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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.]

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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