearly 50 years with the bureau into 2 hours 17 minutes. By 1924, Hoover was its deputy; a few years later in real time, seemingly minutes in movie time, he meets Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer, the Winklevoss twins in “The Social Network”). Tall and impeccably groomed, Tolson is a golden boy who, here at least, physically recalls the 1920s tennis star Bill Tilden and quickly becomes Hoover’s deputy and constant, longtime companion. The men meet in a bar, introduced by a mutual acquaintance. Hoover blusters through the easygoing introductions, his eyes darting away from the friendly newcomer literally looming over him.

Later, Tolson applies for a job at the F.B.I. and is eagerly hired by Hoover, inaugurating a bond that became the subject of titters but that Mr. Eastwood conveys matter-of-factly, without either condescension or sentimentality. Before long Tolson is helping Hoover buy his suits and straightening his collar, and the two are dining, vacationing and policing in lock step. Tolson becomes the moon over Hoover’s shoulder, a source of light in the shadows. Even the ashcan colors and chiaroscuro lighting brighten. In these scenes Mr. Hammer gives Tolson a teasing smile and the naked face of a man in love. Mr. DiCaprio, by contrast, beautifully puts across the idea that the sexually inexperienced Hoover, while enlivened by the friendship, may not have initially grasped the meaning of its depth of feeling.

Mr. Eastwood does, and it’s his handling of Hoover and Tolson’s relationship that, as much as the late-act revelation of the pathological extent of Hoover’s dissembling, lifts the film from the usual biopic blahs. Mr. Eastwood doesn’t just shift between Hoover’s past and present, his intimate life and popular persona, he also puts them into dialectic play, showing repeatedly how each informed the other. In one stunning sequence he cuts between anonymous F.B.I. agents surreptitiously bugging a bedroom (that of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a resonant, haunting presence seen and heard elliptically and on TV) and Tolson and Hoover walking and then standing alone side by side in an elevator in a tight, depthless, frontally centered shot that makes it look as if they were lying together in bed.

Although Hoover and Tolson’s closeness was habitual grist for the gossip mill, the lack of concrete evidence about their relationship means that the film effectively outs them. Certainly a case for outing Hoover, especially, can be made, both because he was a public figure who, to some, was a monster and destroyer of lives, and because he was a possibly gay man who hounded homosexuals (and banned them from the F.B.I.). But this film doesn’t drag Hoover from the closet for salacious kicks or political payback: it shows the tragic personal and political fallout of the closet. And Mr. Eastwood and Mr. Black’s expansive view of human frailties means that it’s Hoover’s relationship with Tolson — and the foreboding it stirs up in Hoover’s watchful mother (Judi Dench) — that greatly humanizes him.

That humanization is at the center of the film, which, as the very title announces, is less the story of Hoover, the public institution, than of J. Edgar, the private man. It would take a mini-series to name every one of his victims and enemies, a veritable Who’s Who of 20th-century notables, and a book as fat as Curt Gentry’s biography “J. Edgar Hoover” to communicate the sweep of the man’s power and impact on history. In crucial, representative scenes, the film instead offers quick sketches of the more familiar Hoover — the top cop and hunter of men (always ready for his close-up); the presidential courtier and exploiter; the wily Washington strategist and survivor — who decade after decade fended off threats real and imagined, and foes like Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy (Jeffrey Donovan).

The official take on Hoover, or rather on the F.B.I., his sepulchral home away from home, has been told before, including in Hoover-approved howlers like the studio flick “The F.B.I. Story” (1959). At once a fascinating psychological portrait and an act of Hollywood revisionism, “J. Edgar” doesn’t set out to fully right the record that Hoover distorted, at times with the help of studio executives (including those at Warner Brothers, which is also releasing this film). Instead, Mr. Eastwood explores the inner life of a lonely man whose fortress was also his stage. From there, surrounded by a few trusted souls, he played out a fiction in which he was as heroic as a James Cagney G-man (despite a life with a mother Norman Bates would recognize), but finally as weak, compromised and human as those whose lives he helped crush.

“J. Edgar” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). Gun violence and language.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2011, 11:43:27 pm by Aloysius J. Gleek »
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Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88P7tsyb0t0&feature=fvsr[/youtube]
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Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
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Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPdHBeSCzFk&feature=related[/youtube]
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Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
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Offline Shakesthecoffecan

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I am going to see it Friday night. You Bet!
"It was only you in my life, and it will always be only you, Jack, I swear."

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
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Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
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Offline delalluvia

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One review said there was some homoeroticism in it, but it was basically one-sided.

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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One review said there was some homoeroticism in it, but it was basically one-sided.




One-sided? Maybe...in the movie??



























"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
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Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
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Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
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http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/movies/2011/11/j_edgar_reviewed_clint_eastwood_directs_leonardo_dicaprio_in_a_j_edgar_hoover_movie.html



J. Edgar
Part History Channel re-enactment,
part fascinating exploration of Hoover's sexuality.


By Dana Steven
Posted Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011, at 5:36 PM ET



Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover in J. Edgar


To a greater degree than any of Clint Eastwood’s films so far, J. Edgar (Warner Bros.), a sprawling biopic of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, is a meditation about the passage of time, both in a nation and in a single human body. When the film (scripted by Dustin Lance Black, the Oscar-winning writer of Milk ) focuses on the slow decline of its complex half-hero, half-villain, the results are surprisingly perceptive and tender. But when (as for most of its running time) it tries to provide a sweeping overview of seven decades of American history, J. Edgar can feel generic and vague, like a soft-focus newsreel or a strung-together series of History Channel re-enactments.

