WIDESCREEN DREAMS by Patrick E. Horrigan


Growing Up Gay at the Movies
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A blathering memoir describing how an odd handful of movies moved and influenced Horrigan (English/Long Island Univ.) in his youth. Born in 1963, the author was raised in a largish Irish-Catholic family in Reading, Penn., and spent his childhood listening avidly to Barbra Streisand records and mooning over his favorite movies, especially The Sound of Music; Hello, Dolly!; The Poseidon Adventure; The Wiz; and Dog Day Afternoon. Into oppressively detailed transcriptions of scenes from this bleak canon he inserts anecdotes from his life and various fantasies the films inspired, but there is not much insight to be found in his shaggily meandering chatter. Horrigan’s piano teacher commented on Christopher Plummer’s cardboard character in The Sound of Music, and the author muses, “Apparently Mrs. Hasbrouck didn—t think all men were alike or that they were all as bad as Captain von Trapp. Hmm!” Aerial shots and grand spaces fascinated him—the Poseidon’s ballroom, the restaurant into which Streisand descends during the title number of Hello, Dolly!, the von Trapps” villa, the Alps, several screen depictions of New York City—but it seems the chief reason for this attraction was that his own house was too crowded for him to masturbate comfortably. Grasping at straws, he reads The Poseidon Adventure as a metaphor for the homosexual’s struggle to come out. Horrigan imagined his life would become special only if he were a movie star, and the book climaxes with a lengthy treatment of a homoerotic film in which the adolescent author would co-star with Al Pacino (“So Al would bury his face in my neck, but rather than lift it again, he would linger there,” etc.), followed by a sophomoric imaginary interview with Dick Cavett. Horrigan seems not to have grown out of the juvenile self-absorption re-created here, however; he invites us to wallow with him in his obsessions, but he does nothing to make us care. (photos, not seen) (Author tour)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-299-16160-9
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Univ. of Wisconsin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1999


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