Filed under: Arts, creativity, humour, liberal, life | Tags: Ben Lewin, catholic guilt, dignity, disability, disability in the movies, disabled sex, Helen Hunt, iron lung, John Hawkes, oscars, polio, quadriplegic, religion, religious barriers, sex before marraige, The Sessions, William H macy
This is a remarkable hidden gem of a movie directed with grace and understatement by Ben Lewin, a 67 year old director whose career has little in the way of highlights or recognition. Until now that is.
His main protagonists, John Hawkes who was Oscar nominated for Winter’s Bone, Helen Hunt (who won one for As Good as it Gets) and William H Macy (Fargo nomination) tell a story as touching as any you will ever see that tries to make sense of whether sex out of wedlock as a (disabled) Catholic can be tolerated by those of great faith.
The good news? It can.
What makes this trio of understated performances so remarkable is that they are all so extreme, yet constrained.
Firstly, John Hawkes (Mark) plays a 38 year old quadriplegic (a consequence of childhood polio), with a fine sense of humour, who lives 21 hours a day in an iron lung and desires nothing more than to have full penetrative sex and yet does not turn the role into a freakshow.
Secondly, Helen Hunt spends much of the movie completely naked (as brave as it gets at 49) teaching Mark how to suck her nipples effectively, perform passable cunnilingus and generally satisfy her and himself – she’s a sex therapist.
And thirdly, William H Macy plays a cool dude Catholic priest that assumes the role of God, granting Mark the dispensation to get his rocks off free from the guilt of mortal sin.
What’s more, the supporting cast all put in excellent and mostly touching shifts that add to the overall quality of the movie.
It’s in places hilarious (although Seth MacFarlane would hardly agree), breathtakingly taboo (without offending anyone – including the four pensioners sat behind us) and moving.
What makes it work so wonderfully is what it doesn’t do or say. Whilst issues surrounding morality must sit full square at the centre of the (based on true) story it’s not hammered home. It makes no judgement and that’s in no small part down to the skill of director Lewin.
Very few people have seen this movie, more’s the pity, and the screening we saw was achingly badly attended. Nonetheless it cost only $1m to make and grossed a modest (but profitable) $5m in the US. I think it’s a sleeper of potentially Sideways proportions that will, over time, make the funders very large returns as its absolute honesty and sincerity wins it advocates like me.
Anne Hathaway is unbettable for Best Supporting actress at this year’s big hooley and she is by a distance the best thing about Les Miserables, but it’s a cameo role. This, on the other hand, is a career defining moment for Hunt who would win every day in my book. And I may indeed have a small wager on her at 25/1.
Filed under: business, conservative, creativity, liberal, life, politics, Rants, Uncategorized | Tags: Barack Obama, democrats, ethnic vote, mitt romney, politics, republicans, The 2012 US presidential election
When Barack Obama rode into power in November 2008 on a wave of optimism, change, belief, creativity and downright sexiness the world gasped. American politics had not been so riveting since the 1960′s and certainly not as glamorous. This online ad encapsulated it all for me.
And then reality kicked. The mother of all recessions and hostile antipathy towards what’s now known as Obamacare.
One of Mitt Romney’s central strategies was, in creating 12million new jobs (really?), he would revoke Obamacare and return America to the most obviously polarised class structure in the Western world.
Obama meanwhile was criticised for continuing the Afghan war and for appearing remote; too much a thinker, not enough a baby-hugger.
He was doomed.
Five things saved him I believe. Catching, and killing, Bin Laden (in a brave and high risk operation), Hurricane Sandy, Clinton’s speech, his wife and a brilliantly single-minded and principled political agenda that reached out Liberally to the WHOLE of America.
While Romney seduced the white vote with constant appeals to their pockets “it’s the economy stupid.” Obama consistently ploughed his furrow of social justice.
The Democrats are painted as Socialists (albeit dressed in Blue) but they strike me, under Obama, as the world’s great Liberals, balancing vote winning (in the underpriveleged) social issues with strong foreign affairs and a balanced view on the economy; it’s not the economy at ALL costs.
This chart said it all when I saw it last week. It demonstrated what a danger Romney would be given the keys to the White House (we all saw his ineptitude abroad earlier this year in the UK)
The statistics are overwhelming and, guess what, the only country favouring Romney was Pakistan; default home of Al Quaeda. World, we got a close call here but escaped unharmed.
Obama’s return to power was anything but certain. He had to rely on a strong ethnic vote (and his ethnicity unquestionably helped there – were a white candidate standing against Romney the result would probably have been very different. Should Hilary Clinton choose to stand in 2016 her support amongst female voters may have a similiar effect). He had to scrap on the streets of the swing states for his life. He only performed moderately in the TV debates. He was saved in the end by his sticking to principles but his negative campaigning was far removed from the elegance of the Obey campaign.
