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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

The Bruno Review

58 Responses to “The Bruno Review”

  1. waterbucket says:

    Oh god, why do I suddenly find D-Po’s bearish look kind of attractive?
    Anyway, I really want to see Bruno. I don’t care if he farts out glitter, he’s not offensive and after a while, he’s sort of endearing.

  2. LYT says:

    Good video.
    Though it’s only the second best DP vid I’ve seen this week, following this one:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ToxRu96mzM

  3. Tofu says:

    Wow, brown is your color Mr. Poland. Go with it, full tilt. Beginning with this blog’s border colors.
    And start tossing out more of these please, kay, thanks.

  4. mysteryperfecta says:

    Two things:
    *The gay community, along with every race/culture/community, has idiosyncrasies that are begging to be made fun of. Certain ‘flamboyancies’ and the resulting uncomfortable reactions are no exception, and are often really funny.
    *Wrestling is not ‘gay’. Stop making this ridiculous argument. Muscularity has been associated with power/position/masculinity since Day 1. Is the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel gay? No, it is asexual. Secondly, wrestlers are fighting. Is combat ‘gay’? Thirdly, yes, its fake. Yes, its melodramatic theater, but the implication that this makes it ‘gay’ is just plying another stereotype.
    The real irony is, the argument that wrestling is gay is itself homophobic.

  5. skekoa says:

    Excellent review. Thank you. @LYT Umm… DP video? Ooooh… okay. I thought “DP” meant something else. Never mind.

  6. Ok, I’ve seen enough. Trying like hell to avoid spoilers. By the time I had seen Borat on opening weekend, I knew every major bit and the rest was just unfunny staged improv to me (ie – Borat and his partner just doing improv bits by themselves). I’m hoping I’ll enjoy Bruno more by going in relatively blind.

  7. MarkVH says:

    Good stuff DP – now where’s your Public Enemies review? Knowing that you’re a Miami Vice appreciator (as am I), I’m dying to know what you thought of PE.

  8. christian says:

    The real irony is, the argument that wrestling is gay is itself homophobic.
    Substitute “football” for “wrestling” and then it is certainly not.

  9. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    WWE = 100% Gay. Gayer than a gay old time.
    Large near naked nudes in behind-the-scenes locker rooms, staring each other down, sweating heavily, touching each others noses together, breathing heavy. Longing. Aching.
    Gay, Gay, GAY.
    It doesn’t make you gay if you like watching wrestling mystery, so don’t blame Poland for pointing out what everyone who doesn’t chew corn and spit baccy is thinking.

  10. Nicol D says:

    Mystery,
    Kinda like I wrote on another post a week or so ago.
    The new post-modern mantra is anything that was traditionally thought of as masculine, John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, 300/Gladiator style films, Batman, cowboys, army etc, is now called “gay” in an effort to redefine gender traits.
    Anything actually “gay”, like y’know…having sex with a member of the same sex, is now to be called masculine. Calling 300 gay makes you an “intellectual”. Calling Brokeback Mountain (a film I love) gay, makes you a “bigot”.
    It actually is just a cheezy way to insult things that intimidate men who are not comfortable in that world.
    I had a very left-wing male friend over for pizza and two movies a few summers back. We watched Chinatown and To Live and Die in LA. All he did was mock and laugh at both films as being “gay”. He said Nicholson was gay. W L Petersen was gay. Really, it was a long annoying night and we have never done it since.
    That’s why insecure Sean Penn during his Milk interviews referred to John Wayne a few times as a “pussy”.
    It’s all part of the whole gender mash-up and redefinition going on in our culture. It’s childish and in no way reflects reality, but it is here for the rest of our life times.

  11. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Nicol. The WWE play up the gay angle all the time. They’re in on the joke. You apparently are not. Broad strokes. How you can even compare the generic work of Wayne and Eastwood to the camp mincing melodramatics of peplum is beyond me.
    “Insecure” men like me aren’t painting all masculine material as ‘gay’. Just the stuff where it looks like throbbing action icons want to FUCK each other.
    And FYI Petersen in TLADILA is as straight as Pacino in CRUSING. Thats the crux of his relationship with Dafoe’s character.
    Now come give me a smooch Nicol.

