Monday, December 17, 2007

Red Herrings and Black Leather

The controversial Cruising just came out on DVD this fall, and I've finally gotten around to seeing it. I read the movie tie-in novelization in 1980, when I was 15, which is amusing in retrospect. The book is long-gone, so I can't see how much reference it made to the hankie code and the detail of S&M clubs, but the movie is fairly graphic, especially for its time. Nonetheless, I don't think I was scarred for life.

The plotline: a serial killer is preying on young dark-haired Al Pacino types in NY's underground gay clubs, and Al Pacino himself is recruited to go undercover. As the Hottie Librarian pointed out, the film yadda-yaddas over exactly how far he's going so as not to blow his cover (so to speak), but he looked awfully comfortable to me when the cops burst in too early and find him tied up by the prettiest red herring.

Actually, the whole film is a fiesta of good-looking young men. There's Jay Acovone as that tempting wrong suspect, Gene Davis in drag (I always wanted cheekbones like his!), and the beautiful James Remar living next door to the undercover cop. He of course played the hot-headed Ajax in The Warriors, so that was two leather films in a row.

Oddly, it had never really fallen into place before that Ajax played Samantha's lover, the real estate tycoon, on Sex and the City. And Mr. Big, Chris Noth, made his fillm debut in a tiny role as a campy prostitute in 1982's Smithereens. My dad sometimes pretends he thinks an actor is the same character in different roles, if it will have humorous effect, and that would certainly work here.

Let's say that the young Big was on the streets, hustling; after he got busted, he eventually became a cop. Then he took some business classes, made a million, and drove around in a limousine on the same streets where, etc. Then one night he goes out with his girlfriend's group of gal pals, and one is dating a guy he recognizes from the old days at the leather bar.

Richard is all like, "Hey, remember when that serial killer stabbed my roommate?" And Big is like, "Yeah, did they ever catch the guy or what? That was all really confusing." And Richard says, "That's nothing. Did the cops ever drag you downtown and have that big black guy in the jock strap jump out and slap you? What was up with THAT?"

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