Dec 21, 2012

Hustler White

A proud parodical poofer’s postmodern guide to hustler flicks and classic Hollywood cinema, Hustler White (1996) co-directed by homocore film hero Bruce LaBruce (No Skin Off My Ass, Otto; or Up With Dead People) and S&M/bondage photographer/filmmaker Rick Castro (45 Minutes of Bondage, Plushies and Furries) – an aptly titled cinematic work if there ever was one – is a film that follows the day-in-the-life of a criminally-inclined hustler who gets into peddling flesh in a desperate attempt to support a baby boy that may or not be his as he is stalked by a patently pretentious and prudish yet prestigious European writer without an accent who is writing a book on the laurels of gay prostitution and pornography in Hollywood. Beginning with a shot of the anally-inclined hustler anti-hero floating dead face down in a jacuzzi as he narrates the events that would lead to his premature death-by-hot-tub, Hustler White is a loose remake/tribute/parody of Billy Wilder’s film noir masterpiece Sunset Boulevard (1950) with nods to Paul Morrissey’s parody of the same film Heat (1972), as well as the Factory auteur filmmaker’s first official feature Flesh (1968) in its divinely deranged depiction of a young gigolo playing with a baby while au naturel, among countless other film references including The Wizard of Oz (1939), Easy Rider (1969), Death in Venice (1971), and Cocksucker Blues (1972), to name a few. Beginning with British post-industrial group Coil’s cover of "Tainted Love" – a mournful and macabre AIDS-themed rendition of the song – Hustler White opens with an orgasmic bang that echoes Gus Van Sant’s rendition of streetwalker Shakespeare My Own Private Idaho (1991), yet LaBruce’s film is nowhere near as serious and tragic as the Good Will Hunting (1997) director’s odyssey into poetic poof prostituion. A sardonic black comedy to the conspicuously corrupted core, Hustler White features abhorrent Afrocentric ass-reamers with a proclivity towards penetrating lily white meat, sharply dressed morticians with an unhealthy fetish for duct tape and leather corsets, skinhead streetwalkers who dine on dickheads and loath kissing, crippled cocksuckers who fist men with their sickening stubs, and a variety of other overwhelming oddities of hyper-homo-depravity that would be totally indigestible if it were not for LaBruce’s cheap yet clever campy comedic charm. Bruce LaBruce at his best or in other words, most grotesque yet most cinematically gregarious, Hustler White manages to find hysterical humor in some of the most horrid, humiliating, and horrifying sex scenarios ever captured in a carefully constructed narrative film. If you have ever had any doubts as to whether or not Los Angeles is the modern day Sodom and Gomorrah of bought and sold high-dollar sin and sodomy, you have yet to see LaBruce’s anti-erotic excursion in revolting and ruinous celluloid perversion Hustler White; a film that reminds one why sodomites are the greatest spreader of AIDS and superficial sass.

A brainless yet becoming born loser with a lecherous libido and con-artist wit, Montgomery Ward (played by Madonna's ex-boyfriend Tony Ward who later appeared in LaBruce’s 2010 scatological zombie porn flick L.A. Zombie as a hobo junky) may not be the most sophisticated hustler on the beat-up boulevards he struts his stuff on like a bragging bohunk who watched too many Rocky Balboa movie marathons, but he is a master of conning and cumming on people with his cock and cheating everyone with his crass and contemptible charm. Needless to say, Mr. Ward finds himself an unlikely admirer in the form of a prissy writer from Europa named Jürgen Anger (played by Bruce LaBruce himself in a super sardonic role) who, as he has to remind people quite often, is not related to Kenneth Anger, but he is just as extremely effeminate, innately introverted, and superlatively secretive as the Thelemite auteur and in Hustler White he will stop at nothing to meekly worship his lecherous "Lucifer." Also in town are a gang of gay Negro gangbangers led by a sexually ambiguous and quite corpulent and homosexual version of Marcus Garvey (played by so-called “Genderqueer” Vaginal Davis) who disseminates black power by inseminating cracka' cornholes via racially-charged gang rape, a sadomasochistic mortician (played by real-life, HIV-positive extreme S&M performance artist Ron Athey) who believes skinheads make especially sufficient sex slaves, especially while being suffocated with duct-tape by a male maniac in drag, and an assortment of various other fierce fairies, fervent fudgepackers, and high-strung hunk hustlers from the busted bowels of Southern California hell. In between various scenes of heinous yet exceedingly humorous hustler-John relations of Hustler White, Jürgen Anger – a dapper douchebag who gets off to fondling and sniffing the bloody, body odor off the ripped t-shirt of a very potentially STD-ridden hustler – hunts for the he-hooker of his dream, Montgomery Ward; a proud and potent philistine whose only thoughts in life revolve around where and when he should sling his misused manhood so as to obtain money, money, and more money.

