Jun 29, 2012

Dead Man on Campus

Speaking of Mark-Paul Gosselaar, rent Dead Man on Campus (1998).  It's a dark comedy about two college students, Cooper (Mark) and Josh (Tom Everett Scott) who attempt to cash in on the urban legend that when your roommate dies,you get automatic A's for the semester.

Some beefcake, lots of shirtless shots, and check out the scene where Josh is in his dorm room, trying to get some sleep, when Cooper brings a girl home and jumps in bed with her.  The camera is focused on the consternation of the roommate, but if you look carefully in the top right of the screen, you can see Mark Paul Gosselaer rising to the occasion.

And you get two cute guys, a strong homoerotic subtext, and almost none of the casual homophobia endemic in buddy comedies. What's not to like?

Jun 28, 2012

Lathe of Heaven

The science fiction thriller Lathe of Heaven (2002), about a man whose dreams change reality, was adapted from a novel by Ursula K. Leguin, where the protagonist was gay-vague. It stars Lukas Haas, who played a gay hustler in Johns (1996). So naturally one expects the protagonist or another major character to be gay, or for someone to at least demonstrate an awareness that gay people exist. However, early on, as George is telling his psychiatrist, Dr. Haber (James Caan), about the reality shifts that occur every time he goes to sleep, he mentions losing “someone special.” Dr. Haber instantly refers to the “someone special” as “her.”

“How did you know I was talking about a her?” George asks.

“You’re a he,” Dr. Haber responds. Men do not desire men or fall in love with men, or form emotional bonds of any sort with men. All of their emotional energy is reserved for women. You are a he, so your only possible “someone special” is a she.

George accepts this bit of Exclusion without comment, and sure enough, he goes on to find a woman whose love is so strong that it can transcend shifts in reality itself.

Jun 27, 2012

Silent Movie Muscle

Saw Modern Times (1936), with Charlie Chaplin.  It was ok, a lot of slapstick, very episodic, heteronormative plotline.  But at the beginning, during the factory sequence, there's an extended scene featuring a shirtless muscle guy.  Shirtless + muscle is very rare in the 1930s.

He turns out to be Sammy Stein (1905-1966), a pro football player and wrestler who had small roles in 56 movies from the 1930s through the 1950s, usually as "Gangster #1" or "Henchman."  If you wanted a guy to appear shirtless in your movie, you called Sammy Stein.

Jun 26, 2012

Cowboy and Indian Toys

When I was a kid in the 1960s, cowboys and Indians were has-beens.  Older kids watched Western tv and remembered six shooters and Davy Crockett hats, but my friends and I played at being spies, Jonny Quest and Hadji, or space explorers.  Still, Indians had a penchant for nudity, like Johnny Crawford and his brother Bobby in Indian Paint (1965), or the god Wisakeha, who Bill and I saw in real life at the Pow Wow in 1969, so when a clueless adult happened to give me a cowboy-and-Indian toy, I made good use of it.

Indian action figures were usually naked except for loincloths, making them the second most reliable source of beefcake in toys (Tarzan was first).

Books about Indians were always good for beefcake photos.

Rock Island was the site of Saukenauk, where Chief Black Hawk ruled over the Sauk and Fox Indians, so his picture was everywhere.  This statue, with a phallic spear extending from his belly,  looked over Chippianoc Cemetery ("City of the Dead" in the Sauk language).  It was lit up with red and blue neon at night.

I got in trouble in school for drawing it in my notebook.  My teacher called it "smut," thinking that the phallic symbol was a real phallus.

I didn't really know who the Lone Ranger and Tonto were, but the idea of cowboy-Indian boyfriends was appealing.  Their arms could be bent, so they could put their arms around each other and kiss.


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