It's Monday and you know what that means. We kick off each new week (er well most of the time) with the Blogosphere Multiplex Interview series wherein we talk to a hot blogger about their own film experience.
Today we're moviegoing with Avi of ultranow. His blog, with its surprising trains of thought is like mind and eye candy. And I'm not just talking about the man candy, on plentiful display (and often NSFW). He describes himself as a "permajew permafaggot genderqueer seattlelite addicted to pop culture" which is as good a description as any for the blog itself with its obsessively random grab bag from figure skaters through Buck Rogers Gil Gerard to intense love for Cyndi Lauper (which counts for a lot --love of Cyndi is a sign of good character). Even when ultranow's posts are so random I'm not quite sure what the hell is going on, it makes for a memorable read.
10 questions with Avi of ultranow
Nathaniel: How often do you go the movies?
Avi: About once a month.
Nathaniel: Who is your favorite Disney Villain?
Avi: Ursula from The Little Mermaid
Nathaniel: Just as I started talking to you, you went and posted about the Judy memoir "Heartbreaker" ... I love my Judy G. How could she have lost the Oscar for A Star is Born? How Avi, how?!? A sick cosmic joke that was --Oscar voters sure are sadistic.
Avi: It is shocking because you'd think voters would be terrified of crossing Judy, but perhaps her mean drunk phase was still ahead of her, plus voters had some measure of anonymity.
That was the same year that Dorothy Dandridge lost out too so I'd say that Dorothy and Judy split the musical vote, and Grace Kelly cleaned up the non-musical vote and won with a plurality. It's not like Audrey Hepburn was about to win two years in a row (she'd won the year before for Roman Holiday) and who the hell likes Jane Wyman (just Ronald Reagan right?) It's especially unfortunate that Judy lost because based on her career spiral, her Oscar statue would have ended up in a pawn shop, which is just so anti-glamour it's beautiful.
Nathaniel: I'm hard right now that you know all the nominees. Your blog has its fair share of horniness but what makes it stand out in this regard is your wit. Like your recent post on mysterious pornographic symbolism --funny. Which got me to thinking. What puzzles/fascinates/turns you on or off about sex scenes in the movies (the nonporn kind)?
Avi: Well Dandridge and Kelly I knew, but the others I had to look up. I hope that doesn't effect your intellectual hardon.
As for nonporn sex scenes, I am puzzled by who the hell would have pretend sex with Michael Douglas for less than $20 million. What I like is when scenes are character driven vs strictly about turning on the viewer. Perhaps this is because the majority of nonporn sex scenes in film are heterosexual so I've sought out the meaning vs the turnon. I'm not one to be aroused by straight men just because they're men (yes this is a shot against you Sean Cody Productions). Standout character driven sex scenes for me are Richard Gere/Diane Keaton in Looking for Mr. Goodbar (sex=self-destruction), Jeremy Irons/Geneviève Bujold in Dead Ringers (evil gynecologist with a rubber fetish), and Whoopi Goldberg/Danny Glover in The Color Purple (sad/real).
In the homosexual vein, the champagne kiss in My Beautiful Laundrette and the damn your back has bruises scene in Beautiful Thing are incredible, with Laundrette ranking #1 in my book forever because it's literally celebratory. For camp value, the extended transexual rape metaphor montage in Myra Breckinridge reigns victorious (Racquel Welch with a strap-on is dreamy).
Nathaniel: I feel 'literally celebratory' myself hearing anyone expressing love for My Beautiful Laundrette without me prompting them. So thank you. That movie meant so much to me as a teen-ager.
What were some formative movies for you?
Avi: For helping feed the queer jewish loner sexpot mess that I am today: What's Up, Doc?, For Ladies Only, Annie, Breakfast Club, Casino Royale, Secret of NIMH, Murder by Death, An American in Paris, Clash of the Titans, Terms of Endearment, Torch Song Trilogy, The Nude Bomb, and the ultimate (though made for TV) - The Making of a Male Model starring the dearly departed Jon-Erik Hexum. The first male/male kiss I saw in a movie (thought not the first gay character) must have been in My Beautiful Laundrette (rented it in high school I think - I know I saw it alone). Also saw Prick Up Your Ears in high school (not necessarily recommended and hopefully not formative). Edge of Seventeen was so dead on real that I felt like I was in high school watching it. So if you never got to see a gay movie in high school watch that one and it will fill in the blank (if you're mid 30s now).
Nathaniel: 100% agreed on Edge of Seventeen. What's your favorite movie of the past few years?
Avi: Spellbound, especially since I saw it in a theater that posted "TWO THUMMS UP!" on the marquee.
Nathaniel: That's great. Reminds me of your "Monster Ho" post. What's the weirdest thing thats ever happened to you on a trip to the movies?
Avi: The last 10 minutes of Pee-wee's Big Adventure the screen was black because the projector bulb had burned out. It was a 99 cent theater so there really wasn't much complaining that could be done, which didn't stop one woman from screaming constantly during those 10 minutes for them to fix the projector. All I know is there was some sort of chase and a circus was involved, possibly also his flying bicycle and that high-diving horse.
Nathaniel: Since Hollywood is so obsessed with making TV shows into movies...which TV show would you most like to see bigified for the silver screen?
Avi: The New Adventures of Old Christine.
Nathaniel: You talk a lot on your blog about your double minority status: Jewish and gay. There are bajillions of movies every year (not that there are that many good ones, but...) for gay people. But what movies do you think accurately reflect or speak in interesting ways to Jewish audiences?
Avi: First off, not Yentl! Now I can speak purely from my own yiddishkeit (Jewishness) and not in terms of what Jewish audiences in general might find appealing. I wouldn't try to speak for all gays either. On the Jewish tip though, for me it's about a certain turn of phrase, a certain vaudevillian or tragicomic patter, a certain metaview, not necessarily subject matter. So Walk on Water, an Israeli movie with a non-Jewish gay character and a Jewish non-gay lead, didn't connect to me on a Jewish level, despite its Holocaust intrigue. Crossing Delancey, Next Stop, Greenwich Village, Little Shop of Horrors, X-Men II, Facts of Life Go To Australia - all connected with me on a Jewish level, though only the first two on this mini-list have central Jewish characters and plotlines. This is an area that's difficult for me to pinpoint. Anything well done on Anne Frank is a quintessential absolute yes for all time. That is certain.
Nathaniel: They make a movie of your life. Who plays you? What's the rating?
Avi: Ken Olin circa 1991. Issue and Tissues. NC-35.
Nathaniel: Mmmmm, Ken Olin circa 1991. Thanks Avi for that lovely farewell mental image. Once again readers, check out Avi's blog "ultranow"
Film Experience Greatest Hits (for newbies):
Far From Heaven vs. Brokeback Mountain * She's a Bitch (@ the Movies) * A History of... Gay Cowboys
Previously in the Multiplex Series:
Gallery of the Absurd
How to Learn Swedish in 1000 Difficult Lessons
Thomas & Co.