At once epic and scattershot, J. Edgar  spans the period from 1919, when a 24-year-old Hoover (Leonardo DiCaprio) was made the head of the new intelligence division at what was then called the Bureau of Investigation, until 1972, when Hoover dies. Eastwood layers three or four different time frames in a series of nested flashbacks. The effect is less confusing than you might think—each stage of Hoover’s life is shot with a distinct look and feel, making them easy to tell apart. But this multiple-timeline structure sometimes seems arbitrary: Are we cutting back and forth between various old and young Hoovers because they mutually illuminate one another’s stories, or just so every incarnation will get equal screen time?

The life of a public official who served every president from Wilson through Nixon covers a lot of American history, from the left-wing anarchist bombings of 1919 (which Hoover made his name by squelching) through the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby, the Red Scare, and the assassination of John F. Kennedy. J. Edgar  lingers longer on some of these events than others—the investigation of the Lindbergh case constitutes a significant plot thread, while the JFK assassination gets taken care of in a single phone call. Despite a regrettably heavy use of voice-over from DiCaprio to patch together these periods, the historical-survey aspect of J. Edgar  isn’t an unrelieved plod—moments of insight and wit are interwoven with the civics-class slideshow. In a wonderfully mordant dirty joke, Hoover receives the phone call about the JFK assassination while listening, in visible discomfort, to a surveillance tape of a woman having an orgasm.

By far the best thing in J. Edgar  is the film’s portrait of the relationship between Hoover and his longtime companion Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer). Just what sort of companion Tolson was to Hoover has never been entirely clear, not only to Hoover’s contemporaries and biographers but, in this film’s vision, to Hoover and Tolson themselves. The two men never married, worked side by side at the FBI for decades, and were famous for never missing a meal together.

Black’s script imagines Clyde and Edgar’s love as a kind of open secret between the two men: They privately confess their devotion to one another, occasionally even hold hands discreetly in the back of a cab, but Clyde’s first (and perhaps only) attempt at a kiss gets him a punch in the jaw. Whatever set of tacit agreements this couple lives by, it’s a devil’s bargain, and the scenes in which the men try to negotiate the boundaries of their relationship are painfully and beautifully drawn. Armie Hammer—last seen in a kind of stunt performance as the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network —is divine as the dashing, slyly ambitious, but also deeply loyal Clyde. Unfortunately, in the old-age scenes Hammer is burdened with unconvincing-looking age makeup that makes him seem to be acting from inside a latex mask (which, I guess, he is, with some CGI assistance).

For some reason, DiCaprio’s age makeup works much better than Hammer’s. Witnessing the advancing decrepitude of Hoover’s body is not only convincing but, at times, harrowing. (As the hero’s jowls and paunch accumulate and his skin grows puffy and sallow, J. Edgar dips a toe into the body-horror genre.) In the film’s drier stretches (there are a lot of details about the Lindbergh trial), I found myself wondering about this discrepancy in age-makeup effectiveness between the two actors. Is it simply because DiCaprio, still baby-faced at 36, is that much closer to the grave than his 24-year-old co-star? Or are certain kinds of faces harder to artificially age than others?

Though I’ve never been a huge DiCaprio fan—he strikes me as one of those actors who works too hard, whose effort and dedication are too visible on the screen—I think he deserves credit for the perceived continuity between the young and old versions of Hoover. His exploration of his character’s physicality is detailed and complete, down to the walk, the gestures, the manner of tying a tie or holding a handkerchief. For me, DiCaprio’s performance never achieved true liftoff—I found myself imaging what an actor like Jeremy Renner might have done with the role—but his level of craft is impressive, and his portrait of Hoover both complex and affecting.

This biopic evinces a curious neutrality toward its subject, a God’s-eye-view that’s at once disapproving and gentle. There are long stretches of scenes in which the socially maladapted Hoover seems like a fragile and sympathetic figure (especially when he’s being alternately browbeaten and babied by his domineering mother, played by the glorious Judi Dench). The love story with Tolson also emphasizes Hoover’s vulnerability, as does his lifelong working relationship with his fanatically dedicated secretary Helen Gandy (Naomi Watts, note-perfect as always).

But when we see the political Hoover in action—conducting illegal surveillance, lying to biographers, even attempting to sabotage Martin Luther King 's acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize—his nefarious motives seem somehow abstract. What does Clint Eastwood, a Republican who was once a politician himself, actually think about the man who ruled over the FBI, and meddled in civilian affairs, for most of the last century? Or is Eastwood trying to say that Hoover was intrinsically unknowable, a black hole of contradictions and competing impulses? Whether unintentionally or by design, the movie never really makes a case either for or against the troubled figure at its center. “He was a complex guy,” muses Eastwood in the press notes, as taciturn as the Man With No Name.
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Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/cinema/2011/11/14/111114crci_cinema_denby?currentPage=all



The Current Cinema
 The Man in Charge
 “J. Edgar.”
 
by David Denby
November 14, 2011



ILLUSTRATION: Thomas Ehretsmann


Clint Eastwood’s “J. Edgar” is, of all things, a portrait of a soul. The movie is a nuanced account of J. Edgar Hoover (Leonardo DiCaprio) as a sympathetic monster, a compound of intelligence, repression, and misery—a man whose inner turmoil, tamed and sharpened, irrupts in authoritarian fervor. Eastwood and the screenwriter Dustin Lance Black have re-created that period in the nineteen-twenties and thirties when a righteous young man with a stentorian style could electrify a nation. Outraged by scattered bomb plots and shifting values—what seems to him the moral chaos of modern life—Hoover senses that Americans need safety, or, at least, the illusion of safety, and he becomes the vessel of their protection, exercising and justifying, with ironclad rhetoric, his own dominance.

