Thursday, February 08, 2018

L'Officiel Armie

Yesterday I shared a snap shot of this but if I'd been patient, which, ha, I could've just shared it all this morning - Armie Hammer's latest magazine cover and photo-shoot have arrived, official like, and you can read the interview over at this link here. It's kind of the same stuff we've read a million times at this point, about the experience of working on Call Me By Your Name in Italy and how he didn't want to leave yadda yadda, but here's a nice little choice bit about the movie's well-regarded reception here in the US:

"I mean, at the end of the day—to be crass—we made a movie where a dude fucks a piece of fruit and then another guy eats it. So, I was like, ‘Maybe no one will see this. This might be something that American audiences will not accept.’ And that just hasn’t been the case, because people love to see a movie that’s just a celebration of love. And one thing Luca did, in all of his genius, was to boil all of this down to the most elemental human emotions, where anyone, regardless of their orientation or identification, can remember the first time they felt that way."

He does make me wish we could go back to the time when this was just a little movie nobody (nobody but me, anyway) was paying attention to - remember that this movie was made with very small (but obviously profound) intentions. They didn't think people were going to want to see this movie. That's why the conversation about them watering it down "for Oscars" or "for the mainstream" always strikes me as insane - this movie only got mainstream press because it ended up being good, and people love it.

When it went to Sundance nobody thought it was going to amount to what it has. When they made it Luca's movies weren't box office hits, and they weren't getting Oscar attention. Armie Hammer might have had a bit of a marquee name but nobody really took him seriously, and nobody knew who the fuck Timothee was. They made the movie they wanted to make, and we paid attention because it was a movie we needed.

There's been so much bizarre vitriol aimed at the film over the past few months that I don't understand. Even if one doesn't like the film, which is perfectly fine of course, some of the takes have just been so outlandish and misjudged and they always say more about the person freaking out than they do this little movie. And now that the movie's made just about what I always figured it would make, box-office-wise, in line with the other movies Luca's made, and it's definitely not winning Best Picture (fingers crossed for that Screenplay statue for James Ivory though!) let's get back to looking at the movie for what it is, not what you wanted it to be. Hit the jump for a couple more pictures...


Owen Walter said...

“Even if one doesn't like the film, which is perfectly fine of course, some of the takes have just been so outlandish and misjudged and they always say more about the person freaking out than they do this little movie.”

Exactly. What was it that Leonardo da Vinci said—that to love or hate something you have to understand it? If everyone followed that rule, most of the internet would disappear. If you hate, know what you’re hating well enough to hate it wisely. (Thanks, by the way, for this site, which is such a refuge for me right now.)

Anonymous said...

You really shouldn't take the "Call me by your name" backlash seriously. Look at the 9 Best Picture nominated films. Is there at least one that hasn't been criticized heavily ? I don't think so. We just live in this culture that will try to undermine every successful movie and performance.

Anonymous said...

Except they didn't make that movie, since he doesn't eat the peach.

Movie's not playing it that saucy, so need to make it out like it is.

But I get what he's saying... I guess.

Jason Adams said...

The whole "he doesn't eat the peach" argument is just splitting hairs to be difficult - he licks semen off the peach. How much semen is enough? Should we measure? Good grief.

Anonymous said...

How is that splitting hairs, dude?

When did "lick" become a synonym for "eat"? It's not even about the film, it's about semantics.

The purest and simplest of causes when it comes to the written word.

Good grief, indeed. I'm not trying to destroy anything precious here about CMBYN, just pointing out that, in fact, that's not the movie they set out to make because the peach is still in his hand, relatively intact, and thus, not at all eaten.

This is also not even about the semen; licking semen, which itself is not product of the peach, does not equal eating the fruit, either. So had he said that they made a movie where a guy licks another guy's semen from a peach, we're in business.

Don't be so touchy, dude. I'm an English teacher, I can't help it. lol

Jason Adams said...

Entire dumb articles have been written on this subject, and yes you're splitting hairs with your semantics. I don't think Armie was doing a dissertation here, he was just spouting off at an interviewer. The point is that he gets part of Elio inside of him - it's not about the fruit, it's about Elio, and his semen being ingested.

