Author Topic: Other gay-themed movies  (Read 98707 times)

Offline x-man

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Re: Other gay-themed movies
« Reply #260 on: September 15, 2013, 09:49:56 am »
I absolutely knew before I posted that you, MM, would be the first on my tail.  You did not disappoint.  You follow me around BetterMost looking for new dragons to slay.  I hope I do not disappoint.

I was confused by the form your attack took.  Am I missing something?  My call for gay operas was genuine; my characterization of possible plot lines for gay adaptations of existing operas was not.  I was trying to burlesque opera plots in general.  (After all, we go/listen to them for the music, not complex, highly nuanced stories--for that we read books, watch plays.)  You must have seen that.  I would say with Ennis, "Lighten up on me, Jack," except that perhaps I am reading you wrong.  "Discoteca" instead of "fiesta"?  We're doing adaptations in Italian?  The libretto is sacrosanct?  Surely you aren't serious?

Actually, when I wrote I had in mind Preminger's 1954 film Carmen Jones.  I watched it again the other day, and was happy to discover that it stood up to time very well.  Carmen Jones and Private Romeo (which I have raved about before) tell me adaptations from one genre to another can be done successfully. You're probably right to urge new gay operas rather than screwing around with existing operas.  But a part of me would die to hear the first act of Traviata sung by two men--O quel amor!
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Offline milomorris

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Re: Other gay-themed movies
« Reply #261 on: September 15, 2013, 06:07:47 pm »
I absolutely knew before I posted that you, MM, would be the first on my tail.  You did not disappoint.  You follow me around BetterMost looking for new dragons to slay.  I hope I do not disappoint.

I don't treat you any differently than I treat any of the other Bettermostians. When I see a post with which I disagree, I challenge it. Plain and simple. It has nothing to do with you. I don't even know you.

Besides, I'm the only opera singer here at Bettermost, AFAIK. Why would I not be the first person to enter a discussion about an art form that I have been studying and practicing for most of my life?

I was confused by the form your attack took.

Attack?!?! There was no attack. There was a reasoned critique of your ideas. Again, I did not say anything of a personal nature at all.

Am I missing something?  My call for gay operas was genuine; my characterization of possible plot lines for gay adaptations of existing operas was not.  I was trying to burlesque opera plots in general.  (After all, we go/listen to them for the music, not complex, highly nuanced stories--for that we read books, watch plays.)  You must have seen that.  I would say with Ennis, "Lighten up on me, Jack," except that perhaps I am reading you wrong.  "Discoteca" instead of "fiesta"?  We're doing adaptations in Italian?  The libretto is sacrosanct?  Surely you aren't serious?

1. I did not catch on that your suggestions for adaptations was not serious. There was nothing in your post that communicated that.

2. Maybe you go to operas just to listen to the music, but there are many people who go there to experience the dramatic aspects.

3. Traviata was written in Italian. You did not suggest a translation. The libretto is not sacrosanct, but it would be awkward to fit a 4-syllable word to music that was originally written for a 2-syllable word.

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Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: Other gay-themed movies
« Reply #262 on: September 15, 2013, 11:48:37 pm »
I was really enjoying this conversation. Would it be possible to overlook the potential conflict? You both have so much to contribute. Can we play nice in the sandbox please?

Offline milomorris

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Re: Other gay-themed movies
« Reply #263 on: September 16, 2013, 06:39:50 am »
I was really enjoying this conversation. Would it be possible to overlook the potential conflict? You both have so much to contribute. Can we play nice in the sandbox please?

Absolutely. So let's continue from a point on which we all agree...

You're probably right to urge new gay operas rather than screwing around with existing operas.

There is a wealth of stories, plays, movies, biographies, and poetry written about sexual minorities that could serve as the basis for new operas. For example, and opera about Tchaikovsky might have broad appeal to opera consumers. Milk could also be turned into an opera. I could envision an opera about the life of Senator Barney Frank, or an opera about two all-American boys in the Marines who fall in love during the days of DADT, and have a happy ending after its repeal. There's lots of material out there, and plenty of composers who are coming to the operatic art form today. Jennifer Higdon is working on a Civil War opera right now titled Cold Mountain. Composer Jennifer is a Pulitzer Prize winner with international acclaim. She lives here in Philadelphia wither partner. I've met her once, but cannot say that I know her.
  The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Offline x-man

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Re: Other gay-themed movies
« Reply #264 on: September 16, 2013, 09:05:55 am »
I agree with you, FR and MM, that we should look forward,  and I will do that.  I must, however, glance back for a moment to clear up one thing:  MM I never thought you were attacking me personally.  I am not so ego-involved with my postings as to think that.  When I wrote of "cavalry charges," "slaying dragons" and "attacks," I meant them as being against the issues I raised--your "reasoned critiques."   You say you don't even know me.  Actually you do.  In BetterMost all we really know of each other is what we reveal in our postings.  A few days ago I reviewed all of mine in chronological order, and realized, rather uncomfortably, that they were a surprisingly accurate, if partial, picture of me.  I suspect this is true of all of us.