The movie has the structure of a conventional bio-pic. It begins in 1919, when the twenty-four-year-old Hoover, employed by the Justice Department to track “alien subversives,” shows up on his bicycle at the Washington house of his boss, Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, after it has been bombed by anarchists. The film traces Hoover’s rise from that shocking moment: his creation of the F.B.I., within the Justice Department; his corrupt and intimidating hold on the directorship; his successes, failures, and phobias; and his shaky last days. Yet “J. Edgar” is saved from the usual stiffness of the bio-pic form by the emotionally unsettled nature of its hero, a man vamped and controlled by his mother (Judi Dench), and afraid of his own sexuality, yet desperate for companionship. For decades, Hoover works at the Bureau with Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer) and carries on a chaste love affair with him. The two natty gents go to clubs and the races together, and spend weekends chaffing, quarrelling, and pledging their affections. This Hoover is a tyrant, a liar, and a prig, but he is also, in his impacted way, capable of love.

“J. Edgar”—a collaboration with the activist gay screenwriter of “Milk””—represents another remarkable turn in Clint Eastwood’s career. Remarkable, but not altogether surprising. Eastwood long ago gave up celebrating men of violence: the mysterious, annihilating Westerners and the vigilantes who think that they alone know how to mete out justice. But Clean Edgar, working with an efficient state apparatus behind him, is a lot more dangerous than Dirty Harry. As the filmmakers tell it, the roots of Hoover’s manias lie in his nature. The movie bears a thematic resemblance to Bernardo Bertolucci’s “The Conformist” (1970), in which a repressed homosexual (Jean-Louis Trintignant) in the nineteen-thirties, longing for “normality,” joins the Italian Fascist Party and operates as an amoral bullyboy. “J. Edgar” is the story of how a similarly repressed personality might operate in a democracy. The answer is privately, by accumulating secrets and blackmailing anyone who is even remotely a threat to his standing; and publicly, by making himself and his outfit pop-culture icons and then bending the government to his whim. The frame for the movie is the Director, in old age, dictating the story of his career to a series of young men from the Bureau. Black and Eastwood use this plot device ironically: Hoover is an exceptionally unreliable narrator, and the way Eastwood stages the actual events suggests that Hoover is pumping up his own role and stretching the truth.
 
The dark-toned cinematography, by Tom Stern, is as redolent of the past as old leather and walnut. The images are heavily shadowed, with faces often seen half in darkness, a visual hint that these people do not know themselves very well. Hoover’s ethics and his style are traditionalist in tone but radical in application. He flourishes at a time when powerful men are perfectly groomed and dressed—and cloaked in secrecy. Fanatically dedicated to appearances, they are fooling themselves, perhaps, as much as others. In the movie’s portrait of pre-electronic America, Hoover pierces those appearances with wiretaps, bugs, and the lowly file card, an early database that, aided by his longtime secretary, Helen Gandy (Naomi Watts), he wields to devastating effect. Nonetheless, Hoover is fixated on his own image and on that of the Bureau. Outraged that the public is enjoying the panache of Jimmy Cagney as a gangster, in such early-thirties pictures as “The Public Enemy,” Hoover lends his name and his support to Hollywood films, and, by the middle of the decade, Cagney is firing a gun on behalf of the government.

Hoover may be treated semi-satirically, but neither Black nor Eastwood suggests that the dangers and the national weaknesses he combatted early in his career were illusory. In 1920, crime detection was primitive. Hoover insists that the country needs an armed national police force and modern forensic methods—a fingerprint bank, up-to-date labs, and the like. Bursting into rooms at the Justice Department, and shouting down objections, he orders equipment, space, and training, and holds everyone to account. His new scientific methods lead, in 1934, to the capture of Bruno Hauptmann, the kidnapper of the Lindbergh baby. The complicated story of the Bureau is dramatized in flashes, as an emanation of Hoover’s will. This technique is inadequate as history but almost inevitable in a movie. What interests Black and Eastwood more than institutional lore is what Hoover did with the power he accumulated.

Again and again, he goes too far, treating Communist rhetorical bluster as the first stages of revolution, assembling lists of people whose opinions he considers suspect, fabricating documents, planting stories in the newspapers, bludgeoning potential enemies with his file drawers of sexual gossip. A single scene with Robert F. Kennedy (Jeffrey Donovan)—in the early sixties, when, as Attorney General, he was Hoover’s boss—stands in for Hoover’s relations with the various Presidents who longed to be rid of him but didn’t dare show him the door. Hoover tells Kennedy that he has evidence of his brother’s sexual escapades with dubious women, and his job remains intact. His smarmy prurience becomes a factor in national policy. He and Tolson giggle over an intercepted letter to Eleanor Roosevelt from Lorena Hickok, the reporter who became Roosevelt’s close friend and, possibly, her lover. As an old man, he holes up in a room to listen to tape recordings of Martin Luther King, Jr., having sex with a woman in a hotel. Eastwood stages the sexual scene as shadows on a wall. Hoover’s immobile, fascinated face is the obscene element in the episode.

