Friday, May 02, 2008

All About Robert Ford

I have many contradictions when it comes to "gay culture" -- despise Madonna, Cher and Dynasty but could listen to Miles Davis, Steely Dan and Blood, Sweat and Tears all day. However I will admit to having watched and dissected All About Eve multiple times. Oddly, a film made by primarily heterosexual men seems to get at the heart of a certain ilk of primarily gay men.

Fittingly, an extended two disc reissue of Eve has come out at almost the same time as a heavily homoerotic remake -- The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Oddly, only a couple of reviewers caught onto the parallels. Several said they felt it was an homage to past films but weren't sure which ones. Duh! It's basically the same plot as Eve, except in this version I'd like to bang most of the cast members. Just as I felt Jarhead was the hotter gay film instead of the very unsexy, boring and tedious Brokeback Mountain, Assassination is about the queerest flick I've seen all year. The hats alone gave me a huge woody.

I've never been a fan of Brad Pitt -- too blond, too bland, too, I dunno. But as a native Missourian, he nails the outlaw role flawlessly and is the perfect mirror of Margo Channing -- at times ruthless and cruel, sometimes confused and vulnerable, longing to retire from the spotlight but not sure how to do so. Adoring Casey Affleck in the Eve/Ford role has all the paraphernalia of the star's past triumphs and longs for the spotlight him/herself. Fittingly, Sam Shepherd carries the torch of Thelma Ritter in the Birdie/Frank James that smells the stench of an opportunistic interloper a country mile away. I'd like to see Shepherd recreate other Ritter roles such as Rear Window or maybe star in a biopic about her.

Watching Brad's Jesse sitting in an ornate chair in the yard as he cuts off the heads of snakes without batting an eye, it's hard not to picture Bette Davis doing the same. At the same time, I could see Brad braying, "I'm forty, dahling. Four-tee!"

While Eve is noted for having some of the crispest writing to ever be penned for the big screen but a rather dull visual style, the opposite could be said of Assassination. There are a few nice passages of narration throughout, but I doubt I'll be quoting any lines. However, it's stunning to look at at every turn. At almost the same age as Davis when she made Eve, Pitt looks great with dark hair and just the right gravitas that is accented by glorious costume design that is heavy on crisp white shirts, dark vests and headgear that I long to track down for my own collection. This, of course, is an obvious nod to the duds worn by Addison DeWitt in Eve. He easily could walk into any scene of Assassination and look right at home with "the boys".

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6 Comments:

At 3:27 PM, Blogger rich bachelor said...

Then of course, there's Gore Vidal's "Billy the Kid", but I get the feeling that there too would be some decent writing, but nothing Hot, y'know?

 
At 4:08 PM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Rich - Warhol's "Lonsesome Cowboys" falls into the same camp (sic), but Taylor Mead in tight jeans just isn't up there with Pitt and the younger Affleck on the hotness scale.

 
At 9:20 AM, Blogger Gavin Elster said...

Brilliant!

 
At 12:36 PM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Gavin - Aw, shucks, you say the nicest things. Wanna join the gang and hold up a train?

 
At 6:13 AM, Anonymous Huntington said...

"The Younger Affleck" reminds of references in English political history to "the Younger Pitt" mixed with a soupcon of "Alexandre Dumas, fils."

Anything that can be compared to All About Eve I must see. And by what I admit has been fairly careful selection process, I've never seen Brad Pitt in anything bad. He's not bland, he's just subtle. Or is that my shallow, native Californian affinity for surfer dudes?

 
At 9:45 AM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Huntington - I didn't realize a guy from Springfield, Mo., qualified as a surfer dude. Or maybe that's proof he's a great actor. For what it's worth, my grandfather was the landlord to his grandmother for three years.

 

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