Anonymous said...

You're right and I'm wrong, you're big and I'm small, and there's nothing I can do about it, right?

You're insufferable, man. Even when someone's trying to say something nowhere near the vicinity of vitriol you have to come duke it out like the officious eye-seeing bitch of Call Me by Your Name and its creative team.

There's literally nothing anyone can say to you on the subject unless they're explicitly on your side. Nothing. Your blog is essentially a safe space for one movie.

Let me understand: Armie Hammer was just spouting off, so he can say whatever he wants, and since he wasn't doing a dissertation, I shouldn't be so picky about the things he says? You'll say anything just to justify your own position and the positions, spouted or otherwise, of anyone who's worked for that movie, won't you?

Why don't you go ahead and just get your grave and/or cremation box engraved already. It's clear you've found your piece of Sky.

My apologies for being a picky twit. I'll leave you to it.

Jason Adams said...

"I shouldn't be so picky about the things he says? "


Anonymous said...

C'mon. This guy just voiced out his opinion without a hint of viciousness on what Armie had said and you just have to put him in his place. Who is splitting hairs here? And to go about saying people who hate the movie means there's something wrong with them and that the movie is above criticism? You're getting way too touchy man.

Jason Adams said...

I said the exact opposite of it being above criticism actually!

"Even if one doesn't like the film, which is perfectly fine of course,"

This post was supposed to be me extending an olive branch to people who don't find the film perfect. I was just saying make smart criticisms.

The whole "Oliver doesn't eat the peach" argument is decidedly NOT one of the smart criticisms.

And if you think I've been vicious in these comments... hoooo boy. I've been decidedly measured. People just can't back themselves up without feeling attacked is all I'm getting here.

walter neto said...

It took me a long time not only to write properly about CMBYN but to really come to terms with what I had thought about it. And to me that’s what art is about. Good or bad, it does have to move you, literally and metaphorically, it must take you from one place to another, to bother you, to make you question things and that is why I, even though having some issues with this picture, I ended up appreciating it so much.

I have seen it 3 times already and if I know myself, there will be more. I have this friend who always told me to write a story about this guy that keeps watching the same movie repeatedly because that is what I do, I keep watching them several times to get everything from them. In this case, it was more about to understand why the film has affected me so much. I liked it but couldn’t quite love it, there was always something in the way CMBYN story was being told that felt off to me.

Firsts thing first, I already knew Aciman’s novel beforehand. I am a major in English Literature and my dissertation is about him and how he uses the body from his characters to write about the exile that he – a Egyptian Jewish man – experienced when a child. His characters are always looking for someplace to belong even if that means another person’s body or a memory. In the novel, Elio (Timothée Chalamet) says that being with Oliver (Armie Hammer) was like coming back home, finding a place. And I must say that I think that Ivory’s screenplay did a terrific job when we talk about how the novel was translated into a new semiotic system. James Ivory, better known for his groundbreaking and moving work in Maurice (1987) finds in Aciman’s novel a lot of similarities with themes he is used to work with such as: sexuality, philosophy, an Academic environment and so on.


walter neto said...


Therefore, here I like to take a minute to discuss a particular topic: First, before we could see the film, even though CMBYN has been being shown in festival across the Globe since last January (Sandance 2017), Ivory already had expressed his discontentment about how the actors would not shoot any full frontal nude scene and the way Luca Guadagnino, the director was dealing with all the sex in his screenplay. And this took me to Ivory’s Maurice. There is a scene in this film where Maurice (brilliantly played by James Wilby) wakes up in a room after spending the night with his young lover Alec (Rupert Graves). It is cunning to think about the similarities Maurice and CMBYN have and there was no one better than Ivory to give his take on Aciman’s novel. In any case, in this scene, they wake up, both naked, in a small room where they have slept together. As Alec gets up from the bed, he walks around the room, looking for his clothes and before getting dressed, he and Maurice shared a hug and just spent a minute together without worrying if they will be caught or if there is a way for them to stay together. You can feel the intimacy, the desire and the love they feel for each other. It’s a simple scene, but the way it was directed, it just amazes me every time I come back for this gem. And That is something that I didn’t find in CMBYN and why it took me a long time to process why I just couldn’t love a film that I do think is poetic and beautiful and so well-acted. THIS was holding me back.