The film moves fast, but Eastwood’s touch is light and sure, his judgment sound, the moments of pathos held just long enough. And he cast the right star as his equivocal hero-fool. In the past, such beetle-browed heavyweights as Broderick Crawford, Ernest Borgnine, and Bob Hoskins have played Hoover. By using DiCaprio, and then aging him with prosthetic makeup, Eastwood lets us see how a slender, good-looking young man might thicken and coarsen with years and power. DiCaprio, extending his vowels into a Washington drawl (Hoover was a local boy), focusses energy in his bulldog forehead; the body, increasingly sausage-packed into tight-fitting suits as Hoover gets older, is immobile, unused, mere weight. DiCaprio never burlesques Hoover, but when he meets Armie Hammer’s Tolson in his office for the first time he breaks into a sweat. Hammer—tall, handsome, suave yet gentle, with a sweet smile—gives a charming, soft-shoe performance that, in a memorable scene, explodes into jealous rage.
 
Hoover was in power for almost fifty years, and the filmmakers leave out many particulars of his reign. Despite frequent references to Hoover’s loathing of Communism (which he convinces himself is poisoning the civil-rights movement), Eastwood and Black omit his active role in the rise of the Red-baiting pols Joseph McCarthy and Richard Nixon. The filmmakers concentrate on the Bureau’s successes in capturing or killing the tommy-gun bank robbers of the thirties but overlook Hoover’s odd, and possibly corrupt, unwillingness to take organized crime seriously, even as, in the forties and fifties, the Mafia was draining millions from the economy. Liberals will find much in the movie that condemns Hoover’s trampling of civil liberties, but may be dismayed by the insistence that an emerging national power needed a secret police force. Gay activists may be disappointed by the filmmakers’ restrained assumptions about Hoover’s sexuality, though the destructive effects of self-denial have rarely been dramatized in such withering detail. Hoover, we realize, is obsessed with keeping America safe because he feels unsafe himself. Internal subversion is a personal, not just a political, threat to him. No stranger man—not even Nixon—has ever been at the center of an American epic. ♦
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Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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“Words are mere man-given symbols for thoughts and feelings, and they are grossly insufficient to express the thoughts in my mind and the feelings in my heart that I have for you,” Hoover wrote to Tolson in 1943. “I hope I will always have you beside me.”





http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/life_and_art/2011/11/clint_eastwood_s_j_edgar_were_j_edgar_hoover_and_clyde_tolson_lovers_.single.html


Internal Affairs
Were J. Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolson lovers?
By Beverly Gage
Posted Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011, at 1:21 PM ET



Clyde Tolson and J. Edgar Hoover never openly acknowledged a sexual or romantic
relationship/Photograph courtesy UCLA Library.

 

In one of the climactic moments of the new film J. Edgar,  a thirtysomething J. Edgar Hoover reveals his plans to take a wife. The scene unfolds in a New York hotel suite, where Hoover has reserved adjoining rooms with Clyde Tolson, his second-in-command at the FBI. Tolson responds with rage to his boss’s news, throwing a temper tantrum at odds with his typically polished demeanor. The argument soon escalates into a fistfight, then into the film’s single most sexual moment: a bloody kiss between the director and associate director of the FBI.

There is no evidence that this fight—much less the kiss—ever took place. What we know about the relationship between Hoover and Tolson comes mostly from the public record: meals together twice a day, joint vacations, a final burial place just a few yards apart. Their interior and sexual lives remain mostly a matter of speculation. Despite daunting research efforts by journalists and historians, we can say little more today than we could four or five decades ago: Hoover and Tolson had a marriage of sorts. But what sort of marriage was it?
 
J. Edgar’ s scriptwriter, Dustin Lance Black, had the luxury of imagining the answer to this question, depicting Hoover and Tolson’s relationship as a tragic precursor to today’s sanctioned gay marriages. The film focuses on their interpersonal drama, conjuring up intimate dinner-table powwows and anguished personal struggles. (For the record: Yes, Hoover loved his mama. No, there is no evidence that he put on her necklace and dress in the hours after her death.)

And yet it is Hoover and Tolson’s public life—the stuff we do know about—that is ultimately the most fascinating part of their story. They never openly acknowledged a sexual or romantic relationship. At the same time, they demanded—and received—a level of respect for their partnership that seems almost unthinkable in pre-Stonewall society. For some four decades, the crème de la crème of political America treated them as a recognized couple; when Edgar was invited to dinner, so was Clyde. We don’t have to make up their most intimate scenes to find a relationship worth exploring.
 
Hoover and Tolson met sometime in the late 1920s—perhaps, though not definitively, at the Mayflower Hotel bar as suggested in one of J. Edgar’ s early scenes. In early 1928, Tolson signed on as a Bureau agent, one of many handsome young George Washington fraternity men recruited in Hoover’s early days as director. His career took off immediately. By 1931, Tolson was assistant director of the Bureau, charged with enforcing Hoover’s famously nitpicking internal policies.

Swift promotion was not particularly unique at the early Bureau; when Hoover found men he liked, he brought them up fast. What made Tolson stand out was the highly public friendship he soon developed with his boss. By the mid-1930s, Tolson was at Hoover’s side for every major Washington outing, from Bureau baseball games to White House affairs. As the FBI gained fame for running down kidnappers and bank robbers (a story rendered almost wholly out of chronological sequence in J. Edgar ), Tolson usually accompanied Hoover to New York as well. There, they became fixtures of gossip columnist Walter Winchell’s rarefied Stork Club circle, hobnobbing with the likes of boxer Jack Dempsey and Broadway author Damon Runyon. On one fairly typical night in 1935, they joined Winchell in the press section at a Dempsey fight only to end the evening watching a brawl involving Ernest Hemingway.

