August 3, 2006

A cat just walked past the lounge down the corridor leading to the kitchen. It is probably worthwhile noting that I do not own a cat in New Zealand.

I fell ill yesterday and did what I normally do when sick and whiny. I rented movies. Last time I was sick I was in a period piece mood and I re-watched Dangerous Liaisons and watched Portrait of a Lady. This time I'm solidly back in my Sharon Stone phase (have I ever really left it?) so my picks are Basic Instinct, Simpatico, and Broken Flowers. Basic Instinct is a great movie and I've watched it almost as many times as I've watched Showgirls. The differences between Basic Instinct and Showgirls, despite both being Joe Eszterhas/Paul Verhoeven erotic thrillers is that Basic Instinct has a damn fine plot, a decently skilled cast, and real tension. Showgirls only has Gina Gershon. Which, admittedly, is usually all a film needs. But with Showgirls you might make the argument that more clothing, less heinous overacting, and a plot could also be necessary elements of a film. Basic Instinct does not have the Showgirls overacting curse and Sharon Stone is actually more clothed than not, starting her celebrated stylish relationship with clothes (and non relationship with undergarments) in Catherine Tramell's signature little white dress.

Basic Instinct 2
got unfairly bashed at the box office. Like Aeon Flux, I think audiences misunderstood it. It was a way to let Stone's iconic Catherine Tramell wreak more havoc on the male ego and manipulate plots, laws, and sexuality to her amusement while simultaneously paying homage to the erotic thriller genre in general. It had a witty script, a cleverly twisting plot, and writers who knew precisely what sort of film they were making. Sharon Stone was as icily seductive as ever, cool and assured, beautiful and stylish. Nobody else could ever play Catherine Tramell - she is essentially an extension of Stone herself. Not an imprint of the woman as a whole but a sort of celluloid realization of Stone's inner femme fatale - the sort of woman every woman has the ability to be deep down but rarely, if ever, gets the chance to express. Sharon Stone, with her beauty and glamour and ice-sex demeanor, gets to be the divine dictator of male fate that every woman at some point or other wishes she could be. The movie was ludicrous, of course, and it probably suffered from the glut of publicity over Stone's nudity at age 48, but it knows it's place and as such it is a fine entry into the erotic thriller genre. A "shrinks and shags" offering, as one essay on the topic called it. Don't pan it till you've tried it. It's a worthy successor and has been cleansed of the more adolescent Eszterhas-esque dialogue and dirty-old-man Verhoeven touches of the original. The original is still the best but Basic Instinct 2 is not the pile of shit everyone assumes it to be.

Simpatico, which I had the good fortune of seeing in it's original theatrical release, is every bit as good as I remember it. I have not yet watched Broken Flowers. I'll discuss them in my next post, I think.

A cat, a different cat than the first one, has just jumped in my open window. I've always said kitty therapy is the best medicine. Perhaps word on the feline street is spreading.

July 31, 2006

Lance Bass recently came out of the closet and admitted publicly that he is gay. I want to thank you all for your concerned emails on the topic but New Zealand is not so far away that I didn't hear the slam of the closet door opening. Thanks... but you can stop now.

I have to say, I'm proud of Lance. Be gay! By all means, be who you are meant to be. Be gay. Be an astronaut. Be a sitcom star. Be whatever fulfills you but most of all be proud of who you are. Congratulations to you, Lance, on being brave and proud. I wish you and Reichen only happiness in the future. (And for those of you totally lost by the entire post thus far, Lance Bass, formerly of NSync, is gay and dating Reichen Lehmkuhl, sometime actor and model and winner of The Amazing Race 4).

Though I have to also admit that my sister offered the best soundbyte on the affair so far via email. "I always thought it would be JC, personally."