1. “Que(e)ries: 10 Lowlights For LGBT People and the Movies in 2013.” From GLAAD honoring Brett Ratner to Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club, these are some of the things Indiewire wasn’t so appreciative of when it came to queers and the movies this past year.
“Bill Clinton, Steve Warren, Anderson Cooper, Adam Lambert and Brett Ratner were the five people that the GLAAD Awards decided to honor in what was clearly a benchmark year for LGBT representation in mainstream culture. Five filthy rich white dudes, two of whom are not only straight but don’t exactly have perfect track records when it comes it to LGBT issues (here’s hoping Frank Ocean simply declined the invitation, because I can’t think of a more obvious and worthy honoree with respect to last year). Of the five, Ratner is clearly the most disturbing choice. An ’ally award’ a year or so after he infamously said that ’rehearsal is for fags’ during a Q&A for his film Tower Heist, a comment that in part led to his resignation as producer of the Academy Awards? Ratner explained during his speech that he has since learned a ’valuable lesson’: ’A word can matter. Whether it’s said with malice or as a joke. And being insulted for using the word cannot compare to the experience of any young gay man or woman who has been the target of offensive slurs of derogatory comments.’ Well, I’m certainly glad Mr. Ratner figured that out. And though he seems to at least appear devoted actions to his words (he’s been working with GLAAD to produce and direct pro-marriage equality PSAs), to give him an award for that is ridiculous. Especially in this day and age of film careers crumbling because of these sorts of comments and ’making good examples of yourself’ often smelling like strategic damage control.”
2. “It’s a Man’s World, and It Always Will Be.” Camille Paglia on the modern economy as a male epic, in which women have found a productive but non-authorial role.
“It was always the proper mission of feminism to attack and reconstruct the ossified social practices that had led to wide-ranging discrimination against women. But surely it was and is possible for a progressive reform movement to achieve that without stereotyping, belittling or demonizing men. History must be seen clearly and fairly: obstructive traditions arose not from men’s hatred or enslavement of women but from the natural division of labor that had developed over thousands of years during the agrarian period and that once immensely benefited and protected women, permitting them to remain at the hearth to care for helpless infants and children. Over the past century, it was labor-saving appliances, invented by men and spread by capitalism, that liberated women from daily drudgery.”
3. “Good Grief and Great Tits.” In which Dan Savage reads Sarah Palin’s Christmas book while making Christmas cookies for his family.
“There are lots of Americans out there whose religious holidays aren’t also national holidays. The country doesn’t shut down—and public spaces aren’t turned into temples—on Yom Kippur or Diwali or Naw-Ruz. Now, either Jews, Hindus, and Zoroastrians are made of stronger stuff than Sarah Palin…or Sarah Palin is a shit-talking pimp who makes money playing to the carefully cultivated persecution complexes of conservative Christian rubes who wouldn’t know what religious persecution was if it sat on their faces and shit in their mouths. (Maybe that’s not an either/or.)”
4. “Seitz’s Top Drama TV Episodes of 2013.” It was a satisfying year of TV watching for Matt Zoller Seitz, who offers his very favorite (and very subjective) list of the best drama TV episodes of the year.
“The more distance I get from the concluding episodes of Breaking Bad, the more they feel like a self-contained mini-season charting the sudden exit, exile, return, and demise of Walter White. ’Ozymandias’ was the TV event of the year, sparking arguments about authorial intent and a show’s responsibility to its audience; ’Granite State’ was the calm before the storm, showcasing Walter in a more vulnerable state than we’d seen in a long time; ’Felina’ was a maelstrom of vengeance and violence that seemed like a wish fulfillment fantasy until you thought about what, exactly, Walter had ’won’ at the very end, and compared it to everything he lost. Top of the world, ma.”
5. “Ain’t Got No Body.” Richard Brody on Spike Jonze’s Her.
“Her is a cautionary tale that offers warning where none is needed, a diffuse and sentimental admonition to put the smartphone down, push away from the computer, turn off the TV, unplug the game controller, and connect with people. But when people do attempt to connect, Jonze (who also wrote the script) endows them with nothing but psychobabbulous clichés to define themselves. The film, with its dewy tone and gentle manners, plays like a feature-length kitten video, leaving viewers to coo at the cute humans who live like pets in a world-scale safe house.”
Video of the Day: An original video essay by Michael Koresky and Casey Moore about the longstanding tradition of bleak midwinters at the movies:
Links for the Day: A collection of links to items that we hope will spark discussion. We encourage our readers to submit candidates for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org and to converse in the comments section.