Monday, October 31, 2022

BROS: An American Film Classic (Ava and C.I.)

BROS.  It was supposed to be just a film but it became so much more.

As a film, let's cover the basics.  Nicholas Stoller directed the film with a screenplay by Billy Eichner and Stoller, while the producers are Stoller, Joshua Church and Judd Apatow.  The stars include Billy, Luke Macfarlane, Ts Madison, Monica Raymund, Guillermo Diaz, Guy Branum and Amanda Bearse.


The film is hilarious and the script so great it should be a lock on the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.  The reviews are wonderful because the film is hilarious.  

movie montage

Billy Eichner has noted that, over the summer, UNIVERSAL had to address issues with a theater chain who didn't even want to play the trailer for BROS.  Billy thinks UNIVERSAL handled it.  Billy is wrong.


UNIVERSAL did strong arm them on the trailer.  But before it came out, it was already obvious that it wasn't going to be a success it's opening weekend because of the theaters. The day before the film opened, for example, Stan wrote:


Okay, BROS comes out tomorrow.  It will not be playing on a level field.  C.I. told me about that and I checked it out, she is correct.  A per theater average will be released (how much each film made per theater) and you'll be under the impression that SMILE, for example, outsold BROS.  You'll be told about their per theater average.

That's a lie.  It's not a valid figure to make comparisons with.

I never realized it before.  I have covered that figure and treated it as real repeatedly.  

C.I. explained it to me.  She said BROS will not get as many showings a day as other films.  She said that some theaters would not show it until the last matinee and would only show it once or twice at night.  I've gone online and she's correct.  I looked at ten different cities.  Tomorrow SMILE will play repeatedly beginning in the morning and on through the day over and over.  BROS will play four times a day on average (so low because some cities are only showing it three times all day).

So the per theater average isn't an accurate metric.  They should be doing "per showing."  That would be more accurate.   BROS has no chance because it's not being shown as many times a day.   In Atlanta, for example, on Friday, SMILE will have 31 showings.  BROS?  Friday in Atlanta, it will only have 24 showings. 


BROS was being undercut from the first ticket sold.  It was never on an equal playing field.  That is made $4.8 million its opening weekend was amazing for that reason alone.  'B-b-but it was supposed to make $15 million opening weekend!' That expectation was based on a flawed prediction.

The model used was the normal model of projection -- it did not factor in that the film was not being shown at theaters in the usual amounts that a film on opening weekend will be.

UNIVERSAL should have caught that and tamped down on expectations.  The prediction was inaccurate and that was obvious (yes, this piece is being written by Ava and C.I. --same C.I. who warned Stan what was going to happen before the film opened).  

But people were surprised and that included Billy.  Apparently, he's now deleted the Tweet he posted the Monday after BROS opened.  It did read: "That's just the world we live in, unfortunately.  Even with glowing reviews, great Rotten Tomatoes scores, an A CinemaScore etc, straight people, especially in certain parts of the country, just didn't show up for Bros.  And that's disappointing but it is what it is."

This became controversial.  It became proof of hatred of straight people or some such nonsense.


Bill Miller, sometimes just "Bill," astroturfed many sites with comments like the following left at DEADLINE:

Bill miller

Bros had terrible marketing. In ads they literally said, remember straight people, me neither.’ I’m all fine with gay movies relationships- but I’m not paying money to just be insulted. Imagine a movie trailer that said the reverse? Uproar.

Poor Bill. He quotes a line from the film and he can't even get it right.

And this mistake ended up playing very well to the right-wing who ran with it as well.

"They had a good run."  That is what the trans woman says in the film.

It's the same trailer, by the way, that includes Luke and Billy's "Gay people are so dumb" dialogue.

But little Billy Miller got ass hurt over a line he misheard and couldn't appreciate that the film was mocking everyone.

Just as there was that misunderstanding, Billy's Tweet was intentionally misunderstood.


The right-wing -- but not just the right-wing -- was up in arms over his comment which they said was him attacking -- attacking -- straight people for not showing up.


Attacking with this: "straight people, especially in certain parts of the country, just didn't show up for Bros.  And that's disappointing but it is what it is."




If you're getting ass hurt over that 'attack,' we wonder how you make it through a day in the real world.


It was an expression of sadness.


And Billy had every right to be sad.


BROS is a funny movie, very funny.  It's also a heartfelt film and one that works because Billy took a knife, opened a vein and bled all over the page.  That's Billy up there on the screen.  Not just as an actor, that's Billy's thoughts, that's who he is on his best day and who he is on his worst day.  Like Joni Mitchell's classic BLUE, Billy put it all out there in a way that few ever do.


And so it would be hard as the actor in BROS to deal with Monday morning after the opening, but when you are the movie, it's even harder.


