This post continues on from my post last week about gay films, and films with gay characters, that for one reason or another I found some value in. As I knew I would, I forgot a whole bunch of films, so here is part 2.
My Beautiful Laundrette, 1985.
This film was hugely important to me when I saw it at the tender age of 21. In the mid '80s gay characters in tv and cinema were a lot harder to find, and not frequently presented as anything other than stereotypes. A film that starred two masculine guys who happen to be gay, and in love, was quite a revelation for the time.
Creaky production values, and an (at times) meandering script, let this film down a bit but the performances from Craig Chester, Illeana Douglas and Alexis Arquette go a long way towards saving it. Having said that, there is some great dialogue and very funny moments, but I feel like it never lived up to its full potential. Worth seeing though, just don't shell out for a full priced DVD.
Zero Patience, 1993.
Zero Patience sets out to de-demonise the French Canadian flight attendant who was incorrectly labelled 'patient zero' (ie the epidemalogical source) of the AIDS epidemic in the US & Canada, in the early days of the crisis. Subtitled 'a musical about AIDS' this film works best during the musical numbers, and many of the songs are great (I bought the soundtrack). The film does get a little pretentious at times, but overall is very enjoyable. I have a personal connection to the film because I knew Michael Callen, who makes a singing cameo as 'Miss HIV' in the film and also made a singing cameo in "Philedelphia", and sadly died of AIDS later in the same year these two films were made.
I love this film, and can never watch it without crying bucketfulls! Linus Roache gives an amazing performance. It is made all the more powerful by the fact that at the start of the film he is not very likeable at all, and yet he transforms through the film as he faces his true nature with increasing honesty. Highly recommended, but get the tissues ready.
The Sum of Us, 1994.
I feel like it is a bit of a ring-in including this film, because I'm actually not a huge fan of it. However, I saw it twice as a play (with Jack Thompson in the same role as in the film) and adored it. Not that the film is bad, but for me it suffers in comparison to the play. It stands up well on it's own though, is worth seeing, and for me probably marked the last time I found Russell Crowe even remotely charming. The nice thing about the story is the depiction of a loving and supportive relationship between a father and his gay son.
Beautiful Thing, 1996.
A sweet, funny and tender film about coming out and finding your first love. Singlehandedly upped the sales of Body Shop's "Peppermint Foot Lotion" amongst young gay men. The lovely Scott Neal co-stars, beforehe went on to play a young copper who eventually comes out as gay on the BBC tv series "The Bill". I haven't seen this for many years, but remember it fondly.
Big Eden, 2000.
I had never even heard of this film when Mikey The Lovely Ex lent me the DVD to watch. I'm surprised this film isn't better known, because it's a gem. It's nice to see a film where gay stereotypes are challenged, and deliberately avoided for the most part. Arye Gross (from the "Ellen" tv show, "Minority Report" and a bunch of other films) and Tim DeKay ("Carnivale") both turn in excellent performances, and Eric Schweig rounds out the love triangle (of sorts) with a character who is so likeable and charming that it's possible to overlook his slightly less polished performance. Writer and director Thomas Bezucha has just written and directed a new big budget film "The Family Stone".
The Trip, 2002.
Another overlooked little gem of a film I discovered by being lent the DVD by Mikey. Part love story about two men from opposite ideologies, part bizarre road trip, and part tale of redemption and the importance of righting past wrongs, this film manages to amuse, entertain and move. Probably hard to find, but worth looking for.
Cowboys & Angels, 2003.
A lovely film about friendship, specifically the friendship between a straight man and a gay man, who initially having judged each other based on appearances then go on to find a strong common bond. The two young leads are both very likeable and funny, and also handle the dramatic moments well. Recommended.
Latter Days, 2003.
Funny and heart warming story about seduction and ultimately love, with two very appealing leads. Unfortunately the beautiful Steve Sandvoss, who plays the sexually repressed Mormon missionary, has been quoted as saying some less than flattering things about playing gay since the film aired. Hopefully he was misquoted! Worth seeing.
Eating Out, 2004.
I like this film, but I find it flawed in some areas. A huge part of the appeal is the eye candy and charm in the shape of the two leads Scott Lunsford (Caleb) and Ryan Carnes (Marc). This film has one of the hottest, and probably least politically correct, seduction scenes I have seen between two men. Oh, and a couple of full frontal nudes from the two cute boys, *cough*if you like that sort of thing*cough*. It's a low budget indie film, and sometimes it shows. Some of the performances aren't that polished, such as Jim Verraros (from American Idol apparently) who sometimes seems to trip over his dialogue a bit. It's forgiveable though because his character comes across as quite charming. I think one of the best features of Eating Out is the fact that no punches are pulled in depicting intimacy between the male characters, something that you don't often get to see in films, even gay ones. Writer/director Q. Allan Brocka has his own myspace blog.