  12. christian says:

    “It’s all part of the whole gender mash-up and redefinition going on in our culture. It’s childish and in no way reflects reality, but it is here for the rest of our life times.”
    Because you better take SPORTS seriously, dude!
    What you leave out Nicol, is that the people that tend to be into certain sports are homophobic beyond belief, the players included.
    And the phrase “methinks doth protest too much” comes to mind.

  13. Joe Leydon says:

    Nicol: Along those lines, I’m often amused by students who ask me, in all sincerity, whether certain characters in classic movies are meant to be interpreted as gay. Mind you, I think they’re on to something when they ask about Joseph Cotten in Citizen Kane and John Ireland in Red River. And maybe even Donald O’Connor in Singin’ in the Rain. But James Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington? That’s, ah, a bit of a stretch…

  14. mysteryperfecta says:

    “It actually is just a cheezy way to insult things that intimidate men who are not comfortable in that world.”
    Very true. That’s what makes it homophobic. Calling something “homoerotic” that is neither willfully or even ambiguously sexual is, A. often used to degrade its target and, B. is typically based on gay stereotypes that the person would reject in serious company.

  15. mysteryperfecta says:

    “And the phrase “methinks doth protest too much” comes to mind.”
    Its hilarious that you brought that up. I just deleted a reference to it in my last post as my favorite example of ironic homophobia. “Boy, you sure are insisting that you’re not gay. Probably because YOU ARE!!!” Ya, total burn!

  16. jeffmcm says:

    Maybe these terms just need careful, precise definition.
    Definition like Gerard Butler’s rock-hard oily abs in 300.

  17. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Calling something “homoerotic” that is neither willfully or even ambiguously sexual is,
    You just don’t get it. Maybe thats THE problem here. Who are you to define what others think is ambiguously sexual. Surely by definition alone, ambguity is in the eye of the ballholder?
    Now come here and give me a smooch too you uptight jock.

  18. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    @jeffmcm – LOL

  19. jeffmcm says:

    And to go back to Nicol’s comments, I kind of want to take issue with the stated notion that ‘gay’ and ‘masculine’ are mutually exclusive. Because they most certainly are not.

  20. David Poland says:

    That is the single funniest thing J-Mc has ever written in here…

  21. mysteryperfecta says:

    Its pretty obvious when the WWE plays up a sexual orientation angle. Not a lot of subtle character work going on in that organization. Its inclusion is in the eye of the writers and performers, and I’m more than capable of detecting it. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the antics are played straight, literally and figuratively.
    But to suggest that muscularity, face-to-face confrontations, melee combat, and revealing attire (those wrestling singlets the kids who participate in school wrestling sure are tight and revealing— GAY!!!), then a lot of great paintings and sculptures throughout history must also be gay. All superheroes in comics must be gay. Wait– I think those arguments have been seriously asserted.

  22. David Poland says:

    Oy. Why is there no room for play in these conversations?
    Obviously, WWE is meant to be 100% rugged heterosexual. But men muscling up, removing all the hair from their bodies, many wearing long hear on their heads, and greasing up… well, not all gay men roll that way… but really… pretty gay.
    Obviously, boy-girl porn is meant to be 100% rugged heterosexual. But all that same stuff about the WWE… also the men in porn. And top that off with an obsession with anal sex and women who are denuded of their adult feminine pubic hair… and this doesn’t seem very “straight” to me.
    My point in the video is that all this has blurred… so the issue of Bruno being a gay stereotype blurs for me as well. I’m not sure why it has to be turned into a term paper.

  23. bmcintire says:

    mystery – “those wrestling singlets the kids who participate in school wrestling sure are tight and revealing— GAY!!!”
    Neither high school nor college wrestlers wear speedos, baby oil or tan-in-a-can on the wrestling mat.

  24. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    @mystery. I think there’s room in this hot tub for both of us.
    I’m not making sweeping generalizations regarding all machsimo being ‘gay’ at all. When I watch UFC, I don’t think Randy is trying to slip a finger into Nog during a greco-roman embrace, I don’t wink to my cromag friends and laugh at the gayness of it all.
    What I do acknowledge is the inherently gay iconography that sometimes intentionally or unintentionally slips into the straight masculine world. Every living being is 10% gay. There’s some ‘hard’ science for you.
    Nudge nudge wink wink.

