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General discussion about what's out for the couch.

Cruising: Your thoughts?
Topic by: underdog
Posted: September 18, 2007 - 11:16 AM PDT
Last Reply: September 25, 2007 - 4:31 AM PDT

author topic: Cruising: Your thoughts?
post #1  on September 18, 2007 - 11:16 AM PDT  
Okay, here we go. Cruising is out on DVD at last. What are your thoughts on this once controversial film? Is it still a damaging portrayal reveling in gay stereotypes, or is it edgy and more interesting with hindsight?

Is it long overdue for reappraisal, as some critics have suggested?

Or is it still an "embarrassment", as one critic put it when it was released in 1980?

Slant's Ed Gonzalez wrote: "Both on a conceptual level and in practice, Cruising buys into and advances some of the most dangerous myths about homosexuality and the homosexual lifestyle."

But many other contemporary critics feel it was daring and provocative look at just one aspect, one specific gay community but the world wasn't ready for that.

What do YOU think?
post #2  on September 18, 2007 - 11:17 AM PDT  
Oh, also, we have an interview with the film's director, William Friedkin, now up on the site, courtesy Jeffrey Anderson:

"The thin line between good and evil"
post #3  on September 18, 2007 - 11:30 AM PDT  
Weird, Karen Allen (Raiders of the Lost Ark) is in Cruising? Who remembers that?

More reviews.
post #4  on September 24, 2007 - 3:04 PM PDT  
James Van Maanen reviews - and tears it a new one - Cruising for our Guru blog.

"Seen today, the film appears almost to have been made by a crew of beginners--which is hardly the case, given the resumes of Friedkin (who acted as both director and writer/adaptor of the Gerald Walker novel on which the film is based) and his crew. From the second scene onwards, the heavily expository dialog, coupled with some terrible acting, simply embarrasses. As the film proceeds, it becomes clear that there is little "plot" per se, almost no sense of development, and the dialog remains dead--flat, expositional, and devoid of the quirks of speech that might make it seem real. The acting is mostly on the level of bad "method" (monochromatic, dreary) and this includes, I'm afraid, the lead performance of Al Pacino. When you are given no interesting dialog to work with, acting "real" can bore the pants off the average viewer."
post #5  on September 25, 2007 - 4:31 AM PDT  
I saw Cruising years ago and found it alternately hilarious and horrifying. I was in my mid-teens and probably too young to be watching it on HBO (but oh, Al Pacino in the 1970s ...). Pacino spazzing out on the dance floor of a leather bar = comedy, sure. But despite what he says in the very interesting JMA interview, Friedkin knew what the audience in 1979 was like, and linking the grisly killings and gay sex scenes felt so exploitative. If it'd been some indie flick being released now, it might have less of a "freak show" vibe, but ...

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