There are brilliant Documentary films out there. For instance any of the works of Frederick Wiseman, Errol Morris and Dziga Vertoz, spring to mind, What does most decidedly not bound to the forefront of my brain, is the assault on celluloid that I just finished, The ADONIS Factor. (2010) Directed (which is really a liberal and perhaps incorrect use of the term,) by Christopher Hines, The ADONIS Factor is a look at the cult of beauty that surrounds gay culture. (BY THE WAY, if you for a moment thought that beauty may not be simply synonymous with body hairless white dudes with pecs like plates and steroid remodeled six packs you were wrong.)
In an unasshamed adoration of all this muscular and beffy, Hines’ follows several sculpted men around town and explains to us how not only are looks super important when you’re cruising for casual sex, (duh) but how apparently bulging biceps will bring you buddies. Like bff’s for life.
Perhaps it’s not Hines I should be mad at. Granted his film is poorly edited, uninteresting, lacks any social insight, has odd stabs towards historical relevancy, positions its self from a ludicrous view point that overly muscular bodies are the best and has THE WORST cheapest sounding voice over narrator ever, but my real rage is directed more at the society then the film-maker. Actually maybe I should be mad at him as well. In fact I am. In fact I’m just mad.
Nothing Hines tells the viewer is in any way ground breaking. Gay men will talk steroids illegally to be ripped even though they know it might kill them. Gay men are more likely to have eating disorders then straight men, to have plastic surgery to have more gym memberships, to spend more money on tight t-shirts…. But his almost complacent acceptance that this pursuit of beauty is not only good, but perhaps ideal is what I find insulting.
Mind You it’s just not pursuit it’s body image fanaticism.
The film attempts to be vaguely balanced by letting several not ripped peopled talk, but either its due to editing or because he chose only to interview non-muscule studs who suffer from low self esteem, but ripped bodies, exclusive underwear parties and dancing hunks are clearly Hines’ favorite’s and he more or less says they are every gay man’s ideal as well. That deep down all we want to be are superficial sluts who fuck a freakish amount, pop pills, and stay forever young.
There is such a difference between healthy (SO TOTALLY HOT) and ABSURDLY RIPPED
I just wished Hines had seen it. We need queer leaders not just anal bleaches gogo boys. We need more dialogues on what’s healthy and whats extreme. (on both sides of the weight / body physique spectrum) What we don’t need are films that pretend to be educational documentaries and are essentially soft core porn with a pity parade thrown in.