Monday Morning Critic – 5.17.2010 – Tackling Miss USA, My Name is Bruce, Glee and the Newsweek controversy, plus slightly more!

Every Monday morning, InsidePulse Movies Czar Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings an irreverent and oftentimes hilarious look at pop culture, politics, sports and whatever else comes to mind. And sometimes he writes about movies.

I was catching up on my usual shenanigans this weekend when I discovered something a friend of mine pointed out. The Miss USA competition has all sorts of trashy pictures of its contestants on its website now, endorsed by the Donald himself. Don’t believe me? Look below:

I know, right? Totally wicked awesome, if I do say so myself. Granted it is amusing because a year ago this threw the nation into a tizzy:

This picture, amongst others, caused a huge storm that cost Carrie Prejean the title because a tiny, but vocal, minority disagreed with the opinion she espoused on gay marriage that she also happens to share with the current President of these United States. Granted it’s not like she fell that far, currently engaged to an NFL quarterback and has a relatively decent selling book about the experience, and she will probably end up becoming a part of pop culture minutia like anyone else who has their 15 minutes of fame.

The hypocrisy of it all is rather amusing, I admit, and there’s a whole column lurking about it. But that’s way too serious, really, for me. It is more amusing than anything else because apparently 12 months of reflection allowed the Donald to realize that the Miss USA pageant needs to get a little trashier.

Granted he had to take a little bit of negative press because he allowed a gay man to judge a beauty pageant for women … I mean really. Who is more ill-equipped to judge a beauty pageant involving hot women then Perez Hilton? It’s like people asking Mike Vick for how to prevent your friends from ruining your professional career with illegal activities, calling PETA looking for barbeque tips on a set of ribs or channeling the spirit of David Carradine on how to be completely satisfied in a non-life threatening way in the bedroom. If it involved the Mister USA contest he’d be appropriate, but Miss USA? Doesn’t sound right, that’s all I’m saying.

But it belies a larger point: we need to apply this concept to nearly every major reality competition involving women. Wouldn’t it be fun to have the women competing in, let’s say, American Idol to dress in trashy lingerie? Me, I’d think it would’ve been great to compare and contrast Carrie Underwood against Kelly Clarkson on who rocks hooker heels and a metallic teddy better? I’d watch that. If we’re going to use a beauty pageant to pander to the lowest common denominator, why not do it for contests that require actual talent?

I see nothing wrong with it, but then again, thoughts like that kept me out of the good colleges.

Random Thoughts of the Week

What’s always interesting is when you “insult” protected minorities by merely pointing out the obvious. Newsweek did, pissed off the head of the Gleeks and the debate ensues about being a homosexual playing a straight actor and vice-versa. After reading all of this, and contemplating it, one thing does come to mind:

If you’re a flaming gay guy, like so gay you practically sneeze glitter, no one’s going to buy you as a straight guy in a film.

Ok, like Adam Lambert could totally not be in a romantic comedy with Drew Barrymore if he’s not her gay best friend. Granted she does have a history of doing rom-coms with virtually every actor out there but it wouldn’t be believable. People are missing the point when they discuss whether a gay actor could play straight because plenty do. It’s just that it takes a great actor to really do it in the same way it takes any great actor to go outside their wheelhouse.

Rock Hudson was in the closet but was like the sex symbol of his time and I wouldn’t doubt that there’s an A-list actor who’s secretly in the closet the same way Hudson was. But he’s the exception, not the rule. Sean Penn could play Harvey Milk convincingly because he’s a great actor, not because he’s straight playing gay, and I think people are forgetting that. Why were both so successful in their roles?

Because they were/are great actors, nothing more and nothing less, and to say otherwise is to insult both and to make it more than just about the roles they played. To play outside your comfort zone in any aspect, albeit playing a blue collar worker when you grew up with a silver spoon in your mouth or acting like you’re in the opposite sexual orientation, takes a lot and I think people are getting upset for the wrong reason. It takes a special actor to go either way and we shouldn’t get all angry because someone has the guts to point it out. I had never watched Glee until I saw the controversy and (without knowing which character was gay until after I went back and read the article) I thought the exact same thing: it felt off.

The gay dude who was playing straight just didn’t seem like he really had the “lust in his heart” for the gal. It’s not that he’s a bad actor, he’s quite good and if I actually enjoyed Glee I’d watch it again, he just doesn’t play a straight guy very well. I mean if he was a gay dude seducing another gay dude it’d be completely weird to watch but I imagine he’d destroy it.

It’s like watching Anne Heche in Six Days Seven Nights right after she came out of the closet; she wasn’t a good enough actress to make us think that she and Harrison Ford had sexual tension even if she was straight then.

A Movie A Week – The Challenge

This Week’s DVD – My Name is Bruce

Who doesn’t love Bruce Campbell? Nobody, that’s who, as Campbell is one of those guys that everyone loves but no one will actually pay to see as a headlining movie star. It’s the oddest thing; he’s like the white Denzel Washington … except no one buys tickets to see Bruce Campbell. Disliking Bruce Campbell is patently UnAmerican; only someone who likes Osama Bin Laden could hate the greatest B-movie actor and television sidekick ever. He’s an American treasure in an odd way. And it’s about time he parodied his own status as a cult icon with a film destined to be a cult classic: My Name is Bruce.

Bruce stars as …. Well … Bruce Campbell. But not as himself, as a parody of himself ala Neil Patrick Harris playing Neil Patrick Harris in the Harold & Kumar films, and he’s in a heap of trouble. Stuck in DTV sequel hell, he’s kidnapped by the town of Goldlick to help defeat an evil Chinese demon unleashed upon it. Hilarity ensues.

Starring, and directed by Campbell himself, this is an insanely funny film that pokes an insane amount of fun at Campbell in the only way only a guy like the star of the Evil Dead franchise could pull it off.

Strongest recommendation possible.

What Looks Good This Weekend, and I Don’t Mean the $2 Pints of Bass Ale and community college co-eds with low standards at the Alumni Club

MacGruber – Will Forte brings his mediocre SNL character onto the big screen.

See it – This has been getting INSANE buzz of the good variety. Probably this year’s The Hangover.

Shrek Forever After – Mike Myers needs money.

Skip it – Don’t give it to him. The franchise went from brilliant to boring in Shrek the Third, thus it stands to reason that this is going to suck, and suck it hard.

Do you have questions about movies, life, love, or Branigan’s Law? Shoot me an e-mail at and you could be featured in the next “Monday Morning Critic.” Include your name and hometown to improve your odds.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,