Their own brawl in J. Edgar  takes places sometime during this period, evoking the erotically charged world of café society as a backdrop for Hoover and Tolson’s grand confrontation. Many of the scene’s other elements are similarly based in fact. Hoover did have a headline-grabbing and certainly false romance with film star Dorothy Lamour, his candidate for wifehood in J. Edgar.  He also had a rumored—and equally unlikely—affair with Ginger Rogers’ mother Lela, depicted as the confident older woman trying to muscle Hoover onto the dance floor in one of the film’s nightclub scenes.

For the most part, though, Hoover simply opted out of the marriage-and-children game. He loved to give advice on the subject, publishing preachy newspaper columns and speeches on “The Parent Problem” and “The Man I Want My Son To Be.” But he never seriously entertained the idea of starting a family, and his few dates with women seem to be nothing more than a nod to social convention. In retrospect, it seems astonishing how little he actually did to maintain a heterosexual facade. From his first moments at the Bureau, he surrounded himself with young men, and his loyalties never wavered.

This produced the predictable Washington gossip. As early as the 1930s, local columnists had begun to titter about Hoover’s “mincing step” and fondness for natty suits. By the late 1960s, at least one congressman was allegedly threatening to out Hoover and Tolson on the House floor, retaliation for unrelated backroom shenanigans. Hoover could be merciless in such situations. Throughout his career, he regularly sent FBI agents to track down citizens unwise enough to suggest that he was “queer.” He also cooperated in the postwar Lavender Scare, when hundreds of gay men and women lost their federal jobs as security risks. (Oddly, J. Edgar  entirely skips this period of Hoover’s life, despite its jaw-droppingly rich sexual complexity.)

Hoover’s attempts to strong-arm his critics fit our image of him as a ruthless power-monger, and of the pre-Stonewall era as a time of brutal anti-gay repression. Far more difficult to reconcile with this image is the acceptance that Hoover and Tolson seemed to find—at exactly the same time—in the highest reaches of New York and Washington society. Despite the rumors of their homosexuality, they conducted a vibrant and open social partnership throughout their years together, accepting joint dinner invitations, attending family functions, even signing the occasional thank-you note together.

Friends and political associates knew to treat them as a bona fide couple. In the 1930s, for instance, Hoover and Tolson hit the town with Broadway star Ethel Merman and Stork Club owner Sherman Billingsley, busy conducting their own illicit affair. By the 1950s, the two men were double-dating with Dick and Pat Nixon, whom Hoover had met while pursuing the case against Alger Hiss. “I did want to drop you this personal note to let you know how sorry Clyde and I are that we were unable to join Pat and you for lunch today,” Hoover wrote to Vice President Nixon after one failed invitation in 1958. On another occasion, Nixon suggested that Clyde—“our favorite bartender”—ought to learn to make the mean if unspecified pink cocktail that they all had often enjoyed together.

Such exchanges evoke nothing so much as the formal world of 1950s married life, one set of spouses trading entertaining tips and social niceties with the other. But did these friends actually view Hoover and Tolson as a romantic and sexual couple? In recent decades, many acquaintances—including Ethel Merman—have claimed that they “knew” about Hoover and Tolson. But it’s hard to say if this is posthumous speculation or accurate insider knowledge. Nixon famously referred to Hoover as a “cocksucker”—a suggestive word, but one that may or may not be referring to Hoover’s sex life. In the press, Hoover and Tolson were most often described as “bachelors,” a term that served simultaneously as a euphemism and as a straightforward description of an unmarried heterosexual man. At the FBI, acquaintances consistently denied anything other than a close friendship.

It is easy to write off the more open aspects of Hoover and Tolson’s relationship as proof of old-fashioned naiveté—to assume that folks in the 1950s were unaware. But this gives the people of the past far too little credit and flattens out an intriguing social history. If Hoover’s story tells us anything, it’s that today’s binaries—gay vs. straight, closeted vs. out—map uneasily onto the sexual past. Hoover and Tolson were many things at once: professional associates, golf buddies, Masonic brothers, and possibly lovers as well.

At the very least, they were caring social partners, relying on each other for emotional sustenance and daily support that went beyond the realm of ordinary friendship. J. Edgar  closes with Tolson clutching a love letter to Eleanor Roosevelt from journalist Lorena Hickok, now widely seen as one of Roosevelt’s several romantic interests. But Tolson might as well have been reading a letter from his own FBI personnel file, which contains one of the few personal missives that have survived decades of purging and obfuscation.

“Words are mere man-given symbols for thoughts and feelings, and they are grossly insufficient to express the thoughts in my mind and the feelings in my heart that I have for you,” Hoover wrote to Tolson in 1943. “I hope I will always have you beside me.”
« Last Edit: November 10, 2011, 09:34:04 pm by Aloysius J. Gleek »
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
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Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
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Offline oilgun

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The reviews I've read have been luke-warm.  Apparently Clint let's the subject matter get away from him and is too easy on the vile Hoover but Leo's performance is excellent.

Offline ifyoucantfixit

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    I definitely am going to see this one.  I like Leonardo very much.  Clint is a
consumetly talented director also.  One of his not so perfect works.  Will probably surpass most of the other fare out there.  I have really been looking forward to this film.  I was from an era that I can identify with very well.  I mostly thought of him when I was in school, and after as well, as a most dedicated and effective leader of the bureau.  I think he was like most men of great drive and ability.  They have two sides in all things.  Good, and bad.  After all he was human as we all are. 





     Beautiful mind

Offline delalluvia

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One-sided? Maybe...in the movie??

In the movie.

 :laugh: at the pics. They look like grown up version of me and my sister's Easter dresses, being dressed alike by our mom.

