Notes on Cruising

(The film, that is. Ask me about cruising on your own time.)

(1) Eric Henderson is right-on in admiring how the film’s raunch sticks a lubed finger up the arse of the resigned gentility of, say, Brokeback Mountain. Of course director William Friedkin believes that, as he smugly reminds us in one of the DVD featurerettes, he couldn’t make Cruising “in today’s climate.” For my generation the age demands domesticity, the hearth, and Rick Santorum’s death by splooge. We get the movies we deserve, and, alas, the moistness of BBM occludes mainstream acceptance of something randier. I’m tempted to embrace the suspicion that Friedkin is more “sensitive” to gay sex than Ang Lee; sudden casual sex is brutish and stupid.

(2) For all the Crisco used in those Ramrod (or is it the Anvil?) scenes, why on earth didn’t Friedkin use any on Al Pacino’s hair? A dead ringer for a member of KISS circa Lick It Up, his “costume design” is by far the film’s most repulsive element.

(3) Speaking of Pacino: for an actor infamous for charging into scenes like a hungry man in the Ponderosa buffet line, he is utterly colorless here. Look into his eyes – he’s dead. While it’s clear that the wages of undercover work compel him to have ever more frantic sex with Karen Allen (who’s touching and smart in an non-existent role; the story of her career is being in the shadow of inferior men), he acts like his mind and body are somewhere else, and they’re not considering the pleasures of fistfucking fantasias.

(4) If the Germs played in more gay clubs I might hit them more often.

(5) Karen Allen in leather jacket and kepis is hotter than Al Pacino.

(6) If you were getting advice about which color handkerchief to stick in your back left pocket, would you ask Powers Boothe?

4 thoughts on “Notes on Cruising

  1. The movie’s mix of extreme homoerotic imagery and brazen homophobia seems like it’s an A+ for closet cases (“that’s right, take it off…NOW KILL HIM! KILL HIM! KILL HIIIIM!!!”).

  2. Are we at a point in society where we praise Cruising’s homophobia as being somehow more homo-honoring (at least of the dirty ass culture) than brokeback is compassionate and honest. Brokeback takes into account so many things, least of all being the homophobia apparent in closeted hollywood – isn’t that brokeback’s real genius: how it sticks a middle finger up at every silly, cartoon like gay caricature throughout time. fucking finally, gay characters that are serious as all hell, and uch less ridiculous than al pacino’s hair in cruising.


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