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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Michael Kearns: I Love You Ricky Gervais

By Karen Ocamb  -

Golden Globes host Ricky Gervais
While I found the fact that Jane Fonda and Cher are friends to be the most fascinating tidbit to be gleaned from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Golden Globes, I also want to say: I Love You, Ricky Gervais. Finally, someone takes aim—on a televised awards show, oh my!—at some of our town’s most flagrant closet cases (or, since I’ve consulted my lawyer) “presumed” closet cases.
Gervais, it is rumored, will not be asked to host the show Ever Again—by an organization that nominated Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp for their work in The Tourist. Oh, I know, you’re all puffing and pouting and saying that I should be delirious that Glee won a handful of Globes. Yipee!
Tell me, does the giddy hoopla surrounding Glee blind us to other realities that continue to plague gay Hollywood? We’re goofy with the idea that acceptance has come with Glee but no one complains that I Love You Phillip Morris, starring Jim Carrey in a soaring performance, has been ignored by the Hollywood awards community (save the Writers Guild’s valid nomination for Adapted Screenplay). Or a host of other examples of this town’s contradictions.
(Carrey, for the record, is in pretty good company: Robert Duvall and Jeff Bridges weren’t nominated. Cher was.)
I digress. This is where one of Gervais’ on-target jabs comes in. Gervais described the performances of Carrey and costar Ewan McGregor’s in I Love You Phillip Morris as “two heterosexual actors pretending to be gay.
“So, the complete opposite of some famous Scientologists, then.” The hipster crowd at the Globes (oodles of queers from what I could tell) was not amused. Huh?
“They’re not here,” Gervais assured the flustered, fluttering audience. That’s right, honey. Gervais could have made fun of Kevin Spacey who was there and is not, to my knowledge, a Scientologist.
And Gervais could have been mean and joked about the Scientologist, a proud new papa, who is being loudly accused of multiple sightings at L.A. steam baths (wink, wink).
As someone who has paid attention to this Hollywood homophobia dance since the first True Grit movie was made, let it be said that we are missin’ the fuckin’ boat—that slow boat to the end of Hollywood homophobia; a destination that remains out of sight if we simply express our gratitude for acceptance but don’t point the spotlight to our losses and indignities.
While the HFPA cannot really be taken seriously, the politically incorrect Phillip Morris film has been (and likely will continue to be) consistently overlooked. Stephen Holden of the New York Times says, “Because it is a sexually forthright gay love story, I Love You Phillip Morris is also transgressive, at least by Hollywood standards. From the moment Steven meets the title character (Ewan McGregor), a gentle blond Southerner with whom he falls in love at first sight, he is obsessively besotted and will do anything to be with his beloved. The movie is as blunt about the mechanics of gay sex as an episode of South Park, and it is likely to meet grass-roots resistance. A star vehicle whose first gay erotic moment shows Mr. Carrey engaged in loud anal sex is asking for trouble.
“The mixture of solemnity and caution that usually attach to homosexuality in movies is almost completely absent.”
That refreshing aspect of Phillip Morris is, in large part, precisely why it will be ignored. As I said to my daughter when we left the theatre, “It’s so gay.” I meant that as a compliment.
We should not allow ourselves to be ignored—even when (or maybe especially when) we’re having “loud anal sex.”
Oh, by the way, South Park wasn’t nominated for a Golden Globe either.


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