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View Full Version : The Kids Are All Right? All right or all wrong?



JohnnyGottaKeyboard
01-01-2011, 10:12 AM
Dang, I should write headlines for the newspapers...

Anyway, did anyone see this flick? I avoided it like the plague--the trailer actually made me slightly nauseous--but today on NPR they called it one of the ten best films of the year. So now I'm thinking I might should grit my teeth and give it a try. Anyone see it and have an opinion (on the film--I know you all have opinions)?

Kitty Pryde
01-05-2011, 03:37 AM
I didn't see it but whenever I complain about there being hardly any good movies with gay characters in them all my friends nag me to see this one. My big complaint (and I've only seen the trailers, not the actual movie, so my impression may not be accurate) is this: how come when a mainstream hollywood movie featuring a lesbian couple comes out, it has to be about a straight dude? I mean, come on, man.

Random: I just saw I Love You Philip Morris, an actually great Hollywood movie featuring gay characters. You ought to see it, for reals. Jim Carrey as a big gay Texan con man in a prison romantic comedy is truly an amazing sight. And Ewan Macgregor makes an awfully cute blond :)

katiemac
01-05-2011, 03:54 AM
I saw it. I also went to a cast talk with the entire cast and writer/director, minus Annette Bening, and that was interesting since they obviously discussed the LGBT elements. I didn't think the commenter asked very poignant answers, but the answers everyone gave about the film were.

Not sure what made you avoid it, but it is a good film. I didn't love love it, but it certainly made my top 10 this year. (Admittedly not hard to do, I didn't like a lot of what came out - and I've seen a lot.) Focus Features, in my opinion, generally makes thoughtful films.

The Oscar buzz for both Bening and Moore is well deserved. It's getting recognition from SAG, DGA, PGA, Golden Globes, etc.

And Kitty, I don't know what previews you saw, but the film does not center on Ruffalo's character. It's the relationship of the entire family.

Anyway, my two cents: Watch it.

(And I really want to see Phillip Morris.)

amyashley
01-05-2011, 04:11 AM
Jim Carrey as a big gay Texan con man in a prison romantic comedy is truly an amazing sight. And Ewan Macgregor makes an awfully cute blond :)

These two facts alone will make this go on my list.

Not that Ewan Macgregor needs much to look cute. Jim Carey is awfully talented, but that is not a role I'd imagine him taking.

maestrowork
01-05-2011, 04:43 AM
I didn't love it. A bit too melodramatic and predictable to me. While the cast is great, I can't help but feel the characters are recycled, been there done that. Slightly butch, domineering, more successful partner with control issue vs. artistic, free-spirit partner who lives in her shadow.... I do like the kids. I think they're cool, and I think Ruffalo's character is cool, in a screw-up sort of way. But when (spoiler) Moore and Ruffalo got it on, I saw that coming a mile away, and I'm not sure I like it... I got a feeling like something is wrong with lesbianism that you have to compensate it with a dick. Of course, that's exactly Bening's problem with the infidelity... And I do like the ending, when they realize what's important. Still, much of it feels like a soap opera. The best part of the film is the acting, not the writing.

Kitty Pryde
01-05-2011, 04:47 AM
And Kitty, I don't know what previews you saw, but the film does not center on Ruffalo's character. It's the relationship of the entire family.

Anyway, my two cents: Watch it.

I'll add you to my list of friends telling me I should rilly see it :D

I realize it's about the whole family,not just the dude, but there are like no hollywood movies about regular lesbian characters (OK, I know there are some, but recently, what? Black Swan? EEK. Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (ok, she's bi, but I'm feeling generous)? Are there any about lesbians who are normal, not severely mentally disturbed?)

So I saw the start of this trailer, and I was like WOW a sweet comedy about a lesbian family of normal people, with two easy-on-the-eyes gay moms, HURRAY! Then I see that the story is about a straight dude and what happens when he turns up in their lives. Without the dude, there's no story. Why why why can there not be a normal movie just about normal lesbians and their families? Nearly every movie I have enjoyed with gay or lesbian characters was a microbudget indie movie, like Were The World Mine or Better Than Chocolate or Touch of Pink or The Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls In Love or Chutney Popcorn.

