Those of you who loved 300 (now out on DVD) are like the depicted Persian army: legion. As someone who (nearly) hated the movie, I'm placed in the odd position of well... being on the audience favored side: a member of the miniscule Spartan army. Like those weirdly glorified losers I find myself martyred for a cause. Well, mine is more of a belief really.
That belief: this movie is stoopid.
I saw 300 a few weeks after it exploded with audiences because I was waiting to catch it on iMax. [I'll readily admit that this delay in viewing is problematic --ever noticed how movies everyone loves are usually greeted a month or two later with a rash of "it ain't all that!" pontificating... are these sincere reactions or very human balance corrective responses --overemphatic objection? Perhaps we should discuss in another post -ed. ] I spent most of the movie trying not to laugh. To this movie lover it played like self parody only without jokes. Unless you count that recurrrent gay panic gag but that got old fast: repeated scenes of drooling muscle worship mixed with demonization of the stereotypically feminine in men. The movie reminded me of those M4M personal ads that used to irk me and my activist friends in college: "straight acting: no femmes!"
So as a surprise counterattack to all that 'all-man!' fetishizing that's going on in Zach Snyder's strange movie, I thought I should drool on the demonized drag queen Xerxes also known as Rodrigo Santoro instead of the other one, King Leonidas played by Gerard Butler. (Last time I tried to make him a hottie, it didn't go so well).
Anyway... this movie bugs. 300 wants you to lick Butler's bulging muscles but it wants you to be grossed out knowing that Xerxes wants Butler to lick his.
Potato, potahto, Tomato, tomahto...
Both Butler and Santoro are exceedingly attractive men in real life and in their reel lives here. Look, you can put Rodrigo Santoro under several pounds of flamboyant jewelry and makeup. You can press on the false lashes and nails but he's still Rodrigo Santoro.
And Rodrigo Santoro looks like this...
Of course that's a shot from Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle rather than 300 but the former movie is more fun ... or at least it's more honest about how badly it wants Rodrigo Santoro. It even gives you the type of cheesysleazy camera work usually reserved for ogling actress goodies...
If this same shot were used on Scarlett Johansson, it might win its DP an Oscar nod.
I don't watch Lost but I understand that today's sex object has blessed that television serial with his hotness too. Apart from RS's strange willingness to do questionably negative drag roles (see also Carandiru --which I haven't: thus the word questionably) I generally like him. I dig the way he ignores Cameron Diaz' crude innuendo in Charlies Angels (c'mon Cameron, wise up! He's too pretty to understand words). I liked the way he ran sweaty and frantic through Behind the Sun.
But you know what makes me love him most? The Lovely Laura Linney's reaction to snogging him in the romantic comedy Love, Actually.
If you make Laura Linney that giddy, you're all right by me.