Skip to comments.Oliver Stone's "Alexander" is behind the times
Posted on 12/01/2004 9:19:41 AM PST by UltraConservative
Oliver Stone had a really rotten week. His huge-budget epic drama Alexander, starring Colin Farrell, Angeline Jolie, Val Kilmer, and Anthony Hopkins, premiered to critical raspberries and popular apathy. Alexander reportedly cost over $150 million to make, and over the five-day Thanksgiving weekend, it garnered a mere $21,837,517, finishing sixth at the box office.
In all likelihood, Warner Bros., which produced the film, will still recoup its costs, despite the probability that Alexander wont come close to $100 million in domestic grosses. Europeans are expected to turn out in high numbers to see the Macedonian wunderkind; they turned out en masse to see the American box office flop Troy as well.
What was the hold-up for American audiences? It wasnt the nearly three-hour running time remember, each movie in the Lord of the Rings trilogy ran over 178 minutes, with the most successful of the trilogy, The Return of the King, running at well over three hours. It wasnt the critical coolness toward Stones pet project several of the movies that finished above Stones at the box office last weekend were critically panned (although none to the extent of this disaster).
A large part of Alexanders downfall is attributable to the moral distastefulness of the subject matter. Alexander the Great is played as a mop-top, indecisive bisexual by Farrell. During the course of the movie, Farrell kisses a eunuch full on the mouth, and exchanges numerous lingering glances with boyhood chum and grown-up gay lover Hephaiston (played by an eye-liner-wearing Jared Leto). Anthony Hopkins, playing Ptolemy, intones: It was said . . . that Alexander was never defeated, except by Hephaistions thighs.
This stuff doesnt go over well with most Americans. Frankly, we dont want to hear about it, and were definitely not going to pay money to see it. Critics love films with homosexuality, but very few of those films go on to see great popular success. Since 1994, 17 actors and actresses have been nominated for Academy Awards for playing gay characters; meanwhile, every movie nominated for an Oscar since 1994 containing substantial homosexuality has fallen well-below the $100 million mark, except for As Good As It Gets and American Beauty, both of which were fueled by Oscar hype.
You can sense how much the critics wanted to love Alexander, too, primarily for its exploration of bisexuality, despite the fact that the movie is simply awful. Manohla Dargis of the New York Times ripped into the film, but praised Stones portrayal of Alexanders homosexual tendencies: There are moments in Alexander that show Mr. Stone in fine form, including . . . the aching tenderness between the ruler and his longtime lover, Hephaistion . . .
Meanwhile, most of the critics complained that Alexander failed because it didnt do enough with Alexanders sexuality. Desson Thomas of the Washington Post complains that Alexander's homosexual side is only bashfully explored . . . . There are no thighs, just whispers. Likewise, Wesley Morris of the Boston Globe writes, The nervous handling of the important relationship [between Alexander and Hephaiston] lays an absurd emotional dead spot over the picture's overblown finale.
Unfortunately for the critics and Stone -- the cultural pendulum has begun to swing toward traditional morality again. The five films that beat Alexander to a pulp were: National Treasure, The Incredibles, Christmas With The Kranks, The Polar Express, and The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. These films were rated, respectively, PG, PG, PG, G and PG.
These are all family friendly fare. Thats what Americans want to see nowadays. Thats why Sharon Stone whined that social conservatism prevented the filmmakers from approving a lesbian kiss between her and Halle Berry in Catwoman: Halles so beautiful, and I wanted to kiss her. I said, How can you have us in the movie and not have us kiss? It's such a waste. But thats what you get for having George Bush as president. Thats why Wayne Llewellyn, president of distribution at Paramount, blamed Alfies flop on President Bushs re-election: It seems to be the result of the election. Maybe they didn't want to see a guy that slept around.