He didn't attack anyone.  He expressed sadness and you'd hope people would recognize that and cut him some slack but instead it was attack, attack attack.


He didn't respond in anger but he would have had every right to.


Our response that Monday was anger.  We were appalled by the box office -- and we knew it was going to be low.  But we were appalled because, over and over, the LGBTQ+ community was there throughout 2022 -- lifting others up and sharing the stage.  That included on that awful NETFLIX special we called out, the supposed PRIDE special, which let Sandra Bernhard take the stage to address . . . abortion.   When ROE was killed by Clary Thomas and others on the illegitimate court, the LGBTQ+ community could have been silent.

Outside of rape, it's not really a pressing issue for that community.  If a lesbian is pregnant, outside of rape, it's pretty much because she wants to be, for example. 

But they didn't take a pass.  As a community, they came out strong and loud about the death of ROE.

And where's the straight community been all year long?

Jonathan Turley?  Our legal expert?  He's said that LGBTQ+s have nothing to fear from this court and that despite Clarry Thomas noting in his concurring opinion in DOBBS that the same right to privacy the Court denies exists for ROE also does not exist for marriage equality or, for that matter, anal sex.  

Jonathan wants you to know that the Court will never, ever, go after these two issues.  This is the same Turley who wanted you to know that the Court would not overturn Roe in 2022.  So, forgive us, we're not really believing Jonathan Turley these days.



Help us out -- which one of them has done a program -- a full segment -- on how DOBBS could threaten the LGBTQ+ community?

Answer: None of them.

Gay activists and gay celebrities did not go silent about reproductive rights after DOBBS was issued.  but we can't say the same for the straight community, can we?

And it was apparently too much for our community to get it off its lazy ass and go to the movies and see BROS. It was just too much for us.  Buying a ticket and all.  

Billy's right to be offended.  Time and again, we expect every community to serve us but we don't appear to want to return the favor.

While we refused, as a community, to support BROS, the right-wing was very happy to use the box office as a referendum on gay rights.  Did you miss that as well?

When the LGBTQ+ community is under attack, we took a pass and fed the right-wing.  

America doesn't like gays, that's what the right-wing is taking from BROS.  

Thank you, to our fellow straights, for doing your part to oppress.

That's all you did.  You're rather see some crappy movie starring Jamie Lee Curtis who, let's be honest, wants you to now care about trans people because of her daughter but when asked -- by a Howard Stern personality -- about the rumors that she was born intersex, Jamie screamed and snarled that children were present (she was promoting her children's book) and "How dare you!"


Apparently, that video has vanished from the internet so we will go with the closest approximation of that moment, Derek from THE CATHERINE TATE SHOW.

And some thought Jamie Lee couldn't do comedy.  (Here's a post with the video of Jamie Lee losing it and responding, "How dare you!")

Back to BROS, it's a wonderful comedy.  But the straight community couldn't support it?  They weren't being asked to sit through WHO'S THAT GIRL or any of Madonna's other films.  BROS is a genuinely funny film.  The funniest of 2022, in fact.  It's a joy to watch.  And you can now watch at home in the US -- it's on streaming for rental and for purchase.

And let's hope it finds support there because it really hasn't gotten the support it needs or it deserves.  Even now.

In terms of history, that's fine.  BRINGING UP BABY was not a box office hit.  It was a classic film and its audience only grew with each year.  The same that happened with HAROLD & MAUDE and the same that will happen with BROS.  It's a great film.

 But the most disturbing aspect of BROS has been the delight with which some have had attacking it.

Let's leave the right wing for a moment to note what we like to call The Underfed And Angry Twink Brigade.  Without seeing the film -- clearly without seeing BROS -- they began attacking it online over -- wait for it -- its lack of diversity in the cast.

They held it up to FIRE ISLAND.  And lied that FIRE ISLAND was their life.  (Fire Island?  They're lucky to make it to Des Moines.)  They lied further claiming FIRE ISLAND was more diverse than BROS.

The thing about liars is that they're also usually pretty stupid.  So they held up their Asian-American male cast with a token female (Margaret Cho) and pretended this was the height of diversity for LGBTQ+ films.

BROS, by contrast, actually has a diverse main cast.  They do have Asian-Americans and they also have a Latino in the main cast, they have African-Americans (an A-A group not in the main cast of FIRE ISLAND, FYI), they have lesbians, they have a bi-sexual, they have trans women, etc, etc.  

Diversity?  Sorry, Underfed And Angry Twink Brigade, FIRE ISLAND had no real diversity.

