I’m genuinely intrigued to see “Fast Five” strictly for its representation of Rio, mainly because it looks like more favela-focused poverty porn in the trailers and clips. How does it compare to the city’s image in “Rio,” which the “Fast and the Furious” sequel will be competing against this weekend? Alas, nobody is talking about location depictions on opening day. They’re all too concerned with the homoeroticism of “Fast Five” instead. Yesterday I linked to a list from IFC’s Matt Singer ranking the new film’s best lines hinting at a subtext. But there’s also Jeff Wells’ focused quoting on “The Gayness” illustrated in Manohla Dargis’ NY Times review. Cassie Carpenter at NextMovie notes that the original film is still the most homoerotic, complete with an “ex-boyfriend” for Vin Diesel. But Jordan Raup of The Film Stage thinks The Rock’s visit to the franchise makes it the gayest yet:
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson plays Diesel’s perpetually sweaty foe, FBI agent Hobbs. It is the ultimate homoerotic match-up that has graced the screen in quite some time, a feat The Expendables could only dream of. Even their meet cute is something to be admired, a face-to-face thrown-down of unfiltered masculinity.
David Camp On Film says nearly the same thing. Rolling Stone’s Richard Travers sees a “display of homoerotic porn,” Ivan Radford at I-Flicks says the homoeroticism is at a new level in a franchise “already balls-deep in man foam.” Surely there are and will be more comments like these.
I’m not saying anyone’s wrong for noting the homoeroticism, but by now it seems both obvious and unnecessary. Okay, so every alpha male action movie involving muscular dudes as buds is going to be a little “gay,” especially if it’s all just a “Point Break” knock-off to begin with, right? But can’t we take a second and think a little deeper or at least differently once in a while? Thanks to Jordan Hoffman at UGO for trying:
A subset argues that F+F films offer-up some of the most hidden-in-plain-sight homoeroticism in our popular culture. Were I to look for deeper meaning in the franchise I’d say it represented an unflinching expose into our culture’s addiction to foreign oil. The setting of this latest chapter, Fast Five, in Latin America only makes this more evident.
More notes, links and things up for discussion after the jump.
Timed to “Fast Five,” NextMovie’s Jason Newman looks at The 15 Most Badass Baldies in Movies. Obviously Diesel and The Rock are on here, as is Statham, Willis, Jackson and Kingsley. There’s also a single actress in the bunch (surprisingly it’s not Sigourney Weaver or Demi Moore). Here’s a salute to one of the original baldies:
We’ll admit playing the title character in the romantic musical “The King and I” is not exactly the stuff of renegades, but Yul Brynner redeemed himself with Michael Crichton’s 1973 dystopian western “Westworld.” Although Brynner covered up his most powerful feature – his glistening head – with a cowboy hat, it couldn’t stop his character — a robot at an amusement park — from turning on its creators and going apes**t. Sweet.
A theater company in Nashville is taking “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” to the stage and have rewritten the script so it’s all in Shakespearean style English (not just Elizabethan but specifically how the Bard wrote in it). Titled “Terminator the Second,” it’s in need of extra funds, and you can support by donating at the production’s Kickstarter page. You can also see some of the script there, as well. Here’s their explanation for why they’ve chosen this film specifically, followed by a little teaser [via io9]:
First of all, it’s just an awesome movie. And you’d be amazed by how perfectly the themes so pervasive in Shakespeare’s plays lend themselves to the story of the Terminator: horrific prophecies, charges of madness, the terror of an implacable enemy, the fierceness of a mother’s love for her son. While it’s loaded with outrageous action sequences, one-liners and comic moments (which we’ve worked hard to honor), Terminator 2 is a theme-driven film that invests heavily in its main characters. In our reworking, we were continually struck by extended passages from Shakespeare that seemed as though they could have been written specifically with these late 20th century characters in mind.
Timed to the release of the wonderfully necessary “Cave of Forgotten Dreams,” Slate’s Nina Shen Rastogi shares videos of the Great Moments in Werner Herzog Voiceovers. Included are clips from “Encounters at the End of the World,” “Grizzly Man,” “La Soufrière,” “Burden of Dreams,” “Mein Liebster Fiend: Klaus Kinski (My Best Fiend)” and the recent short “Plastic Bag.” From the intro:
Among those who have heard him, he is also one of the most caricatured and imitated. Herzog’s distinctive cadences are instantly recognizable: It’s “that authoritative, avuncular Bavarian sound,” says Ryan Iverson, creator of “Werner Herzog Reads Curious George” (and, full disclosure, a friend). And then there are the filmmaker’s eccentric, deadpan digressions on his various obsessions—including death, absurdity, the cruelty of the natural world—which are as quotable as any line from the Simpsons (which, incidentally, Herzog made a guest appearance on last month).
Joel Meares at Wired traces the popular revenge/vigilante justice movie back to its 4,000-year-old source:
The most complete surviving version of Hammurabi’s code, carved into a phallic 7.4-foot hunk of basalt, features a relief of the king receiving the laws from the sun god Shamash—a gift from the heavens that’s still giving to an entire genre of entertainment: See Hamlet, prince of Danes/killer of uncles. Or The Count of Monte Cristo or Red Dead Redemption. Frankenstein’s monster showed the good doctor some Hammurabi-style justice by strangling his wife; Ahab’s pursuit of Moby-Dick was a basic fin-for-leg exchange. And just about every comic book hero ever drawn could be homage to the code: What is Batman, after all, but Paul Kersey with a cape and a tool belt?
Antifolk star Adam Green (of The Moldy Peaches fame) has made a movie. And it stars Macauley Culkin, Alia Shawcat, Devendra Banhart, Har Mar Superstar, Jeffrey Lewis and many others. Titled “The Wrong Ferrari,” you can watch it in full here. [via Pop Candy]
And speaking of antifolk stars, Herman Dune has another awesome puppet-loving music video, this one starring Jon Hamm. For the song “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know,” directed by Toben Seymour:
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