Another double header – one that’s pretty good, one that’s pretty much not.
The good: Any Day Now, starring the ever fabulous Alan Cumming as Rudy, a down-on-his-luck drag queen whose whole life gets rewritten when his junkie neighbour abandons her son one night on a binge (and then gets picked up and put away by the vice squad). Rudy doesn’t quite know what do with Marco (Isaac Leyva), the quiet teenager with down syndrome, but he knows social services isn’t the answer. Together with his new partner Paul (Garret Dillahunt), they decide to adopt the kid and give Marco the kind of stable, loving home he needs. Except: it’s the 1970s. The would-be custody case turns into a witchhunt against the gay “deviant” lifestyle and the court system is quick to condemn them despite loads of evidence of them actually being really good parents. If you’re an Alan Cumming fan, as I am, then stop reading and just watch it already. It’s worth it just to hear him sing. It’s kind of melodramatic and manages to be both overblown and oversimplified, and yet Leyva’s smile lights up a screen and his two dads, and the fact that it’s taken the script 30 years to be made, remind us why movies like this exist. It has been a hard road for gay rights, but this film transcends that to point not just at the men who are being discriminated against, but the poor kid whose needs are being ignored because of a reprehensible justice system that fails to reflect any humanity. Warning: total tear jerker.
The not so good: Flawless, where Robert DeNiro plays a retired cop who strokes out during a crisis in his building. He’s too proud to leave his apartment after the resulting partial paralysis and is forced to hire a drag queen called Busty Rusty (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to help him in his recovery. Neither is very happy about the arrangement, and lots of gay slurs and hate speech is bandied about, but as you know from all oddball couple movies, they’ll soon grow to like each other, and then grow to need each other: aww. The script is…oh you know, some clever synonym for absolute failure (real sample: “You shot me? Why’d you shoot me?…You shot her! Why’d you shoot her?”…Normally I’d say you can’t make this shit up, except Joel Schumacher did). The drag queen character is…offensive. At best. It’s complete stereotype and would have been outdated even in 1999. I feel embarrassed for having watched this.