De-gaying movies: Why bother?

De-gaying movies: Why bother? (photo)

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Due on December 11th, Tom Ford’s “A Single Man” is one of the more hotly-tipped Oscar frontrunners. It’s got just the right combination of gears in motion: a prestigious literary source (Christopher Isherwood), period production design (the early ’60s), and the Weinstein brothers handling the Oscar push. But after paying a reported $2 million for the rights to Ford’s directorial debut in Toronto, the Weinsteins apparently only just realized that the film was, uh, gay.

For those who saw the film in Toronto or Venice, suspicions were first aroused last week when the film’s first poster was unveiled, revealing Colin Firth and Julianne Moore lying in bed together with no allusion to the film’s actual plot — that Firth’s college professor recently lost his lover (Matthew Goode) in a car accident and spends the next 24 hours coming to terms. One could call the full-length trailer that the Weinsteins just released “mysterious” and “evocative” – two minutes of sub-Philip Glass minimalism underscoring disconnected images that was inspired by the narration-free trailer Ford cut to sell the film to distributors. (Apparently, the Weinsteins like this approach so much, they’re also using it for “Nine,” which has been met with audible confusion and derision both times I’ve seen it with an audience.) However, as indieWIRE‘s Peter Knegt has pointed out, the most mysterious thing about it is how the trailer’s been safely de-gayed, subtracting scenes of Goode and male-male liplocks in favor of quotes supporting an Oscar run for Firth.

This isn’t the first time heterosexualizing has happened this year: after “Humpday” failed to be the break-out indie hit it really should’ve been, the DVD cover was tweaked to insert one female in the middle, lest someone get the wrong (i.e., accurate) idea about what, exactly, two stripped-down dudes staring at each other meant. Going a little further back, Knegt also has some totally hilarious “Brokeback Mountain” “For Your Consideration” ads which are so ridiculously straight that the movie appears to be some kind of wretched ’80s relationship drama (or maybe a remake of “Urban Cowboy”).

My main question is why bother? If the potentially homophobic viewers who are being catered to with this ad campaign are tricked into seeing a movie they’d otherwise avoid, it’s unlikely that they’ll be so overcome with the magnificent cinematic experience of “A Single Man” that they won’t want their $12.50 back after the first 20 minutes. More to the point: if you’re going to buy a movie that is important to the gay community, both in its subject matter and when they will be one of your primary audiences, why would you pretend that’s not what it is? If you can’t handle the challenge of marketing it, why buy it at all?

[Photo: “A Single Man,” The Weinstein Company, 2009.]


New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…


IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 


IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.


The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”


Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).



Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.


Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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GIFs via Giffy

In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.


Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.


Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!



Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.


Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.


If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.