July 13, 2010

"The Kids Are All Right"

From my review in Taki's Magazine:
The limited-release comedy The Kids Are All Right has driven critics into paroxysms of praise. For instance, the normally low-key A.O. Scott enthused in the New York Times as follows: “superlative,” “outrageously funny,” “heartbreaking,” “canny,” “agile,” “thrilling,” “vertiginous,” “anarchic energy,” “novelistic sensitivity,” “close to perfect,” “precisely measured,” “honestly presented,” “great,” and “extraordinary.”

Is this low-budget comedy truly the second coming of Lawrence of Arabia? If not, why does Scott appear to be plundering adjectives willy-nilly from Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers’ well-thumbed thesaurus of newspaper ad-friendly verbiage?

Annette Bening and Julianne Moore star as middle-aged lesbians whose domestic routines are flummoxed when Bening’s 18-year-old daughter and Moore’s 15-year-old son, who are half-siblings, contact their anonymous sperm donor father, played by Mark Ruffalo.

This film by television director Lisa Cholodenko (The L Word) may have been partly inspired by two stories notorious on the Hollywood lesbian gossip circuit: the vastly publicized Ellen DeGeneres-Anne Heche affair of the late 1990s and the quieter rumors about the conception of the two children of Oscar-winner Jodie Foster. ...

Casting as lesbians the girly Bening and Moore, who have four marriages, six children, and seven Oscar nominations between them, continues an old Hollywood tradition going back to the first gay domestic drama, 1969’s Staircase, which featured ladykillers Richard Burton and Rex Harrison (eleven marriages total).

Read the whole thing at Taki's and comment upon it below.
 

34 comments:

Udolpho.com said...

Gay marriage is another of the left's frivolous causes, like affirmative action, open borders, and Keynesian deficits, which they feel will make life so exciting and fun and different and will generally keep the party going when the mound of coke gets low. They can't see that these causes are an extension of their mental imbalance.

OneSTDV said...

I find the concept of sperm donor conception quite odd and potentially harmful:

Sperm Donor Kids Have Problems

Euclid said...

Theorem: no popular review of a film, book, TV show or other work with PC sacred cow content can be trusted.

Corollary: The quality of such works is usually inversely related to the percent of PC content.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the "heart warming" appeal of this film will be from sympathy for lesbian unions or its improved job prospects for older actresses. Whoa! I meant actors who happen to be female.

Words seem to be extra important to the same sex crowd. For example there's "homophobia", a term which claims to describe the emotional stance of anyone who says anything about homosexuals that isn't approving and laudatory. But who was ever actually afraid of homosexuals. As Jesse Jackson himself admitted, everyone is afraid of young black men who they meet on the street at night. But nobody has a sphincter clinch when they see a sissy boy approaching.

No, the relevant emotion isn't fear, it's revulsion. Normal men find male homosexual sex repulsive. On the other hand there is a good market for lesbian sex among at least some straight men.

So there's no doubt that there is a market for two young women cavorting naked in a bed. That lusty and wholesome spectator impulse can't be what's happening here though. Middle aged fully clothed lesbians would seem a pretty dull plot premise for most of us.

I think the sentimental heart tug from this film probably stems from its employment of two otherwise unemployable fan favorite actresses (oops I meant female actors). With the exception of Meryl Streep Hollywood simply has no roles for women after they reach forty.

So some people might want to see these two women on screen once again - a kind of nostalgia. Not me of course, I liked them both well enough before they got so old but in your review I failed to detect any mention of gun battles, car chases or kung-fu - not much here in the way of entertainment for a normal man.

Albertosaurus

David said...

The media meisters view their investment as a tool to advance their interests, which do not consist entirely of money-getting. The true order of priorities:

1. Propaganda, i.e., put across cultural Marxism or something synergistic with same. The attitude is: Give the people what we want. They'll lap it up or at least respect it or even LEARN to love it. Particularly if our bought reviewers are loud enough and persistent enough;

2. Prestige ("Marty is up for an Emmy; you aren't");

3. THEN dough. Gotta keep the propaganda fac- uh, dream factory, hotubs and hookers going.

Artistry and craftsmanship are necessary but not sufficient, mere means of taking care of the above priorities.

So, a dishonest pro-lesbian piece of trite tripe that stinks in the eye, turns the gut, and would ruin the nation is whooped up to very heaven. It may not make money, but they got other pictures for that. The main thing is that it advances the very top priorities. If your priorities are different, take up painting or join the Army or something.

