Before Night Falls
Often, before I write about a film, I do some research which may or may not involve reading other film reviews to get a sense of particular points of contention that may be worth pursuing. I was reading Roger Ebert's review of this film when I came across this paragraph:
"Arenas is played by Javier Bardem, a Spanish actor with a specialty in macho heterosexuality (if you doubt me, see 'Jamon, Jamon'). He doesn't play Arenas as a gay man so much as a man whose body fits like the wrong suit of clothes. We accept Arenas as gay in the movie because the story says he is, and because there are, after all, no rules about how a homosexual should look or behave -- but there is somehow the feeling that the movie's Arenas is not gay from the inside out, but has chosen the lifestyle as part of a compulsion to defy Castro in every way possible."
I swear to God, sometimes you just have to wonder what Roger Ebert has been smoking. This rivals, if not surpasses, Roger's idiotic comments about Julia Roberts's cleavage in "Erin Brockovich" (to sum up: "Erin Brockovich" is a bad movie because of Julia's cleavage). Though Roger gave this film a positive review, this paragraph is so demonstrative of bad film criticism that I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to slam a guy who wouldn't even invite me on his show.
Bardem's Arenas is gayer than a Castro Street Judy Garland revival. If anything, the stereotypical behavior goes overboard. Apparently, if one man doesn't have his mouth attached to another man's penis, Roger gets confused about their gayness. I haven't the slightest idea what film Roger was watching, but to infer that Bardem's Arenas chose homosexuality to defy Castro simply because he looks like he should be fixing cars or playing defensive end for the Raiders is ludicrous.
Incidentally, the fact that Roger's stupid comments were more interesting to me than writing an actual review of the film doesn't say much for the film.
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