Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I'm Not Ready To Say "Gayest Movie Ever," But I'm Close

Though I went to bed a bit earlier than usual last night I was pretty groggy when I woke up this morning.  I vaguely recalled getting up to use the bathroom in the night, still caught in the grip of a fading dream, and being absolutely convinced that someone was going to be standing in the doorway waiting to kill me when I came back to the bedroom and being a bit surprised – though pleased – when that didn’t happen.
Not sure what was up with that.
In any case, shortly after I got up the phone rang.  It was Scott calling to see if we were still on for seeing The Covenant today and to figure out when we were going to go.
All of the showtimes at the theater we usually go to would have interfered with an afternoon appointment he had, so we opted to go to a different theater in Manassas.
I hadn’t read anything good about The Covenant, and my expectations were pretty low anyway.  I figured that the story and the acting would be weak, but I thought that what it lacked in substance it would make up for in style, presenting some dazzling visual effects.
Even with my expectations set so low I was still disappointed, and this is from someone who managed to set his expectations low enough to enjoy Showgirls.
(To say I managed to “enjoy” it is overstating things; basically I went into it expecting nothing more than to see the chick from Saved by the Bell naked, so in that regard it met my expectations and all of the rest of the movie was just meaningless white noise that I ignored.  So at the very least I wasn’t disappointed in it.)
The exciting visual elements of the movie were few and far between, and they weren’t especially exciting.
Still, while story, dialogue, acting, and visuals were all sub-par, I was at least kind of prepared for it to be bad.
What I wasn’t prepared for was how incredibly gay it was.
At one point, during the umpteenth scene of loving, lingering shots of buff, hairless, naked male torsos, I leaned over to Scott and said, “I feel like we’re watching gay porn.”
This comment was immediately rewarded with a cut to the boys’ locker room.
Beyond all of the bare chests, though, there were plenty of homoerotic scenes featuring the four male leads engaging in too much touching and close-talking and longing gazes, and what was supposed to be dramatic tension was very clearly sexual tension.
The scene in which the hero, who’d been knocked unconscious, opens his eyes and looks up to see all of his friends – wearing nothing but Speedos, of course – leaning in way too close over him looks like it’s shot from the perspective of someone getting buckkaked in a circle jerk.
I think the most entertaining aspect of the movie was watching them try to pretend to be interested in girls.
Speaking of the girls, whereas we got a locker room full of naked boys and lots of close-ups of bare chests and abs, we only got one crappy shower scene, through frosted glass, of the female lead, and some half-hearted scenes of her and her roommate lounging around in their underwear.  And not even sexy underwear.  Given the granny panties they were both wearing, I’d guess that their cycles are in sync.
Not that it really mattered, as the girls weren’t terribly hot anyway, though the roommate did have some major guns.
Of course, it wouldn’t do for the girls to be too pretty anyway, as that was the responsibility of the boys.
Not than anyone was all that pretty anyway, as the film was really grainy in a fashion that made pores and blemishes practically jump off the screen.
In terms of the story, like I said, it was really weak.
There was way too much expository dialogue.
Also, while I’m not really up on the social lives of wealthy, privileged teens in New England, I can’t help think that there’s a lot more drug use involved.  Or, you know, at least some drug use.  Sure, the whole supernatural powers that are addictive and the use of which forces you to pay a heavy toll thing was an obvious metaphor for drugs, but even so, someone should have been dropping some E, or at least smoking some pot, or even drinking a beer.
The music could have been good, but it was used very poorly in an attempt to amp up scenes in which nothing was happening.  For example, there was a scene featuring dramatic, suspenseful music that builds up to…a guy parking his car and walking into a building.
Then there were all of the scenes of people just sneaking up on other people for the purposes of making them – and, presumably, the audience – jump, which is the hallmark of a movie that’s desperate to elicit a response.
So overall this was the biggest stinker I’ve seen since Ultraviolet, which is saying a lot.
And seriously, the homoerotic content really makes me wonder if there was a particular reason that Geena Davis split up with Renny Harlin.
Obviously I’m no homophobe, as most of the homos I know, who don’t scare me in the least, could tell you, but I couldn’t help but be taken aback by just how surprisingly gay this movie was.
Anyway, speaking of Renny Harlin, as someone who is arguably the most famous one in the world, Finns love him.  It’s kind of a “local boy makes good” thing, which kind of makes sense, given just how small Finland is.
Back when I worked at Suomi College (now known as Finlandia University), I used to get a lot of Finnish newspapers in the mail, as I actually submitted press releases about the College to them, many of which were actually picked up, and pretty much every one of them had some kind of story about Renny.
(As background for you non-Yoopers, Finlandia University, or “FU” as people like to derisively call it, was originally founded by Finnish immigrants who, like my family, had moved to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  When I was working there our focus was on using our historic connection to Finland to establish ties with contemporary Finland.)
Anyway, the Finns are seriously obsessed with Renny Harlin.  It was national news back when he was still with Geena Davis and she appeared on Letterman and idly mentioned that she was learning to speak Finnish.  The entire country fell in love with her in much the same way that the British loved Princess Di.
And poor Finland; Geena broke its collective heart when she split up with Renny.
It doesn’t help matters any that Renny hasn’t done much to make Finland proud in his moviemaking, and who knows how the Finns are going to react to the not-so subtle hints that The Covenant is giving…

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