25 May 2010

Recommendable Gay Flicks

These are possibly two of my favorite gay-themed movies I've seen, at least the best I've seen in a long time. Mulligans was interesting enough, but the acting was pretty terrible in parts, and the script made me roll my eyes sometimes, so it does not make the cut. :-)


Torch Song Trilogy - Not as over-the-top as I expected. Pretty dern gay, but in a very human, down-to-earth way. I really liked the simplicity of it and had no idea such a frank, heartfelt portrayal existed in the eighties. It's still quite relevant today, particularly for those coming from conservatively religious families. Some prominent themes of the movie include a gay man's strained relationship with his religious mother, the desire to settle down with a partner and build a life together, adoption, mixed-orientation marriage, and desire/need(-iness) for acceptance. It's rated R for language and subject matter.


Save Me! - A young, gay, drug-addicted man is sent to a Christian ministry called the "Genesis House" which focuses on a twelve-step program centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ to overcome homosexual inclinations and live according to God's word. Of all the gay-themed movies I've seen, this is probably the most balanced, complete exploration of ex-gay ministries so far and has a Christian-oriented resolution. Mind you, I still don't think it's going to change a lot of minds on the issues raised, but I really appreciate how it doesn't demonize or even necessarily preach but explores the very human motives for the decisions people make and the attitudes they adopt. It's not rated but would be R for subject matter, for some language which is appropriate to the characters (not exaggerated or especially pervasive and gets milder), and for drug abuse and a sex scene between men in the beginning which is meant to establish a dichotomy of lifestyles and is, despite only showing dim, partial butt shots, fairly graphic. You could skip the opening scene without missing much if you're concerned about that content.

13 comments:

Abelard Enigma said...

Another movie which I felt handled the subject material in a relatively fair and balanced way is "Hard Pill". It's about a gay man who enters into a trial for a new drug to turn you from gay to straight.

Amy said...

My favorite was Fixing Frank. It gave me a lot to think about.

Adam said...

I liked Save Me too. I would add Philadelphia to the list. I really liked that one.

David Baker-@DB389 said...

I cringe at the thought of "Save Me" it had some horrible acting and transparent writing. Maybe I am just jaded because I don't think anything can live up to "Shelter"

Aaron said...

Oh my gosh. Someone else has seen Torch Song Trilogy! I can't believe it. I thought I was like, the only one in the world. This movie should be a staple for gay people everywhere. Harvey Fierstein wrote this as a play and it's was ground breaking as far as making this content more accessible and acceptable for discussion.
Also, there is an amazing performance by oscar winner Anne Bancroft (The Graduate) as a guilt deploying jewish mother.
And if that isn't enough for you people then Matthew Broderick is really young and really hot in it.
Un-cultured swine.

David Baker-@DB389 said...

@Aaron,

I've seen Torch Song Trilogy. I just think Shelter is FAR better.

Original Mohomie said...

Abelard & Amy, I haven't seen Hard Pill or Fixing Frank. I'll add them to my (long) list of recommendations.

Adam, agreed on Philadelphia.

Aaron, glad you're excited. :-)

David, I think the acting and writing in Save Me was far better than most gay movies, which isn't saying much, I admit, but it wasn't very distracting to me, except for a couple of mild eye-rolling moments.

I did like Shelter, too, and it was refreshing to see a movie portraying a fairly compelling story between pretty "normal" guys settling into a long-term relationship. But I must admit I don't idolize it the way so many seem to, particularly the younger guys. I think it's well done, but I also think movies like Philadelphia, Milk, and Brokeback Mountain...maybe even Torch Song Trilogy and A Home at the End of the World...surpass it in quality of acting and writing and capturing the nuances of the characters in a more complete picture. I'd say Shelter is about on par with Dorian Blues and C.R.A.Z.Y., both of which I definitely enjoyed, probably more so than Philadelphia. Even though I think Philadelphia is a better-done film and will influence more people, I wouldn't watch it multiple times like I would the others. I guess we all have different tastes and criteria. As for whether Shelter is a paragon of gay cinema, to each his own. ;-) But it's another I recommend, for sure.

Were the World Mine, on the other hand, I just haven't been able to get past the first 15 minutes. Ha ha! I SO get nasty glares when I say that. Maybe I have to try when I'm in the right mood, like after I take my prescription cough syrup tonight...maybe I'll try that. :-)

Evan said...

The most recent gay flick I have seen is Breakfast with Scot. I thought it was pretty good for a gay movie... it's very predictable, but the acting is decent and there were a lot of "awwwh" moments. I'd say it sits at a PG-13 rating. There is some vulgar language in it.

Mister Curie said...

Thanks for the recommendation. I just watched "Save Me" on Netflix and thought it was amazing. It was very touching and left me with a lot to think about.

Kurt said...

Listen to Evan and see Breakfast with Scot. And I thought Shelter is kinda cute. Well, I am not sure if the movie was but the lead boy certainly had it going onnnnnnn.

jimf said...