Unless you count dressing up men in women's role.  That is what FIRE ISLAND does, please grasp, dress men up as 19th century women.  Couldn't come up with his own concept so Joel Kim Booster lifts from Jane Austen's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.  Amy Heckerling took Jane Austen's EMMA and managed to actually update it and have it comment on today (with high school replacing the class system) while Joel Kim just stole characters and a plot because he was so bereft of originality.  This while, again, Billy Eichner opened up a vein to co-write BROS.

Here's some more reality: Joel Kim is not a convincing Elizabeth Bennett -- and that's not just because he's over a decade and a half too old for the part -- though watching a 34-year-old man try to play 20 is both pathetic and impossible.

FIRE ISLAND is a TV movie and not a good one the way SINGLE ALL THE WAY is.  It's a mediocre TV movie and if that bothers you, get ready to really be bothered.

There's something truly sad about a movie like FIRE ISLAND where a nearly 35-year-old man goes through an entire movie out of a relationship and, in the final scene, gets to hug and kiss.  Doris Day got more action in her films with Rock Hudson.  As did Meg Ryan, in SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE, in case you forgot.  Annie in the kitchen, on the phone, surprised by Walter (Bill Pullman)?  She got out of bed with Walter to take that phone call.  That's why Walter's at her place in the middle of the night.  

But a 34-year-old gay man gets no real action?  As Rebecca noted the day BROS opened, "glad billy eichner didn't pull punches - not with the jokes, not with the sex scenes."  He didn't pull punches.  It's an R-rated film and Billy didn't water things down.  Besides Bobby's sex scenes with Aaron -- of just the two of them -- Bobby also has two encounters with other men and also has two different encounters with Aaron where two other men participate.  


It was a film for adults and it was a film that changed things because it wasn't trying to make nice.  "Oh, it's got gay characters, but don't worry, we're reworking Jane Austen!"   BROS is brave.

And that was in the casing as well.

There were a lot of idiots on this aspect but let's go to the right-wing and Josiah whatever his name is.  Sorry if you thought it was our obligation or duty to popularize a homophobic right-winger, it's not.  So on his YOUTUBE show last week, Josiah (who is obsessed with BROS) wanted you to know that BROS was a bomb -- it didn't bomb -- and that this told you the reality -- of what? -- and besides BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN was a hit.

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN starred two well known men and they were well known for being straight.  BROS didn't give you the way out -- nor should it have.  You didn't get to sit there and have the easy out of, "Robin Williams is just pretending to be gay."  And Nathan Lane is in the closet, of course.  (He was during the time of THE BIRDCAGE.  As he's noted, Jason Alexander outed him later.)


The primary cast of BROS is LGBTQ+ and that was major.  

Bobby gets at that throughout the movie.  And does so in a manner similar to Elaine May (people miss her media critique that runs throughout THE BIRDCAGE) and Nora Ephron (equally true of SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE -- or have people not read Susan Faludi's BACKLASH).   

Grasp that.  BROS offers a media and a social critique while also making you laugh and making you cry and making you give a damn about the love story between Bobby and Aaron.  

It's a mature movie and grasp how rare that is.  The straight left loves to whine about seeing comic books on the big screen -- and especially about the origin stories.  And yet we couldn't turn out for a funny, adult film that treated the audience like thinking people?

That's sad and appalling.  

We are the people who used to tut-tut over MELROSE PLACE cutting to a close up of Andew Schue's slack-jawed face instead of staying on Matt to show him kissing a man.  Nearly 30 years later, we get a little reality and we refuse to support it, we refuse to turn out for it.


Homophobia has not ended.  Don't pretend that it has because Twitter makes it clear that homophobia is thriving.

In that Tweet, Twitter is censoring this photo.

It's 2022 and we've actually gotten worse than we were in the 90s.  MELROSE PLACE could have gotten away with the above in the 90s.  In 2022, Twitter censors that.

Clarence Thomas wants to end marriage equality and yet we, the straight allies, couldn't even just buy a ticket to a film to show our support.  It's embarrassing and its shameful.

(If you bought a ticket and you're straight, great for you.  We did as well.  But there's no denying that our very large community didn't.)

BROS is brave and it pulls this country where we need to be.  As Rickie Lee Jones sings in "Chuck E.'s In Love," "Oh, it's never gonna be the same."  And we should all be grateful for that.


It's not Channing Tatum pretending to be gay.  And it's not a story of two gay guys who hug and maybe kiss at the end after being apart the whole movie.  And it's not a story that, in the final scenes, kills off one of the two in the relationship.  And it's not a story where they break up in the end.

It's two gay men playing two gay men who get together.  

BROS pulled film into the 21st century and did so with confidence, humor and so much love.  

The film's available on streaming platforms -- for rental and for purchase.  It'll be out on BLU RAY shortly.  And the film will be remembered for years because it is a comedy classic.  Congratulations to all who were a part of the film and especially to Billy who didn't hedge, who went full out.  He has so much to be proud of.



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