Category Archives: Movie Review

Bros Review

As I mentioned on Friday, I went to see Bros, “A Boy Meets Bro Love Story,” as the tagline says. The consensus on Rotten Tomatoes was that “Bros marks a step forward in rom-com representation — and just as importantly, it’s a whole bunch of fun to watch.” I wouldn’t go that far. It was worth it to see Luke Macfarlane, who I love as an actor. If you look at his Instagram, you’ll see he’s a bit of a “gay bro” in real life. There were certainly parts that were fun, but there was a whole lot of angry speechmaking by Billy Eichner’s character. A little bit of an angry rant on occasion can be funny, but not when it’s 75 percent of the movie. I realize it’s the part he was playing, but give it a rest. I was really hoping for a lighthearted romantic comedy. Yes, it should have a little angst, but that should be between the main love interests, not Billy Eichner vs. the World. There were enjoyable parts to the movie, such as when they are in Provincetown. The actual love story is also nice, but it gets a little bogged down by Billy Eichner’s constant rants.

I would still recommend you go see it. After looking at the reviews, I can only assume I am in the minority. Sadly, it also flopped at the box office this weekend. My friend and I were literally half the audience at the theater. The movie sold $4.8 million in tickets, about 40 percent less than expected. As the New York Times said, “There is no easy way to say it: When the reviews are this sensational, the marketing support is this substantive and the theatrical footprint is this wide — and ticket sales are nonetheless this low — it suggests outright marketplace rejection.” I think if the movie had been a less angsty rant and more romantic comedy, it might have done better at the box office.

With that being said, I got mostly annoyed with the subplot about the LGBTQ+ Museum. Eichner’s character is supposed to be the museum’s founding director, though his background is not as a museum professional. The real executive director of the American LGBTQ+ Museum is a lovely man named Ben Garcia, who I saw speak at a conference back in May. He is a much more likable person than Eichner’s character, Bobby Lieber. The movie’s portrayal of a National LGBTQ+ Museum is a disgrace. It was meant to be funny but horrifying from a museum professional’s opinion. Then there is one of my greatest pet peeves with LGBTQ+ pop history. They always want to portray Abraham Lincoln as the first gay president (if he was LGBTQ+, then he was bi), but Lincoln would not have been our first gay president. That honor goes to James Buchanan, who no one wants to acknowledge because he, up until TFG from 2016-2020, was considered the most failed and disgraceful president. Buchanan is responsible for letting the Civil War get started and doing nothing to stop it. Yet, he had a well-documented, more so than Lincoln, love affair with America’s 13th Vice President William R. King. A few letters between the two survive, and Buchanan never married. During their lifetime, Andrew Jackson called King “Miss Nancy,” and Buchanan’s Postmaster General Aaron V. Brown referred to King as Buchanan’s “better half,” “wife,” and “Aunt Fancy.”

My pet peeve is that Lincoln was very doubtfully gay. Though it is wishful thinking and a historical stretch, it pops up in Bros. It’s a comedic plot, but the whole idea of Lincoln being gay is history taken out of context. The rest of the museum is absolutely cringe-worthy. You’ll know what I am talking about if you see or have seen it. The museum is not the only thing I found cringeworthy in the movie, but it did drive me a little crazy. It might have been more enjoyable had it not been for the museum subplot. At least it did get a little publicity for the coming American LGBTQ+ Museum, but I wonder if it was good publicity. I hope the real museum is nothing like the one in the movie.  As the New York Times wrote in its review, “As a partial answer to these questions, the board creates a Hall of Bisexuals where Amy Schumer and Kenan Thompson play goofy, grinning holograms of Eleanor Roosevelt and James Baldwin. Let scholars argue about the display’s accuracy. It accomplishes what ‘Bros,’ like every other rom-com, aims to do: charm audiences with a spirited, corny facsimile of life.”