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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In the movie.

 :laugh: at the pics. They look like grown up version of me and my sister's Easter dresses, being dressed alike by our mom.




For some reason, I don't think you and your sister would have sat quite as--close  as that--   ;) ;D





























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Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
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Offline delalluvia

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Actually we probably did, sisters you know.  :)

Offline oilgun

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Considering all the lives those two have ruined, I feel like throwing up. I will skip this one...

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Considering all the lives those two have ruined, I feel like throwing up. I will skip this one...


Monsters, I grant you, if certainly not  as compelling as, say, Lord and Lady Macbeth, but--maybe interesting all the same--


"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
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Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Oh well--here's an (almost ) out-and-out bad review!   ::) ;D



http://nymag.com/listings/movie/j-edgar/

Review
J. Edgar
By David Edelstein





We hear the voice first, high-pitched, the vowel sounds swerving between Boston and Brooklyn, neither of which was home to FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. It’s not a promising start for Leonardo DiCaprio in J. Edgar,  and the first appearance of his face, egregiously rubberized to age him decades, adds to the element of camp. Who’ll be playing Eleanor RooseveltKristen Wiig? DiCaprio is a good, sometimes great naturalistic actor, but his transformations have always been hit-or-miss, and the opening of Dustin Lance Black’s script could be a biopic parody. When Hoover began to dictate his memoirs (“It’s time to tell my side of the story!”), I was embarrassed for the actor. Is Hoover meant to seem so stiff and ludicrous?

It turns out that he is, in part, having hidden his true, homosexual nature for so long that he’s phony through and through. The thrust of J. Edgar  is that many of the U.S. government’s most dangerous tendencies—among them flagrant disregard for civil liberties—are rooted in a closeted gay man’s terror of being exposed, especially to his mother. From that terror came Hoover’s obsession with ferreting out other people’s secrets, amassing private files on presidents and using them as leverage to remain in power. And the man who made sure that his bureau projected an aura of manly fitness struggled with the impulse to sashay around the house in dresses and pearl necklaces.

You might wonder: “Who is the gay, pinko, subversive director behind this Tommy-gun assault on our national security and masculinity?” Clint Eastwood, of course. J. Edgar  is the latest chapter in Eastwood’s never-ending project to deconstruct the macho, jingoist, homophobic, right-wing archetype he once embodied—and prove himself an artist whose simplicity of style belies the most sophisticated understanding of the dual nature of the American character of any living filmmaker.

That’s the theory, anyway. It’s too bad J. Edgar  is so shapeless and turgid and ham-handed, so rich in bad lines and worse readings. Not DiCaprio, though: As you get used to (and correct for) his artifice, you appreciate his guts and honesty. There’s something appealingly straightforward about the way he physicalizes Hoover’s inner struggle, the body always slightly out of sync with the mind that vigilantly monitors every move. The same can’t be said, alas, for Armie Hammer as Hoover’s beloved Clyde Tolson. He’s fine as the smugly entitled pretty boy but hopeless under speckled makeup that makes him look more like a burn victim than a senior citizen. Is there a merit badge for self-effacement? Give it to Naomi Watts as Hoover’s lifelong secretary, who has few lines but is frequently held in the frame so we can register her conflict between loyalty to her boss and to the Constitution of the United States.

Direction this ponderous exposes all the contrivances in Black’s script, like surrounding the aged Hoover with agents who, while taking dictation, interrupt to query the legality of his methods. Those damn liberals are everywhere! The bleached-out scenes in the teens, twenties, and thirties strongly suggest that God had yet to invent color—but late in the film there’s a postmodern twist that reveals our narrator as unreliable. With direction as unvaried as Eastwood’s, you can’t tell what’s purposefully bogus and what’s inept. And does Black’s gay through line get in the way of the story? Apart from one derisive line about Joe McCarthy, there’s nothing about HUAC or the blacklist, when the FBI and Congress worked hand in hand to trash the First Amendment.

I did love Judi Dench as Mrs. Hoover, who at one point announces, “I’d rather have a dead son than a daffodil for a son”—to which J. Edgar replies, “Yes, mother.” A carriage that formidable would scare anyone straight.
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
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Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
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Offline oilgun

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J. Edgar: Was he a hero or a villain?
RICK GROEN

What a sprawling, befuddling, fascinating, frustrating mess of a movie. Usually the tautest of directors, Clint Eastwood has gone all slack here, allowing his subject to get completely away from him.

To be sure, J. Edgar Hoover is a big subject and a tough nut to crack. As head of the FBI through eight elected presidents and nearly a half century of American democracy, Hoover behaved like a one-man Kremlin, as subversive as the subversives he hunted. Eastwood admits as much in these frames, but seems to have no strong opinion on the matter.

nstead, he gives Hoover a very long leash, leaving the little bulldog to bark boastingly and trot across the decades relatively unscathed. It’s hardly surprising that J. Edgar would lionize himself; what’s shocking is that J. Edgar lets him, with only modest attempts at correcting the record.

[...]

Flash-forward again to the Sixties. The dynamic trio have all aged together and, courtesy of the makeup department, are now similarly layered in latex – in certain light, they look like a Night of the Living Dead convention. Nevertheless, Edgar remains hard at it, butting heads with Bobby Kennedy, digging up dirt on Jack, and doing his vicious best to discredit Martin Luther King along with that most insidious of domestic threats – the Civil Rights Movement.