So, my main criticism is that I don’t get why nudity and homosexual sex scenes were dealt that way – producers, Guadagnino and the actors with their contracts, toned down the sex scenes (gay ones) and the male nudity as mentioned in several promotional interviews. About this I propose an exercise: think about the second time Elio had sex with Marzia (Esther Garrel), how we see their bodies, their intimacy, how beautifully directed is that scene, especially because we, as Elio, are anxious (and looking at that watch) counting the hours to meet with Oliver. It’s a scene full of desire and lust and still some innocence. He is having this intimate moment with this girl that he likes, with this old friend and his head it’s with somebody else. Who cannot relate to that? Everything about this moment works, especially how Guadagnino is not afraid of filming this intimacy or his actors’ bodies in this case.

Now think about when Elio e Oliver had their first time together, right after that beautiful moment I just described, think about what was not shown. Was this the only way to give the characters some “privacy”? The film is about Elio and Oliver, about how they discover a love bigger than anything else in their lives, and WITH this love, comes the wish, the longing for immediacy. The whole first half of the movie leads up to this moment and then before they shared more than I few kisses, the camera turns to the window, one of the most uninspired ways of blocking a sex scene and we only see them again, after they’re done. It felt abrupt and weird not only because of the scene with Marzia but because Guadagnino was always a master in filming sex and desire.


walter neto said...


In his books, Acimán is always, as I said it before, writing about exile and how this experience, even though, wonderful to write about, it traumatizes the person. With CMBYN Elio, a Jewish boy in a Catholic country, after seeing a Star of David on Oliver’s neck, recognize that they are united for something bigger than anything else. Oliver body becomes then Elio’s homeland. He wants to invade, to conquer and build a home there. They taste each other’s mouth, cum, sweat and everything possible the same way one tastes an apple, a peach, or any fruit from a country you’re either visiting or living in. That is way the sex is important here, and why the film shouldn’t be so coy about the male nudity, we are as a matter of a fact seeing a story about those bodies. I don’t know why those decisions were made, and if they toned down the gay sex scenes for a broader (straight) audience. But it would be a perfect movie with just a little bit more courage.

Let us just think about how inspired was Elio’s mom, a terrific Amira Cesar and how she just understands everything that is going on with her son and shows that with small gestures and looks, or this beautiful moment when Elio, Oliver and an always amazing Michael Stuhlbarg, Elio’s father, are going to the beach where some sculptures were dragged out of the water and Elio a few steps behind, keeps looking at Oliver while realizing what he is feeling and then he just put his sunglasses on, so that, nobody could see what he was looking at. Or even a moment that is so full of lust and desire that it amazed me it was in the final cut: Elio walks into Oliver’s room, finds out his red trunks, smells them, and after just put his head inside it, he stands on his knees in the bed. It immediately made me think about George Bataille’s The Headless Man, a work that is deeply connected to his reading of Dante’s Divine Comedy – which is mentioned several times in Aciman’s novel.

About it Bataille said: “Man has escaped from his head just as the condemned man has escaped from his prison, he has found beyond himself not God, who is prohibition against crime, but a being who is unaware of prohibition. Beyond what I am, I meet a being who makes me laugh because he is headless; this fills me with dread because he is made of innocence and crime; he holds a steel weapon in his left hand, flames like those of a Sacred Heart in his right. He is not a man. He is not a God either. He is not me, but he is more than me: his stomach is the labyrinth in which he has lost himself, loses me with him, and in which I discover myself as him, in other words as a monster.“

Innocence and crime, a God and a mortal, the discovery of one’s self, that is how I see the complexity of Elio’s character and his love for Oliver. That being said, it is possible to talk about CMBYN “shyness problem” and still recognize how beautiful and moving the film is and I was truly moved by the film, specially by the acting and I do hope after all this Oscar season we’ll be talking about Hammer’s performance as much as we have talked about Timothée’s.

walter neto said...