Anonymous said...

I will say that one of my greatest annoyances in reading reviews of movies is that they simply can't be trusted to give one any good idea as to the actual quality of the movie.

And the reason is the simple one you suggest: political correctness trumps everything when it comes to overall assessment of a movie.

It's hard not believe that Hollywood knows the scam perfectly well, and exploits it to the supreme level of cynicism only Hollywood can muster.

Since there is just about nothing on this earth that I resent more than being preached at, this turns most Hollywood movies -- outside of action flicks -- into personal torments for me.

It is my observation that this phenomenon -- certainly to the degree that we now see it -- is relatively new. I'd guess that the movie industry -- like so many other areas, including politics -- has been destroyed by the practices of too-good statistical analyses of what the customers (or voters) want.

Hollywood and Washington both now have fine models of each group they are trying to win over, and cater their offerings to those groups. In Washington, this gives us the blandest, most incoherent politics perhaps in all of our history.

In Hollywood, we get dramas that are nearly without exception what would be regarded as annoying chick flicks a few years back, and chick flicks that would choke a nun with their sermonizing treacle.

Men have one last, desperate refuge: the action flick.

But it's my guess that Hollywood is likely doing little more than giving the customers what they say they want (rather, of course, than what they actually want), because that's what the idiot statistical models say.

Toadal said...

Yet another effort by Hollywood's gay elite to portray homosexuals as sharing heterosexual perspectives by having heterosexuals play lesbians. Unfortunately, their efforts are undone by public familiarity with Women's Studies programs or more specifically western Gender and Women’s Studies program doctrinaire feminists who place politics and 'diverse ways of knowing' over education, the biological sciences, and even logic.

In Women's Studies programs perception is everything and objectivity is discarded.

However, these programs do have their critics, the editorial board of the Canadian newspaper National Post has argued:

The radical feminism behind these courses has done untold damage to families, our court systems, labour laws, constitutional freedoms and even the ordinary relations between men and women. Women’s Studies courses have taught that all women — or nearly all — are victims and nearly all men are victimizers.

And who are the towering 'giant minds' of western feminist studies? Illuminati Audre Lorde and Alice Walker come to mind, but also Sharra Vostral an Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and History at the University of Illinois whose area of expertise is “gendered design issues,” such as men and women shaving devices, and, the social and technological history of sanitary napkins and Dr Sandra Harding, a “feminist philosopher of science,” who claims that it’s both “illuminating and honest” to refer to Newton’s Principia as a “rape manual.”

OneSTDV said...

I'm curious what percentage of the pro gay adoption/sperm donor crowd is male?

I think lesbian parents could probably raise girls OK, but a male absolutely NEEDS a male parental figure, not only for guidance, but for discipline and general emotional support. Boys often like to challenge or impress their fathers and the emotional boon derived from that is quite strong.

Paavo said...

Lesbians are not liking this movie. A lot of homo-women refuse even to see the movie, because it shows a lesbian having sex with a man instead of a woman.

http://www.afterellen.com/blog/karmankregloe/julianne-moore-the-wrath-of-the-lesbians-and-the-kids-are-all-right

maybe they get this movie wrong. they show lesbians as normal women, not very masculine, and very bi-sexual. Maybe hardcore lesbians are as un-pc as the bathhouse gays.

My girlfriend, heche-type convert, doesn't want to see this movie, because it's anti-lesbian.

Anonymous said...

I see and enjoy a lot of 'indie' films. Like most who say that, I'm unreservedly in favor of gay rights.


I haven't seen this movie yet, but I'm guessing you're closer to the mark than the rapturous critics. I've seen her other films and Cholodenko is no genius auteur.


I don't see why critics can't just say that it's entertaining fluff that suits their political/cultural sensibilities. All I'm expecting out of this movie is an obvious plot that is enlivened by some clever moments involving Mark Ruffalo, one of the better actors of his generation.


Nonetheless, you might this interview interesting:

http://www.avclub.com/articles/lisa-cholodenko,42786/


"I mean, I’ve known people that have done it and were just like, “Who cares? I’ll go through it. I’ll find somebody good, and I want to have a kid.” And for me, it was like I might not have a relationship with this person, but I have somebody’s whole family history as 50 percent of my child-to-be, and I want to know that person."