  25. David Poland says:

    PS – Yes, mystery… Robin is the ultimate gay bottom… though there is a good chance that Batman is really anxious for him to take control and give it to him good with that Joker dildo.
    Wolverine’s older bro in the movie… complete closet case. And don’t try to tell me that Gambit ever found a port he wouldn’t enter.
    Obviously, Bryan Singer’s films were filled with closet subtext.
    There really should be more out gay superheroes.
    Superhero sex is mostly terrible. Does anyone really think Sue Storm is satisfied by the stretchy, but ever distracted Reed Richards? Do you think he reshapes himself to hit her g-spot? Or do you think she goes invisible and takes care of her own needs in the aisles of the grocery store?
    Superhero sex really needs to be examined better in films.

  26. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    DP this sounds crazy but consider the source.
    Jodorowsky once talked about wanting to make a Fantastic Four movie. He said he’s have a sex scene in it where Richards would stretch his penis through Storm’s fallopian tube and into her bloodstream and then eventually to her heart so his penis could massage her soul. Or something like that.
    So all you need is a studio with forward thinking and your dream could happen. Does THOR get laid ever?

  27. christian says:

    “then a lot of great paintings and sculptures throughout history must also be gay.”
    Tell that to the Romans!

  28. christian says:

    I would one hundred dollars to see Jodorowsky pitch that to the executives at a meeting:
    AJ: I’d have a sex scene in it where Richards would stretch his penis through Storm’s fallopian tube and into her bloodstream and then eventually to her heart so his penis could massage her soul.
    EXEC: Sounds great, Alex! We’ll get back to you.

  29. mutinyco says:

    This thread is gay.

  30. Wrecktum says:

    I’ve never read an articulation of the gay subtext on modern porn, but Poland’s definitely onto something. Not only the obsession with anal, but the loving close-ups of ejactulating cocks. Somewhere along the way, it’s become standard practice to insert strong gay imagery into heterosexual porn, and no one seems to mind.

  31. The Big Perm says:

    Proof that the WWE is gay: I masturbate to it.

