Sunday, August 10, 2008

Last night, spent an evening with family: a reception for a cousin's recent marriage. William (cousin) and Jessica got married over the summer in Mexico, but they had a banquet in NYC for relatives. One thing: everyone was talking about the opening night ceremonies for the Beijing Olympics, but since i have decided to boycott the Olympics, i couldn't make any comments. Though everyone said that Zhang Yimou certainly did a spectacular job.

I miss the Olympics. I have watched ever since i was a child; my father was a big fan, and we would especially like the more "obscure" sports. Kenny loved all sporting events, and he always knew a lot, he memorized all sorts of statistics.

The political situation right now is so horrendous: Russia is attempting to reassert its dominance in Eastern Europe, and Russian troops have launched attacks on Georgia. On one of those Sunday morning news shows on ABC (which i usually don't watch, but i can't watch NBC because all they're having is Olympic coverage), there was a lot of discussion about the significance. But one thing is clear: Georgia had been an ally to the US, especially in Iraq, where Georgian troops were deployed. Now: does the US simply ignore its responsibilities to its allies? Well: George W. Bush and his administration has shown zero loyalty to any allies. They have already allowed thousands of Iraqis who have helped the US by serving as interpreters, liaisons, etc. to be killed by refusing to give them any protection against reprisals.

The US is now a country that has no honor. And there's Bush, at the Olympics, smiling and joking with Putin, while Putin's government and armies have moved in to recolonize Georgia.

China and the IOC have also disgraced themselves. I know there are so many Chinese-Americans who feel some sort of pride about China's hosting the Olympics. I understand that, but i can't feel that way. When the communists took over China, my grandfather basically said, there is no longer a China, we're not Chinese, we're Americans. And so that was that. We never even went to Chinese school: my grandfather felt it was useless, since we would never get to China. Ever. So i feel no loyalty to a country that doesn't exist for me.

Anyway, TLA has released six films in a sort of repertory festival, and i've seen the movies on screeners. "Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon" was a hit when it showed at NewFest, and i don't see why it shouldn't be a hit in this theatrical release. The (real-life) story is just preposterous enough to be amusing. And the story is just so... cheerful! Whatever demons drove John Stillman to turn himself into Jack Wrangler are simply elided. But "Wrangler" certainly is a lot of fun (perhaps it's significant that the men who had sex with Jack Wrangler in his porn movies are not represented in any way, nor any of the men John Stillman may have had relationships with; so it's as if being gay was some sort of phase for Wrangler, something he grew out of, as he matured into his relationship with Margaret Whiting).

"Bangkok Love Story" is perhaps the most unusual of the films, a Thai action-romance. A hired killer falls in love with the man he's hired to kill... after a while, the story's twists and turns become really convoluted, and the plot-points get very murky. But the love/sex scenes heat up as the plot falls apart, which i guess is all that matters.

The American films ("Dog Tags", "3-Day Weekend") were reasonably well-done, and very sincere. The kind of camp hmor which seems to permeate so many gay movies nowadays ("Another Gay Movie", "Adam and Steve") have no place here: both these movies (especially "Dog Tags") are so earnest. One problem with "3-Day Weekend": i wish there hadn't been the scene where the characters talk about other movies where a bunch of gay friends get together ("The Boys in the Band", "Love Valour Compassion"). It pointed out the fact that "3-Day Weekend" was a low-budget variant. "Dog Tags" had a rather complex plot, and the ending was unresolved, but it tried to tell two different stories, one about a working-class boy who enlists in the Marines, even though he knows he'll be sent to Iraq, but he wants some way out of his dead-end life; the other story is about a boy who has become a father, but he knows he's gay, and he's left with the baby. Of course, their paths cross, but there are still some surprises.

The French movie, "I Dreamt Under Water", and the Spanish movie, "Boystown"... it's strange, but it's as if, if you've seen some of the recent gay films from France or Spain... i was almost going to say if you've seen one, you've seen them all, which isn't really fair, but both of these films were reminiscent of other films, and without the spark which would make either seem original.

Other than that: on Wednesday, woke up with a twisted ankle, and somehow this week, i just wanted to stay home. Which i did. I watched TCM a lot. And have a lot of thoughts about that....


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