"LC: They break it down. At the place that we went, which was called the California Cryobank, it was incredibly comprehensive. There’s these dossiers on these guys all the way from donor essays to audiotapes of them being interviewed. Baby pictures. Family. Social history. Health history all the way back to the grandparents, aunts, uncles. SAT scores. Personality tests. You know, there’s a lot of stuff. So while you never meet the adult person, I think when you distill all this information, there’s a fairly coherent representation of who that guy might be. Stuart Blumberg, who I wrote it with, had been a sperm donor in college. So it was interesting to bounce a lot of these ideas off of him and plumb his reactions for Mark Ruffalo’s."




Wait, so an anonymous sperm donor's family history is 50% of the child you raise with your female partner? That almost suggests our genes are important!

Anonymous said...

Off Topic:

A mainstream Republican offers a variant of the Sailer Strategy re the New Black Panther Party

http://www.redstate.com/erick/2010/07/13/king-samir-shabazz-should-be-2010s-willie-horton/

helene edwards said...

"bathhouse gays" are un-PC? I don't get that, please explain.

Anonymous said...

Euclid: Theorem: no popular review of a film, book, TV show... can be trusted.

FTFY.

BTW, if you don't want to see an awful movie and feel really depressed about the state of our culture [or "anti-culture", which is what it really is], then do not take a child to see Despicable Me.

Wow, was it terrible.

I hate the modern world.

Really deeply down in my soul, I loathe and despise it.

Bama Resident said...

"With the exception of Meryl Streep Hollywood simply has no roles for women after they reach forty."

There are plenty of roles for women over 40 and always have been (watch any old movie). There is nothing ridiculous about Benning and Moores age because they are playing mothers of teenagers. Older women may not play sexy leading ladies in some action movie but they can play moms, historical figures, maids, teachers, neighbors, weird aunts, doctors, grandmothers etc. I know plenty of commentators here would love to see women dissapear off the face of the planet after forty, but use some common sense please. And guess what? As a 20 year old female, I don't really want to see a 45 year old man making a fool out of himself and playing an action star.

anony-mouse said...

I suddenly realised that this blog needs video capability.

Obsidian said...

Steve, interesting critique of the film, I've been noticing the ads for it on tv. Probably won't see the movie, though.

The bigger question for me is:

WHY is it so hard for folks on the Right to make movies, music and other forms of art? What's the problem? Is it a grand, vast, Leftwing conspiracy keeping Artisans on the Right out? And if so, what's stopping such folk from simply doing their own thing - creating their own studios, putting out their own work, etc? After all, Mel Gibson, of all people, has shown that such a thing can be done.

Or perhaps, there could be evolutionary reasons as to why Liberals tend to dominate artistic fields, and Conservatives by and large, don't? what do you all think?

Comments, anyone?

O.

Obsidian said...

Albertosaurus,
I have to disagree with you on the older actress thing: what about Helen Miren, and Glenn Close? Both got serious critical acclaim well into their Hollywood dotage, LOL. I'm talking Oscar nods here. Something Megan Fox can't even think about.

O.

Anonymous said...

"If not, why does Scott appear to be plundering adjectives willy-nilly from Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers’ well-thumbed thesaurus of newspaper ad-friendly verbiage?"

Because movie critics are part of the industry, and if they give movies consistently bad (that is honest) reviews even less people will go to them than already do.

Then what?

Anonymous said...

The weakness of right wing art is a consequence of the rise of modern liberalism including both left liberalism and bobo-libertarianism. Social conservatives were very prominent in earlier nineteenth century writing and art. Balzac has hundreds of pages that would clearly be considered On the Right today. Ditto Dostoevsky. Poorer countries still have pro-bourgeois, Horatio Alger themes as central props in soap operas, movies, etc. It's the worship of individual freedom at all costs, coupled with egalitarianism, feminism, and post 60s counterculturalism that has kept the Arts a province of the Left. Even then you see a sneaking reversal of the zeitgeist in modern work (like Mad Men) that is officially PC but objectively counterrevolutionary.

Anonymous said...

"If not, why does Scott appear to be plundering adjectives willy-nilly from Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers’ well-thumbed thesaurus of newspaper ad-friendly verbiage?"

Because movie critics are part of the industry, and if they give movies consistently bad (that is honest) reviews even less people will go to them than already do.

Then what?

Anonymous said...

I used to have a girlfriend who, though not a lesbian would, as the saying goes, help out when they were shorthanded.

It seems she had one or two trysts with women while we were together. I couldnt have preditcted my reaction but when she told me I found that I didnt care at all! No impact whatsoever. After all it was only lesbian sex, it wasnt the real thing, seems my genuine natural reaction was - to have no reaction. And in those days I was much more of a liberal than now.

