Matthew McConaughey Really Wants An Oscar For ‘The Dallas Buyer’s Club’

Celebrities! They’re just like us! Sometimes they are spotted at the airport looking emaciated and with terrible haircuts and mustaches! Yes, that’s Matthew McConaughey right there, who is looking gaunt and sickly for his role in the upcoming The Dallas Buyer’s Club, in which he’ll be playing an AIDS patient. Ladies and gentlemen, get your 2014 Oscar ballots ready because McConaughey is gunning for a trophy!

McConaughey was spotted last week at LAX while taking a break from filming the movie, which also stars Jennifer Garner and Jared Leto, who, according to E!, will be "playing a cross-dresser with AIDS." This sounds like a fun little flick, huh? How will this fare against Ryan Murphy’s big-screen adaptation of Larry Kramer’s masterpiece The Normal Heart? Well, Jennifer Garner is certainly a poor man’s Julia Roberts, who will be starring in The Normal Heart as a wheelchair-bound doctor (Ellen Barkin won a Tony for the role in the play’s Broadway production last year). The Dallas Buyer’s Club definitely lacks the star power of Kramer’s AIDS epic (Alec Baldwin, Mark Ruffalo, Jim Parsons, and McConaughey’s Magic Mike co-star Matt Bomer have all joined the cast of The Normal Heart). 

This match-up is really the Armageddon / Deep Impact of 2013 AIDS movies, huh?

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Bret Easton Ellis Is Cranky About NPH, “Gay” Sitcoms

I don’t know who anointed American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis the cultural arbiter of all things gay (that would be John Waters, duh), but Ellis had a huffy week on Twitter getting upset by the perceived gayness of CBS sitcoms.

Ellis’ strong opinions zeroed in on gay actors who play straight roles, tweeting:

"Feel complicated about Neil Patrick Harris on How I Met Your Mother — central joke being that he’s a gay actor playing a het[erosexual] womanizer. Why not cast Jason Segel in the Neil Patrick Harris role in How I Met Your Mother? [Because] the meta-joke is that Harris is openly gay. Lame. You don’t think the makers of How I Met Your Mother didn’t KNOW that Neil Patrick Harris and that would be part of the joke? Really? Look, I like Neil Patrick Harris especially when he’s hosting The Tonys but How I Met Your Mother is, like all CBS sitcoms, a piece of crap."

He also griped about the nerdy The Big Bang Theory. "And please don’t get me started on the gay The Big Bang Theory – I’m too tired to go there," he tweeted. "Gayness personified."

Despite his strongly voiced opinions on "crap," Ellis’ core complaint is unclear. Is he implying that gay actors should only play gays onscreen and straight actors should only play straight ones? Because if Rush Limbaugh called for casting roles that way, we would call it "discrimination." And practically speaking the result would be less work for gay and lesbian actors, given the lack of mainstream roles for gay and lesbian characters.

These tweets by prompted after Ellis tweeted at length against rumored casting White Collar man piece Matt Bomer as the Christian Grey role in 50 Shades Of Grey because Bomer is gay. His objection is that Bomer is gay and Grey has to be straight, for some reason ( despite fact Bomer played a married straight man in Magic Mike and no one cared). It is worth noting that on Friday night, Ellis did a 180 and tweeted, "You know what? I changed my mind. I think a gay actor HAS GOT to play Grey. It’s IMPERATIVE that someone gay plays him…"

I’m not sure if Bomer or NPH’s real-life sexuality are the first thing on all viewers’ minds; they certainly aren’t on mine, nor are the sexual orientations of other actors. As a heterosexual woman, I wonder if Ellis’ observation is acutely sensitive to him because he is gay, yet goes unobserved by others.

Bret Easton Ellis Passed Over for ‘Fifty Shades’ Adaptation

If you happen to follow the infamously exorbitant novelist/screenwriter Bret Easton Ellis on Twitter, you know the influx of entertainment never stops. Not only has he been late-night post-Ambien binge-tweeting about everything from wanting to bang Breaking Bad’s Walter Jr. to thinking The Newsroom would be better if Eric Cartman replaced Jeff Daniels, Ellis’s recent main public outcry has been devoted to his desire to adapt E.L. James’s erotica-for-moms novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, for the big-screen.