Back to the past, where the Twenties give way to the Thirties, Commies to gangsters, and then the “crime of the century” – the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby. Oddly, this is what Eastwood lingers on, clumsily dramatizing several aspects of the case, all with the apparent purpose of extolling Hoover’s law-enforcing achievements (expanding federal jurisdiction, advancing forensic science, centralizing finger-printing data). While we’re pondering this, the G-man records in his memoir: “It’s important that we re-clarify the difference between hero and villain.”Yet that’s precisely what this film fails to do. It doesn’t convincingly portray Hoover as either a tragic hero with flaws, or a villain with redeeming humanity.

Consequently, despite DiCaprio’s best efforts, the character never comes alive enough to elicit our sympathy or our disdain. Without that investment, the so-called emotional scenes play out like a dry well. The death of his mother, for example. Hoover is bereft, and Eastwood uses the occasion to touch on the cross-dressing rumours. In his grief, Edgar dons Mommy’s necklace, then her frock, and collapses to the floor in tears. Yes, we feel nothing but the urge to laugh – the sequence is risible. So is another crucial moment when Clyde, upset about Edgar’s professed dalliance with an actress, dukes it out with his pal, then plants a bloody kiss smack on his mouth.

On this issue, the film is discreet about the extent of Hoover’s homosexual feelings – he certainly had them; he may or may not have acted on them. Since Hoover himself lacked any such reservations about exposing the sexual habits (real or rumoured) of others, perhaps Eastwood’s non-committal approach reflects a commendable higher standard. Unfortunately, it also reflects a non-committal picture. The script tries to make a virtue out of not judging Hoover, asking us to do the job instead. That might be fine, but only if we’re given a reason to care. We aren’t.

Hoover died in office during the presidency of his star pupil Richard Nixon. They shared the same love of illegal bugging, dirty tricks and domestic spying, plus the fervent belief that “information is power.” Well, maybe in war and politics, but not in the movies. Like its subject, J. Edgar is chock full of random information; unlike him, it’s woefully lacking in any real power. The man built a Kremlin in Washington while branding himself a patriot; the film raises a red flag only to hide under it.


http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/arts/movies/j-edgar-was-he-a-hero-or-a-villain/article2232544/page1/

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/13/opinion/sunday/dowd-dirty-harry-meets-dirtier-edgar.html?pagewanted=all





Op-Ed Columnist
Dirty Harry Meets
Dirtier Edgar

By MAUREEN DOWD
 Published: November 12, 2011



Istvan Banyai


WASHINGTON

I ASK Clint Eastwood, the star who defined macho in 20th-century movies, what it was like to direct a scene with two men kissing.

Especially when it’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Armie Hammer playing a rule-bending and gender-bending version of J. Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolson.

Stretching out his Giacometti legs in the Four Seasons bar, the rangy 81-year-old said he juiced up the action to make it a fistfight that suddenly turns erotic. Or as Eastwood circumspectly puts it, “It becomes an expression, at least from one of the parties — maybe both — of borderline something else.”

A director who prides himself on his economy (one or two takes often suffice) and frugality, Eastwood said: “It moved so fast, nobody had a chance to feel awkward. Afterward there were some jokes.”

I quote the Times  film critic Manohla Dargis writing that “the tenderness of the love story in ‘J. Edgar’ comes as a shock.”

He cocks his head and says with a gravelly murmur, “Don’t I seem like the tender type?” before reassuring me, “All this .44 Magnum stuff, it’s just an act.”

Some F.B.I. agents who worked with Hoover have been grousing that portraying the feared first director of the F.B.I. as homosexual would “turn Dirty Harry into Dirty Harriet,” as William Branon, chairman of the J. Edgar Hoover Foundation, put it.

It’s sorta meta: the star who played a fictional law enforcement officer breaking rules for what he sees as the good of society makes a movie about a real law enforcement officer breaking rules for what he sees as the good of society.

Dirty Harry came out looking cool, though. The dirt-collecting Hoover comes out looking creepy.

Eastwood signed on to direct the screenplay written by Dustin Lance Black, the 37-year-old star who scored an Oscar in 2009 for his screenplay for “Milk” and wrote the play “8,” gleaned from transcripts of California’s Prop 8 trial and staged in New York in September with a starry cast.

“He’s a nice kid,” Eastwood says. “I call him a kid because he’s younger than me by about eight centuries.”

Black, who was shy and sometimes suicidal growing up gay on military bases and in Mormon culture, told me he wrote about Harvey Milk to “inspire the younger generation to start becoming activists.” In his Oscar acceptance speech, he exhorted young gays and lesbians “who have been told that they are less than, by their churches or by the government or by their families, that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value.”

The collaboration between the dishy icon of gay swagger and the dashing icon of straight swagger is intriguing. Riffing on gay marriage with GQ,  Eastwood said, “Why not?”

He calls the tightly braided relationship between the No. 1 and No. 2 at the F.B.I. “a deep friendship between men.” Even if there was gay affection, he does not think it was consummated.

Black regards the relationship as a tragic love story. Even though he doesn’t depict it in the film, he thinks the relationship was consummated.

“It’s so funny because it’s the generational divide,” he says about himself and Eastwood, who remembers Hoover from newsreels in the 1930s and ’40s. “For a much older generation, gay is the act of having sex with someone of the same gender. But the post-sexual-revolution, post-Stonewall generation defines gay or lesbian as someone’s nature. Who they are attracted to, who they connect with. It’s something much deeper than just a sexual act. And when you define it like that, Hoover is a gay man.”

