Category: Foxcatcher

Film Review: Foxcatcher, John du Pont, Gay Angle

Film Review: Foxcatcher, John du Pont, Gay Angle

I disliked this film…Foxcatcher…so much I’m making this review a stand alone post so I can just get it out of the way. This is just for me to vent. I truly don’t like reviewing anything with this tone, but in this case I just couldn’t do anything else. And I think that’s because there’s a passive aggressive homophobia hidden very deeply, one I can’t even comment on because it was done in such a clever, obtuse way. 

When I first heard about the film, Foxcatcher, I posted about it here. I added links to that post with information about John du Pont allegedly being gay, and I talked about how I remembered the murder of David Schultz from a local POV because I live in Bucks County, PA. You can go back and read all that. I’m not going to repeat it again in this post.

First, Foxcatcher is one reason why I hate to waste my time going to theaters anymore. I wouldn’t have been thrilled seeing this in a hot cramped theater, and frankly, I’m not too thrilled about wasting five dollars on the rental. E-books can be returned for up to five days on Amazon, but I can’t get a refund on a film I thought was a waste of time. There’s something ironic and unfair about that and I’d like to know who in the film industry made up those no-refund rules and how they are allowed to get away with it when book publishers can’t.

I want my money back.

In any event, in spite of all the gay allegations that surrounded the unusual life of John du Pont, none of it was mentioned in Foxcatcher. There were hints, but if you blink you’ll miss them. So if you think you might even get a little speculation on the gay angle, you’re in for a huge disappointment. Instead, they portrayed John du Pont as weird, quirky, and absolutely obsessed with the game of wrestling. They insinuated he had issues with his mother, with respect to his own inadequacies, and that he carried baggage that dated back to childhood (all speculation). However, even these aspects of the film were toned down so they could concentrate mostly on long, elaborated wrestling scenes that added nothing significant to the characters or the film…unless you happen to be a huge wrestling fan and want those details. And I had to wonder why, in the name of all that is good, was any part of this film nominated for an Oscar.

As for characterization, think Mommie Dearest and the exaggerated way they portrayed Joan Crawford, which is how that film went on to be become campy cult classic. Although I don’t think that will happen with Foxcatcher, even the nose they gave John du Pont made me want to smile at certain points in the film. And trust me, there’s not much to smile about with this film.  

I know the film was set in Newtown Square, PA because that’s what it said, and that’s where John du Pont lived. However, I didn’t get a feel for the setting even slightly and for all it mattered it could have been anywhere else in the USA. But I think the oddest part for me was that John du Pont allegedly had no one close to him, which is why he befriended Mark Schultz in the first place. And yet we have du Pont flying to huge events to give speeches as if he didn’t have one single insecurity in the world. Now I know that could happen, but at least give a slight explanation and a hint of the kind of man he was. After watching this film, I know nothing more about him from what I read and heard about in the news at the time of the murder.

I’m not going to drag this out for long. There were a few scenes where du Pont actually did roll around on the mat with a few of the wrestlers, but nothing that would indicate he felt anything sexual toward them. And I found that hard to believe then, and I still find it hard to believe now. If there was a cover up this film only perpetuates it even more. If there wasn’t, I’m not sure there was a need to make a film at all. That’s the biggest flaw of the entire thing for me. Why bother? It was a tragic event that took one life and ruined others. But I’m not sure it warranted being retold all over again. So that critics who knew so little about the back story could give this film such stellar reviews?

Here’s a link to an article that mentions 11 things about Foxcatcher that were not accurate. Most were new to me when I first read them, so I’m still learning things about this story…even if I learned nothing from the film.

There’s this:

In reality, this never happened. In fact, Mrs du Pont was dead before John ever started Foxcatcher. She died in 1988 and only then did John act to redevelop the 440-acre Liseter Hall Farm in Newtown Square as an elite level wrestling facility. He called this new camp “Foxcatcher” after his father’s old racing stable.

And here’s the gay part…that was never mentioned:

The film never looks properly at rumours of John du Pont being gay. It does imply that Mark and John may have had a homosexual relationship, but that’s so ridiculous that it’s almost laughable.

The film is very misleading in this portrayal. Mark was not gay and barely had any sort of relationship with du Pont. However, Dave Metlzer does write in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that “The belief is that there was a homosexual relationship with Du Pont and a wrestler, but not Mark.”

The film therefore covers up what could have been an interesting narrative with a wholly unbelievable story about Mark Schultz.

I don’t believe for a moment Mark was gay or that he had any intimate relationship with du Pont. I do believe there was more cover up and the story goes much deeper than we’ll ever know. But once again, why bother making a movie about a cover up unless something new is going to be disclosed? Or, center the film on the cover up. Now that would have been interesting. 

And I want my money back. 

Small Town Romance Writer
113,000 Word Gay Romance 

Offending Straight Allies; Looking Season Two; Mark Schultz and Foxcatcher

Offending Straight Allies

I think I come to this topic from a different POV because I’m so familiar with book circles and places where discussions about feminism, equality, and racism take place. I don’t always participate, but I learn a great deal by lurking. Not a day goes by on Twitter where I don’t learn something new about rape culture and the way women have been mistreated at the expense of those who come from a place of privilege. So with all that in mind, I found this article to which I’m linking a bit self-loathing in tone and far too apologetic in nature.

The gist of the piece revolves around whether or not LGBT people are offending or alienating their straight allies by expecting them to know everything about LGBT people and for them not being PC enough. Evidently, it’s mean of us to point out that a straight person is wrong if he asks who is the man or woman in a gay dating relationship. While several of the points are valid and I do think we’ve become an overly PC society in many respects, as a member of the LGBT community who gets a punch in the face almost daily I don’t think it’s too much to ask for the same respect…and political correctness…we give all other minorities.
3. Remember the big picture.
Pick your battles and keep the bigger picture in mind. When discussing difficult or touchy topics, give people room to voice their opinions. Let them say their piece, and rather than formulating a retort for every problematic assertion and microaggression, step back and listen for the bigger picture. What is the most important part of this discussion?

