Archived entries for TV and Movies

Coop on Carter

I was re-reading old blog posts when I came across this one, in which Anderson Cooper talks about his brother’s suicide in an essay on CNN.com. The piece is rife with fascinating quotes and observations on life and death and is a must-read! The ending zinger is rather profound:

I used to think suicide was a conscious act. A plan made, then carried out. I know now it’s not always like that.

My brother was a sweet young man who wanted to be in control. In the end, he simply wasn’t.

None of us are. We all dangle from a very delicate thread.

The key is not to let go.

500 Days of Summer

Just saw “500 Days of Summer,” a cute boy meets girl, boy falls in love, girl doesn’t kind of film. My friend Brian said I HAD to see it, describing it as a perfect depiction of my life.  I have to admit it DID feel a bit like I was watching my life flash before me on the big screen. My BFF Joseph Gordon-Levitt does a good job playing “me.”

The zinger at the film’s end, after Tom and Summer have split and she has gotten married, is so simple and so profound. It’s like Brian said to me one day: “How can two people have so much fun then one completely disappears?”

Continue reading…

Bruno

I’m not a huge movie guy — I’ve only seen three movies in the past three years — but Bruno totally cracked me up. In fact, I saw it twice this past weekend. It was that good! Truth be told, I’m not sure what’s more amusing: this laugh-out-loud film, or the objection to it by so many — both gay and straight.

As for the claims that this movie actually encourages homophobia by showcasing such a wildly effeminate man, I have to agree with Aaron Hicklin, the editor of Out, who told CNN: “You’d really have to be quite dense and idiotic to think this is was in any way an accurate reflection of the way gay men live their lives.”

A lot of people are getting worked up over this. Like an unfortunate number of LGBT organizations, GLAAD seems to be particularly out of touch with reality (again), putting out this ridiculous statement. I’m all for equality — but as gay blog Queerty says, “gay rights organizations are in the business of crying foul whenever someone or something does anything to remotely offend the community, which gets interpreted as oppression.”

We’re living in a “Post PC” world. Does anyone take this stuff serious anymore? (Apparently, some do.) Why waste the energy? Live a little…laugh a lot.

Regardless of what one thinks of the film’s content, there is absolutely no disputing that Sacha Baron Cohen is a brilliant actor, and brave as hell. Two thumbs up.

bruno

“Outrage”

outrageToday I had the distinct pleasure of seeing “Outrage,” the new documentary out this week that takes aim at politicians and public officials, alleged to be gay, who have been leading double lives — playing gay in private while simultaneously voting against equal rights legislation. Doing one thing in private while railing against it in public is so not cool.

The film’s on-screen “sources,” credible names like Wisconsin Rep. Tammy Baldwin; Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank; ex-Arizona Rep. Jim Kolbe; CNN commentator Hilary Rosen; and ex-HRC head honcho Elizabeth Birch — plus staffers and ex-lovers of the exposed — name names. But they certainly don’t out simply for the sake of outing. As radio commentator Michelangelo Signorile has so eloquently put it, this film isn’t about outing. It’s about reporting the truth about people who are gay but who have used their power and privilege to deny rights to gay people.

I’ve never been one to support outing. But there is a limit to personal privacy when your actions — limiting marriage to straight couples, banning gay adoptions, allowing employment discrimination to persist, and voting against funding for AIDS research and prevention — are injurious to millions of Americans. “There is a right to privacy, but not a right to hypocrisy,” House rainbow-striper Barney Frank succinctly puts it.

Those among the “named” have been named before, and they’re really no surprise: people like airport-loo-toe-tapper Idaho Sen. Larry Craig; chief-of-staff-dater Calif. Rep. David Dreier; frat-boy-lover Louisiana Rep. Jim McCrery; phone-sexer Virginia Rep. Ed Schrock; and in the most egregious and bizarre example, Florida Gov. Charlie “i’ve-started-dating-a-woman-because-there’s-an-election-coming” Crist, whose personal life — and his record of finding girlfriends just as a campaign or appointment looms — truly defies any explanation.

outrage_quoteThe other very shameful theme that rises to the top is the widely-known reality that the GOP excludes its gay members, or those rumored to be gay, from rising to any position of leadership. Gazillion-term Congressman David Dreier, being too “moderate,” was cited as one example of this. To be sure, it’s their party, and they certainly have a right to run it the way they choose, but to do so at the expense of ordinary Americans is shameful. The mainstream media doesn’t have a stellar record, either: “There exists a brilliantly orchestrated conspiracy to keep gay and lesbian politicians as closeted as possible,” begins the film.

