By J. A. Crane
One thing everyone can agree to, in public or private, is that stereotypes are funny. Stereotypes are based on statistical data collected individually, consciously or not, in our everyday lives. As much as we may not like to admit it, they influence our attitude and behaviors. What I’m trying to say is; Gay men love movies. Gay men are also a lot of fun to watch movies with.
There are just some movies that you have to sit and watch with gay people to truly experience how great the movie is. As a straight man/girl or lesbian, you’ll find a new level of appreciation watching movies that are either intellectually stimulating, humorous, or a little on the edgy side. I mean, don’t most people go see Tyler Perry movies with their chocolate friends and Jackie Chan movies with their herro-kitty compadres? If not, I completely apologize and would like to state for the record I am not a racist and I love all people.
Gay friendly tv channels such as Bravo, here! and Logo broadcast their fair share of gay-subject films that have become adopted by pop-culture and their gay audiences. Logo does a good job on airing independent movies with gay-culture subjects and I love many of the ones I see. The underground gay film artists bring something so different and refreshing as a common-sense alternative to mass-media films and concepts that were made to sell. I have compiled this list to bring together the best of both worlds; mixing popular main-stream movies and independent under-financed films you must watch with your gay friends.
DISCLAIMER: I did not include Tina Fey’s “Mean Girls” because I’m pretty sure only gay men watch it. They at least watch it more than most other groups of people. If you claim to be a woman but you say you love “Mean Girls”, then you’re probably actually a gay man. If you’re a guy who likes “Mean Girls” but claims to be straight, you’re probably a liar.
This movie is excellent for the pervy or curious friend who always asks you questions about being gay. I have many girlfriends asking me, as a gay man, about sex positions, orgasms, partners and sexual activities. For that kind of friend, just sit them down and watch this and all of their questions will be answered! This movie features actual sex with imagery of penetration and male ejaculation through the movie as a tool to force the genuine aspect of reality of sex-complicated people in New York City.
The main setting for the story takes place in an underground group-sex cabaret club, much like the ring of secret orgy societies of New York in the early 2000’s. If thematicism is based on spectacle, this movie takes the cake. It is funny, it’s sensitive, and downright voyeuristic.
Mysterious Skins (2004)
Many people are still learning about this movie and for good reason. The content, concept, cast, everything is genuine. No doubt, a large portion I give credit to Joseph Gordon Levitt- my thespian love interest, style icon, success story and positive influence. With movies like Brick, Manic, and 500 Days of Summer on his resume, he has shown breakout success with his recent Hollywood saturation of big-screen films. This movie in particular was a small film project for Gregg Araki and discusses so many themes relevant to not any one group of people, but to all people. It’s a pretty heavy movie; there’s drug use, prostitution, rape, a lot of heavy themes. But seriously, watch it with your gay fam.
Okay. Okay, Okay! Like, this movie came out when I was like, playing soft ball in boys little league and didn’t, like, get the humor. I was like, “whatevs….I’m gonna watch Space Jam!”
I didn’t truly grasp its culturally iconic language and period-style production until later in my teenage years. This movie has the perfect main character: a nice rich blond femme from Beverly Hills who refuses to wear flats and would rather be driven than learn to drive. Hold no misconceptions; gay men love men and have sex with men, but gay men love rich pretty girls for a whole different reason. The movie popularized so much about early 90’s culture of American youth and brought a real perspective on the interpretation of how out of touch with reality my generation is. It has our dear Alicia Silverstone and Brittney Murphy in a friendship that shows true chemistry on the screen.
Legally Blond (2001)
Same premise of objective impression as Clueless; put a rich pretty blond girl as a main character, it will become instantly interesting. Who doesn’t love the idea of a smart pretty girl trying to earn the love of her undergrad love by applying to Harvard’s Law program after receiving a fashion degree? It’s brilliant, encompassing more cultural staples of the art of pick up (The Bend and Snap) and science of self-verification. Yes, perhaps you’ve seen reruns on tv, but seriously….get a bottle of Pinot and a member of “the family” and enjoy some cheesy female-lead comedy.
Mommie Dearest (1981)
Gay men and their mothers…I need say no more. Some gay men are best friend with their mothers. My relationship with my mother was tumultuous and resentful for years until our recent new found love and commitment. She now enjoys having me as a shopping buddy and now we enjoy taking annual trips out to eat while gossiping about our workdays. Not every gay guy is so fortunate…some have mothers with provincial thinking and expectations to hold with the neighbors and members at church. Which is why Mommie Dearest is the perfect movie to watch to truly understand the mindset of a woman with comorbid symptoms of a mood and a personality disorder and the relationships they have with their children.
Any movie that stars James Franco kissing guys is a movie I’ll pay to see more than once. I’ll pay even more if they ever cast me to play the guy he has to kiss. But seriously, if you haven’t seen this movie then you are missing out on a message that everyone really needs to see. Now more than ever. Milk is about Harvey Milk, the San Franciscan who was the first gay man elected into public office and the movement he set in motion regarding civil rights for gays in America. It’s hard to watch and believe that we are still in a society that has been battling the same judgment and discrimination for over three decades. Many of my friends and family love the fact I’m gay and they celebrate that quality with me, but its not secret to me that they worry about my well-being when I’m out. Being a gay man isn’t easy, it’s especially not easy in the most conservative areas in one of the most conservative states in the nation where jeers and cruelties are no rare occurrence. This movie needs to be seen by everyone, everywhere.
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Who would I be to leave this pioneer movie of gay life, love and struggle off a list of gay movies to watch? It’s hard to impress much past the Gylenhaal/Ledger couple; the guys were strong and did an amazing job portraying two gay-repressed men in a society of conformism and intolerance who are trying to learn to love. They learn they both have their own families, but also learn that they like some dick-in-the-booty action (Don’t you, Jakey?). Not to make light of the movie, it really does present the obstacle of gay men learning who they are and their hesitations at living their lives the way they want. This is the movie to bring something to cry into and eat chocolate chip cookie dough. The really sad fact about this movie is that so many gay men end up living this secret lifestyle their entire lives.
My Own Private Idaho(1991)
It’s pretty much a secret that Keanu Reeves played a character where he was a gay prostitute (aka hustler) and was the lover of a character played by River Phoenix. It’s a Gus Van Saint movie, so you know it has just enough “weird” factor to peak your interest and give it a try. Reeves doesn’t really play a gay character, just a gay-for-pay character (which is funny because he usually plays a straight-for-pay character) who will sleep with anyone as long as they have cash. He’s a member of this rebel-youth club that is lead by this old anarchist who sends his young male followers out to the streets to steal, cheat, and prostitute for money.
In general, gay men love scary movies just as much as they love trashy gossip. Scream had all the elements of horror and mystery without too much startle or gore. When I watch horror movies, I like to pretend the people getting killed off are actually people that I know and don’t much care for. That, for me, introduces a little bit of humor into the mix but I digress…
The Scream series was the first series to introduce a new psycho-murder villain, Ghost Face, to join the company of Jason, Freddy and Michael. It did so in a way that as a franchise, would allow for future productions without using elements of mysticism or magic.
Resident Evil Series
I’ve only recently gotten into this series. It’s based off the Resident Evil video games that achieved a lot of popularity. Milla Jovovitch stars as Alice, the skilled thief and fighter who is suffering from amnesia, fighting the forces of the Umbrella Corporation that has all but destroyed the world with their biochemical and nuclear weapons operations. The movie is sexy, even to gay men, and has a lot of action and special effects providing excellent entertainment value.
What movies have you enjoyed watching with friends?