Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Birdcage (1996)

The Birdcage, Nathan Lane, Robin Williams
Based on the French film La Cage Aux Folles, 1996's The Birdcage moves the action to South Beach, Florida with an all-star cast with Robin Williams and Nathan Lane at the lead along side Gene Hackman, Dianne Wiest, Hank Azaria, Dan Futterman, Calista Flockhart, and Christine Baranski. This all-star1 cast works well together in this light comedy about different worlds colliding.

This movie has a lot of great jokes and funny situations. Hank Azaria's character as the butler/maid, Agador, brings a lot of comedy to the screen. His accent only ads to Azaria's general comic charm. Williams and Lane are also a rather comedic duo. Lane manages to be one person who can make the San Franciscan native Williams seem like the "butch" one.

Dan Futterman, Hank Azaria, the Birdcage
For some reason whenever I watch The Birdcage on TV, they tend to ad a towel to Hank Azaria as he's bobbing around the house cleaning in a thong. I'm not certain why this is considered especially heinous, but to rectify this situation, I've made sure to cap it. So bask in what TBS denies you! At one point I read an interview with Hank Azaria for Along Came Polly2 where he mentioned that, "Every few years Hollywood asks me to be some version of a naked foreigner, and I'm very happy to oblige." This, as far as I can tell was one of his first naked foreigner roles, but I could be wrong.

That screen capture also illustrates why I've never really liked the character of their son. Despite having been raised above a drag bar by gay parents, and likely surrounded by gay men his entire life, the son seems entirely uncomfortable with gay men. Rather than standing up for his own upbringing he seeks simply to enact conformity on everyone else. He's just never sat right with me.

I used to watch The Birdcage rather frequently. Now I watch it whenever I'm feeling a little down and I want a light funny comedy that I don't have to think about but still hits home. Of course, it's also good when I've just been quoting it a lot and need to watch it to get that out of my system.

Nathan Lane, Robin Williams, Gene Hackman, The Birdcage
Armond: You do: Fosse! Fosse! Fosse! You do: Martha Graham! Martha Graham! Martha Graham! or Twyla! Twyla! Twyla! or Michael Kidd! Michael Kidd! Michael Kidd! or Madonna! Madonna! Madonna! But you keep it all inside.

1. -ish
2. I never saw it and I don't imagine I will.


Robin said...

something that might explain why you don't like the son:

In the original French version, the son was written as a (the?) villain. In the American-ization of the film, they writers try, unsuccessfully, to rewrite him as sympathetic.

Brianna said...

boy, Hank Azaria is cute, nice butt too