With the shift in social values currently underway, here are a few predictions: Brokeback Mountain(2005), starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger as gay cowboys, will be a critical favorite but a box office dud. So will Brideshead Revisited(2005) starring Jude Law and Paul Bettany as love interests. Meanwhile, anything Pixar puts out will do big business. Note to Hollywood: welcome to the backlash you inspired. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
©2004 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
People are sick of all the gay worship in the culture. Its gotten out of hand and there's a backlash.
I thought Alexander was behind Haephaestus?
And Leftists wonder why Americans rejected their party at the polls on November 2nd.
Here's a Clue-by-Four for 'em: Alexander the Great did not earn his title by being an indecisive foppish nancy-boy. He earned it by being a brilliant military strategist. Duh?
He found him in the end.
(1) In the book they were not lovers. One of them was a repressed pansy who had a crush on his friend, while the friend was straight and fell in love with the pansy's sister.
(2) Whether or not they respect the book or twist it into some sodomy circus, most Americans are not going to want to see a talk-heavy parlor drama about a decaying British noble family in the 1930s and 40s.
Heh heh heh. Hooray for Hollyweird.
I guess being in the rear meant something different in Alexander's army.
I thought Alexander waath juth FABULOUS! Oooth!
Did you see Noel on TNT this week? They plan to release it on a "disposable disk" for Xmas. $4.99 and it will last all of 48 hours ofter breaking the seal.
Except the Public Broadcasting fans.
Well, I never! Don't you know that Americans are preoccupied by sex? Don't you know that sex sells? Don't you know that the most important historical fact about any historical figure is not how they made their millions or how they conquered their empires or how they changed their cultures but how they nailed their boyfriends?
Get with the program. We don't care if Jesus died for our sins, we just want to know if He ever had sex with James or Mary Magdelene?
At least, that's all we care about if we're liberals. If we have lives outside of our genitals we care about important things.
The sad thing is that it is a truly great work of literature by the last great English novelist and it will be ruined in a two-hour movie.
Additionally, it was made into a multipart miniseries in Britain years ago, a series that was true to the book and with an unsurpassable cast.
Anyone who is truly into this sort of thing will have at least seen the miniseries when it ran several times on PBS or rented it on DVD.
For a long time I've been wishing that the gays and other assorted perverts would just go back into the closet and leave the rest of us alone.
Don't they understand that we don't like having that kind of crap shoved down our throats?
The mediots also gloss over the fact that there is no evidence of any homosexuality demonstrated by Alexander. in fact, the evidence is to the contrary.
This goes much further that one Oliver Stoned movie. This notion of revisionist history to usurp ancient Greek history is deliberate to normalize perversion as established by present day ivory towers homo-liberalism.
Did this Shapiro kid even see Christmas With The Kranks? It is a piece of garbage.
The novel was about finding redemption in the key scene where Lord Marchmont (who lost his faith) accepts The Lord at the hour of his death.
I read campaigns of Alexander by Arrian who was a 3rd century Roman general. The book didn't talk at all about Alexander's sexuality. It mostly talked in detail about the nature of his war tactics and fighting and how he was never quite able to overcome the split between Persian (arab) and Helenic (greek) culture. I think that would have made powerful subject matter for the movie if they focused on that. To a Roman general being gay wasn't important. If he were a modern day general he would think about it in the way that we think about someone liking watching old westerns or something like that. It's just not that important, the focus on homosexuality says far more about our time than Alexander's.
One wonders why.
I totally agree with you. Many in my family complain about it being shoved in their face all the time.
Precisely. Despite having no real hope or comfort left that could materially justify his faith, he returns to the faith anyway with a finally clarified inner vision.
The problem with the movie isn't the homosexuality, it's only showing two battles and Alexander whining and crying all the time and being a totally unsympathetic character (which is a completely separate issue from the homosexuality.)
This is another example where people basically try to squeeze reality to fit the axe they want to grind ("Americans reject movie with homosexuality") when it's really "Americans reject movie with horrible script."