The biopic features several scenes of Hoover bumbling in hetero moments: taking Helen Gandy, who would become his lifelong secretary, to the Library of Congress on a first date to show off the card catalog system he helped organize; flustered as he refuses to dance with Ginger Rogers’s mother at a New York cabaret; sparking a lovers’ quarrel with Tolson when he talks about his dates with Dorothy Lamour and how “it may be time for a Mrs. Hoover,” a slot Tolson felt he was already filling splendidly, with tart gossip and shopping trips where he dandified Hoover.

“He would propose to these women on the first or second date, and it would always be a ‘no,’ ” Black said. “A lot of the research I did was to go to gay men living in Washington, D.C., who are in their 80s and 90s now, and have them describe to me what the code was at that time. What you couldn’t say, what you did to replace the hole in your heart where dating and love would have gone. If anything was consummated, it was not discussed because it was just too dangerous.”

He said he wanted every scene, including the “love story” ones, to be based on facts. Eastwood said he, too, read the screenwriter’s research books to check accuracy and “make sure there wasn’t just one opinion.”

Black did extrapolate, though, about the pair who dressed alike, had all their meals together and enjoyed balmy trips to the Del Mar track in California (where they switched to matching white tropical suits and white fedoras).

The writer knew that Clyde and “Speed” — the nickname Hoover got because he talked fast to correct a stutter and/or delivered groceries quickly as a boy — had a glass-shattering fight in a Del Mar hotel room. Black conjures a tortured, bloody kiss at the end and Tolson’s parting threat: “If you ever mention a lady friend again, that will be the last day you share my company.”

There is no doubt that the monstrous mama’s boy who ruled the bureau for 48 years was self-loathing: He intimidated those who insinuated he was gay; banned gays from the F.B.I.; used files about Eleanor Roosevelt’s lady friends to manipulate F.D.R.; and spread false rumors that Adlai Stevenson was gay.

Even though Black found no evidence to corroborate a claim by a Mafia wife that Hoover was a cross-dresser, he did put in a Bates Motel scene: DiCaprio’s Hoover puts on cascading beads and a lace-trim dress belonging to his late mother, the manipulative aspiring socialite who egged on his ambition and cruelly told him, “I’d rather have a dead son than a daffodil for a son.”

Hoover grew up within sight of the Capitol and lived with his mother until she died when he was 40. He had an emergency F.B.I. phone installed in his childhood bedroom; he got the call about the Lindbergh kidnapping there.

He left everything to Tolson in his will; now the two are buried nearly within hand-holding distance of each other in the Congressional Cemetery.

Black believes that the Commie-hating, credit-hogging, image-inflating Hoover was a harbinger of our modern society — sickeningly revolving around fame. “If there’s anyone who lives his life feeling like public adoration was the No. 1 goal,” the writer says, “it was J. Edgar Hoover.”

Eastwood says Hoover did some good. But when I asked if he was loco, the director replied, “He definitely marched to a different drummer.”

Spending time here filming and showing a screening Tuesday at the Newseum did not awaken political yearnings in Eastwood, a libertarian/Republican who was once mayor of Carmel, Calif. Neither did news that in 1988, Poppy Bush’s team kicked around the idea of having him as a running mate.

He said he’d never settle for No. 2 and he doesn’t think he could have survived a national campaign.

Referring to the grumpy, prejudiced dinosaur he played in his last role, he grinned: “In this p.c. era, I’d be the ‘Gran Torino’ president.”
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Ha!! The Brokies beat J. Edgar  (Leonardo Di) to the punch!  ;) ;) 8) 8) :laugh: :laugh:




http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20544136,00.html

CAUGHT IN THE ACT!
Leonardo DiCaprio's Pizza-and-Art Night
with His Buddies

Leonardo DiCaprio Parties With Victoria’s Secret,
Eats Three Pies at Ovest Pizzoteca

By Kristin Boehm
Thursday November 10, 2011 05:55 AM EST





Leonardo DiCaprio and four gallery-hopping buddies were spotted scarfing down pizzas at Ovest Pizzoteca in New York after scoping out the art at the adjacent Paul Kasmin Gallery. The group sat in the front bar area, and the J. Edgar  star stayed casual in a navy ball cap as he watched the chef hand toss the pizzas. The group devoured three pies in under five minutes – then opted for seconds on a pizza with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil.








Now we know--Leo is actually following us!!
  ::) ::) 8) 8) :D :D











 ;D ;D ;D ;D





Also posted in Brokie Social Events: A Rerun to New York 3 (2011)
« Last Edit: November 14, 2011, 09:35:14 am by Aloysius J. Gleek »
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline serious crayons

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And he likes the same pizza toppings!


Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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And he likes the same pizza toppings!



Not only that--the same number of people (us five) ate three pies in five minutes, too.

It's fate.

(Leo, you can come to any of our Brokie gatherings any time you like. We're asking Hugh Jackman also!)

 ;D



"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Front-Ranger

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We are the cutting edge, if you count pizza cutters!! And as for Leo, what's next for him? A remake of Citizen Kane or perhaps one of Marlon Brando's last hits??  8)
May 2019 be better for us all.

Offline Mandy21

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If anyone's interested in the Hoover/Tolson love story, I just saw my library listed a new title called:  "J. Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolson: Investigating the Sexual Secrets of America's Most Famous Men and Women", published in February of this year, by Darwin Porter.  Here is Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/Edgar-Hoover-Clyde-Tolson-Investigating/dp/1936003252/ref=sr_1_cc_2?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1342363695&sr=1-2-catcorr&keywords=darwin+porter

Reviews are mixed.  Apparently, he's a rather salacious author.  Haven't read it, but just thought I'd share this info.
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