This is where liberalism is so confused. Was I supposed to regard her lesbian flings as on a par with straight ones, just as valid, and feel betrayed? I didnt.

Or was I supposed to be a non-possesive male allowing her to fully express herself sexually? That doesnt really characterize my response either.

Was I in fact just exhibiting some sort of alpha trait, knowing that she came back to me anyway, I was the winner.

I think the actual numbers of real hardcore fully paid up lesbians is quite small. The more feminine types are always going to be lost through attrition to men when the right guy comes along. Probably makes those butch ones quite insecure.

Anonymous said...

For some reason the Viz character Millie Tant springs to mind in this thread.

Millie Tant sample

MQ said...

Gay marriage is another of the left's frivolous causes, like affirmative action, open borders, and Keynesian deficits

Keynesian deficits have been a right-wing cause since Ronald Reagan. Open borders have been pretty popular with the Republican establishment too.

maybe they get this movie wrong. they show lesbians as normal women, not very masculine, and very bi-sexual. Maybe hardcore lesbians are as un-pc as the bathhouse gays.

a lot of "lesbians" are just ordinary women who stumbled into having a girlfriend for social or political reasons and then bonded. Women's sexuality is very fluid, to say the least, and bisexuality is common.

Udolpho.com said...

a lot of "lesbians" are just ordinary women who stumbled into having a girlfriend for social or political reasons and then bonded. Women's sexuality is very fluid, to say the least, and bisexuality is common.

Not really, and it isn't a mark of a healthy, well-formed personality to have "fluid sexuality"--it's a sign of sexual pathology. Sorry, fellas.

John Craig said...

No question that bull dykes prefer the more feminine types when they have their choice, and only resort to each other from necessity:

http://justnotsaid.blogspot.com/2009/09/vive-la-difference.html

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Obsidian - There are plenty of traditionalists in arts and media: the Coen brothers, the folks at Pixar, authors Pete Dexter and Umberto Eco, Fred Ross's Center for Art Renewal et al.

Doubtless too, most artists and their patrons are savants who latch on to emotional tropes without thinking very critically about them. So, you tend to get stuff like Torch Song Trilogy rather than, say, Looking For Mr. Goodbar.

wtf? said...

I think the person who claimed there are no roles for women after forty only is interested in action flicks. Dick flicks, I guess you'd call them.
There are zillions of movies, small screen & big, featuring actresses over forty, occasionally even in some quite lovely leading lady roles (Audrey Hepburn in Robin Hood for example.) Considering the increasing number of women in all areas of public and professional life, roles will increase, though of course not the young, sexy types because for them you have to be young and sexy. duh.
I suspect the man-person who sees it this way just doesn't notice them. He goes around seeing only a piece of the world and thinks he's smart.
Nobody says you have to be a fan of over-40 actresses (I am not a fan of many over-50 actors come to think of it), but you live in an much of dream world as any chick flick fan.

Anonymous said...

There are zillions of movies, small screen & big, featuring actresses over forty, occasionally even in some quite lovely leading lady roles (Audrey Hepburn in Robin Hood for example.) Considering the increasing number of women in all areas of public and professional life, roles will increase, though of course not the young, sexy types because for them you have to be young and sexy. duh.
I suspect the man-person who sees it this way just doesn't notice them.
----
It really is ridiculous and it shows the absolutely batshit-crazy, rabid hatred and contempt that evo-psychers have for older women. Middle-aged women rule the roost on TV -- Mariska Hargitay, Marg Helgenberger, Holly Hunter, Mary Alice Parker, Kyra Sedgewick, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Glenn Close, Terri Hatcher, to name just a few, are all making huge bucks on network/cable TV. Forty-four year old Kyra Sedgewick is one of the highest-paid women on TV. You'd have to be living under a rock or a complete moron not to notice the proliferation of 40-something and even 50-something women in all the cop, doc, and law shows on TV nowadays. Moving over to the big screen, a cursory scan of the IMDB database shows that 46-year-old Sandra Bullock has five films in development and 49-year-old Julianne Moore has four in development and one in post-production. Judi Densch, Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Sally Field have NEVER not worked. Ditto Julie Andrews, Maggie Smith, and Vanessa Redgrave, who are still pulling regular roles into their 70s.

Just ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

You'd have to be living under a rock or a complete moron not to notice the proliferation of 40-something and even 50-something women in all the cop, doc, and law shows on TV nowadays.

