Monday, March 14, 2005

Weekend viewing

It was a very gay weekend for me, movie-wise.

Angels in America (Mike Nichols, 2003)
Since this won seemingly every award for like two straight years, I figured I ought to give it a shot. Plus I had a friend in college who was absolutely obsessed with Tony Kushner, and she'd probably be happy I finally saw this. Maybe the hype was too much, but overall this just didn't work for me. There are some great elements, especially the core relationship between Prior and Louis, played by two of the only actors in the ensemble who didn't get award nominations, and the ones who probably most deserved them. The rest of it was just too much - too long, too many mystical digressions that ultimately went nowhere, too much overacting by Al Pacino, too much overwrought dialogue bursting with meaningless meaning. I did love the score, though, and it looked great for a TV movie. Maybe if I had seen it on stage ten or fifteen years ago it would have had more impact, but now it seems less daring than kind of oddly nostalgic, and not in a good way.

I'm the One That I Want (Lionel Coleman, 2000)
I've never really had conventional celebrity crushes. When I was 13 or 14 my biggest crushes were probably Christina Ricci, Janeane Garofalo, and Margaret Cho. I still have a thing for funny, bitter, full-figured women. Anyway, the point is I've had a thing for Margaret Cho for some time, but I haven't seen any of her stand-up in a while. This reminded me of what I loved about her, the hilarious riffs on sexuality and the impressions of her mother and her funny and moving story of trying to live up to Hollywood's ideals for her. I know in her later concert films she's gotten more political and allegedly less funny, and it's odd considering how much she celebrates her plump look that she's lost a lot of weight lately and doesn't talk about it. But this film predates all that, and is just a really funny and honest performance from a great comedian. After watching, I checked out Comedy Central's 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time; Cho never made the list, although Gallagher did. How sad.

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