In the slap-stick comedy Victor/Victoria, Julie Andrews unconvincingly plays the struggling singer Victoria Grant who—in an incident involving a cockroach, a shrunken jacket, a closet, an aging homosexual stage performer and his ex-lover—plans to make a career impersonating a female impersonator. And of course this story takes place in France… all the men in France are female impersonators. Ahahah… I kid. Julie Andrews makes this potentially controversial film wholesome and lighthearted… because I mean, she’s the lady from The Sound of Music… you don’t get much more wholesome than that. Although, the original German Viktor und Viktoria must have been brutal to watch. I bet Viktoria had a mustache… but not like as a special effect or costume or anything… I bet the real live actual actress had a for real hairy upper lip. The only thing that could have made this movie more interesting would be if the actor playing Victoria was a man, thus making it a move about a man playing a woman pretending to be a man pretending to be a woman. I nominate Irish thespian Cillian Murphy who did an excellent job portraying a transsexual orphan searching for his mother in Breakfast on Pluto. Having run away from home, the ultra-effeminate Patrick (sometimes referred to as Patricia, most times referred to as “Kitten”) ventures on a search to find his mother; the Mitzy Gaynor look-a-like who was impregnated by the horny Father Liam. Kitten creates this sort of delusional and often comical fantasy land based on all of the fucked up shit that comes with being a wide-eyed transvestite from Ireland turning tricks in London during the 1970s. As with all movies of this sort, what Kitten is searching for is not her long-lost mummy, but herself and her place in the world; which was where it has always been… with the people who love her most. You can’t say the same thing about Chris Tucker in the sci-fi flick The Fifth Element… I don’t think anybody really loves him in that movie. Wait, that’s not completely true. The ladies actually really love the androgynous Ruby Rhod… on some like Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber screaming fan status. There must be something absolutely delectable about a svelte black man donning a sleek leopard print body suit with a kinky blonde cone sprouting from his head. Thank you Jean Paul Gaultier for once again permanently imprinting these disturbing images in my brain, and thank you Chris Tucker for helping them come to fruition. I love you both… unconditionally. Why are the outfits in every futuristic movie I have ever seen always so tight and spandx-y and the characters so androgynous? Hmmm… this is actually a future I can look forward to. I for one love the stewardesses’ slinky blue uniforms in the Fifth Element. I love Bruce Willis’s tight orange man-tank. And I love Mila Jovovich’s brightly colored dominatrix-inspired ensembles. Everything is so sexual it makes me giddy. If you got it, flaunt it, boy you know I want it… I know, those aren’t the lyrics to that Beyoncé song, but imagine if men were sexually objectified instead of women… that’s definitely how the song would go. Also, you’re going to have to just deal with my random access thought process. I have ADD apparently. Speaking of dancing queers, I LOVED Hank Azaria as the flamboyant Latin domestic in The Birdcage. Robin Williams and Nathan Lane are my favorite faux-gay couple ever! And Gene Hackman looks damn good in a platinum blonde wig. #imjustsayin
I cannot express in words how I feel about the Rocky Horror Picture Show, or even how I feel about Tim Curry who plays Head Bitch in Charge, Dr. Frank-N-Furter. I was first introduced to the Rocky Horror Picture Show while watching a spoof on The Drew Carey Show. I was automatically turned off because there is nothing worse than watching a fat white man dancing in the streets in his underwear. Despite the choreographed dance numbers in that episode, Drew Carey accurately depicted the Rocky Horror cult status as the midnight movie where fans dress up as their favorite character, go see the movie really late at night in the East Village or some other place where it won’t be weird for a man to walk down the street in heels and a negligee, and recite all of the movie’s lines along with the rest of the freaks.