Clearly from his posts, one can gather that the man is exceedingly passionate about the project and has done all but get down on hands and knees and beg for the chance to adapt it himself. Everyday he’s been yammering on about everything from the necessity of casting a straight actor, to how to cinematically structure certain scenes from the novel, to minute details of the characters, etc. Really, it looked like he had it all figured out. But as of yesterday, it was announced that Ellis would not be included on the short list of screenwriters up for the job. 

To be fair, the book—I’m assuming from the bit I tried to swallow—is awful, and the adaptation will be nothing more than a quick Hollywood cash-grab to bring in drooling women from all corners of the earth. However, for all of his incessant and obnoxious touting, it seems Ellis, if anyone, would be the perfect person to take this on. But let’s look at the four writers on the shortlist: Dan Fogelman (Crazy Stupid Love, Cars, Tangled), Veena Sud (The Killing, Cold Case), Karen Croner (One True Thing, Cold Sassy Tree), and Kelly Marcel (Terra Nova). Judging from their prior work, one could assume that whichever of these four takes on the adaptation would do it pretty literally as straight-forward film, aiming to stay true to the “seriousness” of the novel and provide you with a nice two-hour visual romp intented to get you a little hot and bothered.

But what Ellis does best—and what he would no doubt do with Fifty Shades—is making basic human characteristics, traits, and situations so absurd and over-the-top that they fall into the realm of satire. (Did no one see The Informers?!) Anyhow, the fact that he is no longer in contention for the job hasn’t stopped him from obsessively informing the world of his thoughts on how the film should run. Currently: denouncing Matt Bomer for the role of Christian Grey. 

Is ‘Magic Mike’ the Greatest Gay Movie Ever Made?

Magic Mike is the purest reflection of the “It Gets Better” sentiment—a movie so gleefully homoerotic, it can give a boost to bullied teens everywhere. And for those of us who grew up on the bland, heteronormative softcore offerings of Cinemax and Showtime, it’s a stirring reminder that our culture is headed in the right direction. Deadmau5 may see Paris Hilton’s DJing as a sign of the Mayan apocalypse, but if 2012 truly is the end of the world, at least we’re going out in a blaze of bare-assed glory.

On the surface, Magic Mike isn’t a gay movie—it’s about male strippers and the women who love them. There’s even a romance, in which Channing Tatum’s titular meathead struggles to articulate himself to Brooke (Cody Horn). But Magic Mike is for women the same way Playgirl is for women: it’s sort of an open secret that gay men look, too. And for all its offbeat rom-com content, it’s also a bromantic love story between Mike and his protégée Adam (Alex Pettyfer). Not to mention a stunning look at Matt Bomer’s abs, Matthew McConaughey’s nipples, and Joe Manganiello’s enormous prosthetic cock. (We only catch glimpses of it, but it casts a long shadow.)

There is something—I’ll just say it—magical about a film like Magic Mike, which feels like gay porn without actually containing any explicit gay content. It is a charmed production, in which I believed Matt Bomer as a heterosexual and didn’t hate Olivia Munn. I also recognize that Magic Mike is not for everyone, in the same way that I recognize Tree of Life was an overblown piece of shit, but surely even the dissenters will appreciate some of Magic Mike’s more impressive feats. How often does a movie about male strippers manage subtlety? It all feels like a trick: abracadabra, and your reservations are gone.

Even if it doesn’t dazzle you, Magic Mike is an impressive feat—a mainstream movie with some big names behind it that doesn’t shy away from glorifying the male form. The amount of manskin exposed is something rarely seen outside of gay indies or foreign flicks about ambiguous French dudes and their foreskin. Magic Mike may be exploitation, but it’s harmless exploitation—and it relishes in exposing men, who are long overdue for this kind of overt objectification. You don’t have to be an expert on the “male gaze” to appreciate the differences between how men and women are sexualized on screen.

Nudity is a big part of it, naturally: contrast the number of women who have taken it all off on screen versus the number of men who have shown us more than a well-defined torso. Even the ass, which is basically all Magic Mike gives us, is still taboo: it’s not that we don’t see it, but it’s almost always for comedic purposes. (That holds true for full-frontal—think Jason Segel’s penis in Forgetting Sarah Marshall.) Magic Mike doesn’t just showcase ass—it showcases ass in the context of ass that is meant to be gawked at. It’s not a fleeting, post-coital glimpse; the movie is inviting you to take it all in. After all, that’s what you’re paying for.