I hope if any of you saw the movie that you enjoyed it. I’ll admit that I did not go into the movie in a good mood. Going to Olive Garden beforehand was a major mistake. They were out of more than half of the menu. Also, the food and staff were subpar. So, the night was not off to a good start. Therefore, my mood may have influenced how I reacted to the movie. There were a few places where I did laugh out loud, part of that was due to Dot-Marie Jones’s character. For a movie with a nearly all LGBTQ+ cast and crew, it’s a beginning for what I hope will be better things in the future, but with the box office receipts that it got this first weekend, I’m not seeing a bright future for another gay romantic comedy anytime soon.

Now that you have read my Billy Eichner-size rant, did any of you see the movie? If you did, what did you think of it? And a question for BosGuy, did you spot Sergio as an extra? 

Lafayette Escadrille

I was off work yesterday, so I decided to watch a movie I’d DVR’d. A few weeks ago, I was getting ready to DVR some Cary Grant movies on TCM when I saw that Lafayette Escadrille was going to be on. Some of you may know that the First World War is one of my historical specialties, especially Americans in World War I, so when I saw that a move about the Lafayette Escadrille, a French Air Force unit composed of American volunteers, was coming on, I knew I wanted to see it. Besides, it stars Tab Hunter, who, in my opinion, is one of the sexiest men to have ever lived, and he looks really good in a French Air Force uniform and an American Army uniform later in the movie. Of all the military uniforms I’ve ever seen throughout history, the WWI era American uniform is my favorite, but I’m getting off track.

Tab Hunter came out as gay in his 2005 autobiography, Tab Hunter Confidential, which was also made into a documentary by his husband Allan Glaser. Hunter had long been rumored to be gay and was basically outed in 1955 when his agent fed a story about him being arrested for disorderly conduct at what the magazine called a “limp-wristed pajama party.” His agent had been Henry Wilson, who also represented Rock Hudson. It has always been believed that Wilson leaked the story to Confidential in order to keep a story about Hudson being gay out of the magazine. However, Hunter was such a heartthrob and was also protected by Jack Warner, not to mention “dating” Natalie Wood, that the story had little impact on his career at the time. Lafayette Escadrille was made three years later.

Lafayette Escadrille is no cinematic masterpiece, but it was mildly entertaining since the movie stars some very handsome men, including Jody McCrea, known for playing Deadhead in all the seventies Frankie Avalon/Annette Funicello beach movies,  and a young Clint Eastwood. It was worth it just to see Tab Hunter in his prime. In nearly every movie he was in during the 1950s, Tab Hunter is seen shirtless at some point, and his beauty will take your breath away. After I watched Lafayette Escadrille, I watched the documentary Tab Hunter Confidential. Hunter passed away in 2018. Even as an older man, Tab Hunter still had a beautiful smile and was still good-looking. He spent his later years focusing on his beloved horses.


I’m not sure when I first heard about the movie Firebird, but it was sometime last year around the time it was first released. I’ll be honest, what I noticed first was the two main actors, Tom Prior (left) as Sergey and Oleg Zagorodnii (right) as Roman. Both men are incredibly handsome. Prior co-wrote and produced the film. So, yes, the first thing I noticed about the film was how attractive the two main stars are, then I read what the movie was about.

Synopsis: Sergey is a troubled young private, counting the days till his military service in the Soviet Air Force ends. His life is turned upside down when Roman, a daring fighter pilot, arrives at the base. Driven by curiosity, Sergey and Roman navigate the precarious line between love and friendship as a dangerous love triangle forms between them and Luisa, the secretary to the base commander. Sergey is forced to face his past as Roman’s career is endangered and Luisa struggles to keep her family together. As the walls close in, they risk their freedom and their lives in the face of an escalating KGB investigation and the fear of the all-seeing Soviet regime.

I have been desperately wanting to see it since then.

