Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.
CP: A major motion picture about a landmark event in gay-lib history, the 1969 riots at the Stonewall Inn in New York. Politics, mobsters, romance. … What could possibly go wrong?
RN: Oy, “Stonewall.” Such squandering of such rich material. I was shocked to learn that the “Days of Our Lives”-worthy screenplay was by Jon Robin Baitz, author of the fine “Three Hotels,” “Other Desert Cities” and TV’s frequently great “Brothers & Sisters.” The gays deserve better, especially from one of their own.
CP: “Stonewall” truly is a “one proverb per scene” kind of movie. And all shot in golden light reminiscent of a whole-grain cereal commercial. But come on, I mean, how many times did you cry at “Dreamgirls”? (When you weren’t screaming with joy, that is.)
RN: I had to be carried out on a stretcher. But that was a musical. Starring Fabulous Black Women. At least “Stonewall” gets some of the history right, depicting the riot being driven by drag queens and homeless street kids. I sense that you are, shockingly, less judgy than I am on this one.
CP: Don’t fret. I’m at the front of the line to say “Stonewall” is stuffed with more clichés than a drag queen’s bra, and that it seems to have been scripted by George M. Clunkmeister. The exposition may as well have appeared in all-type boxes instead of being spoken by the actors. But still.
RN: You identified, clearly. Please tell me it wasn’t the horrifying scene where that icky cross-dressing executive forced himself on our nauseated-yet-dewy young protagonist, Danny from rural Indiana. Because that was scarier than anything in “Alien.”
CP: But I see plenty of value in a mainstream-ish movie showing how a racially diverse bunch of street queens, hustlers, proto-activists and fellow travelers got sick of having their dance bar repeatedly raided by the cops and finally decided to fight back. It’s a story powerful enough to have launched a thousand gay pride festivals around the world.
RN: True. I just wish this particular story was more than a random jumble of paper-thin plot lines: Big, bad mobsters! Crooked cops! The supportive baby sister who looks like a teenaged Lea Michele!
CP: Loved her.
RN: Me, too. Then there are the drag queens snappier than Wesley Snipes in “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar.” My personal favorite was when Our Hero’s previously unsupportive mom, dressed for an afternoon of back-to-school shopping at B. Altman, magically appears in NYC just in time for America’s first Pride parade. Yeah, sure.
CP: You are, to quote Spiro T. Agnew, who was vice president at the time, a nattering nabob of negativism.
RN: I was so bored — and disappointed — by “Stonewall” that I passed the time speculating about the current rents for the dumpy Greenwich Village apartments depicted in the film. Which was shot, by the way, in Montreal.
CP: That “dump” on Christopher Street where the character Trevor lived, overlooking the Stonewall Inn, would fetch at least $2,500 a month today.
RN: Now that’s progress.
Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib