Seeing “Company” with my best friend Juan

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When I talk about Company, which I am wont to do, I have a spiel, a semi-lucid reverie that, at this point, I know by heart. I make sure to mention its highly industrialized, mechanized New York world; its pleasantly conceptual presentation, making Bobby more of an idea of a person than a person; its abstraction of marriage and monogamy and relationships, giving it an outsider looking in feeling; that its queerness comes down to that abstraction of heteronormativity. …


On the new Britney Spears documentary and the fame monster

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At a fairly pithy 74-minutes, The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney Spears articulates its desire to be about control even in its runtime. It hurriedly attempts to establish the authorship the pop star had in her early career, even within the confines of a misogynistic industry (“industry” here can mean so much), and the ways in which it was wrenched from her in a litany of ways and from a myriad of sources, interpersonal and institutional. Even the documentary’s title bristles with its thematizing, the star wavering between the agency of self-assured diva and object beneath public, and private…


Two new films, one a theatrical two-hander and the other a documentary on social media both want/don’t want engagement

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There is so much bait in Sam Levinson’s Malcolm & Marie (on Netflix) that every moment is an arch rachis, a streak of fakery on an angler, barely hiding the dull hook. As the film prods its characters to prod its audience, the aggressive and argumentative film continually vyes for your attention and interrogation, invites you, and then shies away, resentful, when you’re ready to joust. Its hook is rusty, dull, and so inelegant I’m surprised as many people took the bait as they did. …


On the ending of “Promising Young Woman”, and the community focused justice of “Lady Vengeance”

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(CW: discussions of rape and sexual assault.)

I don’t think it’s an accident that Anthony Willis’ string arrangement of Britney Spears’ “Toxic” sounds like a swarm of bees, the angry and volatile kind, conjuring a venom dipped revamp of the classic Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov composition. It’s the most dramatic attempt in Emerald Fennell’s film Promising Young Woman to (supposedly) invert the sugar sweet, pretty pop aesthetic into something darker and more poisonous, from its pop songs (Charli XCX’s “Boys”, Paris Hilton’s “Stars Are Blind”, etc.) to its romantic comedy tropes. (For the record, “Toxic” was always, I think, a two pronged…


“Search Party” and the accountability game

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Spoilers ahead.

The whites of Alia Shawkat’s eyes, despite their size, blind and flood the screen, in contrast with the actress’s olive skin tone, painted Seurat-esque with freckles, her head cut and her body dusted in soot. Her eyes, they’re cream-colored, a blank canvas, white enough that if you were to look into them, you would be staring into the other side. And you do, the blackened lungs of Shawkat’s character, Dory, expelling fear and self-loathing, the smoke and bilious parts of herself boiling over. I can still hear her.

Alone in a trunk, alone in a room, alone with…


Queer reference as indictment, the commodification of identity, and the beauty (and horror) of FaceTuning

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Lord Bussy and Jurgen at their screens

(Author’s Note: You can find my interview with the Fake Friends, where we talk more about memes, white supremacy, and queer aesthetics at theLA Review of Books. These are some excerptsfrom our two-hour conversation which didn’t make the final cut.)

In terms of queer aesthetic being reappropriated or weaponized and becoming a tool of white supremacy. Was there anything within the show that you sort of, discussed or hesitated about as far as that also kind of falling into the same trap?

Michael Breslin: Yeah, I mean we can all talk about this in various ways. But that was the…


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i contain multitdes!

Like many of you, I have had a treasure trove of time on my hands. I decided to fix some of the gaps in my film watching and catch up on some classic films, like finally watching Seven Samurai, as well as revisit old favorites, like playing that one clip of Daniel Craig walking out of the water in Casino Royale on a loop.

  1. Casino Royale
  2. Playtime
  3. “Dale and Elyse’s Playtime”
  4. Naked
  5. “Naked Ambition”
  6. Inserts
  7. “Shawn & Ellian Buddy Up”
  8. “Breaking in Paul”
  9. “Travis & Max: Unscripted”
  10. Real Housewives of Potomac: Season 4 — “Showdown at the Hoedown” (yeah I…

How “Glee” blew up and went off the rails in ten(-ish) songs

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don’t stop believin’

(Author’s Note: This piece was originally written in late 2018, timed to the show’s tenth anniversary in May 2019.)

Introduction

It seems to me I’ve heard that song before

It’s from an old familiar score

I know it well, that melody

It’s funny how a theme recalls a favorite dream

A dream that brought you so close to me

I know each word because I’ve heard that song before

— music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Sammy Cahn

In high school, I was a Kurt. Or, at least, I would have been in a more precise way if my school had…


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Ooten shoeless

She has a lot of stuff in her bag, and she — nameless, archetypal physically, defined primarily by her zeal — will tell you about each object, every over-enthusiastic inflection nearly roaring in place of the story behind the object, be it a dorky pen, cans of non-perishables, or the GoPro camera with which she documents her ambitious endeavor to walk barefoot across the United States of America (from Providence, RI to Paris, CA, she tells us) to raise money for the Water is Sacred Collective, amplifying awareness of climate change. …


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I think your “ScarJo is Asian” jokes are stupid

In 2014, which seems like eons ago, Scarlett Johansson was cast in the American remake of Ghost in the Shell, based on the Manga by Masamune Shirow and the subsequent film adaptation directed by Mamoru Oshii; the American film, directed by Rupert Sanders, was released in March 2017, also seemingly a century ago. In 2012, Emma Stone was cast in Cameran Crowe’s film Aloha as a character of Asian and Hawaain descent, which would not be released until 2015. And, rightfully, those both of and beyond the Asian and Asian American community called attention to these examples of whitewashing. Johansson…

Kyle Turner

Snarkoleptic. Queer monster. Amateur critic. Professional snob. Freelancer. I am relieved to know that I am not a golem.

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