Monday, July 09, 2012

Feel Good Movie Of The Century: Sex, Lies and G-strings

 I've been madly in love with a few movie stars. There are some actors who have consumed my imagination. They are so complete in a role have such a wonderful charisma and often play roles that have won my heart. Some of these obsessions over the years have been Gene Kelly (I mean look at that build, a solid man-body that can move like water and charm and sexy!) Al Pacino (loved him all my life) Matthew Modine (fell in love with him at an afternoon showing of Vision Quest) Bratt Pitt (as soon as Thelma And Louise ended my friend Jill and I were "who was that guy!?") Keanu Reeves (love love love YOU), Cary Grant, (need I explain? the best, Bringing Up Baby) Buster Keaton (sexy and funny) Matthew MaConnnaughey (a gorgeous man not afraid to look like a total fool)

No one is more surprised than me that I have gone gaga over Channing Tatum. A few years ago when I was bartending on Queen Street East, my co-worker Jamie used to rag on me that "You only like the pretty boys". I was like, "No I don't... they like me, I can't help it."  There is just something awful about only liking pretty boys. I resisted his opinion even as this very pretty guy was picking me up after work. No, I'm not that shallow, really. I don't just love the pretty boys...and I say this even as I realize I was lucky enough to fall in love with the prettiest boy of them all, my Stagg. Pretty and wonderful!

So, my denial of liking pretty boys at's no surprise that I would be heading out to the new dance movie Magic Mike as soon as possible. After all a movie cast of half a dozen pretty boys...naked...hello. I LOVE dance movies. Two words, right? Gene Kelly. One of my first movie loves. I obsess over So You Think You Can Dance and have seen most dance movies in theatres as soon as they come out. Magic Mike is as good as they get.
 Okay. Channing Tatum is gorgeous. But this kid can act. Not only was he every bit as hilarious as Jonah Hill in 21 Jump Street (I give that movie 8/10) but he has a kind of sincerity that really surfaces on film. It took me a while to "get" this actor...I did kind of type cast him as a cute dancer but not my type. I had no idea years ago that the star of Step Up would become one of my new fave actors. It has happened!
 Magic Mike is a "backstage story". Behind the scenes and the chemistry, hard knocks and lucky breaks of performers. Think All That Jazz, Caberet. A Chorus Line, Tootsie. Stuntman, Postcards From The Edge. Director Steven Soderbergh is someone who I am always very interested to see his movies. Some I am not a big fan of...but when he blew everyones minds winning Cannes best picture with a film he wrote in 8 days...he is someone I pledged to watch. I used to own a video copy of sex lies and videotape. I must have watched it 50 times...I just loved it. It summed up everything one could aspire for in a  script. Simple, complex, funny, disturbing and honest and with a lot of heart. James Spader became an indie god and the bad luck of Andie MacDowell changed forever. Directing supermodel Andie MacDowlell into a movie star was a miracle of lore and magic in Hollywood land. He has done it again with Channing Tatum. I am really impressed that a guy made this movie and it feels manly, masculine, sexy, and it taps into women and seems to be made for women to thoroughly enjoy...and I believe that a fair, confident straight guy might get a real kick out of this movie. Obviously gay guys are all over this movie. This movie kicks Brokeback Mountain's ass.
 Dance movies with really good acting, beautiful artistic cinematography, decent plots and anthropological insights are very very rare. Magic Mike is all that. Channing Tatum has a similar non-threatening presence much like Keanu Reeves. The reason I like him so much is because he has an easy masculine charm as well as a strange elusive androgyny. I really feel he loves women. I can't remember loving a dancer like this since Gene Kelly.

Magic Mike backstage genre offers layers of reverie for behind the scenes of The American Dream and is an excellent metaphor for being an artist, a film maker and the corruption of the capitalist dictatorship of the United States. It also riffs on porn movies with it's hazy shots of construction workers, prosaic meetings in tropical houses, and characters who all know that we are animals capable of having sex twenty times a day. And although it does have insight into how difficult it is to live an honest hard working life and follow ones dreams it also functions perfectly as "entertainment" with a lot of fun dancing, humour, and chemistry between the love interests. Its dark side doesn't remain trapped existentially, there is a way out. Women have been watching movies about themselves in this role and setting for decades. A really wonderful aspect of this movie is seeing men in these roles and it not being a complete tragedy (like Midnight Cowboy or American Gigilo). Watching men struggle with issues women deal with all the time is quite rewarding...there are morality lessons here but they are portrayed freshly via gender-bending. As a genre-bending movie this is one of it's best accomplishments.

This is a damn fun movie. And don't even get me started about Matthew McConnaughy. He appears under-used at a gimmick...he is fantastic...but he hits his stride as a supporting actor in this movie towards the final scenes. He is beyond good. He really really is perfect. We know this guy. He is one of the climaxes of the movie and I did not see it coming at all. He should get an Oscar nomination for this role. So should Tatum. McConnaughy just might but I doubt Tatum will. The good news is Tatum will get a lot more roles where he'll be able to show us all his acting chops.

I can not wait to see this movie again. And again! Obviously I'm giving it a 10/10.

 And here is Channing Tatums beautiful talented wife Jenna Dewan-Tatum. They met on the set of Step Up. Go dancers go!

I can't wait to drag my pretty boy husband to see this movie!


X. Dell said...

Hmmm. I didn't think that liking "pretty boys" wouldn't require an explanation, muss less a defense--any more so than liking "pretty girls" or "beautiful people" in general.

Of course, my perception of what or who is beautiful has a much larger range than Hollywood's.

But, of no matter. Your description of the film makes me want to see it, given my fascination with the conflicts between art and commercialism. I'd be curious as to whether there is a (conscious or unconscious) reference to the Frankfurt School.

Candy Minx said...

Hi X Dell...its so great to hear from you. I've become a terrible blogger much going on and I miss my blog friends. Oh I think being told you only like pretty boys is not cool. I felt terrible and Jamie, my co-worker and I had a heck of a discussion about it ha ha ha. All in good fun. but it does imply one is shallow. And I didnt ONLY date pretty boys for one thing.

As for any conscious or unconscious references to Frankfort School...I would say not too much. More political about banks. The capitalism is a given "right" in the movie. What it does put out there is the cost of imaginative talents of the relation between our hearts and bodies...and making money...etc etc. There are a lot of good moments this way...but its not beating one over the head.

Its also a funny movie with some good funny bits in case i forgot to say so earlier.

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