Dave White
Dying Gaul Review

Dave's Rating:

4.5

… bitter and tragic …

Who's in It: Campbell Scott, Peter Sarsgaard, Patricia Clarkson

The Basics: A gay screenwriter becomes involved with his married producer, with some bitter consequences.

What's the Deal? Ever stalk someone and then try to mess with their mind and ruin their life? Because if you haven't, and then you suddenly find yourself in the mood for that sort of thing, this is a really good how-to movie. Patricia Clarkson, as the wronged spouse of a cheating bisexual husband (Scott), goes online with a really ridiculous gay screen name and makes quick work of the guy (Sarsgaard) who's out creepin' with her man. It's like You've Got Mail for misanthropes.

What's Cool About It: Don't you hate gay movies in which everyone's really cute and dressed in those little stripy gay shirts and they're all really nice and just wanting someone to love? Me too. This one ditches all that boring stuff and gets right to the good stuff — the total destruction of everyone.

"Why I Hate Hollywood," by Craig Lucas: Lucas, this movie's writer-director, takes a nice stab at the kind of studio suits he's most likely met far too many of. Sarsgaard's character's script, called The Dying Gaul, about two gay men, is bought, gutted and heterosexualized. After offering Sarsgaard a million bucks for it, Scott's cold exec says, "We will not make The Dying Gaul with two men in bed … ever."

Dialect Coach of the Year: That award goes to whoever worked with Sarsgaard on his gay voice. Most actors go too far over the top with that sort of thing, but he nails it in a way that suggests he spent a month living in a bathhouse just listening to guys talk.

OK, About Clarkson's Screen Name: She pretends to be someone from Sarsgaard's past and goes by the name … OK, get ready for it … here it is … Skinflute8. Did they just put every awful gay.com screen name in a hat and draw from it and magically select the one that's the yuckiest euphemism for "penis" ever? It was a joke, right, Craig Lucas?

Basket of Adorable Puppies: A friend of mine recently said, "Yeah, The Dying Gaul is a title that'll have people rushing right out to see it." But I like to think of it as truth in advertising. It's bitter and tragic, and you should totally go.

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