Now we look forward.  I really like the idea of Milk and the young Marines facing DADT as operas.  Milk would be sad, but are there any happy operas?  Don't we have to turn to operetta for that?  (A gay Jeannette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy?  It sounds very campy, but fun.)  Maybe the DADT story could be the first happy opera.  I would insist on a film version.  Let's face it, love scenes viewed from the distance between theatre stage and audience are not what they are in movie closeups.  My mind races to the scene in the desert where beautiful Marines thrash in the sand.  (Well, you can't--or at least couldn't--do it in the barracks; I know that from personal experience.)
Happiness is the lasting pleasure of the mind grasping the intelligible order of reality.      --Leibniz

Offline milomorris

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Re: Other gay-themed movies
« Reply #265 on: September 16, 2013, 06:30:41 pm »
Milk would be sad, but are there any happy operas?  Don't we have to turn to operetta for that?

Oh yes. And although operetta is primarily a comic genre, there are happy operas in the standard repertoire of grand operas. Magic Flute, Don Pasquale, Elixir of Love, Marriage of Figaro, and the Barber of Seville are all comic operas that are constantly being produced by opera companies large and small all over the world.

Maybe the DADT story could be the first happy opera.  I would insist on a film version.  Let's face it, love scenes viewed from the distance between theatre stage and audience are not what they are in movie closeups. 

There are a relatively small number of operas that have been made into movies. I don't mean filmed version of a staged production, but rather actual motion pictures shot on sound stages, on location, in back-lots, etc. There is one chamber opera that was written specifically for the purpose of being aired on television, and this Gian-Carlo Menotti's (another famous sexual minority) Amahl & the Night Visitors. But I am not aware of any operas out there created to be feature films. This could constitute yet another "first" for such a project.

Naturally, such a film would really only find its way into art-house movie theatres. But that is still a larger audience than an opera house would tender. Funding such a project would be a tricky and difficult prospect. But nowadays there are some production companies that will take on risky, cutting-edge projects. Focus Features is just one of them. Of course there is also the independent film production sphere, but those have distribution issues.
  The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Offline x-man

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Re: Other gay-themed movies
« Reply #266 on: September 18, 2013, 02:18:49 pm »
THE DL CHRONICLES The Complete First Season, Kiss But Don't Tell (Here! 2008)

I haven't seen this movie on anyone's list so far.  The DL stands for "down low," and the 4 episodes in the film describe the lives of 4 Black men who are "living on the down low, that is,  pretending to be straight but having sex with men.  The film presents this as a phenomenon of the Black community due to a higher degree of homophobia in Black culture (at least Black American culture) than in society at large.  I can't comment on the authenticity of this because I am a white Canadian and unfamiliar with Black culture.  I have had only one Black friend (straight), and have only slept with two Black men in my life (we didn't talk about this subject, in fact we didn't talk much at all).  So, I will leave it up to African Americans to tell us how real it is.

Each episode is a separate story.  The men range from very much in the closet to out.  There is humour in each episode, especially the last, and watching them in order (you don't have to) you see it moving from less to more out.  Beneath the humour is the recognition that men living on the down low are not in an enviable position.  They have a lot to deal with, and there seems to be the idea that more out is a better place to be.

This TV mini-series is pretty good, the acting and production values fine, and the music quite good.  Now to what some of you are wondering:  The guys look great--some nice eye candy--but the sex is quite restrained (not like QAF at all).  There is one scene of a guy with a fluffer that I am surprised got passed the censors.  I recommend this movie, and it bears watching more than once; there is more to it than you first think.   
Happiness is the lasting pleasure of the mind grasping the intelligible order of reality.      --Leibniz

Offline x-man

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Re: Other gay-themed movies
« Reply #267 on: September 30, 2013, 11:46:12 am »
I haven't seen these movies on anybody's list here in BetterMost, so I thought I would bring them to your attention.
The Donald Strachey Mysteries:
THIRD MAN OUT (Here! 2005)
SHOCK TO THE SYSTEM (Here! 2006)
ICE BLUES (Here! 2008)
ON THE OTHER HAND DEATH (Here 2008)

These are the films that made me aware that the genre of gay movies even existed.  Before, I had thought gay movie meant porn movie, and I had gotten enough of that in Amsterdam in the 70's.  The films follow the career of Donald Strachey, a street-smart, tough private detective in Albany, NY, and his spouse Timothy.  The films are patterned after the film noir mysteries of the 1940's, particularly the Thin Man series with Nick and Nora Charles, now Donald and Timothy.  These two men play off of each other so well that people ask them if they are lovers in real life.

Chad Allen (Donald) is the boy character from Dr Quinn Medicine Woman, now grown up.  He is openly gay, and does a lot of work with LGBT agencies and causes.  Sebastian Spence is straight, but makes a great gay man, and says he enjoys the part very much.

The 1st, 2nd, and 4th films have specifically gay themes in their plot-lines; the 3rd is more a regular detective story with lots of gay characters.  On the Commentary in Bonus Features on each film, we hear from the Director, Ron Oliver, who is very funny, very Out, and makes a lot of campy remarks about the actors.  Some of the series have been released for general distribution, and occasionally show up on TV.  The acting is very professional, the cinematography great--especially the lighting--capturing the film noir quality.  They have lots of humour, very Chandleresque snappy dialogue, and the guys look wonderful.  Oliver makes a point of trying to find male actors with great faces and bodies.  After all, he says, they are gay movies. 

I highly recommend all four films, but the first two are probably the best.  Each film stands on its own, but the characters do develop from one film to the next, so it is better to watch them in order, especially for the first two.

BTW, when you check out Shock To The System, make sure it is the Donald Strachey Mystery.  There is another movie, a 1990 film with Michael Caine called A Shock to the System.
Happiness is the lasting pleasure of the mind grasping the intelligible order of reality.      --Leibniz