The film could have gone on for days naming names. There was no Mark Foley and no Aaron Schock (though, to be fair, the rumored-to-be-gay Illinois congressman just entered office, but he has already voted against expanding hate crimes legislation to include LGBT people). But Outrage is sure to serve an important purpose in bringing anti-gay hypocrisy to the fore, and hopefully a gay politican or two out of the closet. Here’s hoping for a sequel.

My recommendation: run, don’t walk.

The curse heard ’round the world

No TV outburst has ever been quite as amusing as this week’s gaff by WNBC’s Sue Simmons. The other night, during a tease for the 11 o’clock newscast, she must have thought her mic was off because this came out of her mouth…I’ve been watching the clip on loop for days and it just gets funnier each time.

Real Housewives of New York

real_housewives_nycI have such severe ADD that I can’t really watch TV very long without becoming completely distracted (I haven’t seen a movie since 2005, if you can believe it!), but the Real Housewives of New York is keeping my attention. It’s truly trash television, and I’m transfixed by it. The women are completely vapid but I can’t take miss a second of the show (Real Housewives of Orange County was much better, but this is still TV crack).

Everyone watching the show seems to be in agreement: Alex and Simon are a freak show couple. Who brings her husband to girls’ night? And what respectable woman says things like, “Jill is a great person to know. She can introduce to even better people.” As Bethenny mused, “I think Alex overcompensates for insecurity by being pretentious.”

I have an addiction

A couple weeks ago I was in the American Riviera (yes, some people call Orange County that, ditto for Santa Barbara), and realized I hadn’t yet blogged about one of its most spectacular exports: MTV’s “Newport Harbor: The Real Orange County“, the show featuring a group of kids from Newport Beach High School and my new addiction.

To understand the depth of my addiction to said reality show, you must first understand that it’s the one and only show (well, besides Kathy Griffin’s “My Life on the D List”) that I watch. I will literally not turn my TV for a week at a time, but when Wednesday night rolls around I’m primed or at least my TiVo is.

newport_harbor2

Variety mag called Newport’s reality TV-twin (“The Hills”) “an exercise in unrelenting vacuity…that’s like ‘The Simple Life’…but with less substance”…and I agree. The Hills is pure ridiculousness. Blonde girls in Benzes in Beverly Hills working fake jobs at Teen Vogue. Who can relate. Newport Harbor is different! At least the high school kids of Newport Harbor are only driving Bimmers and are not pretending to have jobs. They surf and play tennis and throw fabulous parties in their fabulous town and let their parents foot the bill without hiding it.

Last week’s prom episode almost made me cry. (Of course, “Pretty Woman” kills me every time I see it, too, so clearly I’m a sap.) But anyway, the prom featured an amazing Maroon 5 song that I’ve now been playing on loop for days: “Not Falling Apart…download it! Gotta go…episode six is on at 10:30 tonight!

Related: Heidi from “The Hills” gets called out for her bitchy ways

The Passion of the Cowboy

Globe columnist Alex Beam takes a whack at Brokeback Mountain in his latest column. He criticizes the film’s “pretentious, useless soundtrack,” and says moviegoers should be prepared to “endure the heavy-handed morality play; just don’t plan on having a good time.” Though I’m not necessarily in the business of defending the super-hyped film, I disagree with his assessment of the film.

Others do as well. A well-crafted letter to the editor today said, “Alex Beam is free and welcome to state his negative opinion of the film ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ but he makes distorted and misleading assertions about the film and its reception by the public that seem to indicate an effort to cast the film in a negative light.”

• Brokeback pulled from Salt Lake theatre

Randomness

It takes a lot to get me excited about celebrity, but last night I flew from Vancouver to Los Angeles on an Alaska Airlines flight that was carrying some precious cargo: tape of the show “The L Word,” which is filmed in Vancouver but set in L.A. It doesn’t take much to amuse me!

Ex prime-ministers to judge reality show

As if we weren’t tired of seeing Ben Mulroney’s face on billboards across Canada, now we’ll have to look at his dad’s mug, too. It seems the terrifically unpopular ex-prime minister does not want to be outdone by his son Ben, the host of “Canadian Idol.” Brian Mulroney will join three other former Canadian leaders as judges on the new CTV reality show, “The Next Great Prime Minister.”

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The show’s winner won’t become prime minister, but will rather win a cash award by proving his or her political aptitude through the use debate. But as the New York Times so wryly puts it, “The audience may have a better sense than the panelists of who is likely to succeed in politics. Mr. Mulroney is the only judge who spent any sustained time – almost nine years – in power. All told, Mr. Clark, Mr. Turner and Ms. Campbell only spent about 16 months at the top.”

Panama

Our BFF, Jeffrey Kofman, has a fun report on efforts to expand the Panama Canal.

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PFLAG

I was fortunate to be able to spend tonight at PFLAG’s annual awards dinner in the company of the very hot Brenda Strong from “Desperate Housewives” (if only you could see her legs in this shot). She is super-tall, stunning, and incredibly charming. Her voice, which shapes so much of the tone of the show, was auctioned off: the lucky winner gets to have her voice on his voicemail.

One of the best quotes from the night came from star of stage and (little screen), Barbara Cook. The honoree, who was featured in PFLAG’s “Stay Close” ad campaign with her gay son, said, “It seems strange to be up here getting an award for loving my son. It’s almost impossible for me to believe that’s not true for every parent.”

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Thomas Roberts

thomas_roberts2Today marked the biggest splash in the gay media world in some time: everyone in the blogosphere seemed to take note of CNN anchor Thomas Roberts’ public coming out this weekend, which happened mere days before today’s announcement that CNN is canceling his 4-6 p.m. news slot on Headline News.

I was shocked when I first read of the outing news on my friend Johnny’s blog–not the news itself, since I’ve always known Thomas is gay, but because I never realized how outing can be such a story for some people. It feels different when the news is about someone you know and is highlighted and magnified by someone else you know. And every other gay blogger in New York. (To be straight, Thomas outed himself–the news just spread like wildfire.) I won’t go on and on about the details: you can read more over at Towleroad.

On Thursday night Thomas and me and our friend Javi whiled the night away at Buck 15 in Miami Beach. We laughed and drank and danced till we couldn’t stand anymore. I never could have imagined that four days later his sexuality would become the obsession that it has become. Coming out was his own decision, and we applaud him for that. But right now it feels as though the fuss surrounding coming out would be easier to stomach if it was about a complete stranger.

Watch this!

If you only watch one thing I recommend, let it be this.

Please check out what is probably the most stunning interview that has ever appeared on television news. Julie Banderas from Fox News was talking with Shirley Phelps-Roper of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church, when things got out of hand. As the Pen15 Club notes, “You have not lived until you’ve seen one of Rupert Murdoch’s Playmates – I mean, lady anchors – get into a scripture quote war with a straw-haired, Bible-thumping wingnut. And you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven when the wingnut calls the anchor a ‘bimbo.’ It’s like watching an argument between Ann Coulter’s id and superego.”

Golden Trailer Awards

golden_trailerLast night my friend Chris and I went to the Golden Trailer Awards, a show that claims to be the Oscars of movie previews. We went for the open bar, and a possible glimpse at celebs. We got the former but certainly not the latter. The crowd was pure, stereotypical LA: within a few minutes we’d been approached by a man asking us who we were and what our connection to the film industry was. We told the truth (no one; no connection, we came for the booze) and the man quickly moved along to mingle with others.

