Wednesday, August 22, 2012

James Franco Goes 'Cruising'

The first cut of James Franco's "remake" of the 40 minutes of "Cruising" that were left on the cutting-room floor has been delivered, and the reaction is decidedly mixed.

IndieWire cites "Franco fatigue" in its review of the Renaissance man's attempt at recreating the scenes from William Friedkin's controversial 1980 Al Pacino thriller, complete with actual gay sex  -- Franco got an actual porn director, Travis Mathews, to collaborate with him on the project -- before delivering this knockout punch:
We admire Franco's forward-thinking nature, and the way in which he's able, as an A-lister, to engage with gay subject matter, but we can't help wishing he'd engage with the world around him, rather than using these projects to continually examine his own star persona in a way that isn't particularly interesting to anyone that isn't James Franco.

Meanwhile, Kevin Sessums had a more forgiving assessment of the method of Franco's gay madness:
James Franco's latest fetishism of gay sexuality not as gay sex but as performance art and hence, by such a distancing device, distancing himself from it even as he abstractly presses his nose up against its nether regions. Such an abstraction is ceasing to be a distraction however. He is becoming hermetically sealed in his non-heterosexuality. So much so - and this may be the point - we lose any sense of his own sexuality at all since it is all just artistic fodder that has nothing to do with the flesh. He's always fleshing out ideas until the flesh itself is nothing but contextual. I hope there is time for some human contact in any form in his life. He seems like a nice guy. His heart is in the right place. I hope other parts of him find a place where they fit as well.

The infamous scenes have since been destroyed. I haven't seen "Cruising" in a million years and just noticed it's available on Netflix streaming. Guess there's a trip to the Ramrod in my future tonight ...

UPDATE: So I did indeed watch "Cruising" last night. Seeing it as a more experienced gay man I was surprised by a lot of things. I remember reading there were a lot of protests against "Cruising" when filming was going on -- from gay activists who probably were afraid that gay men were going to be portrayed unfairly. Well, it's an interesting thing about protesting something BEFORE you've seen it -- sometimes you're protesting for no reason. Frankly, I was SHOCKED at how kindly and properly the gay people in the film were portrayed, and how the COPS were shown to be harassing gays for no reason and frequently homophobic assholes. A story about a gay killer in world of S&M leather bars isn't for everyone -- blame the novelist who came up with the idea -- but even the cops in the film were acknowledging that these guys were outside "the mainstream of gay life," so I didn't see a problem at all.

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