  32. Nicol D says:

    J B Doctor,
    First off, I do not watch wrestling. Never have. Ok, Ok, I’ll admit that I left the station on a few times whenever I was channel surfing and Stacey Keibler was on because her buttocks are so round they remind me of hot oily man-abs on a wet summer night. But only then.
    “How you can even compare the generic work of Wayne and Eastwood to the camp mincing melodramatics of peplum is beyond me. ”
    I do not. Ever taken a modern day women’s studies course or film class? Just reacting to what’s already out there.
    “And FYI Petersen in TLADILA is as straight as Pacino in CRUSING. Thats the crux of his relationship with Dafoe’s character. ”
    Yes, I know. He is also mucho macho. Which is why my friend called him gay. Which is the point of my post.
    “Now come give me a smooch Nicol.”
    Do. Not. Tease. That is cruel…Bitch.
    Christian,
    “What you leave out Nicol, is that the people that tend to be into certain sports are homophobic beyond belief, the players included.”
    I am not into sports so I would not know. But how can they be homophobic if we have established that man on man sports are all homoerotic? This is all so confusing.
    “And the phrase “methinks doth protest too much” comes to mind. ”
    Protest what? I am as gay as gay can be! I love Michael Mann movies, Clint Eastwood, Charles Bronson and ribs and fries. Don’t get any gayer than that! I also love Katy Perry, Britney and Madonna music. Oh and I also order the odd Pina Colada in the summer. I. am. so. gay. I even have Perry tickets I can’t wait to get to. Molson Amphitheatre “hot dogs” are the best!
    Joe,
    “Mind you, I think they’re on to something when they ask about Joseph Cotten in Citizen Kane and John Ireland in Red River. And maybe even Donald O’Connor in Singin’ in the Rain. But James Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington?”
    Red River definitely has a subtext to it that cannot be ignored but I think too many students project onto older films because they have a modern vantage point and cannot fathom a time when “gay” or “queer” culture was not as in vogue as it is now.
    I taught a film class where I tried to show them the beautiful boat kiss scene between Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant which is off camera. I told them this was an artistic choice to even further empower the kiss. They couldn’t fathom it and thought it was because kisses were censored at the time. I then showed them scenes of many other films of the time that had kisses to prove my point but they couldn’t get their heads around it.
    Contrary to what many think here, I have no issue with graphic films. My personal collection is in the thousands of films with classics of every genre including many x-rated. But we lose something now when we project too much on classic films. Too many new students can’t get past the current era and project on them.
    Used to be they would not watch a B&W film, now they will not watch a film that is old and not graphic or pre 1968. I think that is unfortunate. I also had real problems getting them to appreciate Mr. Smith which is one of my faves.
    I think this whole homoerotic thing is a refection of that.
    Jeff,
    “And to go back to Nicol’s comments, I kind of want to take issue with the stated notion that ‘gay’ and ‘masculine’ are mutually exclusive. Because they most certainly are not.”
    Part of the reason there is so much homophobia is because whenever two men are even remotely intimate in a friendship way in films, people like you are the first to call it homoerotic.
    If I have to read one more Riggs and Murtaugh want to get it on essay I’ll…..
    Too many gender studies courses. Too many women’s studies courses. ‘Nuff said.
    Dave,
    “That is the single funniest thing J-Mc has ever written in here…”
    You’re being kind to my nemesis to hurt me. But it hurts soooooo goood!
    ” But men muscling up, removing all the hair from their bodies, many wearing long hear on their heads, and greasing up… well, not all gay men roll that way… but really… pretty gay.”
    Hey, I do not watch wrestling. The problem I have is the usage of the term “gay” as a pejorative when the product is aimed at, let’s be honest, cultural redneck hetero types. But if someone used the term “gay” as a pejorative against something like a Kenneth Anger film or ordering a Strawberry Daiquiri then one would be considered a bigot. It’s the progressive double standard that irks.
    “Obviously, Bryan Singer’s films were filled with closet subtext.”
    Of course, but the X-Men were always meant to be filled with the subtext of the “gay” The Batman and Superman stuff is silliness.
    Of course if I make a comment about Leonardo Di Caprio projecting closeted feminine attributes or that Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne looks like he spends to much time “pumping” in the gym…well, then all hell breaks loose.
    “Superhero sex really needs to be examined better in films.”
    Do you really want more Watchmen?

  33. jeffmcm says:

    Nicol:
    “Part of the reason there is so much homophobia is because whenever two men are even remotely intimate in a friendship way in films, people like you are the first to call it homoerotic.”
    Does not compute.
    Also, who exactly are ‘people like me’?

  34. mysteryperfecta says:

    “Obviously, WWE is meant to be 100% rugged heterosexual. But men muscling up, removing all the hair from their bodies, many wearing long hear on their heads, and greasing up… well, not all gay men roll that way… but really… pretty gay.”
    That’s my point– when did that stuff become “gay”? Long hair on wrestlers is a hold-over from the heavy metal 80s. Muscling up? Really? And DO YOU THINK there’s an explanation for why they grease up, fake tan, and go hairless? Why, YES, there is, and its nothing to do with sexuality. They do it to look more ripped.
    Fact is, the gay community has ADOPTED some of this imagery, except when they reject it. Remember the metrosexual rage? At that time, wasn’t short, spikey bedhead “gay”? How is a busy pro wrestler supposed to keep it straight?
    “I’m not sure why it has to be turned into a term paper.”
    That is one HELL of a thing to hear coming from you, the king of verbosity. 😉
    “What I do acknowledge is the inherently gay iconography that sometimes intentionally or unintentionally slips into the straight masculine world.”
    That’s not what you were saying, at all. Besides, there’s nothing inherent or iconic about your characterization of what’s gay about pro wrestling (except the longing in their eyes). It’s all inherently hetero iconography that’s been turned on its side. Of course, I have no objection to the notion that pro wrestling and movies like 300 have a specific gay appeal.
    “Yes, mystery… Robin is the ultimate gay bottom.”
    I think you’re just having a go, but this really proves my point. Its just an ironic, post-modern deconstruction of the superhero genre. Its what I’m objecting to, in general. And don’t forget Bert and Ernie are gay.