Don’t get me wrong—there is substance to Magic Mike. I will spend the remainder of 2012 defending this movie’s non-guilty pleasure virtues to anyone foolish enough to give me a venue. But it’s those asses and pecs and arms that will bring audiences in, and Magic Mike wastes no time in getting us to the first strip scene. Nor is it restricted to a single money shot: the film spends its two-hour runtime swinging between its love story, its coming-of-age story, and the stripper known as Tarzan (Kevin Nash) swinging on a vine across the strip club stage. Magic Mike merits rewatching because of a mostly self-aware script by Reid Carolin and Steven Soderbergh’s strong directing skills. But it’s just as worth the repeat viewings for every rhythmic thrust.

Straight women deserve this showcase as much as gay men do, but I think Magic Mike will ultimately prove more relevant to the latter. The movie is coded for its gay audience: it’s not as overtly gay as Brokeback Mountain (still one of the few examples of mainstream sexualized gay entertainment, sadly) or even Albert Nobbs. And in calling Magic Mike a movie “for women,” while neither embracing nor shying away from any homoerotic subtext, the producers have all but guaranteed a cult gay following. It’s a gateway drug for those men who aren’t ready to fully commit to the “LGBT interest” genre.

Look, it’s not like a bunch of closeted guys are going to take their girlfriends to see the male stripper movie – regardless of how it’s marketed, any film with this much dude ass in it is bound to inspire some gay panic. But it’s the kind of movie sexually confused 15-year-olds torrent in secret, or something two bros might leave on HBO (you know, ironically) before they both give into it, and each other. I’m not saying that was the filmmaker’s intention—or that these theoretical scenarios aren’t odd for me to be imagining—but I don’t how else to articulate the subversive thrills of a wide-release Soderbergh film that repeatedly humps you in the face.

And for those of us who have already accepted and professed the love that dare not speak its name, Magic Mike still feels like Christmas. The movie knows there’s a thin line between the homosocial and the homoerotic, and it straddles that divide without ever really committing to one side. You get a movie where men embrace, talk intimately, come close to kissing, and even share each other’s wives—but where none of that is either overly emphasized or shocking. Magic Mike gives us exactly what it has to: we don’t need lingering glances to know two characters love each other (in whatever capacity), and we don’t need a movie to be targeted directly to the gay community to know that we’re a vital portion of its audience.

I could be wrong about Magic Mike. Perhaps I’ve been blinded by the strip-club lights, or at least the sight of McConaughey covered in bronze body paint. But I admire this movie, just as I admire the performers giving it their all. They might stand behind their “you can look but you can’t touch” rule, but they’ve committed to owning their sex appeal and exposing themselves. While Magic Mike does caution about the dangers of a party lifestyle, the stripping itself is portrayed as sweaty, lucrative fun. There is no shame here, which hopefully will convince audiences to be as uninhibited in their response. Sometimes a guilty pleasure is just a pleasure.

Linkage: Gilbert Gottfried and Channing Tatum Are the Sexiest, Huh?

Ain’t nothing sexier than Gilbert Gottfried’s soothing voice, right? Here, let him read Fifty Shades of Grey to you. (Boner alert!) [Gawker]

Speaking of boners, the new trailer for Magic Mike, Steven Soderbergh’s male stripper epic starring Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, Matt Bomer, and that werewolf from True Blood, is chock-full of pecs and abs. There is, however, a woeful lack of actual nudity. [EW]

OK, OK, enough about dicks. How about a video in which women list of what will never go in their vaginas? (Sorry, mixologists.) [The Gloss]

The second season of Girls is about to begin shooting in New York City, and casting directors are looking for a slew of "hipster types" to play supporting roles on the show. Gee, do you think they’ll find any? [Observer]

Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever go on a cruise. Duh. [The Hairpin]

I can’t even think of a more clever way to describe it, so: a graphical measure of GOP candidate popularity in the form of butt plugs. [Best Week Ever]