CFN – I’ve been reading Richard “Bugs” Burnett’s Three Dollar Bill column for more years than either one of us would probably want to count up to. Bugs is an amazing writer. His columns are full bodied and piquant.
However he’s jumping on this odd and strange band wagon about comments made from actors in movies like The Dallas Buyer’s Club, which is up for Oscar glory, and of course Behind the Candelabra which was made by HBO instead of as a theatrical release.
With the talent attached, I as many film fans out there are surprised that this wasn’t picked up by Hollywood. The package was amazing – hot director – hot cast – everyone’s heard of Liberace. It seemed like an easy Art House flick that would still end up on HBO.
Gay movies tend to be a bit harder to sell to large mass audiences. Yes some do break out; but usually they are comedy based with some hot music.
“What is largely missing is the sense that Ron’s efforts are part of a larger movement,” theNew York Times review of Dallas Buyers Club pointed out, while Variety swooned over McConaughey as “a redneck bigot who becomes the unlikely savior to a generation of gay men frightened by a disease they don’t yet understand.”
But that is also my point: Dallas Buyers Club is a movie that should have been made 25 years ago – and with a gay hero as the main character – but that this film could only be made today with a straight hero tells you everything you need to know about commercial filmmaking in Hollywood.
The thing is that Hollywood is filled with Gay power brokers. Not all of them are out like a David Geffen; but they’re there. Is the issue about Hollywood’s reflection of the Gay community or an issue within Hollywood’s own Gay Film Culture?
For example Jared Leto has been chastised for not being more supportive or political while accepting other awards. Should he have to be? He’s an actor that took on a challenging role and hit an apparent home run?
Should Anthony Hopkins have given a nod to Serial Killers or Art Carney to cat lovers?
There is also the issue about straight actors playing gay roles. Is there really criticism necessary for that? Does it matter the preferences of an actor in a role? Would Kevin Spacey be less believable in House of Cards if he was out of the closet? (That was the weirdest head scene ever when he went down on Kate Mara in Season One – more serpentine or
fearful than the way most guys go downtown)
Fortunately we won’t have to listen to more of this crap from Douglas at the Oscars. However, we will likely have to deal with Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey, who are, respectively, nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Best Actor for their roles in DallasBuyers Club.
When Leto and McConaughey accepted their 2014 Golden Globes best acting awards, they were roundly criticized by LGBT activists and pundits for their insensitive and self-congratulatory acceptance speeches that – unbelievably – not once mentioned the word AIDS.
I think some of the critics forget that without some of these actors lending themselves to these projects they would never get green lit in Hollywood or HBO. They take career risks taking on some powerful and tough roles.
Maybe Bugs is right, and maybe some of these projects should have been made 25 years ago, and maybe some of the credit should have been given to others; but that’s equality. Gay people now get screwed in Hollywood like everyone else.
Kudos to all of the filmmakers in both amazing projects. In a sea of utter crap that seems to be pumped out of late both projects are credits to the craft and talents of those that endeavored to make them happen, especially the talented actors.
And kudo to Bugs for inspiring me to write this piece. May Three Dollar Bill continue to inspire and entertain many more for many more years!