Skip to main content

Oz and Beyond


This weekend finally saw the theatrical release of the much-anticipated Oz: The Great and Powerful. I saw it yesterday, in 3-D and on a massive screen. I thought it was OK. While a visually impressive film, the acting left something to be desired (perhaps because they were mostly acting against blue screens and characters who sometimes weren't there). My two favorite characters were CGI (except for the voices): Frank the monkey and China Girl. Mila Kunis seemed miscast, although I like her in most other things.


Something I was reminded of while watching Oz: The Great and Powerful is how the 1939 Wizard of Oz film stands alone in its preference to treat the land of Oz as a dream. Dorothy wakes up at the end with a big knot on her head, Aunt Em and the rest standing by her bedside, politely listening to her fantastic story of a world full of munchkins, wizards and witches. We understand that it was just a dream, and that is why so many of the people in Oz looked like those she knows in Kansas.

Newer productions, such as the Broadway smash Wicked and new Oz movie, embrace a certain realness for the far-off land. These characters aren't the imaginings of a girl conked on the head in Kansas. They have lives. They existed before her arrival, and will exist afterwards. They have back stories. And that brings me to something else.

If Oz: The Great and Powerful reminded me of anything, it's that I'm not big fan of prequels or back stories. Perhaps this is why I didn't care much for Wicked, or wasn't as impressed with the storyline of the Wicked Witch in the new Oz movie. And perhaps it is why I didn't enjoy the Star Wars prequels much? I don't really care to know how or why the Wicked Witch and Darth Vader became bad. They're just fiction. Give me some bad guys, some good guys and move on.

So, would I recommend Oz? Sure. It's visually remarkable (especially in 3-D), and while the acting may not be top-notch, it suffices. It probably appeals to the stereotypical gay man who likes all things Dorothy and things like Les Miserables, and it will no doubt appeal to most children (although it isn't always fast-paced). The 6-year-old in my group seemed to like it more than us four adults, and that's probably as it should be.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

If You Could Read My Mind

Dance clubs are a funny thing. They contain within their walls a life force and vibrancy sometimes unmatched anywhere else. When dusk settles and the lights come on, people will flood the dance floors to gyrate to music with hypnotic beats and songs about love, lust and fun at the disco. At gay bars, this sort of scenario usually increases ten-fold. It isn't for everyone, but for many it is a respite from the harsh realities of the real word. It is a place that isn't just a structure, but a sanctuary where folks -- minorities in their own communities -- can take shelter and unwind with abandon, at least for a few nighttime hours.
As someone who benefited greatly from such an aforementioned gay dance club, you can imagine my dismay at news of the closing of Chester Street Bar. In business for over three decades, gay-owned and operated, there was a time when C-Street (as it was known by most) was the only haven for those in the LGBT community, near and far, to enjoy themselves …

3/4

Ok, we're now three-fourths of the way through this year's calendar, so I thought I'd rank the thirty-eight 2017 movies I've seen so far.

Here they are....


1. A Quiet Passion
2. Baby Driver
3. Dunkirk
4. Get Out
5. Kedi
6. A Ghost Story
7. Wonder Woman
8. Columbus
9. Brad's Status
10. Marjorie Prime
11. Maudie
12. Logan
13. Spider-Man: Homecoming
14. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
15. Brigsby Bear
16. Atomic Blonde
17. The Big Sick
18. Split
19. Kong: Skull Island
20. It
21. Wind River
22. A Cure for Wellness
23. The Hitman's Bodyguard
24. Norman
25. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
26. Logan Lucky
27. Alien Covenant
28. Ghost In the Shell
29. War for the Planet of the Apes
30. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
31. Life
32. Annabelle: Creation
33. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
34. My Cousin Rachel
35. Baywatch
36. The Bye Bye Man
37. mother!
38. It Comes at Night


It will be interesting to see what the last three months of the year brin…

Unbound

"Step out from the mask you stand behind Fearful lost and blind Time to take the time The pressure’s on you Hide away, hide away No tomorrow, just today"
- Brilliant, Ultravox
Today was National Coming Out Day, so of course it gives some pause for reflection on my own coming out story. It was in April 1993, my junior year of high school (go Chargers!). In the six years of writing this blog, I have alluded to how I came out, but never really delved into the intricacies of how it came about. What better day to do so than today?
My first (small) indications of homosexuality manifested in grade school. While in first grade, I thought a fifth grader looked cute. In fifth grade, I would stare, longingly, at a boy in class, until he caught me looking at him. There were some infatuations with boys in middle school, and a first sexual experience during freshman year of high school. Everything up to that point had been, for the most part, based in the physical realm. I liked the way certain…