Firebird had its world premiere at the 35th BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival on  March 17, 2021. The film also screened at the 45th Frameline: San Francisco International LGBTQ+ Film Festival on June 27, 2021, where it won an honorable mention for Best First Feature. I have been waiting for it to get a wider release and expected that I’d have to wait until it was released on one of the streaming services. Then, I saw last week that the film was to be released in cinemas internationally on April 29, 2022. I went to the website to see if it was playing anywhere near me. I’m in Vermont, so I believed the likelihood was slim to none. But, lo and behold, it opened last Friday at the Roxy Theater in Burlington. I already had plans last weekend for Saturday night (seeing Matteo Lane) and was not keen on driving back to Burlington on Sunday.

The schedule for the theater only ran through today, so a friend of mine who was also interested in seeing it once I told he about it, called yesterday to see if it would still be playing this weekend. Tonight’s 7:00 pm showing will be its last showing in Burlington. So even though I have to work tomorrow and would not normally go to Burlington during the week, we are going tonight to see it. I am not about to miss my opportunity to see this film. I’ll let you know tomorrow what I thought of it. I hope it lives up to its hype.

I “Dare” You to Watch This

In the early 2000s when I first came out, I read every gay book and watched every gay movie I could get my hands on. I think I watched every gay movie that Netflix (back when they sent you a DVD instead of streaming) had in its library. I will admit, most of the movies were independent movies and were decidedly bad. The production value was low, and the acting wasn’t great, or even good in some cases. The books I read fared better than the movies, but there were a few duds there too. However, gay literature has always been a step above the gay movie genre.

I did have a few favorite movies. For comedy, my favorite is probably the 2003 movie Mambo Italiano, a movie about the son of Italian immigrants to Canada who struggles to find the best way to reveal to his parents that he’s gay. While this is probably going to get me some comments from my Canadian readers, one of the lines that always makes me laugh comes from Paul Sorvino’s character, Gino Barberini, the family patriarch. At one point, he describes how his family came to live in Montreal, “Nobody told us there was two Americas: the real one, United States, and the fake one, Canada. Then, to make matters even worse, there’s two Canadas: the real one, Ontario, and the fake one, Quebec.” It’s a cute movie, but not great cinema. Few of these movies were.

In drama, my hands down favorite is Latter Days, a 2003 movie about a gay relationship between a closeted Mormon missionary and his openly gay neighbor. While many might point to Brokeback Mountain as a pivotal moment in gay cinema, I will always believe that Latter Days was a much better movie. While not great cinema in any regard, my other favorite is the 1997 movie Defying Gravity. In the movie, two fraternity brothers have a secret affair. One wants to maintain just a superficial relationship with his all-gay boyfriend, but his feelings begin to change when his boyfriend gets seriously wounded in a gay bashing. It is a heart wrenching movie, but there is one scene where one of the characters says, “Oh, man.” That little line gets me every time.

Because gay movies have never gotten the budget of more mainstream movies, there were also a lot of gay short films made. In 2005, I came across a short film that was getting a lot of attention in gay media called Dare. In the 16-minute-long movie, a high school senior, Ben, secretly lusts after bad boy classmate Johnny. After Ben gives Johnny a ride home one night, the boys end up in Johnny’s swimming pool and have an encounter that is filled with a lustful teen crush and forbidden gay love in high school. Dare played at over 50 film fests and was released as the lead film on gay short DVD compilations and eventually became a Sundance feature. I either watched it on my computer screen or I got one of those DVD compilations from Netflix. The short film has always kept a special place in my heart. You can watch it here:

Saturday night as I was winding down and getting ready for bed, I was watching some TikToks, which is how I often wind down at the end of the day. I came across a clip from this short film, and I looked it up intending to watch it again. What came as a surprise is that writer and producer David Brind and director Adam Salky have done something unprecedented. They’ve brought back the very same cast and creative team from the original short film 15 years later for The Dare Project, a continuation of Ben and Johnny’s story. Yes, I am behind the times on this, since The Dare Projectwas released in 2018. I’m not sure how I missed this news. Once I saw that there was a sequel, I knew I had to watch it, and I did. Usually, sequels come far short of the original, this is not the case. It was just as good as the original.

