(ca) wrote: Think rape revenge film, ala House on the Edge of the Park or Last House on The Left meets The Craft, if they were even hotter, nude, and lesbian. Great gore, good acting, hot naked lesbos, kick ass music by Ministry, what more could you ask for?
(gb) wrote: The number of people who misunderstand the goals of feminism is astonishing. To the kiddos who live by the word of conservatives and close-minded nefarios, the term is synonymous with man-hating, or, a case of female empowerment too supposedly vicious and oppressive for its own good. All feminists want is for the female race to have the same basic rights as men, which is fair, not terrifying. (Another case exemplifying why putting labels on issues can be a dangerous thing.) The meninists of our time, unfortunately, have feminists mixed up with combative revolutionaries akin to, I don't know, Valerie Solanas. Who is Valerie Solanas, you ask? Valerie Jean Solanas (born 1936, died 1988), Wikipedia reads, was an American radical feminist writer best known for the "SCUM Manifesto" and as the would-be murderer of pop artist Andy Warhol. Solanas despised men, not as people but as society's weak links: she figured that men, with their Y chromosomes, were genetic accidents, and that women were meant to rule the world. Not like Beyonc currently preaches, though: Solanas' goal was to completely exterminate the sex, thus ending the possibilities of future generations and setting the female example in stone. If her logic sounds crazy to you, then you, of course, are of sound mind. But don't let her fanatical blueprints undermine your interest in her. Anything written about Solanas, understandably, makes her sound like a lunatic on the move - that's why 1996's "I Shot Andy Warhol" is such an impactful film. Sure, she still seems like a lunatic on the move. But unexpected is how fascinating of a woman she is, a staggering example of a highly intelligent force of nature who was so struck down during their formative years that using a high IQ for something rational in adulthood seems too mad of a thought. In "I Shot Andy Warhol", Solanas, portrayed by Lili Taylor, is seen as a madwoman not completely mad, so convinced in her determination to make her quasi-feminist dreams come true that she would do anything to make them a reality. The film opens with the attempted murder, and as she is questioned by police, she doesn't make delusional excuses. She flatly announces her guilt, but would rather not get into specifics. The film then travels back to the year leading up to the attack; Solanas, homeless and too abrasive to have a real relationship with anyone, is only able to rely on herself. She is a writer, she explains to everyone who attempts to flee her presence, and is currently working on a play entitled "Up Your Ass", a satirical attack on the male species. We learn that Solanas wasn't always this way - in college, studying psychology while prostituting on the side, she discovered that she was gay, that she could write, and that gender norms were more upsetting than the most vile of societal taboos. After she graduated, she didn't prosper. She moved to New York, never found a place to live, and attempted to flower as a writer working from the ground up. Mostly, she lives back and forth between various rooftops and the apartments of sometime girlfriend Stevie (Martha Plimpton) and the transsexual Candy Darling (Stephen Dorff). Solanas isn't down in the dumps, though: she sees sex scientifically, often supporting herself by taking in random johns, and figures that homelessness isn't so bad as long as you have a passion to fill up the holes left by discontent. Her connection to Warhol (Jared Harris) is through Darling: after being noticed by the artist at a ritzy party, Darling is invited to his studio for a screen test. Solanas, desperate to get "Up Your Ass" produced by someone, figures the controversial Warhol would be more than willing to finance a project so over-the-top. But Warhol likes beautiful people and artists with sanity to back themselves up, and so he ignores her script after one reading and further continues to pretend as though he values her, even putting her in a movie role at one point. Solanas initially appreciates Warhol's apparent generosity, but after it eventually becomes clear that he has no hopes to actually support her work, she figures he is going to steal her writing and take the credit. That isn't the case - Warhol simply isn't interested - but Solanas goes ballistic, living up to the title of the film. "I Shot Andy Warhol" is so much more than a true crime story set to the screen; it's more comparable to a brilliant character study that just so happens to be based on true events. Harron is invested in Solanas but is also attentive toward the people that surround her. We are understanding of Solanas' view of herself and the view from the judgmental eyes of The Factory and beyond - Harron is so subtly thorough that there are times we forget we aren't actually watching a Candy Darling biopic or a Factory documentary. Every character, compelling or not, is damaged in some way, making the film much more resonant. Solanas' entrance only adds wood to the personal fires of the people she continually harasses; explosive results should have been expected originally. More remarkable is the acting. When it comes to biographical tales, often tiresome is the idea that more attention is given to the fact that hey, _______ _______ is playing ______ ______!, when, in actuality, real figures should have as much depth, if not more, than your average movie character. Astonishing is the way "I Shot Andy Warhol" makes the situation feel as though it is happening before our very eyes. Solanas is not glorified nor portrayed as a crazy person left to expire in the throes of infamy. Instead, she is a misunderstood genius so unrelentingly cast aside by society that Warhol's emotional standoffishness causes an already unstable person to completely snap. Taylor embodies Solanas so convincingly that the increasing madness of her character does instill fear in us. Supporting players Dorff and Harris also make a huge impression: Dorff is terrific as Candy Darling. Never leaning toward caricature-ish body movements or stereotyped predictabilities, he touches deep as a transsexual who made it (kind of) in a time where most were stamped on by culture. Harris turns Warhol into the eccentric we never knew he was, as an artist so hypnotized by the looks, feelings, and auras of others that he never really knew how to be himself. He's polite to Solanas, never turning her down like he should, but is it because he's nice or because she acts as a distraction to his unhealthy habit of consuming himself with the other? "I Shot Andy Warhol" is gigantically effective; it tells a story coercive even to the most casual of a viewer while also authentically investing in the neuroses of the real figures it brings to the celluloid. I wish it were longer, lingering on Solanas as she tries to readjust to life years after her prison release; Harron makes us care about the woman as much as we find ourselves frightened by her, and it's potent.