And (sorry, in full rant mode now), I feel like it comes back to the thing where all films MUST appeal to the largest movie-going audience (the almighty heterosexual white male), and everyone making movies knows that this speshul speshul group cannot possibly relate to a protagonist of color (exception: Will Smith, or an Asian guy if he is awesome at martial arts) or someone who is gay (exception: gay guys who are straight, like Team Brokeback Mountain) or a woman (exception: if she is a man-like ass-kicker with her boobies abouncing, and they carefully ensure that the film fails the Bechdel Test). So gay people of color, or gay women, or, lord preserve us, gay women of color, make terrible protagonists.

And the whole thing just enrages me. And yeah, in principle I have no problem with the plot itself. It's just the near-complete lack of decent representation of characters like these two women--making what I see as their story be about a guy just makes me so ticked off that I have no desire to see the film.

JohnnyGottaKeyboard
01-05-2011, 05:14 AM
Okay, I had to look up Bechdel Test, so I've learned my thing for the day. (Yeah!)

I, of course, formed my opinions mainly from the trailer as well, altho I did read a synopsis that made me want to see it even less (and Mark Ruffalo is on my List of Five. Interesting aside: he's also on my husband's List of Five, which puts him, by default, on our List of Three-4-Threeways--every couple has those, right?)

I just had no interest in seeing a movie that basically reinforced the notion that lesbians secretly crave dick. And despite the sort of Hail Mary hand-holding I have heard the movie ends with, there are a lot of straight guys who are gonna take that message away from this movie.

I also admit the fact that they made the lesbians look so inappropriate in the trailer--the sort of aborted tongue joke, which if you think about it is really not much of a joke at all (I hope, unedited, in the movie, it plays funnier)--just really ticked me off.

I have, however, added TKAA to my Netflix list.

AyJay
01-05-2011, 06:05 AM
Kitty, I think you should see the film in its entirety and decide for yourself.

Here's what I liked about it:

The portrayal of a lesbian family facing contemporary issues, i.e. what happens when the children become curious about their bio dad? I think it was handled nicely both from the parents' and the kids' perspectives.

Bening and Moore's relationship - I really believed they were in love with each other, which I don't often find in Hollywood films, tending to have straight actors playing gay, and the couples are poorly developed/tokenized (e.g. The Women) or ridiculously tragic (e.g. Brokeback Mtn.)

Bening and Moore, period, who are just so fascinating to watch as actors

Here's what I didn't like about it:

If Julianne Moore's character is dissatisfied with her marriage, why would she seek out emotional/sexual fulfillment with a man? (ditto Johnny above)

There seemed to be a lot of unnecessary devices to make the gay-ness palatable to a straight audience...the tongue gag mentioned above...the comedy of errors with the parents thinking that their son was gay...they all seemed to me to be 'breaking the ice' where it didn't really need to be broken.

But overall, I put it on my top ten for 2010. It's progress, I think, but I'd like to see some real lesbians playing lesbians (and non-lesbian roles). Ditto for gay actors.

katiemac
01-05-2011, 06:31 AM
And the whole thing just enrages me. And yeah, in principle I have no problem with the plot itself. It's just the near-complete lack of decent representation of characters like these two women--making what I see as their story be about a guy just makes me so ticked off that I have no desire to see the film.

Understood. And it's not perfectly implemented... I took issue with it, especially the relationship between Moore and Ruffalo. But then you have the relationship between Moore and Bening, and the family relationship with the kids involved in a unit, and it is a nice exploration. And regardless of who a character may or may not be cheating with, I think cheating in film is overdone and cheap, and it's not really something I like as a device. (Note to all: Don't see HALL PASS.)

I agree with Ray that the real standout of the film is the acting.

amyashley
01-05-2011, 09:44 AM
#1 I've not seen the previews.

I *gasp* do not watch or even have cable. I mainly obtain info on good movies through word of mouth.

#2 The fact that it has infidelity in it brings it down a point. I am reluctnt to even check it out. I'm with katiemac on this one. In addition, although I know it happens in real life, I just don't get it. If you want out of a relationship-get out. I understand mistakes and all, but. I'm tired of seeing it and reading it.

#3 The straight person in a homosexual relationship really has no more business than a homosexual person in a straight relationship. UGH. It's just irritating. I suppose they could play off the character as Bisexual, but it is still irritating. It makes me think of mixing cats and dogs together.