This TV ad from last month though was a masterclass in Liberal balanced communication and I hope it made its mark. There were so many that one will never know and it seems it was the doorstep canvassing that really made the difference. Obama’s strategy in micro-marketing being better and more energetic.
A note on the TV coverage. I watched it here, in the UK, flipping between the BBC, Sky, CNBC and CNN. By a country mile the most interesting, insightful and challenging coverage came from CNN.
The BBC was plodding and boring.
So, America has made a brave, some might say, and reasoned, others might say, judgement call. At the end of an administration that has see the economy hit by its very own Hurricane Sandy and against a presentable and domestically credible conservative voice offering the promise of a return to “The American Dream” Obama has held on, scraped back into power and given the opportunity to carry on his work, Not only that but The Senate surprisingly remained in the hands of the Democrats.
One major blot on the horizon; the Republicans still hold power in the house and so the opportunity to quash social change policies remains real and present.
One word sums it up again though.
I’m Mark Gorman and I approved this message.
Filed under: humour, jokes, liberal, life, photography, stories | Tags: d, dolphins, stress, stress test
It used to be so damned easy to catch dolphins.
The mothers were just leapin’ outa the sea into your net.
But that seemed so Cruela de ville.
But modern life, it ain’t so easy .
The Japanese, they’ve killed so many of them babies that it don’t seem such fun any more. In fact it creeps me out.
It stresses me.
So, I was kinda pleased to get this little old chill out zone message from Patti.
You might like it too.
You need to focus though…. so let’s get inta character.
How to determine your stress:
Just look at the photograph…
If you find more than one or two differences you may need to take a vacation.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, humour, liberal, life, politics, Scotland, theatre | Tags: Edinburgh, Edinburgh Theatre, entrepreneurialism, female entrepreneurs, lesbian love, lesbian relationships, lesbians, Scottish Theatre, stellar quines, the age of arousal, the emancipation of women, The Lyceum, the remington typewritter, The Royal Lyceum, The royal lyceum theatre company, the sexual revolution, victorian britain, women and work, women's liberation
Just as Stanley Townsend playing Eddie Carbone frequently accused Rodolpho to be “not right, just not right” in the previous Lyceum production of A View From The Bridge, so a central plank of Muriel Romanes’ joint production with The Lyceum and Stellar Quines is the notion of homosexuality that cannot be said by it’s name; here Lesbian ladies are merely “odd”. But it amounts to the same.
In “A View” Rodolpho’s homosexuality was imagined by Eddie as a construct with which to castigate his foe; here it is a celebration of the two lead characters, Rhoda Nunn and Mary Barfoot who despite being a generation apart in age are Victorian entrepreneurs with a taste for each other as more than just business partners.
This could have made for a truly shocking dramatic premise but it’s shrugged off as “odd”, perhaps, but really nothing to get one’s knickers in a twist about.
Although I said previously ‘Our two leads’ this is in actual fact as ensemble a show as one could imagine, they are backed by a chorus of gaggling Macbethian sisters played outstandingly by Alexandra Mathie (truly amazing) and Molly Innes as the older, hopeless spinsters and Hannah Donaldson as the “pretty” sibling with a chance.
“Overbred” by 500,000, out of a population of two million, Victorian Britain needed women to look good if they were to have any chance in a male buyers’ market and the only two women in our cast of six that would have any chance are “pretty” Monica Madden and committed Dyke, Roda Dunn. The fact that they both fall for the same man makes for intriguing developments as the play unfolds, and surrounded by six women of exquisite talent Jamie Lee as Everard Barfoot has his work cut out to fly the flag for us blokes. That he succeeds with panache, wit and charm is testimony to his excellent performance.
This is a play that is richly and deeply textured; interestingly realised with beautifully subtle sound, video and lighting design and costumes (designed in a third year project by Edinburgh School of Art Students) that for me were the best I’ve seen on the Lyceum stage in a long time. Interestingly, my wife hated them. I’m so much more in touch with my feminine side it would seem.
This is an absorbing two hours of entertainment with a feisty and often hilarious script that batters along holding you firmly in its thrall throughout.
It’s a gem.
And it’s a real thought piece too; at its centre is the debate over the role that “work” played in liberating women from the shackles of domesticity. The arrival of the Remington typewriter to UK shores, and made centrepiece of this show, both physically and stylistically is a clear metaphor for women’s emancipation. But is it all good? Has it served its function. After all, by the 1960′s the typewriter was the focus for feminist ire as it had created exactly the opposite effect that this late 19th century passport to freedom so obviously delivered.
