If you’re not sure what the Supreme Court is doing about gay marriage from all the different news reports, then you need a time line.
Like the proverbial egg passing through the snake, the issue is going through the process: In 2008, California narrowly passed a state amendment that banned same-sex marriage, but then a Federal court declared the ban unconstitutional. That ruling was subsequently upheld by an appeals court. Today, the U.S. Supreme Court simply said it would review the lower court’s decision.
Asian American same-sex marriage advocates saw it as a hopeful sign. API Equality-Northern California released this statement: “By granting a review now of the lower federal court’s ruling which held Proposition 8, California’s statewide constitutional ban on same sex marriage, to be unconstitutional, we hope that the U.S. Supreme will not uphold Proposition 8, but instead seek to affirm the lower federal courts’ ruling on this issue,” said Heidi Li, a California family law attorney and Steering Committee member of Asian Pacific Islander Equality – Northern California.
So the end is in sight of this snaky process. Maybe. We hope.
THE POST-RACIAL, POST-SAME SEX MARRIAGE DEBATE MOVIE, “IN THE FAMILY”
Those of you who remember me from my TV days in San Francisco, know that one of the things I did was act as resident film critic for the NBC affiliate (I was the one with the flower in the lapel, in between the convicted pedophile and the gal with the hat fetish).
I saw a lot of films in the ‘70s and 80s. Since then, I’ve been a lot more selective. But around the holidays, I always get the urge to see films (besides “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” for the umpteenth time) because this is truly the season when we are all prodded to the cinema right through Christmas.
But do you really want to flinch at another loud, crash’em up, blow’em up, spectacle in 1,2,3,or 4-D in the 8,14, or 16-plex?
I just saw the new Bond film and already find myself in need of a break. Slow food movement? I’m ready for the slow film movement.
Here’s my answer: “In the Family,” an independent film by Patrick Wang that some are calling a “masterpiece.” That may be a bit grand, but it is a fine antidote to the crashingly commercial. It opens this weekend, Dec. 7 at the Opera Plaza in San Francisco and the Camera Cinema in San Jose, and it’s definitely worth a look.
The film is a quiet tour-de-force. It’s absolutely one of the first post-racial, post-gay, post-hang-up movies I’ve seen ever. Hang up? That is to say it doesn’t get hung up on the obvious and because of that goes deeper. When do you recall seeing a film starring an Asian male, who is gay, in a conflict with his white family, over custody over a Caucasian child? And never once is there a mention of being Asian, or gay? Fish-out-of-water is a Hollywood convention and always played to the hilt. But here, the oddity of a Chinese American gay father in the South? Well, the movie just presumes it’s totally natural, like “Oh sure, there’s a gay interracial marriage and they’re raising a kid, and when the white father dies, the straight sister comes in to take the child.”
Oh, yeah. Like, you’ve seen these movies on Lifetime in your lifetime.
So are you ready for that? In this movie, there’s nothing prurient or tawdry. When in a movie about gays is a kiss ever just a kiss? It is here. When is a movie with an Asian male in it just an excuse to show off some marital arts moves? All the time. But this movie is kung-fu free.
There’s also interesting things going on cinematically here. It’s an indy film so realism is a given, but this film shows off by disdaining the quick edit and letting the camera see and the actors act. It seems like one long take after another. It is a long take. But by letting the camera go, the audience gets to see something amazing in the performance of the actors. They’re creating and letting us in on it. Cutaways? Sometimes. Mostly the camera is still and not moving, set on a wide shot and turned on. The viewer is allowed to see it all unfold as if watching a play (indeed Wang directed live theatre). Wang, an MIT grad naturally, shoots the movie in New York (Yonkers) but sets it in the South, (Martin,TN). And it’s totally believable.
So let’s review: here’s an Asian guy talking like a redneck, kissing his white husband, and raising a little white boy who calls him Daddy. With no karate chopping?
Yes, yes, yes and yes.
It doesn’t always work. In fact, you might feel like a fly in the wall who wants to move in for a closeup. Or land on someone’s nose instead of a backside.
But on the whole the movie works because it gets beyond the political rhetoric of race and gender, and marriage, and just looks at the human situation. There are even scenes that humanize the lawyers, which I actually found to be among the film’s best segments.
By the end, Patrick Wang playing Joey Williams makes perfect sense. It’s an Asian American story in a world where we simply exist. And may even be coincidentally gay, as if that matters. It’s the film after the culture clash. But even after some form of acceptance, there’s still conflict. And that’s where the movie reaches its peak.
Seeing the film reminded me of my days in Texas and Missouri where I spent the early days of my career. People thought I was Mexican and not Filipino. And then they were really confused when they heard my unaccented English and saw that I was dating their daughter.
If you want to imagine a post-racial future free of any race or gender B.S., or want to see a “Gaysian” portrayed in something other than the effeminate gal pal in chick flicks (those are the parts that used to go to Bronson Pinchot), then “In the Family” is a welcome sight.
Opening Dec.7 at the Opera Plaza in San Francisco and the Camera Cinema in San Jose.
“GROUNDHOG DAY” FOR MANNY PACQUIAO?
After losing the debacle known as the Timothy Bradley fight which was so unfair even I felt cheated, Manny Pacquiao has run out of options. The best he can do is repeat himself. And the guy is human, not a machine.
The Mayweather fight is the only thing left, and that’s not happening. So what’s a Filipino super-star pugilist to do? In keeping with this posts’ movie theme, call Marquez-Pacuiao 4, “Groundhog Day.”
Manny answers the bell and it’s Marquez. Again.
No.4.(Four, by the way, rhymes with “whore” if you haven’t noticed). And what are we doing by going to the well another time except for money? I mean, I guess Pac-man shouldn’t dignify Bradley’s “championship” by fighting for the crown that was stolen from him.
So what’s left? Marquez? Again?
If it’s all rigged anyway, let me watch it all a week later when it’s free. So, to pre-empt your question, I’m not watching the fight this week.
I’ll be watching my “24” DVDs all weekend long when I’m not going to Christmas cookie parties.
Pacquiao has been a great champion, but he’s got other things on his mind. And now boxing is his J-O-B.
He’s 2-0-1 against Marquez, who some say beat Pacquiao in at least one of the previous fights. I saw them all. It was close. But Pacquiao deserved the edge. Now, I’m not sure. Both are older and Marquez may get the better of Manny finally. But so what?
Part of me says, who cares about championships and belts, let’s just see a good fight. Marquez and Pacquiao fits the bill. But the other part of me hates to see Manny expose himself to more of boxing’s brutality.
He’s got a future outside of the ring—if he can leave with his brains intact.