Oh man, I’m sorry I wrote so much about this topic, but I do love this universe (book, screenplay and movie) and I still think that there were some issues regarding the way the nudity was not shown, but we’ve talked about that enough. But it scares to see that nowadays everything is so “I’m right” “You’re wrong” Every single movie released is either a master piece and cannot be criticized at all or it is a piece of shit.
We’re living in an age of extremes in politics, sports, music and art also. I love you blog and all your posts about CMBYN and I always felt like discussing or posting a reply even if we’re not seeing eye to eye. And that’s the beauty about movies. Let’s talk.
And James Ivory go get that Oscar! Damn what a perfectly written screenplay.

Anonymous said...

An excellent dissertation on the film, and thank you for helping me see what it was about the film that left me somewhat unsatisfied. You put into words a clarity that a lot of arguments about the film, pros and cons, have obscured. After seeing God's Own Country, I felt that film had somehow been short changed given it's more open and honest dealing with sexuality. I love both the book and film of CMBYN even if the latter is slightly unsatisfying. And now thanks to you, I understand.

Anonymous said...

God’s Own Country’s earliest and most explicit sex scenes were another tiresome variation on the closeted homosexual’s use of sex as an expression of shame and punishment. It was fine when Brokeback Mountain did that, but now it’s boring and dull and stereotyped. Also tiresome was the relentless bleakness, which is considered more “authentic” but is really just as thoughtless as regular old sentimentality. And when the movie turned away from bleakness, it became gooey, with that happy ending where the couple set up house. If I want porn, I can click in a few seconds and get what I want. For all you know, I’m watching it in a little window in a corner of my screen right now. That’s the problem with demanding ever more explicitness. You’re never satisfied. Within the context of the film, I thought Elio flicking his tongue up Oliver’s lips was infinitely more erotic than anything I saw in God’s Own Country or BPM (and I liked the latter even though it followed the same trajectory of a hundred AIDS stories).

Anonymous said...

Geez, who knew pointing out semantics would devolve into yet another us vs. them debate?

Oh, right. Everyone. Because that's what a blog devoted to one film even when it deigns to like and even love others of the same ilk does.

Jason, you have an answer prepared for every single thing anyone has to say about Call Me by Your Name that isn't to your liking. I admire that, actually. It really shows how passionate you are about it; clearly, it's transformed your life, and your blog.

But you come off so bitter and nasty every single time you do it. Not a single trace of understanding, or even reasoning, or even an attempt at comprehending the other side of the conversation. Shoot, you don't even WANT the conversation. Whatever battles you've been fighting in your own life, privately, away from the Internet, concerning the "dumb" things being said about CMBYN... Don't take them out on people you don't know and will never know.

For someone who tries to be so open and agreeable and forthcoming and movie-loving, your passion for this one movie has blinded you to having a simple back-and-forth about, well, a movie.

As for the arguments against Beach Rats and God's Own Country, among others... At least their fans aren't outright rejecting a conversation or even the questioning of their films with the same ire and ridiculous over-zealousness like those who see CMBYN as the Shambhala of queer cinema.

Y'all need to get out more...

P.S. That last Anonymous comment... It doesn't sound to me like you even know what your issue with God's Own Country was, as you dislike both its "bleakness" and its "gooey". Sounds more like you're just justifying a position rather than admitting to an earnest dislike... And I love that it's always that "demanding more explicitness" argument, like we're all just horn-dogs and perverts wanting to get our rocks off in the movie theater... It's part of the book, and it's shocking to me how little that (and most of the book itself) matters to about 90% of CMBYN's fanbase. They don't love the book... For the most part, they're just acolytes for the movie, and a year and some change later, still can't see anything past the rose tint in their eyes.