I'm surprised no one mentioned _Latter Days_
http://www.amazon.com/Latter-Days-Unrated-Steve-Sandvoss/dp/B0002I84JO/
And on a related note, don't miss the short film _Blessing_,
available on YouTube:
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_e92qBXK6w
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pg8BQCQKp8

Another favorite of mine, from the 80s, is _Another Country_
http://www.amazon.com/Another-Country-Rupert-Everett/dp/B0002ABUNY/
(the title is taken from a line from a hymn whose catchy melody is
borrowed from the "Jupiter" movement of Gustav Host's _The Planets_
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Vow_to_Thee,_My_Country .
There's another snippet of music in this film I like very much --
the opening of the choir section of the Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry
coronation anthem "I Was Glad" (whose composer may actually be a distant relative
of mine!):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8GJ2CWjQSc
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_was_glad

What else? There's the recent Israeli film _Eyes Wide Open_
http://www.amazon.com/Eyes-Wide-Open-Zohar-Strauss/dp/B003ZTDZVY/
(In Hebrew, with English subtitles).
And on a related note, if you don't mind a documentary thrown
in, there's Sandi Simcha Dubowski's _Trembling Before G-d_
http://www.amazon.com/Trembling-Before-%C3%82-Steve-Greenberg-Ashkinazy/dp/B0000BV1YO/
and his more recent _A Jihad for Love_
http://www.amazon.com/Jihad-Love--/dp/B001P9G3B0/
(I haven't seen the latter.)

_Brokeback Mountain_ is obvious, as others have pointed out.

You've already mentioned watching _Brideshead Revisited_, if that
can be considered a "gay film" (I think it can).

If you don't mind portrayals of distinctly gender-atypical
homosexual men, then John Hurt in _The Naked Civil Servant_
(the Quentin Crisp story) is worth watching:
http://www.amazon.com/Naked-Civil-Servant-John-Hurt/dp/B000NJXG72/

For comic relief, the **original** _La Cage Aux Folles_ is too:
http://www.amazon.com/Cage-Aux-Folles-Ugo-Tognazzi/dp/B00005BKZP/

For historical interest, Dirk Bogarde's portrayal of a blackmailed
gay man in Britain -- _Victim_, from 1961 is definitely worthwhile:
http://www.amazon.com/Victim-Dirk-Bogarde/dp/B00007ELDE/
This film is said to have hastened the decriminalization of
homosexuality in the U.K.

And of course there's _The Boys in the Band_ (1970)
http://www.amazon.com/Boys-Band-Kenneth-Nelson/dp/B001CQONPE/

For something more exotic, there's Derek Jarman's _Sebastiane_
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sebastiane
http://www.amazon.com/Sebastiane-Barney-James/dp/B00005JI0R/
(this won't play on an American DVD player, but you might be
able to watch it on a computer).

Original Mohomie said...

jimf, I know not who you are, but you're making up for lost time in the "get familiar with O-Mo's blog" game, aren't you?

Latter Days was filmed like an after school special but did suck me in. HOT leads don't hurt. ;-) Parts of the portrayal were emotionally accurate, but certain religious aspects were clearly skewed. Overall, it was enjoyable but not near the top of my list of recommendations.

I actually really liked Fixing Frank. And Breakfast With Scot is not Oscar-worthy but is possibly my favorite gay movie now. Loved it! I also really liked Bedrooms and Hallways. It's funny and has a different angle: more about the fluidity of sexuality and relationships. Someone involved with that "gets it" in a way few seem to. Another Country is another I've seen in the past and enjoyed, but I think most people would be bored by it.

Boys Don't Cry is really hard to watch but really well done. My straight friend actually said it's clearly his favorite queer-themed movie he's seen.

I recently added Eyes Wide Open to my Netflix queue.

jimf said...

> jimf, I know not who you are, but you're making up for lost
> time in the "get familiar with O-Mo's blog" game, aren't you?

To tell you the truth, I'm not sure why. Making up for a long
stretch without much human interaction, perhaps.

I don't know who you are, either (or what you look like), only that
you write well and seem reasonably intelligent (though as you've
probably gathered by now, our politics are at opposite ends of
the spectrum!). And that you've had a rocky time reconciling
your religious beliefs with your sexuality (which fascinates me --
I spend an inordinate amount of time watching coming out videos
on YouTube, and especially the ones where guys have had to battle
their religious upbringing -- and **most** of those, on YouTube,
seem to be from Mormons). And that you've been through the wringer over a
broken relationship over the past 6 or 8 months, which also
fascinates me (I have my own sob stories -- don't we all? [Well, no,
actually!]).

But if I seem to be flooding your blog to the point where it
bothers you, let me know and I'll stop.

I'm not a stalker, I gather I must be about 30 years older than
you are, and I live thousands of miles away from you (and
don't particularly enjoy travelling ;-> ).

Also, I have a phobia about meeting people I've interacted
textually with on-line. I've actually declined invitations
to meet such people who were travelling to New York (I
broke that rule once, but it wasn't a one-on-one meeting.)

So we're just two more-or-less idle, disembodied brains firing away at
our computer keyboards, flashing these odd low-bandwidth strings of
codes at each other called "letters", "words", and "sentences".

Strange, huh? Who'd a thunk it was possible, 30 years ago?