Badpuppy Gay Today

Monday, 27 October 1997

THE FULL MONTE


Film Review by Leo Skir



Seen at the Uptown Theatre in Minneapolis.

 

I lived in Quebec City from October 1973 to January 1975, in a rooming house on Rue St. Anne in the Old City.

It was the worst of times; it was the best of times. There was a French-Canadian Prime Minister of Canada in Ottawa and a mild man, Bourassa, as Prime Minister of the Province of Quebec, in the capital in Quebec City.

I saw him one evening as he was dressing after swimming in the same place that I used. They had cleared it while he dressed so that I came in as he was just putting on his last articles of clothing.

He was standing by his locker, a tall man, sad-looking, hunched over, defeated between country and province.

Which brings me to this movie:

I came in late, knowing only it was an English movie, and saw what was to be the principle figure, with his son, in a toilet. And oh G-d! He has that same defeated hunched-over look that Bourassa (who was rich, married to rich wife) had had.

Bourassa was there at a Bad Time with widespread unemployment; he was there when Equal Rights for Women and the Independence Movement were cresting.

And as I watched three women came into the men's room (why?) and one, as the man, hiding in a toilet booth watched through a keyhole, dropped her drawer (he seeing her from behind, her bare ass) and to urge her comrades, to give them heart (like Rob Roy in kilts, but she in a raised skirt) peed onto the tile of the men's urinal.

And the men and his mates felt Defeated.

Until the final still of film when he and five mates tossing aside hats which had covered their parts, exposed/shared them with a hoard of local women who had filled a hall, each paying ten quid to see the men give All.

We, the audience, seeing only their behinds, as was proper.

I, an American, felt happy/proud to be an American, since the impulse of the film, the music, the dancing was American.

I loved all the people in the film, loved them. There was not a single villain. This included the oldest stripper, once a foreman at the plant where all had lost their jobs.

None of the men is a real dancer. The closest is an older man who turns up when the Main Character holds recitals.

I had read in an anthropology book that the most unassimilated Irish Irish, from the Islands, feel great shame about any nudity, even taking their socks off and in the film the men have real problems taking off their shirts, never mind going The Full Monty (all the way).

But they must.

In this supposedly realistic fable-movie, the women have money; the men none and the men, all getting unemployment, have only this hope, to give one performance and enough money for it to set themselves on an even keel. For one man it means paying enough support to see his son; for the oldest man, being able to get a home again (and furniture again) for his wife.

Of course (this is a movie based solidly on Hollywood film and U.S disco music) the show which must go on, does, all the men dance, dance well and succeed.

And we see them rise, painfully, learn to strip, learn to dance, learn also to like each other, first learning to like themselves. One is black (he knows the dances but he's suffering from arthritis); one can't dance or sing, is gay (but has the Big Dong which will be put the group on the map. The oldest leader, beholding it, tells the rest "The Lunchbox has Landed" ). One is suffering from having been the Boss of the others; one is suffering from feeling he's too fat.

And all, except the gay man and one bachelor, have women, and all, by the end helped -- a lot-- by the women, or -- in the case of one man, the one separated from his wife, by their young son. And with the black man, by his family-of-women.

And we, the spectators, are drawn into the Family, seeing the men, following them from toilet to unemployment bureau, from homes to stores (where, in one, there are three theft scenes).

They are foolish, fearful, cowardly, dreamy, sincere, loving, kind (in the end) and by the end, as the leader hesitates, this viewer, sitting in his seat in a darkened movie house could not help but yell "Come on!"

No idea if you will yell something like this if you go and see the film.

But you might. Give yourself a chance (and a treat). See this film.

Uptown note: The projector broke down and two people from the theatre staff got on the stage to entertain us while it was being fixed. One as wearing kilts.

This viewer/reviewer, put a dollar in his brief's (boxer) for which this young man had to lift his kilt.

Even in Minneapolis, we sacrifice on the altar of Art.

Note: When I came home I phoned a friend in Washington D.C. whose wife came from Scotland (Glasgow). I felt the people in the film were Scottish (or North). My friend was out, out to pick his wife, a Smithsonian guide, up from the airport, but the woman answering the phone noted that the Scots had just voted themselves Independent, something the people of Quebec have been attempting for years.

The Scots must know they're going to have to pay for that Independence.

But all of us, gay, straight, black, fat, old, male and female gotta Come Out and what better way than Dancing and Naked!

1997 BEI; All Rights Reserved.
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