  35. Nicol D says:

    People like you, Jeff. Y’know…you!

  36. David Poland says:

    “The problem I have is the usage of the term “gay” as a pejorative when the product is aimed at, let’s be honest, cultural redneck hetero types. But if someone used the term “gay” as a pejorative against something like a Kenneth Anger film or ordering a Strawberry Daiquiri then one would be considered a bigot. It’s the progressive double standard that irks.”
    Why would you assume that I am using it as a pejorative?
    I am not.

  37. Nicol D says:

    Mystery,
    Bert and Ernie! Yes, the perfect example to make the point!
    Everything is gay!

  38. mysteryperfecta says:

    “Does not compute.”
    Really? You haven’t noticed it? Batman and Robin? 300? Bert and Ernie? The Hobbits? Shall I go on?

  39. Nicol D says:

    Dave,
    Of course you are. You are trying to mock what you see as a red-neck middle America pass time with that term which you think they would most despise.
    That is the point of the bit.
    But you’re a smart guy. You know that.

  40. jeffmcm says:

    Nicol, I think you should more clearly explain the basis of your complaint. ‘Bert and Ernie is gay’ is and always has been a joke, not something meant to be taken seriously by anyone who isn’t crazy.
    I mean, the subtext of your last post sounds to me like ‘the gays are trying to co-opt our cherished icons!’ which is a problem, how exactly?

  41. jeffmcm says:

    Nicol, I meant your 6:34 post, not your 6:38 post.
    Mystery, let me reiterate my earlier post that you commented on. Nicol said, “Part of the reason there is so much homophobia is because whenever two men are even remotely intimate in a friendship way in films, people like you are the first to call it homoerotic.” And you added Batman & Robin, 300, Hobbits as examples.
    How do unearthing gay subtexts in any of those things, rightfully or wrongfully, add to the world’s homophobia quotient? Do you mean in terms of backlash?

  42. mysteryperfecta says:

    “Do you mean in terms of backlash?”
    It’s Nicol’s point, but yes, I’m sure that’s what he means. Plus, its an obnoxious practice. I especially object to it when applied to otherwise asexual, and even kid-centric targets, like Muppets and Spongebob, etc.
    In my opinion, the ‘Bert and Ernie’ insinuation comes from the same place as the other insinuations we’ve discussed.

  43. jeffmcm says:

    Okay, so let me sum up the argument: ‘The Gays’ and their allies have insisted on claiming and labelling so many icons and styles as Gay, that therefore an anti-gay, homophobic backlash is to be expected –
    In other words, it’s Their Own Fault that there’s so much homophobia out there, and if they’d just be a little less intrusive, there would be fewer problems.
    That’s what I’m getting. Feel free to correct me if I’m misinterpreting.

  44. jeffmcm says:

    I’d love to keep discussing all of this, but I have to leave now in order to (no joke) go see a Douglas Sirk/Rock Hudson double feature. Laters.

  45. mysteryperfecta says:

    “Okay, so let me sum up the argument: ‘The Gays’ and their allies have insisted on claiming and labelling so many icons and styles as Gay, that therefore an anti-gay, homophobic backlash is to be expected?”
    “The Gays”? Do you really expect a sincere answer when you pepper your question with condescension?

  46. LexG says:

    This thread should be McDouche’s “For Your Consideration” ad in Variety circa December.

  47. anghus says:

    the backlash is expected. practically begged for.
    anyone’s outrage is only fuel for the marketing fire.

  48. David Poland says:

    Yes, Nicol. I am a smart guy.
    No, Nicol. I am not using “gay” as a pejorative. Nor am I particularly mocking Middle America, though Bruno is.

  49. CleanSteve says:

    I don’t know why but this “WWE is Gay” makes me think of the giant naked man-pile of “They took our JOOOBBS!!” rednecks obliviously cluster-fucking the hell out of each other in that South Park episode.
    Emphasis on the word oblivious.