Yes, which is why I cant even watch these shows. Its not that there arent women doing those jobs in the real world but these roles are women acting like men, not women. I dont suppose many men even bother to watch them - like me!

I certainly dont hate on women over 40, in fact I find a lot of older women attractive, always have done. The only shame is that the supply of attractive older women is somewhat restricted when one reaches the age of 40.

wtf? said...

"It really is ridiculous and it shows the absolutely batshit-crazy, rabid hatred and contempt that evo-psychers have for older women.."

"Evo-psychers"--that's a good one. You'd never please some of these evo- people, short of remaining a Barbie lollypop that would automatically blowup, action-flick-wise, at the age of 40. Or maybe 34. Or, in the fantasies of the Humbert Humberts among us, perhaps 14.
To them the world is plagued by evil feminists (not my favorite people either, nowadays.) Studies suggesting that men experience a decline in reproductive quality (big "duh") after a certain age are angrily derided as having been controlled by "feminists!" Of course all their cells and bodily fluids are as good as new, well, just forever. That was my laugh till I cried moment here.

Yeah, it can be a circus. That's why I keep coming back. Steve does present pretty good, objective research understandable to the non-geneticist.. He delves into subjects most of us find too depressing or angering.

Zarathustra said...

MQ blathered:

"(...)a lot of "lesbians" are just ordinary women who stumbled into having a girlfriend for social or political reasons and then bonded. Women's sexuality is very fluid, to say the least, and bisexuality is common."

Oh, sure they are. According to the Janus Report in the early 1990's only 5 percent of women reported any sexual attraction whatsoever toward other women, of which 3 percent were exclusively attracted to other women. And, as anyone over the age of 13 should hopefully know, friendships where both sides aren't sexually attracted to one other remain friendships in perpetuity. Two feminine hetero women falling for each other is little more than an idiotic, adolescent male porno fantasy.

In any case, this belief that female sexuality is somehow "fluid" is one of the most bizarre ideas I've seen floating around this place. Females are practically hardwired at birth to be attracted to tall, muscular, broad shouldered, hard jawed men, just as men are hardwired to prefer slim women with large hips and breasts. Any female in antiquity who wasn't exclusively attracted to such a male would have had her DNA removed from the gene pool in fairly short order, her descendants out-competed by the descendants of women who choose stronger, more robust men.

If you would read some of David Buss's excellent work on this subject you would see that there's amazingly little of this so-called "fluidity" in human sexuality at all, for either gender, in any culture, and at any time.

David said...

>What's the problem? Is it a grand, vast, Leftwing conspiracy keeping Artisans on the Right out?<

Yes, this is the problem, though it is more of a shared mindset and a tacit agreement than it is "a grand conspiracy" that is worked out in explicit detail in a smoke-filled backroom.

Also, while individuals are wonderful, any individual needs a matrix, a common culture, supporting him morally, financially, and educationally before he can commonly be expected to make good. A strong family is an example; a pro-his-people culture is another. Much of what the elites do (on purpose) is tear down such matrixes or prevent them from naturally forming in the first place among other people, in order to protect themselves from competitors actual and potential.

The elites are not entirely to blame. Normal whites are too individualistic on average - they are too easily persuaded that strong families are bad, that racial interests are evil, etc. They are also too abstract/"idealistic"/gullible. Any theory pulled out of any hat has a tendency to beguile them. They are eminently corruptible. (In some cultures, a synonym of "gullible" is the term for "blue-eyed.")

A D.W. Griffith couldn't appear among his people any longer. The support isn't there. Instead we get Sumner Redstone and his "rap artists" and all his well-connected similars (Jewish and non-Jewish).

The smallest problem is lack of talent among wrong-side-of-the-track whites. Most people from most populations are mediocre. And if you think someone like Rihanna is really talented, your expectations have been lowered to a tragic extent.

No, the talented Red-State-type whites are simply a population that, in the words of the old German poem, God has removed his hand from. They are in the wilderness. And the people in control of the culture intend to keep them there until they are all gone. (Although one will occasionally be sent for to mock as a "Beverly Hillbilly" or a Confederate soldier or a wife-beater character, or to provide whiz-bang special effects for the latest piece of dreck.)

Anonymous said...

I would never actually watch this movie, but I saw a commercial for it a while back and noticed that the lead actor was riding what looked like a 60's era BMW, not a Harley.

Anonymous said...

"As a 20 year old female, I don't really want to see a 45 year old man making a fool out of himself and playing an action star."

45 year old men are still young enough to be policemen and soldiers in real life though...