Saturday, November 08, 2008

Film Festival: Day 2

Tru Loved
When her two moms uproot her from the comfortable trappings of a San Francisco upbringing for a generic Southern California suburb, high school sophomore Tru despairs. Surrounded by homophobic football players, Paris and Nicole wannabes and a doting but closeted English teacher, Tru escapes into fantasy: she daydreams of living in a 1950s black-and-white Leave It to Beaver-like household (with two moms and two dads, no less) and imagines herself as a benevolent Maria in a Jets-versus-Sharks dance sequence. Astonished to win the attention of the town’s star quarterback, Tru soon realizes that her new “boyfriend” is simply another closet case. While protecting her appearance-wary friend by putting on a public front, Tru finds an outlet for her frustrations with her homogeneous high school peers by co-founding a chapter of the Gay-Straight Alliance. But now she must reconcile her very public positions on sexual orientation with her private “gentleman’s agreement.” Tru Loved is an examination of one adolescent’s courageous ability to counter small-town small-mindedness, broaching tough issues — interracial dating, gay parenting, school-sanctioned
homophobia — that the average after-school special eschews. And, in the end, Tru actually finds true love. This family-friendly film features appearances by Bruce Vilanch, Alec Mapa, A
Different World’s Jasmine Guy, Best in Show’s Jane Lynch and David Kopay — the first openly gay professional athlete!

I found this film to be absolutely charming, while still covering lots of important and timely social issues. It balances honest emotional scenes with gut-wrenching laughs, keeping the film light and moving. Not mentioned above in the star-studded cast were Alexandra Paul (of Baywatch), Cynda Williams (of Tales of the City), and Nichelle Nichols (of Star Trek), whose performances were terrific. There's no shortage of eye candy with all of the football practice and locker room scenes. My only complaint was the wedding scene near the end, when the worst homophobic character suddenly does a complete 360 turn around. Otherwise I highly recommend this film!

Man on Wire
August 7, 1974–A young Frenchman named Philippe Petit steps out on a wire suspended 1,350 feet above ground between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. He dances on the wire with no safety net for almost an hour, crossing it eight times before he is arrested for what becomes known as “the artistic crime of the century.” In the months leading up to his clandestine walk, Petit assembles a team of accomplices to plan and execute his “coup” in the most intricate detail. How do they pull it off? Moving between New York and his secret training camp in rural France, Petit and his team plot every detail. Like a band of professional bank robbers, the tasks they face seem virtually insurmountable. But Petit is a man possessed; nothing will thwart his mission to conquer the world’s tallest buildings. Unfolding like a delicious heist film, Man on Wire brings Petit’s extraordinary adventure back to life with visceral immediacy ripened with post-9/11 nostalgia. In candid interviews, Petit and all the
key participants relish this chance to tell their story. Buoyed with eye-catching archival footage, clever dramatizations, and delightful visual effects, filmmaker James Marsh, like his
daring subject, pulls off an astonishing coup.

This film was very interesting as it chronicled the thoughts, passion, and preparation that went into these illegal wire walkings. However, I was bothered by the complete lack of explanation of how these were funded. The equipment, multiple trans-continental plane rides, and need for temporary living quarters would have cost a lot, but are never discussed. None of his accomplices ever mention taking time off of jobs, either, so it left me with a huge unanswered question. The interviews with Philippe showed him to be rather egotistical and arrogant, which detracted from his likability. But the feats were inarguably amazing, as are the film and photo documentation.

Crush du Jour: Matt Cooper


RAD said...

that a whole lotta movies you are seeing! I wish we had the time! Thanks for the reviews! Makes it easy for us to pick!! Perfect! :-)

cb said...

First, I've heard Man on Wire is amazing... but I get vertigo just thinking about it. It honestly makes me nauseous.

Second... LOVE the rugby crush of the day... WOOF!