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Angels in America



Did anyone catch this? I was flippinng between this and the Falcons game.

The first half of HBO's new mini-series, Angles in America was a mixed bag that delighted, confused, disgusted, and amused me.

Despite the title, the story really revolves around two couples in 1985 New York: one is a gay couple with one guy dying of Legionnaire's disease and the other can't handle it and doesn't visit him; the other is a Mormon couple who just came to NY because he's a lawyer, but he's also a closet homo which is contributing to the wife going crazy.

I think this is adapted from a play, or two plays, or something like that. Some of the dialogue can get a bit much- very fancy schmancy "sprawling New Yorker shit," to quote Adaptation.

What I like:
- The cast/performances- a healthy mix of new and veteran talent. The guy who plays the dying homo is an incredible talent. Expect to see him around a lot on TV or films now.
Mary Louis Parker, always adorable, is the crazy Mormon wife. Jeffrey Wright has two small roles: as the gays' "flaming friend," who delivers a wonderful monologue about his favorite romance novel and how it applies to the main characters' situation and as Parker's guide into the realm of her own isolated psychosis (represented by Antarctica which, because it's her fantasy, can have eskimos).
Al Pacino is the evil-like Big Lawyer guy who rants and raves his way through the role, including a great speech to his doctor, played by Cromwell (Zephraim Cochrain) about he's not a homosexual, because he has "clout."
Meryl Streep plays the roles of: 1. The Mormon lawyer's mother, lost in NYC; 2. The ghost of Ethel Rosenberg (!); 3. A rabbi who tells the guilty lover of the dying man, "If you want to confess go find a priest. Catholics believe in forgiveness, we believe in guilt."
Emma Thompson, aka, my dream woman, is: 1. The dying man's nurse; 2. A crazy street bum who thinks she dated Nostradamus as she tells Streep's Mormon mother character in the funniest scene of the show.; 3. The angel that appears at the very end.

- The dream sequences- Parker and dying gay guy connect in some dream world and somehow know deep secrets about each other. Another two find him visited by the spirits of two of his ancestors. Funny stuff.

What I didn't like:

- SO MUCH gay stuff. I mean, I didn't realise that every guy on the show would be gay. One scene in particular finds the guilty gay guy in a park seeking solace by talking to a leather-clad man-whore. The dialogue is very graphic, which is a great time to check out the game.

- The actual spiritual/angel stuff was sloppy and silly. Maybe it'll make more sense in the second part, but it was funny, and I don't think on purpose.

Other stuff:
Lots of political references, some of it typically Hollywood over-the-top (Pacino's business associate's friend ranting about Reagan's "vision" and FDR being a communist).
The philosophical mumbo-jumbo was sometimes appropriate, sometimes self-serving Matrix-type drivel.

Overall, the thing is a mess, but a good one. A lot of great moments, but it doesn't hold together as a whole yet.
I was fortunate to have seen "Angels" a LONG time ago in San Francisco. The play was getting it's first run here and the second half wasn't quite complete yet. They were staging it as a rehearsal piece.

A great part of the story is about the fact that AIDS was a "shameful" disease. Gay/bi men were forced out of the closet after contracting it. Politically speaking, it was ignored by the Reagan administration for a long time, which is why there is government bashing in the story. I think in some ways it has lost its punch because AIDS isn't considered the death sentence that it was in 1985.

The lawyer that Pacino plays is Roy Cohn, famous for working for Joe McCarthy...and helping to prosecute the Rosenbergs. Cohn must be spinning in his grave (or urn) being outed as a horribly homophobic homo.
One reviewer made the excellent point that when the play came out, it was forward looking, but the movie is backward-looking. I agree, in large part because of the lessening of the AIDS stigma.

This is not a bad thing, it's just using the story in a different way, which is what is done with all classic drama.

I also read that since its premier, there has always been at least one the plays being performed somewhere in the US.
I caught the whole thing and I have to say that i really enjoyed it. Granted, I do think that some of the philosophical political stuff was just BS; however I think that it was supposed to come off that way. I believe that in the second half the angle thing comes together more and does not take itself as seriously as the first half seems to portray.

I would agree with you about how the AIDS stigma is lessened but I think that there is still a strong message about the marginalizing of minorities, as can be seen in the Belize character. He is one of the most grounded together characters in the play and his views are interessting but ends up taking care of everyone else.
The second part started weak for me as it didn't really build on the momentum established in the first part until later.

Emma Thompson, who I'm hopelessly in love with, had the toughest job of making that ridiculous angel both serious and funny, while having to exaggerate everything.

The BS philosophy thing just became part of the show's groove, and if you were with it for the first part then you're with it for the rest. I was impressed with how much of the dialogue was either well put-together pretentious ass scratching or genuinely clever, both of which can be fun to listen to.

This thing will win so many awards it's not even funny.
I thought there was a post about this programme...

I recorded Angels in America last weekend. Started to watch it last night, but 20 minutes in I gave up. At seven hours, I really didn't need much of an excuse to dump it. So it was going to need to grab me, and get me interested. It didn't. From the first scene where I didn't know what was going on, to the oh-so-obvious gay stuff when gave in.

I know it sounds a silly thing to end on, but it was the line that one guy said to another... something like, "If I hadn't been fellating you for 10 years I would swear you're straight", before walking off triumphantly. Lines like that and the way they're delivered just annoy me, they're so "I made a joke, a brave joke, now let's leave a pause while you audience members applaud". Maybe the word I want is pretentious...

But anyway, I only saw 20 mins. I can't review it. All I know is that it didn't grab my attention, and I wanted Tivo space. :D
We won't be ending on Antony's post here, we'll hopefully end on mine.