I'll take CMBYN, and I'll take God's, and I'll take Beach Rats, and I'll love them my way, but not blindly. And Oliver DID NOT eat that fucking peach in the movie... But he fucking devoured it in the book.

Anonymous said...

In the book Oliver and Elio also watch each other taking shits. Lingeringly. A book is not a movie is not a book. We finally had a gay-themed film that could’ve had a larger cultural impact, one about the simple beauty of two men falling in love, and instead the nitpickers came out and its impact was limited in a way it wouldn’t have been even ten or fifteen years ago. The culture, not to mention any queer “community,” is too fragmented to support anything. Which is too bad, because when so many great artists and writers and musicians, actual practitioners of the craft of making art (I’m thinking Paul Thomas Anderson and Almodovar, but the list is long at this point), have come out in favor of a film, you have to think the stupid lies elsewhere.

walter neto said...

I feel like I’ve said everything I had to say on this matter but here I am (again). I’ve read a few comments here and everywhere else where the film / book is being discussed and it truly amazes me how people are getting mad and crazy about this.
As I’ve said in this topic before, I really loved the film. I did. But I also do not think that CMBYN being a great film as it is makes it a perfect film.
The criticism about the lack of nudity / sex and intimacy is valid just as to think that the film is ok the way it is. What bothers me is in 2018 people are talking about sex, nudity as if it was a bad thing. As if what makes CMBYN a great film is that they didn’t show these stuffs. Even James Ivory complained about that and he’s the screenplay’s writer and later in the same interview he recognized that that was the way Luca wanted. He didn’t co-direct it so…
I see people talking about “but there’s the peach scene” or “book is one thing” , yeah no wonder… but this is trying to reduce the argument in order to avoid the confrontation.
It is a beautiful film, an important one, but the way I see , and I’m not talking about book stuff.. but even thinking about only the screenplay what was cut was important too. Not only nudity, not that… but key scenes where they get to spend more time together and about the sex, I see a difference in the way the movies shows him with Marzia but not Elio and Oliver… even in the third act.

walter neto said...

But that is just one take on this film. A valid one and I think the debate was over a long time ago when If you complained about the tone of the film people just call you “a perv” “you just wanna see cock” etc… Is this the only way to talk about nudity and intimacy or about this film?

Jason Adams said...

"Jason, you have an answer prepared for every single thing anyone has to say about Call Me by Your Name that isn't to your liking. ...

But you come off so bitter and nasty every single time you do it. "

I still fail to see what I have said in here that's been so nasty or bitter. But then you have the advantage of holding my entire internet history against me since you know who I am.

And I wouldn't say I have an answer "prepared" - I work it out and answer back at the time. But yes, I have given CMYBN a lot of thought so I have thought nearly everything about it through.

And I have been having these conversations about it for six straight months, so perhaps I am a little exhausted, having the same ones over and over again. Especially with Anonymous comments who are able to reference me by name, knowing my entire history with the movie since I present myself as myself and my entire history is here for the reading.

"Whatever battles you've been fighting in your own life, privately, away from the Internet"

How personal we are, Anonymous! How nice to be so intimate and familiar with me, the writer named Jason. Perhaps take into account the fact that I have been getting comments from "Anonymous" for six straight months from "Anonymous" calling me "pedophile" and "rape apologist" and "transphobic" and "racist" for liking just this movie, and that perhaps I at this point approach "Anonymous" comments with a degree of a defensive crouch.

Perhaps if you want us to have a proper "conversation" you can divorce yourself of your Anonymous comfort zone and become an actual person - like "walter neto" above, who's made coherent reasonable arguments that I don't happen to entirely agree with but that I haven't taken issue with once, because he stays solid, human, coherent.

For all I know with Anonymous comments I am starting it all over again with someone entirely new. That's no way to have a "conversation." Not when I've been doing it for six straight months against a maelstrom of ill intent.

So please, forgive if I am snappy. I don't know who the fuck I am talking to.

Anonymous said...