I actually didn’t see the movie until about 2 years ago one starless New York City night. I’m not a fan of musicals. I hated Cats, I fell asleep during the Lion King, and I thought RENT was absolutely the worst thing ever made. But, this shit right herre… is quite possibly the most badass movie/musical ever made about transsexual alien hedonists… ever! The story revolves around the square couple Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon) and Brad Majors (Barry Bostwick) who are young, dumb, and absolutely enamored with each other. They get lost somewhere, the deets are a little sketchy in the beginning anyway, because it’s not really important how they end up at Dr. Frank-N-Furter’s castle, but that they end up there and during the Annual Transylvanian Convention where Dr. Frank-N-Furter unleashes his mantastic creation, hot-body Rocky. All of this while occasionally singing and dancing… more oft than not. The excitement is interrupted by Eddie, a fat ugly version of Elvis; who crashes through the wall on a motorcycle. Frank-N-Furter furiously butchers Eddie with an ice axe and then calmly leaves the premises arm-in-arm with Rocky… his new play toy just like how a bad bitch is supposed to. The guests (Janet and Brad) are shown to their separate bedrooms. Frank-N-Furter attempts to individually seduce both Janet and Brad with his weird alien mind tricks, which only work on Brad. Janet finds out about Brad’s homosexual love affair… which you can’t really call gay because Frank-N-Furter is HOT! She runs off to Rocky and unleashes the beast in his birth cage while Magenta the maid (Patricia Quinn) and Columbia the tap-dancing floozy (Nell Campbell) watch from a hidden camera or something. After all of that love-making Frank-N-Furter realizes Rocky is missing, finds him with Janet, and all hell is about to break loose until some intruder scientist Dr. Everett Scott (Jonathan Adams) finds his way into the story. Dr. Scott also happens to be Janet and Brad’s old high school science teacher and Eddie’s uncle. Frank-N-Furter gathers his guests to the dinner table for supper. We soon find out it is Eddie’s carcass being served. Fed up with everyone stealing his spotlight (and Janet stealing his man), like a true diva, Frank-N-Furter turns Janet, Brad, Dr. Scott, Rocky, and Columbia into statues with his “Madusa Transducer.” He then dresses them up in corsets, high heels, teeny little black silk undies, ridiculously large boas and face paint. He then unfreezes them and they are forced to perform some sort of cabaret dance number. Magenta and Riff Raff the handyman(Richard O’Brien), fed up with the show, stage a mutiny which ends in the death of Rocky, Columbia and Frank-N-Furter. They free Dr. Scott, Brad, and Janet and take off in the castle/space ship.
It all sounds like some really fucked up version of The Wizard of Oz. Riff Raff, Magenta and Frank-N-Furter all make small appearances in the beginning of the film as patrons of the church where Janet and Brad just attended a wedding; just like all of the characters in Dorothy’s Land of Oz. Maybe they crashed into a tree while driving in the stormy weather and were knocked unconscious and had some crazy existential, soul-searching dream that alluded to the fact that they weren’t ready to be married and tied down to each other just like Dorothy realizes there’s no place like home. It makes sense. But then again, how do you explain the boas and the makeup… and the stink of hot gay sex?!!
It’s amazing how something so unorthodox when first introduced can become so mainstream as to be reincarnated in the atrociously white bread Fox TV hit Glee. The Glee version is even gayer than the original movie… and I didn’t think that was possible. I mean, Britney Spears and Lady Gaga are definitely not on par with Tim Curry… not even close. Even the “glee” club at my high school was gay… the members included the typical socially awkward, acne-prone boys who sometimes touched themselves in Spanish class when they thought no one was looking.
Maybe when it’s a little bit warmer (or when I’m nice and drunk and balmy on the inside) I will dress up like Columbia and venture out to the theatre in Chelsea to catch the midnight show. Who’s with? Men are definitely invited, especially if you look like a young Tim Curry. <33333333
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Is there something abhorrently sexy about a straight man who dresses in drag? Um… NO… and… uh… never. But it does make for an interesting movie, especially when Pedro Almodovar is behind the camera and Gael Garcia Bernal is in front of it. Bad Education is like a really bad Spanish soap opera gone wonderfully wrong. The plot is absolutely ridiculous, the characters are… entertaining. At times, it’s a little bitter-sweet… like the gay sex scenes for example; I think they are necessary because sex is a crucial part of any intimate relationship; therefore, it makes the more movie more realistic and elevates it from its trashy telanovela roots. However, they’re definitely hard to watch, for me at least.
Will The Real Ignacio Please Stand Up? (and Padre Manolo too, while you’re at it…)
In Bad Education, Almodovar explores the complexities of the dual-personalities between actors and the people they actually portray. In the beginning of the movie, filmmaker Enrique Goded gets a visit from a man claiming to be his old classmate Ignacio Rodriguez. He is looking for work, and Goded has no work to give because he is experiencing a creative block. Fortunately Ignacio has written a story based on their tormented childhood at catholic school entitled… The Visit. In The Visit, young Ignacio explains that after the first time Padre Manolo sexually harassed him, his head split into two parts. This image of having two parts to one person repeats itself throughout the entirety of the movie. And if you think about it, drag queens and transvestites perfectly represent this image: being two things at once; a woman trapped in a man’s body.