There are basically 4 ancient ources for Alexander, all of which unfortunately lived a considerable amount of time after Alexander and based their histories on other primary sources which are now lost. It's one of the other 4 (I forget which) which implies Alexander's bisexuality. It's not like Stone invented the whole business recently.
My family liked this movie, although after a while the homosexuality got too much. The scene with Dawson was avoidable for me, although my husband, predictably, thought it the best part of the movie. But I thought that the movie did a pretty good job of showing how Alexander's conquests changed the world of his time.
The problem is that what was once called "the love that dare not speak its name" now has no idea when to shut the f*** up!
How strongly does it imply that Alexander was Bi? or do people just infer that he was because thats what they want to believe?
I haven't read any of these sources so I am really curious.
I remember the bond with his troops scenes more than I do the whiny ones, but I agree about the battles. I would have preferred that the ones they showed were shorter. Then they could have added at least one more. I would also have liked more details on the battle plans for that first battle since I understand that his strategy was brilliant. There was one scene of planning, but it was so fast that I found it hard to follow. I liked this better than other OS movies.
It was very explicit. There were too many scenes of him kissing and hugging other men. And on his wedding night, his lover shows up and after his bride sees him and figures out what is happening, she, hmm, doesn't react too well. Like I said, my husband's favorite scene. I didn't care for it, but I suppose that's the difference in men and women.
One problem with battle scenes in movies these days is it's all this fast-cut jiggly camera stuff with extreme closeups on individual soldiers in hand-to-hand combat (in many cases, when actually hand-to-hand combat was incredibly rare, like in the Revolutionary War or Civil War.....there were almost no bayonet wounds in either war) instead of a distant or overhead view showing actual tactics. Oddly enough the Lord of the Rings movies probably did the best job of this.
Stone SORT of tried to do this with Gaugamela with the view from the Eagle overhead, but it was still too hard to follow.
Yes, I liked the overhead shots with the Eagle.
OS said on PBS interview that he wanted to show the 'manic depression' of Alexander.....guess that was not all that appealing to movie-goers...LOL!!!!
The lead in the movie just does not fit the profile of Alexander. I mean .. just looking at him does not portray the character .. and then when he opened his mouth and started speaking .. it was sort of weak and whimpy.
I'm gaging it against Gibson's portrayal of Wallace in "Braveheart".
This is a "gay" movie with any amount of homosexual scenes.
It is exactly a HUGE problem with this Oliver Stone hack job. It is the homosexual advocates who are trying to blame the bad script as they are trying to blame kerry for loosing 11 out of 11 marriage amendments.
It remains to be sceene which studio heads roll over approving this fiasco. It also is far more likely that the suits will not be so quick to approve financing for a homo-movie.
I would assume from the movie that A did a slow decline into mental illness and alcoholism. I saw a history channel special on him and they implied the same thing. Also the bisexuality. They said that both of his parents were worried about his attraction to boys when he was a teen.
Well, you could get more explicit I suppose, but at some point the movie only shows in those seedy adult bookstores a quarter at a time. Tough to make a profit that way.
Or so I've heard...
Undoubtedly, they will be eating pudding.
History is filled with incredible events brought about by incredible, but real, human beings. It's a waste of resources to bend a truly earth shaking event into a gay soap opera. Failure of this film is a credit to Americans sensiblities. I hope someday someone sees fit to tell the real story. Maybe Mel Gibson.
Now if only we can spread the word about this "gay" movie abomination to potential european viewers.
Having this bomb in the EU would just be perfect.
The other dirty little secret always has been that the main stream "G" rated movies always clean up at the box office with or without press. Kinda makes you wonder what all those marketing honchos really do do with their time.
What the heck is the matter with these people. Alexander is known for conquering most of the known world, not playkng butt buddies. Who cares who he was prodding. I expected to see some of his military brilliance not who he wished he could poke. How in the world could his sexual preferences have anything to do with how he changed the history and geography of his world. Leave it to the homo loving hollywood elite to force more of this garbage down our throats. And they wonder what went wrong in the election. Simply amazing.