Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

I blame Tom

Tom of Finland, that is. He was a gay erotic artist who was probably the first man to present beautiful men happy in their attraction to each other. He had a massive impact on the gay community from the 70s on, especially as regards physical attractiveness (Dave Mason, AKA: House of Vader, is only the latest incarnation of a Tom Man). And for a while I wanted to emulate ToF with my artwork.

But that's hard to do, really, when you're an artist. His work was so very specific, slightly exaggerated, and extremely polished, while mine is more raw and naturalistic. Of course, for a while I also wanted to make art like Nagel, who used a few lines and blocks of color to build very glamorous images...but that didn't work for me, either. Much too clean and clear and simplistic for me.

The same extends to my writing. I can't write the simplistic, minimalistic, arrogant style of script that is so prevalent in today's movies, nor can I ignore reality or truth. I actually became physically ill from anger while watching "The Rock", not just because it was a stupid movie, but because it arrogantly thought its audience was dumber than it. And they must have been, because it made a couple hundred million dollars. But not one moment of it was honest or true to the characters or story. The same went for "Con-Air" and "Face/Off" (I only went to see the latter movie because it was directed by John Woo...and I haven't seen one of his movies since).

What finally ended my willingness to even give a movie a chance to bring me in was this vile piece of filth called "Swordfish." It was so dishonest and condescending, from that point forward I stopped going to see films on their opening weekends unless it was something I absolutely knew I'd like. Sometimes I'd go with friends, but only because we were together and that made the bad movies livable; we'd viciously diss them afterwards over beers and french fries and such. Though I did find that while I disliked "Mystic River" for the same reasons I've mentioned, the friend I saw it with liked it.

Of course, that lead me to losing out on seeing some fine films in the theaters. I watched the first Bourne movie on DVD and was sorry I'd missed it...and I was not sorry at going to see the second and third ones in a theater. Plus the only reason I saw "The Count of Monte Cristo" (2002) was it was being shown on the flight back from Ireland and I got caught up in Kevin Reynolds' retelling of the story. In fact, I like it more than the Robert Donat version from 1936, even though that one's truer to the book.

I don't know if this comes from getting older or just finally not being willing to accept the bullshit, anymore, but I did used to look forward to Friday nights and seeing what was opening in a theater. Even if nothing good was coming out of Hollywood, I lived in cities that were big enough to have a solid foreign selection of movies, and I grew to love French, Italian, German, Japanese, Argentinean, Russian, Swedish, and Chinese movies. That's not available, anymore, not really, not outside NYC or LA.

I hate that and would love to change it...but the trend seems to be towards less and less instead of expansion and inclusion. It didn't used to be this way. It doesn't have to be, either. But it seems accountants have taken over the world.

I want to rephrase a famous -- "After the revolution, kill all the accountants." And in the meantime, I blame Tom for creating beauty and, as much as I liked it, presenting it as the norm.

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