I think that statement is way off base and it should be the other way around. I would like the same respect afforded to all other minorities as an LGBT person. And that’s because it’s so rare when I actually do get it. When I say that I experience a different brand of discrimination daily, even from those who considered themselves allies, I am not joking around.

You can read the rest of the article here. As you’ll see, there are very different opinions on this one.

To put this into perspective, think about how Michael Sam has been treated as a pro athlete. The ridiculous questions he’s been asked by “allies” about gay men in locker rooms, not to mention the idiotic conversation this topic has spawned in the news, should not be happening at all. It should not even be mentioned, not even by gay allies. And we as a community should be proud enough to make this clear to our straight allies without worrying about whether or not we offend them.

Looking Season Two

Here’s a piece about the second episode of season two’s, Looking. I’ve posted a lot about Looking since it launched and everything’s been positive. I love the show. But I’m starting to wonder where the storyline is going, because at this point it looks as if cheaters are winning and infidelity is something to be proud of…because you’re gay, living in SF, and can do anything you want. I’m thinking they might be making a statement about the Peter Pan Syndrome? And that’s how they’re going to wind it up somehow? 

See, Pat isn’t snuggling cozily with his boyfriend: he’s engaging in a little post-prandial banter with his partnered boss in a motel so sleazy that even Agustin wouldn’t touch it. The soft golden glow that they’re basking in isn’t the rising sun, but the glare of the sky during lunch break filtered through curtains that need the regret scrubbed out of them.

Of course this happens in real life. People in relationships/marriages meet other people and cheat all the time. However, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a situation like this treated so lightly in a long time. The one issue I have about it is I can’t help wondering if Patrick is really that dumb…or rather is he too old to be that dumb? He’s bouncing around SF, fooling around with a man in a supposedly monogamous relationship, and he’s treating it as if it’s nothing…and telling his BFFs all about it as if it’s prom night. I could buy into this storyline if Patrick was in his early twenties, maybe, but he’s clearly old enough to know that cheating sucks, cheaters suck, and what he’s doing is really up the alley of douchebaggery whether your are gay or straight. And don’t tell me this is part of gay culture, because it’s not part of the gay culture I know. In a gay relationship, infidelity is as serious as in a straight relationship and I’ve never met a gay person who didn’t take this seriously.

In any event, I’ll continue watching just to see where this is all going. But in their attempt to make old enough to know better Patrick appear naive what they are doing is really making him come off worse than the most horrible stereotype of the other woman. The biggest worry Patrick had last night was whether or not he got an STD or bedbugs instead of worrying about the fact that another man’s partner is pounding his more than willing ass into the next month.

You can read more here.  

Mark Schultz and Foxcatcher

I posted about the movie, Foxcatcher, a short time ago here. It’s a film about the misguided heir to a huge fortune, John du Pont, and his obession with pro wrestling…and hot pro wrestlers. If you’re interested you can click the link to find out more. I’m curious about the movie because it happened here, locally, in the Philadelphia area. I remember the case in detail, even all these years later. And mostly because of what was NOT talked about at the time to cover up the gay angle. You know, to protect the innocent.

The film is based on the life of Mark Schultz, a retired wrestler, and he originally slammed the film because he was worried people would think he had a gay relationship with John du Pont. God forbid. You know, you can do anything but don’t have a gay relationship.

Now he’s changed his tune:

Schultz had previously lashed out at the film on social media: ‘Leaving the audience with a feeling that somehow there could have been a sexual relationship between duPont and I is a sickening and insulting lie.’ 

He said director Bennett Miller told him the scene was meant to give the audience the feeling that duPont was encroaching on his privacy and personal space. 

Since it wasn’t explicit, Schultz had said he didn’t have a problem with it until reviews interpreted it sexually which was ‘jeopardizing my legacy.’ 

He now feels badly about the public rants against the movie which was nominated for five Oscars last week – including a directing nod for Miller. 

‘I apologize to you before the world Bennett. I’m sorry,’ he tweeted. ‘I think the problem I had was the context of the movie. It’s what happened was so hard. My brother’s murder. My career ruined.’

I can’t comment because I haven’t seen the film yet. However, I can comment on how sick and tired I am of straight men claiming that there is nothing worse than when someone accuses them of being gay. It’s time to get a little PC about this one, too. I know John du Pont was CLEARLY no bargain, however, I’m not taking insults for John du Pont or anyone else anymore.

The reviews for this film have been interesting. Every single mainstream hetero publication seems to be praising it, while this one catches the main point I can’t help over looking. And you won’t find this review with a simple search. What’s most interesting is how straight people coming from a place of privilege seem to find nothing wrong with this portrayal at all. And I mean interesting because I didn’t see the film and can’t comment yet. I will make of point of doing that soon.

This, in part, is what I read in OUT.

Switch the title Foxcatcher to what gays used to call “Chicken Hawk.” Miller’s homophobia is all in code—what his hypocritical admirers might call “discretion.” But as in Capote, it’s really just Miller’s suspicion of sex; his desiccated hatred of eroticism. These meaty athletes are non-sensual. Mark and Dave’s Of Mice and Men relationship seems quasi-incestuous and du Pont’s claim, “I do not share my mother’s affection for horse flesh,” is surely a tortured double-entendre. For dirty talk, du Pont and Mark repeat the words “ornithologist, philatelist, philanthropist” at each other—a failed SNL skit.

New Adult Love Story