I’m Walking Here!

Midnight Cowboy is the original gay cowboy movie. Even though the main character is neither gay nor a cowboy. He dresses like a cowboy, but this is the 60’s we’re talking about. So why is Midnight Cowboy remembered the way it is? Well Midnight Cowboy is about Joe Buck. A dishwasher who leaves Texas to become a hustler in New York. As he believes his looks will make him irresistible to women. Little does he know, the big city isn’t as forgiving as he thinks. Both Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman deliver award worthy performances which keep the movie from feeling too hard to watch. Hoffman plays a disabled con man named Rico “Ratso” Rizzo. He’s the one responsible for the movie’s most famous line “I’m walking here!” Which was entirely improvised. It’s one of the most famous quotes in movie history and a testament to Hoffman’s acting ability. His character is also the most tragic character I’ve ever seen him play. Let’s just say you won’t know how to feel by the end. Midnight Cowboy is most remembered for being the first (and only) X rated movie to win Best Picture. By today’s standards it would have been R, but all the references to homosexuality made it X. It may be bleak, but Midnight Cowboy is a landmark movie and the first truly shocking Best Picture winner.

“I’m walking here!”

Corky & Violet

Bound is the directorial debut of the Matrix trilogy directors the Wachowskis. It also happens to be the last movie of theirs that I saw. Mostly because it’s so different from the rest of their work. The Wachowskis are known for their large scale CGI filled science fiction films. Bound is a small scale neo-noir crime thriller. Most people probably forgot it even exists or that it’s even associated with these directors. That was the main reason I knew about the movie. That and the fact that Bound is about a lesbian couple. Before I get into that, here’s the story. Bound is about Violet, a woman who plans to steal $2 billion dollars from her mafia boyfriend. With the help of her ex con neighbor Corky. Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon give realistically hot & steamy performances as a lesbian couple. One of the reasons the movie was well received. I personally liked how tense the atmosphere was. The climax (including the reason the movie is called “Bound“) keeps you on the edge of your seat, unsure of what’s gonna happen. While most people don’t remember Bound, it’s an underrated film that promised an interesting career from the Wachowskis.

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Corky (left) meets Violet (right)

525,600 Minutes

Rent is the movie version of the hit musical of the same name. It features a cast of almost every member of the original broadway lineup. Anthony Rapp, Adam Pascal, Jesse L. Martin, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Idina Menzel, and Taye Diggs are returning cast members. While Rosario Dawson and Tracie Thoms replace Daphne Rubin-Vega and Fredi Walker respectively. I never knew much about this musical beforehand. Other than the fact that my theater class would occasionally play songs from it. Needless to say I wasn’t expecting what I watched. Rent is about people called Bohemians (a person who has informal and unconventional social habits, especially an artist or writer). They live in the same building and deal with problems like paying the rent. It’s also set from 1989-1990, when the AIDS epidemic was in full swing. That’s what I wasn’t expecting from the movie. It may be a musical (with some pretty good songs), but that doesn’t make its subject matter any less edgy. Rent features a gay couple, a lesbian couple, characters dying from AIDS, two F bombs, brief female nudity, and somehow it didn’t get an R rating. That just doesn’t make much sense to me. If high schools find it too edgy to perform, why did it get a PG-13 rating? Some musicals work well enough on stage, while others just don’t translate well to film. Rent might have benefited from a different direction.

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“La Vie Boheme!”

Who is You Chiron?

Well to end Black History Month, I finally got around to seeing Moonlight after avoiding it for a year. Not entirely because of its subject matter. I was trying to get over how annoyed I was that it won over La La Land. I still see it as more of a personal favorite, but I get why Moonlight won. Moonlight is very well made, like a work of art. Its camera work, blue and purple color palette, performances, story structure, music, and themes all make it work. As soon as I saw the trailer I knew it would get Oscar attention (the trailer is also really good). Moonlight has all the elements of an Oscar bait movie. The main character is black, gay, there’s drugs, poverty, growing up, it’s based on a book/personal experience (really the only thing missing is some form of handicap). Moonlight is about Chiron and it’s separated in three different segments. One when he’s a child, a teenager, and an adult. I don’t often watch movies about race or homosexuality, but Moonlight actually isn’t entirely focused on that. Moonlight is about life and identity above anything else. Which made it easier to watch then I thought it would be. Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris are notable standouts, playing a fatherly drug dealer and drugged out mother respectively. My feelings towards the Oscar results haven’t changed much, but Moonlight is definitely a worthy winner.

“In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue”

She Works Hard for the Money

The Birdcage is unexpectedly good. Being a straight man, I don’t actively seek out LGBT movies. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. However my mom told me it was hilarious so I watched it. I’m glad I did, because it’s my favorite movie on the subject. The interesting thing about the movie is the characters. Robin Williams isn’t playing the over the top comedic role. He actually plays the straight man (no pun intended). It’s actually Nathan Lane and The Simpsons great Hank Azaria who steal the show. The humor and the craziness of the situations are what makes The Birdcage such an enjoyable film and a recommendation.

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Albert (left) and Armond (right) sit together on a bench