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#192414 - 11/24/07 03:09 AM Re: Film - Mysterious Skin [Re: Jarrad]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Hi Jarrad,

I see him as acting out because that's all he does in the film. He has opportunities to relate to Eric, for example, but is too closed down emotionally to take a chance with him.

I need to go reread the book. I know Scott Heim (author) paints a much darker picture of Neil than Gregg Araki (screenplay) does.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#192424 - 11/24/07 05:24 AM Re: Film - Mysterious Skin [Re: roadrunner]
alexey Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 08/16/05
Posts: 1674
Loc: Moscow, Russia
Larry,

I think your book is a really great idea. I have seen this movie too. In fact, seen it couple of times. It is triggering and made me cry.

Alexey

_________________________
(\__/)
(='.'=)
E[:]|||||[:]3
(")_(")
--------
When you feel all alone and unhappy, turn to you Inner Child and talk to Him.
You will see He can comfort you like nothing else!

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#192456 - 11/24/07 11:28 AM Re: Film - Mysterious Skin [Re: alexey]
MemoryVault Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 693
Loc: NJ
Hey, Larry --

I'm not offended, but I do want to offer a challenge: if a survivor who identified as straight acted out in unhealthy ways with women, would anyone question his heterosexuality?

I'm just wary about where this is going because society's>


Edited by MemoryVault (11/24/07 11:44 PM)

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#192554 - 11/25/07 01:25 AM Re: Film - Mysterious Skin [Re: MemoryVault]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
David,

Thanks for your thoughts. I hope I haven't given the impression that I think there's something wrong with gay guys or their sexuality. For what it's worth, I think sexuality is part of who a person is and not a choice he makes. If someone is gay, that's it - fine by me. And even if it were a choice, that's also fine so far as I'm concerned.

My thoughts on Neil's sexuality are just based on what Neil does in the film, and clearly I should watch it again with this issue in mind. I don't recall him saying he's gay, so it looks like I missed something that could be important.

On your challenge, okay, I'll look at that a moment:

Originally Posted By: MemoryVault
if a survivor who identified as straight acted out in unhealthy ways with women, would anyone question his heterosexuality?


My answer would be no, I wouldn't question his heterosexuality, and I wouldn't question Neil's homosexuality if I saw him as a guy who identified as gay and acted out in unhealthy ways with men. But that's not what I see in Neil. That is, I don't see him as identifying as gay (but as I just said it looks like I missed something important), and I don't see him as just acting out in unhealthy ways with men.

What I see in Neil is an abused boy trying to recover the feelings of being special, wanted and important that he got from being with Coach. He could have pursued this as a gay guy with other gays in his own peer group, or with different guys of different ages. But he doesn't. As you say, guys his own age don't work for him; he's got to have older men. Araki could have written this up in any number of ways, so surely his choice is significant. As I see it, focusing on older guys shows again how Neil is trying to recapture the special feelings he had with Coach as a boy.

Also, Neil relates sexually only with customers, never with partners, dates or boyfriends. Why not? Again, Araki could have done other things with this - don't we have to ask why he takes this approach? I see this as a control issue. If Neil only relates with other guys as a hustler, never as anything else (and Araki could have showed us other aspects if he wanted to), then he is in total control - or so he thinks. He decides who, where, what, how much, and so on. No commitment, no emotional danger or risk. That's why the final sexual encounter, where he is beaten and raped, is so important; it shows Neil that in reality the control he thought he had was just an illusion.

In the film that Araki gave us I think the real issues are abuse issues and not those of sexuality. Neil doesn't relate to Wendy sexually, true, but he doesn't relate to Eric in that way either; and more importantly, he doesn't relate to his friends emotionally either. I see the character of Neil as primarily a teenager emotionally devastated by abuse.

That said, I take your point that he could be gay and still unable to relate sexually to anyone except older male customers. That's something I have to re-examine by watching the film again.

Damn! I wish I could sit with you and Jarrad and work through the film frame by frame. You're bringing a perspective to my thinking on this one that I lack.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#192589 - 11/25/07 09:19 AM Re: Film - Mysterious Skin [Re: roadrunner]
MemoryVault Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 693
Loc: NJ
Hey, Larry --

No, you didn't give me the impression you thought something was wrong with being gay...I guess it's a tribute to Araki's film that you, Jarrad, and I all are so invested in Neil and his meaning.