TOTALLY have to give kudos to whomever above mentioned all the straight men who think they can "turn" a lesbian straight. This film is not going to help that at all. That's uncool.

Why could they not just say she was Bisexual AND IN A MONOGAMOUS RELATIONSHIP.

I am heterosexual and married. That means that at one point, yes, I dated MULTIPLE men. I have had sex with more than one guy. NOW I only have sex with ONE. If I cheated, it wouldn't make me polygamous, it would just make me a fucking cheater. I would still be hetero and still be married.

I'd just be getting served with divorce papers really fast. OH, and I'd be a DUMBASS.
/endrant.

katiemac
01-05-2011, 09:58 AM
#3 The straight person in a homosexual relationship really has no more business than a homosexual person in a straight relationship. UGH. It's just irritating. I suppose they could play off the character as Bisexual, but it is still irritating. It makes me think of mixing cats and dogs together.

TOTALLY have to give kudos to whomever above mentioned all the straight men who think they can "turn" a lesbian straight. This film is not going to help that at all. That's uncool.

Why could they not just say she was Bisexual AND IN A MONOGAMOUS RELATIONSHIP.

Well ... they don't label the character's sexuality, which I actually find refreshing. (She also refers to herself as married.) I mean, I believe in the Kinsey scale so I'm less bothered that she has an affair with a man (although I certainly understand the distaste origin of the "it takes a man to satisfy a lesbian" comments) in general and more the fact she has an affair period.

maestrowork
01-05-2011, 08:41 PM
I'm okay with her sexuality -- human sexuality is supposed to be fluid anyway. What I'm not okay is she spent 20 years being in a monogamous relationship with a woman, being a mother... NEVER cheated, never even a hint that she might want men, and suddenly she wants dick? And not just any dick, but her children's biological father? Her character's supposed to be the more enlightened one and that's what really bugged me. I can understand mistake, but that's just screwed up. The affair did not sound right to me, and that has nothing to do with morals. I know, she's not happy, and maybe it's a 20-year-old pent-up sexual frustration, but it still bugs me. But if she's not happy with Bening, I'd think she would seek emotional affair with another woman -- or even a man if the opportunity arises -- instead of a sexual one, because there was nothing that indicated she was sexually frustrated (albeit not "doing it" enough -- who does when you've been married for 20 years?). On top of it the whole "straight man/lesbian thing" just screams guys' fantasy... while I can attest it works in porn, it doesn't really work here for me. It would be similar to a story where a straight woman successful seduces a gay/bi man to cheat on his husband. It happens in real life, but it still irks me. I think the affair would have worked better for me, and more dramatic if it were of an emotional kind. It would ring true to me more.

amyashley
01-05-2011, 09:02 PM
I agree with the Kinsley scale too.


If they left her sexuality open that's a little easier. It's still aggravating on a personal scale to find infidelity everywhere. Ray voiced many of my feelings well, so I won't repeat that.

I may see it, but it's doubtful. Jeremy is VERY anti-cheating movies, and it's rare anymore that I get a chance to see a movie alone. I usually select ones I am aching to see. This one may not fit that bill.

Interesting discussion, but I hope I didn't contribute to a derail too much!

DancingMaenid
01-06-2011, 10:44 AM
Note: I haven't seen the movie yet, so I don't really have an opinion yet.

But from what I heard, it seems like a lot of the promotion for it was very misleading. I have no problem with stories about infidelity (though the specifics of the plot here make me wary. Having a lesbian suddenly want a man or cheat with one is hard to pull off), but I would never expect that based on the ads that ran on TV.

Celia Cyanide
01-06-2011, 05:13 PM
I love The Who, and I really want to know why the movie is called this. It's this weird compulsion I have had since I was a kid, where I wanted to see Can't Buy Me Love and Jumpin Jack Flash because I love the Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

Any time someone mentions this, I think of The Who movie. Does anyone know why they used this title?

wheelwriter
01-06-2011, 06:03 PM
I'm not so sure about the marketing of the movie. I thought it was well acted but overall just okay. Part of it was my expectation - I thought it was a comedy. Because it's called a comedy. Sure, there were a few amusing moments, but it was definitely a drama in my mind, so I felt let down. Where was the funny? The acting was great, I'm not sad that I saw it, but it doesn't make any lists (best or worst) for me.