Angels In America was a look into the heart of its creator, Tony Kushner, who in reality was the selfish boyfriend who wanted to leave his lover who's dying of AIDS. He did a great deal of soul searching to write these plays and his naked honesty about deep human emotion while toying with speculations on modern theology and just where the hell we all fit into everything has deservedly won him countless awards over the years.

Remember, these were stage plays, which are written in a much different fashion. When Mike Nichols said he wanted to make them into films he and Kushner decided to go with the dramatic stagey feel. That's why the angel is over the top...she's supposed to be.

But even though this was a look back, it is still a look at the now. Lest we forget millions still die everyday from AIDS and millions have to live day to day knowing they're carrying death within them. I know...I'm one of them.

As for the "gay" stuff. Remember, in the time this was set...it was a "gay disease." God's punishment for faggots.

Times are changing, and slowly people are opening their minds and understanding that gays are people with emotions and feelings and fears and hopes just like everyone else.

Come on, you str8's have had the airwaves and film screens for the most part all to yourselfs for almost 100 years now, and the stage for centuries prior. Do you really have a problem that there are gay stories to tell?

If you payed a little attention, you might find that you would begin to understand what gay people go through, and in doing so understand them a little better. In understanding one another comes a better world. Surely you men are confident enough in your heterosexuality to at least open your minds to a better understanding of how another side lives. Big strapping men like you :)

Let's learn before we speak, please. For words can strike deep to the marrow of those whose wounds are already to numerous and may never heal, though they live to be a hundred.

Thank you,
Tony (aka CE)

PS: This is my goal and my dream as a filmmaker, to help build a better understanding of gays and lesbians to foster mutual respect and give both sides insight into what it feels like to be the other. To help bridge the gap, not only between the sexs, but between the orientations.

If you want go read the article on me at EInsiders.com, it has to do somewhat with this.

See ya around guys.
Well, we won't be ending on yours, so hah.

Ant is not exactly Mr. Hetero Tough Guy himself, so this moralism is unnecessary. Neither is the necessary linking of the reception of a mini-series to social attitudes. It's possible to not love the play and still be open-minded.
colonyearth, I know you're relatively new, but I think you have probably taken GKE's comments a bit wrong. If you look at his post, it's positive about Angels in America.

In addition to this, he's not narrow minded about homosexuality or anything. But as a straight guy, and what is apparant from his post, is that he doesn't necessarily want to a lot of gay "phsyical" stuff which is understandable.

But no, GKE certainly isn't someone I feel needs to change his views or be more open minded... on the contrary, if just more people were like him in fact.

Besides, I think you'll also find he's very pro-lesbian.
Ahh, was CE talking about me? I thought he was talking about GKE, GKE thinks he's talking about me... :LOL:

But well, both of us are okay when it comes down to it. I'll go bang Matt Damon. GKE is fine with that as long as he doesn't have to watch (and maybe get a go at Matt's girlfriend, if she gets his approval.). All balances out.
Who's Matt's gf? Is she hot?

(What a stupid question. Why wouldn't that lucky son of a bitch be nailing someone ultra-fine?)

And yes, the mighty GKarsEye- pro-lesbian. Hee.
It was Odessa Whitmire

Only pic I could find. She seems nice by what I've seen of her, but my attention is normally on her other half.

His latest is Eva Mendes, who can sometimes be quite slutty, but is often quite nice.


Link if the image doesn't appear: http://i.imdb.com/Photos/Events/2138/EvaMendes_Devan_1458101_400.jpg
The link doesn't work either, but I think I know who Eva Mendez is: that chick in 2 Fast 2 Furious and Once Upon a Time in Mexico.

She is smokin'.

Yeah, it's good to be Matt Damon.

And the fact that, given those to, you're more focused on Matt freakin' Damon, I think that alone is enough to gauge your feelings towards gays. :)
I may side more with the dark side than light (Markas's influence no doubt), but even if I do... Matt Damon is special. I have to rank him above many women. Just like Jennifer Garner is ranked above many men. :D
Ahh, was CE talking about me? I thought he was talking about GKE, GKE thinks he's talking about me... :LOL:

But well, both of us are okay when it comes down to it. I'll go bang Matt Damon. GKE is fine with that as long as he doesn't have to watch (and maybe get a go at Matt's girlfriend, if she gets his approval.). All balances out.

My offense to anyone wasn't intended, my intention was to enlighten. I'm not saying someone can't have their opinion, I'm not saying someone doesn't have the right to not wanna see "all that gay stuff." A phrasing that I must admit did kinda bother me since as a gay man I have to see "all that straight stuff" shoved down my throat 24/7. Turnabout is fair play I say :D

What my main point was meant to be was on the AIDS issue. There were some statements made that felt as if this weren't an issue any longer, or that someone was thinking "it isn't like people aren't just gonna live with this now."

Bottom line here...I'm HIV positive, and the offense I took was not from the Gay issue but the AIDS issue. So, unless someone else here is gay and HIV positive...then well... I don't mean this to be mean...but new or not, I can read, so don't judge my response unless you live with this disease....it's a different world.

That said...I have no anger or enmity againgst anyone at B5tv.com or anywhere else in the B5 forums for that matter (except maybe Za'ha'dumdweller at JMSnews.com who's a total idiot and neo-nazi -- I kid you not go read his posts).

I respect others' opinions...forgive me if Angels reached me on a very different level. It struck a personal cord for me, and I had hoped it might have edjucated others who didn't understand the gay side of things or the AIDS issue so that they might be a bit more comprehensive in their views and understandings of those who walk and live a different path...only to realize that we all walk the same one after all.

No offense...but let's please make light of something else other than a disease that's killing thousands everyday.


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