Each of the main characters [Padre Manolo, Enrique, and Ignacio] are portrayed by two people: the fictional character in The Visit and the real person. The characters in The Visit are completely one-dimensional and watered-down compared to the person they represent in real life. In The Visit, Padre Manolo is just a “regular” priest smitten by the voice of young Ignacio who sings like an angel… and who wouldn’t be… but I mean, this guy takes it a little too far. Enrique is just some drunk guy Ignacio bumps into after work at the local drag spot… he’s completely dismissible in The Visit. And Ignacio [or Zahara as is his stage name] is just a coke-snorting, blackmailing boy in girls’ clothes… and sky-high platform heels… because, you know, it’s 1977. And Almodovar implements some ingenious visual techniques that force you to smirk at even the most sexually explicit scenes. For example, he pixelates Ignacio orally pleasing a passed out Enrique… like how they do on TV when they don’t want to reveal someone’s identity. It’s not entirely ingenious… but I definitely appreciate the reserve and the humor.
The real Ignacio reveals himself later on in the film, and is in fact not the Ignacio who pays a visit to Goded at the beginning of the film. The real Ignacio makes you want to cry. He is a junkie, who does heroine and makes sniffing coke look like child’s play… and he’s an actual transvestite… fake tetas and all. And he does try to blackmail Padre Manolo, who is no longer a priest but married with three children and almost entirely bald. He goes by his real name, Sr. Manuel Berenguer, and upon seeing Ignacio, he loses any interest he previously had, and instead falls for his younger brother Juan who insists on being called Angel Andrade because, “Soy actor” he continuously reminds everyone in the movie. And instead of blackmailing Padre Berenguer as a form of reparations for years of sexual abuse, Ignacio wants one million dollars for plastic surgery. He says, “Looking fabulous costs a lot of money Padre Manolo… I think a million would do it.” Berenguer stalls Ignacio by giving him small amounts of money at a time which Ignacio uses for drugs. Ignacio, Juan, and Berenguer form some sort of complex familial bond, because… well, let’s face it, they’re all completely fucked up.
In The Visit, Zahara spent her entire life plotting her revenge against Padre Manolo; he needed to confront Padre Manolo in order to get rid of his childhood demons; the money seems more like a side note than anything else. I mean, Zahara would never share kind words with Padre Manolo, let alone continuously invite Manolo into his house and even sit and play board games with him. Like many victims of sexual abuse, Ignacio more than tolerates his tormentor and internalizes his feelings of resentment, which almost makes Manolo’s actions acceptable. And being a junkie, he blackmails Manolo for his own selfish and self-destructive reasons.
Juan is probably the most multi-faceted character in the entire movie. He is absolutely mental, and his actions are completely unforgivable, and yet you somehow manage to feel sorry for him. He is not so much gay as he is an opportunist. And when he says he’s an actor, he means it. Juan plays three different characters throughout the film. All at once he portrays a lonely, naïve, conniving, guarded, impatient, impulsive, and ambitious actor who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. But wait, he’s not as diabolical as I am making him seem, he is very much just a young man figuring his life out and happens to really fuck shit up. He is in no way an evil mastermind. Truthfully, I feel sad for him. Mostly because he is so adorable walking around the apartment in short shorts, and eagerly taking notes at a drag show to learn how to act like a man acting like a woman. He doesn’t live in the now, it’s as if this moment doesn’t exist for him… I guess his thought process is: if there is a problem, I’ll solve it now so I can move on to the next thing… it’s always what’s the next thing? And he almost never says the right thing at the right time, and completely disregards how other people feel… because he just doesn’t see it. It’s great in movies where you can see how incomplete a person is and how accurate a portrayal of human nature that represents. And then to not know why or how a person can grow to be like that… it’s… well… you don’t see that in your every day movie. The only thing this film lacks is a healthy heterosexual relationship; although Gael Garcia Bernal does a decent job playing a tranny, there is no gorgeous leading lady.
I think it is important to note that fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier designed the amazing costumes in this film, especially Zahara’s outfit while she performs onstage: a beaded gown complete with the essential parts of the female anatomy.
With this film, Almodovar was a little self-congratulatory. The movie itself is a meta-movie; a film within a film. The main character is a filmmaker, like Almodovar. This makes the audience even more aware that they are watching a movie. It’s like Almodovar is saying, “hey look at me, I made this. And now you know how hard it is to make a good movie.” And I am not mad at him… at all. All literary greats film and legends do this, whether by acting in their own movies, making the main character a reproduction of himself, or even including visual or literary references to his previous masterpieces. Somewhere in Bad Education is a poster of one of Almodovar’s other movies . In the end of the movie, where Almodovar utilizes those cheesy “where are they now?” endings, the filmmaker Goded is “still making films with the same passion.” And Almodovar zooms in on the word passion until it fills up the entire screen. Okay, okay, we get it… you’re a talented and passionate director. Sheesh.
Here are some of Almodovar’s other titles: