By Jack Halberstam
Hey Bully Bloggers…After a year of spectacularly bad films, it seemed like the right time to head back to the blog for a bit of reflection on what went wrong, what went right, and what went to hell in a handbag. As it turns out there was lots of apocalyptic bang, not a lot of cinematic grace and endless love: romances, bromances and faux-mances. There were a few sequels, no prequels and one squeakquel. We watched lots of people go up, a few came down again; we saw blue people, dead people, lots and lots of white people; we saw way too much of Meryl Streep and Matt Damon, way too many straight guys declaring their undying love for one another, not enough straight ladies declaring their undying love for one another, too many chipmunks, hardly any penguins and I am still looking for Nemo so where the hell is that sequel? Or would that be a squeakquel. No matter, I may have had enough visuals for now of Sasha Baron Cohen’s arschenholen and I hope Quentin Tarantino goes into retirement. Please bring us at least one decent queer movie in 2010 (and I mean queer, no gay beach romances and no lesbian dramas), and perhaps one or two films that break out of the 3 act structure, oh and perhaps something for Penelope Cruz to do that does not involved singing, dancing or looking like a drag queen in an Almodovar feature.
While the Oscars this year has decided to expand its “Best Picture” category to include 10 nominations (to make it seem as if there were ten worthies and to reward people like Quentin Tarantino with a nod when otherwise he doesn’t stand a chance), I am having a hard time picking five…so, I decided to change the categories just a little in order to make sense of the utterly unoriginal fare out there and to give credit where credit is due and make room for some good old-fashioned roasting.
And so, here are my nominations for Bully Awards, to be given out annually to the best, the worst and the shameless:
Category: Best Picture Impersonating a Fashion Catalogue
1) A Single Man – Tom Ford directs, starring a weepy Colin Firth – in one scene, our very tepid but very well-dressed hero sits on the loo while contemplating love, life and suicide, his beautifully tailored pants fold just so on the floor and his underwear match (or is that contrast?) his outer-garments perfectly. Could Julianne Moore please get a clue and stop being the spurned fag hag?
2) The September Issue – gosh, there was so much drama here. Will Anna Wintour like the cover shot of a waifish beauty in Rome? Will she and Grace agree on something, anything, will either of them ever eat solid food?
Category: Best Picture in which a Gay/Lesbian Narrative Masquerades as a Straight One
1) Up In The Air – good-looking guy spends lots of time on the road, wears nice suits, picks people up in bars, doesn’t care to start a family or settle down with a hormonally anxious wife. Has lots of sex, never gets attached, and sneers at his siblings’ marriages and weddings, and Christmas plans. Prefers his life-style to his married colleagues. Stars the perennial bachelor himself, George Clooney. Gay film in sheep’s clothing? You decide.
2) The September Issue – fashion, bitchiness, camp?
3) Sherlock Holmes – Jude Law and Robert Downy Junior team up to strip down and exchange wise-cracks. I don’t remember this in the book!
4) Whip It – roller skating girls from hell led by Ellen Page and Drew Barrymore chase each other round and round the circuit clad in skirts and grabbing at each other. This is not your mother’s usual well of loneliness, just hardcore lesbian fare.
Category: Near Future Apocalypse
1) Avatar – critics cannot get tired for the “Dances With Wolves” meets “Apocalypse Now” handle on this film. But it so nearly could have been Thelma and Louise meets The Battle of Algiers. Michelle Rodriguez and Sigourney Weaver just needed a little more face time and the Big Blue Other needed a little less nature and a little more Fanon. And by the way, why didn’t the Navi have genitals? Just asking
2) District 9 – potential, potential, potential. And yet…same old, same old. Good humans, bad aliens, bad humans represented as Black African humans, good aliens represented as…just like the good humans. Only worthwhile piece is the ending that leaves the stupid human in his prawn incarnation.
3) 2012 – 250 million dollars later we have? A brave new world? New ways of destroying the brave old world? Or just the usual gaping holes in the earth’s surface, tidal waves and yes, a Noah’s ark for the heterosexuals…
Category: Squeakquels and other cartoons
1) Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel – the only bona fide squeakquel of this year…or any year. The girl chipmunks were kind of cute, the narrative moral about standing by your friends was sort of inspiring but yes, the chirpy singing gets annoying awfully fast and the humans just can’t act!
2) Inglourious Basterds: speaking of humans who cannot act, Brad Pitt was miserable in this talky Tarantino feature. So glad to have this take on WW2 though – plucky Americans blow up theater filled with Nazi’s and save the world…
3) Up – I loved the balloons, the boy scout, the rare bird named ‘Kevin’ but I am still puzzling over why the main character should have been the old man instead of his wife. Note to Pixar – please please please can we have a film built around a female character?
Category: Best Film Not Starring Meryl Streep
1) Brüno – Bruno did not star Meryl Streep but still managed to be very funny and in bad German no less.
2) The Hurt Locker – since there were almost no women in this film I am pretty sure it did not star Meryl Streep. But it was pretty exciting anyway. It could also work in the category of gay film mascarading as straight.
3) Precious – awesome film not starring Meryl Streep because not about white people. Some people have said the film is offensive for its indulgence of the welfare queen stereotype but in fact Precious is a smart and well-acted film – might have worked well as a musical!
Now that we have some real categories, I am sure the Oscar nominations seem anti-climactic but just in case, my picks:
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Should win: Monique
Will win: Monique
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Should win: Woody Harrelson
Will win: Christoph Waltz
Should win: Gabourey Sidibe
Will Win: (who else?) Meryl Streep
Dishonorable Mention: Sandra Bullock for playing white lady saving brown people.
Should win: George Clooney
Will win: Jeff Bridges
Best Animated Feature Film
Should win: Fantastic Mr Fox
Will win: Up
Should win: Jason Reitman
Will win: James Cameron
Should win: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel
Will win: Avatar