The whole conversation about full frontal nudity, or lack here: it would have made sense for the universe portrayed, not been gratuitous. I've read the actor Armie Hammer state that he didn't want his daughter when older to see all of that on display. I don't understand the movie business well enough to know the options then available. Body double? Use another actor who was willing for the full exposure? Convince AH to change his mind? I think AH has the right to draw such a line; I think movie makers...starting from the novel's author, through script writer, director, and the producer have the right to weigh in on the matter. We're discussing something that is on a human scale though--the movie portrays that. I don't think the idea that the real solution would have been to find an actor who puts less restrictions in his contract because he had/will have no children would be right. Nothing that really matters can be resolved usually in simplistic answers. For that I am glad.

Anonymous said...

Fantastico op-ed in today's Times by Beppe Severgnini. He gets how deep Luca got into the real sensual pleasure of small town Italy.


nicojonnie said...

Jason, I hope none of this is putting you off posting any and more content, directly or associated, and your reflections. I live for it! - Kevin

George said...

Why on earth would it put him off? He's so dissociated from any other sort of reality concerning his precious movie he doesn't even hear or see anything besides his own blind adoration for it.

Sycophants like you who feed into his victimization of how people who don't share his thoughts are just idiot perverts or people who are just attacking him personally will only continue to feed the beast.

Rest assured, nothing will change. Your love-fest shall continue! :)

Jason Adams said...

nicojonnie -- Don't worry, I can take it. I've been writing on the internet for a long time, every day for 20 years basically. I've heard it all. I'll keep trucking.

George - I'm here, in my little corner of nowhere, talking about a movie I like. I've explained and argued why i think the way I think about the movie to utter death at this point - I've made long arguments about every single point raised in these comments, for MONTHS now. I've had these conversations, over and over and OVER, to death. If that's being disassociated from reality, so be it

Anonymous said...

Jason, I just want to say you're super awesome. Thank you for all your CMBYN, Armie, and Timmy posts bec like you, the effect of this movie still lingers on me. It's such a joy reading your posts and I love your writing in other stuff too. Write what your heart tells you, period.

Anonymous said...

Also can we take a moment to appreciate this L'Officiel arricle and the beautiful Armie photos!

luci said...

This is all well and good but can someone tell me how to resist the Armie Hammer audiobook before I actually read the novel.
Honestly, no one should be talking to each other with their knickers in such a twist especially not about a film so beautiful. Jason is being very chill, are you reading his comments as if they're written in all caps or something? No one is being shut down because they simply disagree, just because... well anonymous i think perhaps you were aiming for what Walter Neto was saying, but other than you being pedantic I don't know what you felt about the film. Passion does not mean devoid of rationale if anything it means you can advocate for something because you do think about it deeply like Walter did and like Jason does!!!
Speaking as an occasional commenter, always 'Anonymous' lets all just use our imagination or our actual appellation if only to prevent any association with homophobes and people with bad taste in movies. Lets all just call each other by our names before we name call each other, yeh? Did i mention ARMIE HAMMER AUDIOBOOK!

Sherri P. said...

Thank you to Jason and to “Walter Neto” and to Texrture, a Tumblr blog, yes, Tumblr, for taking this book and film seriously and parsing it for the rest of us who aren’t taking the time or possessed of the knowledge to write so thoughtfully about it. Both are works of art and deserve the care and attention. I haven’t thought so much and so deeply about a work of art in a long time. Contrary to one of the anonymous comments above, most people I know who loved the movie and are contributing to the conversation about it loved the book first, and many already knew Luca’s work and something of his aesthetic and how CMBYN fits and doesn’t fit within it. On the explicitness debate, I think Luca really wanted Armie Hammer to play Oliver, and it seems he had to seduce him to do it, and I use the term advisedly, and the frontal nudity and explicit sex were a bridge too far for the actor. Films are full of compromises. I wish CMBYN had the equivalent of that scene in Maurice. I wish I saw Elio and Oliver the way I saw Elio and Marzia, except recall that we don’t see much of Elio. It’s Marzia who is revealed. I still love the film that was released. If you don’t, you are perfectly free not to see it or read about it or interact with it in any way.