Thursday, August 18, 2011

Zombadings is like a neon green nail polish

Rating: 6/10

Even after three drafts, I still can't manage to complete my review of Zombadings. I have some misgivings about the movie and the internal debate that raged inside me (raging talaga?) made it difficult for me to compose my thoughts. Fortunately, @Thysz on Twitter posted a link to this review (well, indirectly); I share some of his arguments, and his arguments alone. I'm not angry. (Or outraged, as is the name of the magazine for which the author wrote his review). And for the record, I wasn't offended by Zombadings. (By the way, the rejoinder to the negative movie review is posted here.)

Here's the first few paragraphs of one of my drafts:
You're a straight guy. You're cute, you get all the girls in your baranggay and your erection salutes to an eyebrow-raising proportion.

You are homophobic. You offend a gay witch who curses you and turns you gay.

In many respects, Zombadings did its best to dispel gay stereotypes and misconceptions; however, it must also be answerable to the same standard of political correctness it employed in its criticism of Filipino society. So,

  • why is being gay considered a curse?
  • why does turning gay in this film mean being flamboyant and exaggeratedly effeminate?

I understand that the film may not have been as funny if Remington was turning gay and still remained straight-acting. This brings us to another problem: so being flamboyantly gay = entertainment? (I also get that there are other different types of gay characters in the movie but they appeared to have been placed there to titillate the audience rather than enlighten them. [Spoiler alert; highlight to view] For example: why did the dad have to be another flamboyantly gay character? For entertainment na naman? [End of spoiler]

So why didn't I find it offensive? Was I laughing at Remington, or with Remington? Was it because I knew the people behind this film are gay? Did the virtuous ending (debatable, by the way) justify the means?

To the outsider, it may appear crude to see an audience laughing because Remington starts to speak Beckinese or sashay down the road and spout glitters and rainbows. But here's my realization: It's gay film made for a gay (and gay-loving) audience. (Although, as the Outrage review proved, maybe it's not for all gays.) It's funny to watch since you see your own or your friend's experiences in Remington's journey through gayhood and you know how being so out there has led you or your friend to trouble (fun and otherwise).

However, if a homophobic person sees Zombadings, do we expect him to have a change of heart? It's a film that would only fuel his derision for gays, even provide him more ammunition.

In that respect, Zombadings is like a neon green nail polish; in the wrong hands, it can get ugly. One is misguided if he should pin all the blame to the film when its characters are only a reflection of society. On the other hand, I have to admit that there are better gay films out there.

Zombadings: Patayin sa Shokot si Remington opens in theaters beginning August 31.

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