Motherhood and child rearing is examined too, suggesting that perhaps domesticity is not so bad. But in the play it’s wrapped up in sexuality and the power women (still) hold over hapless men who can’t see further than the end of that organ that so drives so many of us.
It’s complex indeed (just look at the number and variety of tags I’ve used in this post). And I’m not sure you’ll get all the answers or unravel all the themes in one sitting Certainly it’s more than worthy of second helpings. So, go, indulge yourself and maybe you’ll be back for more.
Filed under: Labour, liberal, life, politics | Tags: 2010 budget, austerity budget, budget, george osborne, tory
So, Gideon takes his first step forward in the adult arena and…he fails to fail.
That was a big surprise to me.
But, credit where it’s due; his first budget was a triumph. Having said that it would be difficult not to have shone in the austerity budget to end all budgets.
What impressed me, aside from the many tedious Labour rhetoric snide criticisms (and the progressive coalition big ups. Ed), was his strategy.
The way I read it is thus, stuff the super-rich (we’ve got them anyway) and let’s really rip into the “Shameless” class, those that really do screw benefits.
I have to say that as a non Daily Mail reader I buy that.
The other thing I agree with is his slowing down of public sector employment growth.
However, there was never an easier time to deliver a swingeing budget and I wonder if he actually missed a trick and could have gone even further. I will also find it amusing to read commentators’ views on the VAT rise. When Darling cut it to 15% nobody said it made a heap of difference…why then is the subsequent rise such a focus on this particular budget?
I confirm, I have not turned right wing, but common sense prevailed today and was presented well.
(Will, I so know you are going to disagree with every word of this.)
Filed under: conservative, humour, Labour, liberal, life, politics, Scotland, stories, UK election | Tags: alex salmon, BBC, leaders debate, SNP
Salmond’s challenging of the SNP’s right to be in the leadership debate is at the very least entertaining and at best an interesting constitutional call. I’m in favour of him winning the court case I have to say.
He has two reasons for justifying his claim;
- He has managed a coalition with little fuss for three years
- He governs 10% of the country
Filed under: conservative, Labour, liberal, life, politics, Rants, UK election | Tags: arran, arran politics, ayrshire, david cameron, gay politics, Philip Lardner, the election, the tories, tory gay gaff, tory prejudice, tory scum, UK election
I read tonight that, and I quote, Philip Lardner, the Tory election candidate for North Ayrshire and Arran, said that most Britons consider homosexuality to be “somewhere between unfortunate and simply wrong” and it should not be supported by the state.
In a section on his website, he supported parents and teachers who do not want children to be taught about homosexuality and churches who do not want to employ gay people.
Philiip Lardner is not really in touch with this century and life in general.
He ought to heed this poster.
Filed under: conservative, Labour, liberal, life, politics | Tags: Democracy, Lib Dem, liberal, there is another way
We’d like to see people who agree with Lib Dem policies actually voting Lib Dem for a change.
“If everyone who’d wanted the Lib Dems to be in power actually voted for them, they’d win” – John Cleese
If you believe in Lib Dem policies, vote for them. Don’t be fooled into thinking you have to vote for which ever ‘Labservative’ party is the lesser of two ev
Filed under: conservative, Labour, liberal, politics, UK election | Tags: Nick Clegg
I have consistently voted Liberal for years but have reached the stage where I’ve formed the opinion that my brilliant political insightfulness and wisdom is wasted because 20% is the sum total of the electorate that the party can mobilise.
So blow me? This quote from the BBC website nearly knocked me over.
“A Sun newspaper poll, carried out after the TV debate, suggests Labour are in third place on 28% (down 3%), with the Lib Dems on 30% (up 8%) and the Conservatives 33% (down 4%).”
The Liberals up 8%? EIGHT PERCENT?
If this is the case Nick Clegg’s performance on Thursday night (where all agreed he walked the Prime Minister’s debate) might be the most effective political performance in history.
What this poll suggests is that Nick Clegg has single-handedly turned a duopoly into an oligopoly in one fell swoop.
Immediately, if this is true and is sustained, it moves me back to being a Liberal voter because I can see value in the vote.
Immediately it makes the election the most interesting in a century.
Immediately I am very, very excited about this election.
I do so hope I won’t look back on this and think how naive I was to get excited about one poll. In one paper. And The Sun at that.
But maybe, maybe this could just be a snowball effect beginning to form.
The greatest irony?
This poll, which puts Labour in third place, would see them back in power.
Politics. It’s a weirdo.