Writer and producer David Brind describes best why this movie made such an impression on most people who saw it. “When I first wrote the Dare short in film school in 2003, I had no fucking clue what I was doing,” said Brind. “My professor told me to write from the heart and the gut. So, I wrote about ‘Johnny.’ Everyone in the world has their own ‘Johnny,’ the elusive one that seemed untouchable, that made you feel so intensely you thought you would die. ‘Johnny’ existed for me.” There is more to that quote, but it gives too much away of the original short film, and I think would ruin it if you haven’t seen Dare yet. Like Brind, I had my “Johnny,” but we never had an experience anything like in the film.

Brind said that after understanding the fan base that the original Dare had developed over the years, he decided to try and continue the story he had begun. “Fifteen years later, I decided to revisit this world with The Dare Project,” Brind added. “Our legions of fans—13.5M views on YouTube while being suppressed from search by them, but that’s another story—demanded a sequel. They wrote Instagram messages. Like Jack from a small village in Ireland. Jack is 17. He’s gay. He’s suicidal. He wrote to tell me that he watches Dare over and over when he’s feeling like he doesn’t want to live. Because it brings him hope. And that’s more worthwhile than any Netflix or HBO deal could ever bring me.”

After fifteen years, Brind made the decision to try and put together a sequel. In The Dare Project, Ben and Johnny, now in their early 30s fortuitously run into each other at a party in Los Angeles after not seeing each other since high school.  Of the sequel, Brind added, “Ben isn’t 17 anymore. And he’s a lot more like me now. He’s good at what he does. He’s successful in his way. He’s more confident. He’s out. But he’s still been unable to find intimacy in a real way. A real and constant struggle for LGBTQ people, especially in the age of Grindr (which is in the new film) and Instagram ‘influencers’ aka hot guys in underwear.”

“Johnny isn’t 17 either,” Brind continued. “And he’s no longer the arrogant bad boy of high school hallways. Life has gotten more complex. And when Ben and Johnny meet for the first time since high school, they talk about it all. And of course, they get back in the pool…”

There also seems to be an expanded full length 2009 version of the original short film. The feature-length version, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, stars Emmy Rossum in a story about how “three very different teenagers discover that, even in the safe world of a suburban prep school, no one is who she or he appears to be.” The film has been described as a cross between Pretty in Pink and Cruel Intentions. While I have always liked Cruel Intentions, possibly only for the pool scene with Ryan Phillippe, I watched the trailer for the feature length version of Dare, and I have no interest in seeing it. However, to add a little to The Dare Project’s ending, there was a “video call” between Ben and Johnny at the beginning of the pandemic, that is, in its own way, just as sweet as the previous versions:

To watch The Dare Project, it is available on Vimeo on Demand. There is the option to rent The Dare Project at a cost of $2.99 for 48-hour streaming period or buy it for $5.99 to stream and download to watch anytime. The $2.99 was worth every penny. I think Dare will always hold a special place in my wide variety of gay cinematic experiences. It is thirty-four minutes I will never forget, and I hope you will enjoy it as well.

Clair de lune

Clair de lune (English “Moonlight”)
By Paul Verlaine

Votre âme est un paysage choisi
Que vont charmant masques et bergamasques
Jouant du luth et dansant et quasi
Tristes sous leurs déguisements fantasques.

Tout en chantant sur le mode mineur
L’amour vainqueur et la vie opportune
Ils n’ont pas l’air de croire à leur bonheur
Et leur chanson se mêle au clair de lune,

Au calme clair de lune triste et beau,
Qui fait rêver les oiseaux dans les arbres
Et sangloter d’extase les jets d’eau,
Les grands jets d’eau sveltes parmi les marbres.


(English Translation)

Your soul is a chosen landscape
Where charming masquerades and dancers are promenading,
Playing the lute and dancing, and almost
Sad beneath their fantastic disguises.