In an early scene with Wendy, Neil's voice-over says something like "If I wasn't queer, we'd have ended up having sloppy sex, turned out a couple of kids..." I'm also thinking of him doing the baseball announcements, commenting to Eric about the older guys batting..."Heck, I'd do him for free....Ass of the gods." Eric says, "Are you joking?" It's one of the few moments in the movie where Neil expresses desire.

I had one other thought about the movie and how it deals with memory. The promo says, "One boy can't remember. The other can't forget," which always bothered me. I think it's more about two kinds of not remembering. In the early scenes with Neil, his voice-over speaks with reverence about what's happening with Coach, but what we actually see is very different--Chase (Ellison?) is clearly upset and confused when things get sexual. Neil remembers the details, but there's a disconnect between the feelings he describes and what we see.

Brian, on the other hand, remembers the feelings perfectly, but loses the facts. He translates the feeling of being invaded and abducted, the strangeness of it, into UFOs. That feeling is the missing piece he has to offer Neil at the end--it's not just a one-way revelation.

Conclusion--I've seen this one too many times!

Take care,

David


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#192608 - 11/25/07 11:15 AM Re: Film - Mysterious Skin [Re: MemoryVault]
Hauser Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 2962
Loc: United States
I would like to point out that one of the best qualities of this film is the haunting music in the background. It is constantly dark, foreboding, and gives you, the viewer, during this entire viewing experience, that something is wrong, VERY wrong.

In every instance where the victim's lives veer towards self-defeating/self-destructive behaviors, that melancholy music starts, it is perfectly sequenced. In the realm of artistic merit, the soundrack gets a huge thumbs up from me.

I guess what I'm really saying is that every time I heard the eerie tracks being replayed, I find myself.......looking at my own abuse experience in a sobering and realistic way, which is something I have a hard time doing being as which I'm not the inexperienced/vulnerable boy I once was.


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#192635 - 11/25/07 01:20 PM Re: Film - Mysterious Skin [Re: Hauser]
Jarrad Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/27/06
Posts: 1071
Loc: arizona
i think that none of the characters really have outside relationships. for example, wendy isnt shown as having a boyfriend but no one questions she is straight. and becaus neil doesnt show interest in eric doesnt mean he is just acting out. i mean really... eric is ugly. i wouldn't want to do him either. and like rule number one is never do yoru friends. so, to me, thats a null point. if neil had a boyfriend it would complicate an already complex plot. the dynamics of the characters already are important to throwing in "side stories" would weaken the>

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#192651 - 11/25/07 04:45 PM Re: Film - Mysterious Skin [Re: Jarrad]
MemoryVault Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 693
Loc: NJ
Congrats on 500 posts, Jarrad!


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#192685 - 11/26/07 12:10 AM Re: Film - Mysterious Skin [Re: MemoryVault]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Ditto on the 500 posts Jarrad! \:\)

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#192689 - 11/26/07 12:40 AM Re: Film - Mysterious Skin [Re: roadrunner]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
I guess I keep coming back to the point that Araki is making specific decisions when he turns the book into a film. All of these decisions are his and they are significant - they mean something.

For example, in the book Wendy and Eric never meet, but in the film they are brought together to develop the central character of Neil. In the book the "five-dollar game" has a very negative and callous ending, stressing Neil's emotional "deadness", while in the film that is dropped and a very compassionate ending is substituted for it. In the book Neil sleeps with Eric while in the film he doesn't. All these are decisions by Araki and they mean something.

So for me it's significant that Neil is made to relate sexually only to older male customers, never guys his own age and never dates or bfs.

You know what? The more we talk about this, the more I see that the film is really about Neil - not Neil and Brian. Maybe it's just a matter of how Joseph Gordon-Levitt steals the show in his portrayal of Neil...

And David, FANTASTIC point about what the "aliens" business is all about. That one has been bothering me since I first saw the film and I think you're absolutely right.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

Top
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