2007: Six Camp Highlights (and One Lowlight)

The many critics who panned Myra Breckinridge decades ago when it was first released were as clueless as John Huston’s Buck Loner.

2007: Six Camp Highlights (and One Lowlight)
Photo: 20th Century Fox

1. Ultimate Rediscovery

If Myra Breckinridge the film had been a Broadway musical first, I’ve no doubt it would have gone down in midnight movie history right alongside The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Raquel Welch’s Miss Myra is the precursor to Tim Curry’s Frank-N-Furter, with both actors playing sexually (and gender) ambiguous characters seducing naïve young lovers with equal panache. Myra Breckinridge works on so many levels it’s hard to keep track, from the film critic Rex Reed playing film critic Myron Breckinridge to “Miss” Mae West—the ultimate gay man in a woman’s body, perhaps the first transgender superstar—as a stud-collecting Hollywood agent. That Rex and Raquel, playing opposite sides of the same protagonist, flow easily, interchangeably, from one setup to the next—sometimes even playing the same scene together—is a lovely symbolic nod to the desire to become one, be it with another person or with oneself. The classic movie clips commenting on the action like a Tinseltown Greek chorus and the classic Miss West belting out numbers like “You Gotta Taste All The Fruit” are pure winking delight. The many critics who panned Myra Breckinridge decades ago when it was first released were as clueless as John Huston’s Buck Loner, for the film is nothing less than a brilliantly, thoughtfully, stupendously conceived work of art.

2. Best Gay Porn

Casino Royale—not least because its lead actor passes for a high-end escort. If not for the RADA training, Daniel Craig certainly would have been in the blue. Like all actors he’s a shameless exhibitionist, only most actors have a love/hate relationship with the spotlight. They love the attention of the audience and loathe being (emotionally) naked in front of one. Not Daniel Craig. He, like Dame Helen Mirren (another alt-universe porn star) seems to thrive on the risk inherent in baring one’s body and soul. (And if there’s any doubt that Daniel Craig’s proudly gay-for-pay, check out his rough trade chops in Infamous and Love Is the Devil—the DVD cover art alone screams, “Rent me!”)

But pound for beefy pound, Casino Royale itself should have swept the GAYVN Awards. Cue theme music.

Exhibit A:

Daniel Craig’s James Bond spends the entire film trailing—i.e., “cruising”—villains, the homoeroticism especially apparent with the hot baddie at the airport who checks out buff Bond in the kiosk mirror while seductively trying on shades.

Exhibit B:

The S&M scene between Bond and his nemesis, Mads Mikkelsen’s Le Chiffre, is a ten on the hard-on scale. Stripped naked and tied to a chair, his sculpted and well-oiled muscles glistening in the shadowed lighting, Craig’s 007 is taunted by Mikkelsen’s bullwhip-wielding, sadistic daddy in head-to-toe black. The scene even begins with Le Chiffre approvingly commenting on how well Bond has taken care of his body. Amen.

Exhibit C:

The females in the film are not Bond girls at all—in the sense that Bond girls are bombshells. The merely attractive women are not bodacious head turners like Ursula Andress, and lead actress Eva Green exudes nothing that could even remotely be construed as sex appeal. Green’s Vesper Lynd is a polite British girl-next-door, not a Penelope-Cruz-like hot tamale. It is Daniel Craig who is both Bond and bunny. When 007 emerges from the ocean water like a Sports Illustrated cover chick, the camera lingers on his ripped torso, the requisite Bond girl he notices on the beach a mere afterthought.

3. Best Bisexual Porn Rediscovery

Radley Metzger’s 1973 sex farce Score, based on a play originally set in Queens, resembles a soft-core Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. Shot in Yugoslavia—because as Metzger explained, “Who wants to see sex in Queens?”—the film proves that Radley Metzger is, undoubtedly, the thinking man’s Russ Meyer.

4. Best Gay Superheroes

Live action, short film category: Taco Chick and Salsa Girl

Kurt Koehler’s Mexican, crime-fighting drag duo are “on the menu to save the world”—not to mention parts of L.A. from Neato Nazi Barbie and White Supremacist Ken—with the help of knockout queen Fruity Punch.

Animated, feature film category: Stonewall & Riot: The Ultimate Orgasm

Joe Phillips, an illustrator for big name comics like Marvel and DC, has traded in pen-and-ink “Batman versus The Joker in Gotham” for high-tech, CGI “Stonewall versus Coctopus in Eros City.”

5. Best Homosexual Subtext in Investigative Journalism

CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.” Fabulous.

6. Best Former Rent Boy Governor

Ah-nuld, of course. (Competitive bodybuilding or naked bodybuilding—which do you think pays more?)

7. Lowlight

The death of Anna Nicole Smith. A fat, bottle-blonde stripper from Texas becomes the wife of a billionaire and the face of Guess jeans. Say what? This is no lucky bimbo—this is a grade-A hustler playing at the level of David Geffen and Donald Trump. Let’s hope her talents are appreciated in the next lifetime.

This article was originally published on The House Next Door.

Lauren Wissot

Lauren Wissot is a film critic and journalist, filmmaker and programmer, and a contributing editor at both Filmmaker and Documentary magazines. Her work can also be regularly read at Salon, Bitch, The Rumpus, and Hammer to Nail.

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