  50. anghus says:

    i had to look up ‘perjorative’.

  51. christian says:

    “But how can they be homophobic if we have established that man on man sports are all homoerotic? This is all so confusing.”
    Do you need me to point out that the homophobes in question lack a certain awareness about the sports they play?

  52. jeffmcm says:

    Mysteryperfecta: Fair enough, you were right. I was being condescending earlier there.
    It’s just very hard not to be condescending when the argument I’m countering seems to be so transparently full of holes, there’s no other way for me to put it. What I’m getting (more from Nicol than you) is: There wouldn’t be so much homophobia if gays weren’t so very, very gay (or, alternatively, if there weren’t so many of them).
    I apologize for my overreaction.

  53. jeffmcm says:

    Oh, and I notice that Nicol still never addressed my earlier point about homosexuality and masculinity being, in his apparent view, mutually exclusive. Like I said earlier, I went to see a double feature of Sirk’s Written on the Wind and The Tarnished Angels, both starring the very masculine, very gay Rock Hudson. To force these terms into a binary opposition is to be blind to reality.

  54. As one of “the gays” can I just point out that while the act of WWE wrestling may be homoerotic, not that many gay men actually find it sexually arousing. Or, at least, none of the ones I know and it is rarely, if ever, mentioned on gay websites.

  55. mysteryperfecta says:

    “There wouldn’t be so much homophobia if gays weren’t so very, very gay (or, alternatively, if there weren’t so many of them).”
    No, that’s too strong. Additionally, so is the use of words like ‘backlash’, ‘fault’, and ‘homophobia’. I only used ‘homophobia’ to label the hypocritical behavior of people who love to make that accusation (i.e. those who are ultra-sensitive to perceived ‘gay-bashing’ but who freely use gay stereotypes to label things ‘gay’).
    What I perceive are merely feelings of resentment to what I’ve labeled as the over-the-top deconstruction of traditional masculinity, along with the injection of sexuality into asexual arenas. Its not unlike the resentment that you or I may feel toward a rich person who flaunts their wealth, even if we believe that they earned it honestly. No one suggesting anything close to the torch and pitchfork, but it still makes an impression.

  56. jeffmcm says:

    There’s a substantive difference between calling something ‘gay’ as a descriptive and sometimes affectionate term, as DP did above, and using it as a slur. It has to do with tone, it has to do with context, but not every usage of the word is automatically pejorative, and therefore not hypocritical.
    Thanks, Mystery, for not letting my overreaction yesterday annoy you. That wasn’t my intention.

  57. hcat says:

    Just want to throw my two cents in on Batman, who he is absolutly gay. While Bob Kane might not have intended it to be so, there can definatly be that interpretation. But the dynamic duo do not get it on, the Bat is a repressed closet case who is trying to save Robin, as well as Dent, from their ‘demons’ and their ‘duality’. He always goes out in the middle of the night to battle thin flamboyant ‘villians’ (and catwomen is an obvious drag queen), leaving his beard fiance waiting endlessly in the resturant.
    Now I would not say that all superheros are gay, X-Men and Spiderman are more about puberty than homosexuality and I have never heard anyone mention that Superman was gay until Singer got a hold of him. But Batman you can make a strong case for.

  58. yancyskancy says:

    It does seem to me that no depiction of platonic male love is ever taken at face value anymore. Depictions of close friendship, brotherly devotion, hero worship, whatever — it sometimes seems that contemporary audiences/critics see all these things as homoerotic by definition. Of course it’s equally wrong to say that such homoeroticism is NEVER intentional, but some people seem to believe that it’s impossible for one man to love another without there being a sexual component, however sublimated.
    Batman and Robin have been getting the old wink-wink for decades. I have no idea what Bob Kane’s sexual orientation was, but of course it’s possible that he was a closet case working out some issues in his chosen art form. Or not, y’know? You wanna see some kinky comics, check out the original Wonder Woman stuff by Marston, an unusual guy who managed to put WW in bondage just about every issue (he also worked on the technology that led to the invention of the lie detector test — paralleled in WW comics by her “lasso of truth” – more bondage imagery).

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