A few minutes later a film producer came by and pushed herself into our conversation. By then we’d gotten a little smarter and decided to say that we had a real movie connection: Chris acted in a little-known Singaporean film (or was it a documentary about gay Orthodox Jews?). It sounded safe, she bought it, and we kept her attention for a while. The conversation finally progressed beyond ‘who are you and why are you here?’ Needless to say it was a pretty shallow crowd so we promptly bolted to Fatty Crab for pork bellies and fatty duck (I did not do the ordering, thank you very much).

Open bar?

gen_artI am not usually one to pass up free tickets to anything, let alone all-access VIP tickets, so over the weekend my friend Chris and I checked out the Gen Art Film Festival here in New York. The festival had some questionable films, but the real entertainment was at their nightly open-bar afterparties, held at various clubs around Manhattan.

We checked out the party at Happy Valley (27th and Fifth), where, above the bar, is a pair of women’s legs – spread just so as to make a touch of irony out of the club’s name. The legs run the length of the room and when Chris and I, sober, looked up and noticed them, we knew we were in the wrong place. But no matter, it was an open bar, so we persisted.

The film festival clearly takes the term “open bar” loosely- vodka and Stella Artois, that’s it. And they had the gall to run out by the time we sidled up to the bar for our third drink! Another bit of false advertising: they claimed the parties would be “celeb-studded” but we were the only stars we saw there.

Hate crime in Paradise

The story of the gay-bashing of CBS News producer Dick Jefferson and two of his friends as they vacationed in St Maarten is finally picking up some steam in the press. Today, Good Morning America featured an interview by Jeffrey Kofman with two of the victims.

Dick was knocked unconscious with a four-pronged tire wrench; one of his friends, Ryan Smith, is in a Miami hospital with a crushed skull. Ryan’s boyfriend jumped onto the hood of their assailant’s speeding car to avoid being run over by it. The story is awful enough, but the gravity of the situation really is compounded when you know the person; though I can’t say that Dick is a friend of mine, we have met on numerous occasions through mutual friends at CBS and he has always seemed charming and kind.

• From Kenneth in the 212: My Dick Gets Gay-Bashed

Excuse me while I name drop

thomas_robertsI was lucky to spend last night on the arm of an attractive and charming date, my friend Chris, at the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association’s annual benefit in New York. I had a good chat about fashion and flying with Laurie Dhue, as we stood in line waiting for our third or fourth cocktail. Across the room, one of my best friends was sizing up Thomas Roberts, the CNN anchor I’ve loved since he first joined the network (he’s been named one of the 50 Most Beautiful Atlantans). Nearby, Greta Van Susteren’s plastic surgerywas sagging.

It was a great event that raised a lot of money for NLGJA, a group I’ve been involved with for five years. I only heard one complaint about the high ticket price: One well-known talking head muttered to his date as the sidled up to the bar for yet another glass of cab, “for the price of this event, I’m going to get my liquor’s worth.”

Work for a stallion in New York

Thanks to my friend John who just sent over the gay boy’s dream job: production assistant for Anderson Cooper.

Comedy shows told not to use debate footage

mercer_stronach_0116Canadians are famous for their political satire. But with the federal election just one week away, the country’s popular television news parodies (think “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”) have beenordered not to use footage from political debates in their broadcasts following an agreement made between the major political parties and the major networks.

The outlandish Rick Mercer, Canada’s most famous political satirist (pictured here getting a ride from Liberal Party bigwig Belinda Stronach), was angered by the move to disallow use of debate clips in his show, “The Rick Mercer Report,” but as he told the New York Times, he did not use any debate clips in his show, not because of the ban, but because “It’s so pathetic I won’t use it,” he said. “The whole idea of calling it a debate is contemptible. They may as well have just run the parties’ infomercials.”

The producer of “This Hour Has 22 Minutes,” another political satire said, “Part of me thought we should put up a big fight, but we’ve had no problem making them look silly without the debate footage.”

I’m headed to Rick’s show in two weeks, just in time to catch the fallout from the election, and can’t wait. He is the funniest guy ever, and cute too (for an old dork).



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