Throughout Hustler White, various candid interviews are featured off-screen with Montgomery Ward regarding his underground and uniquely unsung occupation of bought and sold sodomy. Mr. Ward, who himself is racially off-white at best, states without the slightest indication of irony that hustlers like to wear white because it signifies “purity.” As for his dubious sexual persuasion, when asked whether he is gay or straight, Ward states, “I’m a hustler,” thereupon echoing Joe Dallesandro’s – who was a real-life switch-hitting streetwalker – questionable and unclassifiable sexual persuasion in the “Paul Morrissey Trilogy” (Flesh, Trash, Heat) as a miscreant man who sees his own flesh and body as nothing more than a marvelous moneymaking commodity that is an end in itself with no personal pleasure principle. Like virtually all of Bruce LaBruce’s films, Hustler White is a work that, while it fetishizes and glorifies the exceedingly seedy and salacious, also unsentimentally parodies it to such a preposterous level that the director seems to have transcended the works of his filmic heroes Paul Morrissey (and, to a lesser extent, Andy Warhol) and John Waters. In its very essence, Hustler White is a hypnotically hysterical homage to hustler films and the very best of its kind, which I guess does not say much, but it surely does go as far as giving new life to crude camp classics like Warhol’s My Hustler (1965) and Richard Stockton The Meatrack (1965). As for the true ‘auteur’ behind the film, the humor and story seem to be a putrid product of LaBruce’s debauched brain and the fetishistic/pornographic material seems to mostly be Rick Castro’s bent brainchild, especially if one considers that many of the ‘actors’ featured in Hustler White also did photo shoots for the bondage pornographer. As Bruce LaBruce explained in an interview, “The French freak out over Hustler White, in a good way. It was well reviewed by all of the major publications there. They tried to give it an X rating, but it was appealed in the press. A former minister of culture even publicly defended the film. Based on its popularity, my two previous films were also released in France,” which says a lot when an unrepentant Germanophile of the rather ridiculously risqué has managed to impress a nation of proud perverts who have literally fucked the world, both literally and figuratively, via colonization and plainly pretentious and pessimistic pornographic 'arthouse' films. Naturally, I have a hard time believing that some froggy feminist filmmaker like Catherine Breillat would derive any enjoyment from watching No Skin Off My Ass or Skin Gang, but then again, maybe the French just love Bruce LaBruce's name.

Despite the beginning of the film leading the viewer to think the contrary, Hustler White concludes on a happy note, which is virtually unheard of in the Hustler subgenre, thus leading the viewer to conclude that beneath all his punk rock perversity, Bruce LaBruce is just a sappy sentimental queen with the dream of being uniting with his hustler hunk king.  Either way, Hustler White is guaranteed to give the viewer nightmares of streetwalkers with severed feet and being duct-taped-to-death.  Of course, if modern gay-loving America needs an antidote to homo-homogenizing, it is by way of the horror-movie-like hustler's of LaBruce's sicko pomo homo S&M-fest Hustler White.

-Ty E


Anonymous said...

What Ju-Ju wants Ju-Ju must have.

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Thats another pile of pansy queer garbage out of the way, i`m still hoping theres gonna` be a Christmas avalanche on this site in the next couple of days.