Sunday, March 08, 2009

WATCHMEN: Reviewed by Hemo2Homo.



Hemo: You know, Homo, I was worried when you said you wanted to review a film called Watch Men... thought we were moving into the realm of gay porn.

Homo: You know what's funny, Hemo, is that all my straight friends made this same joke.

Hemo: What wasn't funny was the one thing that almost ruined this movie for me: straight dudes. Anytime a penis appeared onscreen, a few groups of twenty-something "straight guys" felt the need to audibly gasp or giggle.

Homo: I did think that for a CGI penis, Dr. Manhattan's naughty bit did seem to have a little life in it. Oddly, though, it also seemed perfectly natural -- like seeing a big blue Greek statue. This is a character who has more or less risen beyond his humanity, so little things like blue dangly bits don't really factor into his universe of awareness.

Hemo: If I had Dr. Manhattan's powers, my blue penis would have been the size of Manhattan. Hey, didn't you think he was the "positoid" of the movie? Society made him feel so bad about the risk of spreading his "cancer", that he isolates himself emotionally.

Homo: But can you be a positoid if you have no blood?

Hemo: You're tripping me out. Hey, did your partner in crime (crime being life), Jim, see this one with you?

Homo: No, Jim's in Florida doing his Zero Mostel show. Here's a photo.


Hemo: Badass!

Homo: Jim saw the movie and it passed his "butt test." And he HATES long ones...

Hemo: That's why he's with you.

Homo: Long movies, bleeder... anyway, Jim is not a geek like me, and he said this almost three-hour movie came and went before he realized it was over. So, he was completely engrossed. Did Gwenn see it with you?

Hemo: No, this trip to the movies was a sausage fest. And I'm with Jim- I get lost in long movies, too. People assume AIDS is the worst thing that ever happened to me, but that's not true... it was having to sit through a long movie.

Homo: Which one?

Hemo: Meet Joe Black- part of me never left that theater back in '98. I thought The Dark Knight was underserved by extending the movie by twenty minutes.

Homo: Totally agree. It didn't really give us all that much to think about. But it was fun.

Hemo: Unlike the Knight, Watchmen did not leave me looking at my watch.

Homo: That's called "pacing", young one. Every scene gave you a ton of information. And the characters were terrific! Jackie Earl Haley as Rorschach is The Anti-Joker...

Hemo: I thought his name was Horshack?

Homo: Honestly. Two lame jokes in one review? Rorschach is insane and enjoys inflicting pain, but unlike Horshack, who does it with his whiny voice, Rorschach has a raspy nihilistic tone. And unlike The Joker, he is a moralist. So, the torture only goes to those he believes deserves it.

Hemo: The blood in this film surprised me as a hemophiliac. Not since Sweeney Todd have I enjoyed such grand cinematic plasma fix!

Homo: It runs in the sewers! And Rorschach in prison is worth the price of admission. That sabersaw incident (which I won't describe) matches anything in "Saw." You definitely get your money's worth of grisly gore.

Hemo: (somberly) You know, I'd like to think that- if I had more clotting factor- I could put together a suit and go out and fight crime...

Homo: Please let me dwell for a moment on what your costume would look like. I know! Paint your pee pee red and go naked! (It's the homo in me. I had to go there.) But seriously, as fellow positoids, we are bound together by our blood and purpose so that others aren't afraid of our kind. I saw Watchmen as a symbol of our abiding friendship as competitive good guys making things right in the world.

Hemo: ... so, am I a super hero?

Homo: Yes, but the only thing you bomb people with is your jokes.

A warning to our readers: Watchmen is a violent, complex, adult drama. It is not a "Let's get together and fight the bad guy" kind of movie, though they describe, in the film, that that's how super heroes in costumes started -- cops dressing up in reaction to bad guys dressing up like gangs.

Hemo: I also enjoyed the dark tone of the movie, how the lines were constantly being blurred. It's like watching the Today show, you don't know who the bad guy is, or if there even is one.

Homo: It plays like a novel. Dense, intelligent and captivating. In fact I went to see it a second time and liked it even more. There's so much in this movie, you can't get it all the first time.

Hemo: Kind of like a Hemo2Homo Connection review, right?

Homo: Only if someone reads my parts.

Hemo: Yeah, yeah. Enjoy your insults while you can, thickblood. I'm off to go work on that red pee pee suit. There are bigger things out there in the world for me to do than review movies. You haven't seen the last of me, Rorschachlin! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Is this the end of the Hemo2Homo Connection? Will Shawn return as a masked avenger, and try to take over the Hemo2Homo Connection once and for all? Tune in next time to find out!

stevesuit.jpgSteve's addendum: Since I really liked this movie so much, I'd like to publish some additional thoughts after having seen it again. The best review I've read of "Watchmen" --the one I most agree with -- is here written by Andrew O'Hehir. To tell you the truth, I'm a little peeved at the negative tone of many of the reviews, dismissing this intelligent, thoughtful and complexly difficult film outright as if it were a piece of fluff. That's just too easy. For one thing, you have Alan Moore's full permission. (He's the rebellious author of the source material, a comic series now available as a graphic novel, who has refused all royalties or even allow his name on the credits). And for another, no one can convert a great work into another great work. One will always be a pale imitation of the other.

But, taken on its own terms, I think "Watchmen," the film, is, for me, a towering artistic achievement -- and just like all towering achievements, it's going to be loathed with great scorn. It's not a light hearted "entertainment," even though I found it riveting from start to finish. People who go to this looking for the airy vapidity of the "Fantastic Four" movie are going to be shocked. Not even Tarrantino is this grisly.

More, plot and characterization aside, it's a stunningly beautiful movie. From the opening montage, which details the history of super heroes (in this alternate timeline of history where super heroes help win the VietNam war and Nixon is on his third term), through the use of stylized publicity shots done in frieze, I knew I was in for a visual feast. This is real moviemaking. An epic scale telling a small story.

And, blessedly, it's not merely an endless series of chase scenes and fights. It has terrific dialogue and deeply emotional characters with full life stories behind them.

It would have been easy to just dumb this story down and thin it out into a messy gruel (wait for the sequel for that), like they did with "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen," but no. Director Zach Snyder stayed faithful to the humor and pulpy tone of the original and turned out a living novel that paces itself slowly and lets this dystopian world imprint itself into your brain.

Lastly, for a piece written 20 years ago, it seems terribly relevant to how the world still feels today as the media continues to paint a world on the brink of annihilation. We're fed a steady stream of THINGS TO BE AFRAID OF and we start thinking that this is the reality of the world. But it's not. That's a narrative that's been created and developed over a period of time.

Just like "Watchmen."

More links: Alan Moore, who created and wrote the original Watchmen, talks extensively about the role of super heroes and comic books in this stimulating and tough interview. It's well worth reading.


The Hemo2Homo Connection are Shawn Decker and Steve Schalchlin.

The creators met online in 1996, and posted their first movie review in 1998. Both have been living with HIV for over twenty years, and have annoyed their friends and loved ones for longer than that.

Steve Schalchlin resides in Los Angeles, CA. He is an award-winning musician, singer and songwriter. Shawn Decker lives in Charlottesville, VA. He is an HIV/AIDS educator and the author of My Pet Virus.

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