Monday, July 09, 2007

'Ratatouille' is Delicious! and Gay?

How could I resist movie night at a 12-screen movie theater in an authentic upstate strip-mall? The viewing options, as presented by Peter, who's an editor and frequent contributor to 'Filmaker' magazine and can be quite the cine-snob, absolutely shocked me; 'Knocked Up' or 'Ratatouille.' Although 'Knocked Up' seems to be garnering serious praise (huh?), we decided on 'Ratatouille,' which is latest offering from wicked talent at Pixar [the guys behind 'Toy Story,' 'Finding Nemo,' Monsters, Inc.', and 'The Incredibles']. Peter and I both laughed like 10-year-olds (with really deep voices).

Don't wait for Netflix; the stellar animation merits a trip to the big screen.

Peter and I disagreed on whether Remy, our rat-hero, is a metaphor for a young gay boy in the process of coming out. I think it's fairly obvious, while Peter (more Sontag than Kael) looks for the universal truth, seeing Remy as more symbolic of the misunderstood, "queer" individual, though not necessarily gay. I know I'm right, but I nodded as Peter postulated; that's the kind of guy I am. Patient with other's process. (wink)

Without giving away too much of the plot, I've listed those "hints" that, I believe, support my interpretation. They are:
  • Remy exhibits a refined "sensitivity" (smell), which makes him different from all the other rats in his colony;
  • When Remy's stereotypical macho brother sees Remy walking on two legs, he says, "If Dad sees you walking like that he's going to lose it.";
  • Remy is obsessed with the beauty and smells of gourmet food, while all the other rats are content to eat garbage;
  • Remy leads a double-life, hiding from everyone the fact that he sneaks into the human's home to watch the gourmet cooking show;
  • Remy feels conflicted about being what his family expects him to be and what he knows in his hear that he is; and finally
  • the transformation of our villain "Anton Ego" is clearly one of a gay male coming out of the closet later in life and the price he paid until that point. Watch the scene with his mother as he comes home from school crying because of the bullies. And then watch the last scene when he's in the restaurant. So, so gay.
And don't miss the reference to May Day's (Grace Jones) Parisian romp from "A View to A Kill." [Grace Jones!!?? -- Uhm, hellooooo!]

Gay or not the film is as good as slice of a gooey, stinky Epoisses.

As a kid, I was completely obsessed with Julia Child on PBS; suffice to say, Remy has become my new hero. And it's so wonderfully subversive that the folks at Disney (who own Pixar) have made a rat the dalmation or Nemo for 2007.

I love the idea of small kids all over middle America carrying around stuffed rats.


simon said...

well written, affectionate, and interesting blog.

if you ever get the chance, come visit me


my blog is (not nearly as superficial as it sounds ;-) )

Anonymous said...

Ah, I just rented the movie out last night & watched it at least 4 times in a row :)
I actually didn't spot the stereotypical gay references concerning Remy, but I assure you, Anton caught my attention in the first few minutes & throughout the duration of the film.
I noticed (after reading many reviews & then watching the film through) that Anton was not crying because he was bullied, he had fallen off of his bike and hurt his knee (you can see the bent posture that his leg is in & the buckled bike with the wheel still spinning in the background).
The main points that depicted the sexuality of Anton was, in my opinion:
- His thin, delicate, feminine figure.
- His impeccably clear, cut accent & use of intellectual vocabulary.
- His posture; when he stands, he stands rigid with his nose in the air; when he holds his glass, he does so meticulously, often swirling the glass before taking a sip of Cheval Blanc 1947; when his hands are not in use, he will have them lazily draped in an effeminate manner & when he is sitting, he will have his legs daintily crossed, often brushing a spot of lint off his trousers.
- His dress sense. He is seen at first wearing pinstripe trousers, an expensive teal-coloured coat and an accentuating purple scarf. In the end of the film, he is seen wearing darker clothing and a little French burette.
- His exquisite taste and extreme standards/expectations. If he doesn't get what he wants, he'll let you know.

And finally, this dialogue exchanged between him & Linguini when the press are interviewing inside the restaurant:
Linguini: You're...Anton...Ego.
Anton: You're slow for someone in the fast lane.
Linguini: And you're...thin for someone who likes food!
Anton: I don't like food I love it, if I don't love it, I. Don't. Swallow.