While singing in a minor key
Of victorious love, and the pleasant life
They seem not to believe in their own happiness
And their song blends with the light of the moon,

With the sad and beautiful light of the moon,
Which sets the birds in the trees dreaming,
And makes the fountains sob with ecstasy,
The slender water streams among the marble statues.


“Clair de lune” (English “Moonlight”) is a poem written by French poet Paul Verlaine in 1869. It is the inspiration for the third and most famous movement of Claude Debussy’s 1890 Suite bergamasque. Debussy also made two settings of the poem for voice and piano accompaniment. The poem has also been set to music by Gabriel Fauré, Louis Vierne and Josef Szulc.

Paul-Marie Verlaine (30 March 1844 – 8 January 1896) was a French poet associated with the Symbolist movement and the Decadent movement. He is considered one of the greatest representatives of the fin de siècle (“end of century”) in international and French poetry.

Paul Verlaine was born in a town called Metz in northeastern France in 1844. He received his formal education from what is now the Lycee Condorcet and originally found a job in France’s civil service, despite the fact that he had been writing poetry from an early age; he published his first poem before his twentieth birthday.

Poet Charles Marie Rene Leconte de Lisle, who led the Parnassian movement, heavily influenced Verlaine in the beginning. The Parnassian movement was a style of poetry which utilized emotional detachment and a strict adherence to form. Verlaine was also influenced by the many people he socialized with, most of whom made up the intellectual and artistic elite of the day.

His first book of poetry, Poemes saturniens, was published in 1866. Four years later, Verlaine’s life underwent massive changes; he got married to Mathilde Maute de Fleurville and joined the French equivalent of the National Guard, though he later became a supporter of the Paris Commune, a group of anarchists and Marxists that took control of Paris from March to May. When a large number of Commune members (called Communards) were killed and imprisoned after the fall of their government, Verlaine escaped to Pas-de-Calais, returning in 1871.

In 1872, Verlaine began his first homosexual affair, though he had probably had homosexual experiences before then. He received a letter from the younger poet Arthur Rimbaud, and Verlaine’s reply was, “Come, dear great soul. We await you; we desire you.” Though Verlaine’s wife was pregnant at the time, Rimbaud came to stay with the older poet and his seventeen-year-old wife. Later that year, Verlaine and Rimbaud lived together in London, having abandoned Mathilde. Both poets frequently drank absinthe and used hashish, living in poverty and making a living by teaching and getting an allowance from Verlaine’s mother. The relationship grew very strained, and Verlaine shot his lover in the wrist during an alcoholic furor just days after the pair had split and subsequently reunited in Brussels.

Rimbaud originally refused to press charges, but Verlaine’s increasingly violent and odd behavior forced the younger man to seek protection. A judge sentenced Verlaine to two years in prison following testimony from Mathilde. Not even a last-second change of heart from Rimbaud could save Verlaine; the Symbolist poet spent two years in prison in the Belgian city of Mons. While there, Verlaine converted to Roman Catholicism, which spurred him to write further poems. Rimbaud mocked Verlaine’s conversion to Catholicism. Verlaine also managed to release another collection of poems while imprisoned, Romances sans paroles. Upon his release, Verlaine worked as a teacher in various cities in England. He returned once more to France to teach and fell in love with one of his students, Lucien Letinois. When Letinois died of typhus in the 1880’s, Verlaine was devastated and spiraled into drug and alcohol abuse.

Verlaine spent the rest of his days drinking absinthe in Parisian cafes and using drugs, though by this time the public’s love of his work allowed him to draw an income. His peers even voted to bestow the title “France’s Prince of Poets” upon Verlaine in 1894. two years later, Verlaine died from drugs and alcohol on 8 January 1896. He was 51. He was buried in the Cimetière des Batignolles.

Verlaine’s poetry was admired and recognized as ground-breaking and served as a source of inspiration to composers. Gabriel Fauré composed many mélodies, such as the song cycles Cinq mélodies “de Venise” and La bonne chanson, which were settings of Verlaine’s poems. As mentioned above, Claude Debussy set to music Clair de lune and six of the Fêtes galantes poems, forming part of the mélodie collection known as the Recueil Vasnier; he also made another setting ofClair de lune, and the poem inspired his Suite bergamasque. Reynaldo Hahn set several of Verlaine’s poems as did the Belgian-British composer Poldowski.Verlaine’s work was characterized by lurid content and common themes including sex, urban life, and fatality. He often used repeated sounds to evoke certain moods and emotions. Verlaine’s poem “Chanson d’Automne” was used during World War II by the BBC to signal to the French resistance that Operation Overlord was to begin. The 1995 film Total Eclipse was based on Verlaine’s relationship with Rimbaud; David Thewlis and Leonardo DiCaprio played Verlaine and Rimbaud, respectively.

This video of Clair de Lune contains moonlight paintings by the Victorian painter John Atkinson Grimshaw. In this recording, Stanley Black conducts his arrangement of Clair de Lune with the London Symphony. 

Caligula: The Worst Movie Ever Made?

Esquire Magazine recently published an article, “Caligula Wasn’t Supposed to Be a Porno.” In the article, critic Chris Nashawaty discusses how the movie was so bad that Roger Ebert walked out two hours into the movie and did not stay for the rest of the 156-minute film. Nashawaty describes Caligula as, “A film that was so inept and god-awful he (Ebert) had to get up and walk out of the theater.” In Ebert’s review of the film, he said:

‘Caligula’ is sickening, utterly worthless, shameful trash. If it is not the worst film I have ever seen, that makes it all the more shameful: People with talent allowed themselves to participate in this travesty. Disgusted and unspeakably depressed, I walked out of the film after two hours of its 170-minute length. That was on a Saturday night, as a line of hundreds of people stretched down Lincoln Ave., waiting to pay $7.50 apiece to become eyewitnesses to shame. I wanted to tell them…what did I want to tell them? What I’m telling you now. That this film is not only garbage on an artistic level, but that it is also garbage on the crude and base level where it no doubt hopes to find its audience. ‘Caligula’ is not good art, it is not good cinema, and it is not good porn.

If you are not familiar with the 1979 movie, Caligula is an erotic historical drama film focusing on the eponymous Roman Emperor Caligula’s rise and fall. The film starred Malcolm McDowell in the title role, alongside great actors like Helen Mirren, Peter O’Toole, and John Gielgud. It is the only feature film produced by the men’s magazine Penthouse. Producer Bob Guccione, Penthouse magazine’s founder, intended to make an explicit pornographic film with a feature film narrative and high production values. Guccione signed Gore Vidal to write the screenplay. Vidal was paid $200,000 and wrote the script as a debauched and homoerotic allegory about how absolute power corrupts absolutely. Vidal naively believed that his screenplay about the mad, monstrous emperor who became synonymous with cruelty, insanity, and megalomania would be a relatively classy affair. There was no initial indication that the film would become a pornographic monstrosity. 

While Vidal was naïve to think this would be a reputable movie, he had reason to believe that Guccione did want to make something respectable. After all, Caligula was not Guccione’s first foray into filmmaking; he had already helped finance a handful of major-studio productions such as Chinatown (1974), The Longest Yard (1974), and The Day of the Locust (1975). As Nashawaty points out:

Caligula wasn’t supposed to be a porno movie. Not exactly. Yes, there would be ample nudity of both the male and female variety. And sure, Guccione had personally flown a bevy of his magazine’s voluptuous Penthouse Pets to Italy to appear as horny extras. But it didn’t start out as the hardcore film that would end up playing in theaters.

However, when the movie’s budget grew to over $17 million, Guccione became a little nervous. Guccione sensed he would not be able to recoup the film’s costs; so, he decided (unbeknownst to anyone involved with the project) that he needed to take control of the film back from director Tinto Brass. Guccione snuck onto the set late at night and secretly shot hours of graphic pornographic inserts to splice into the film. The result was an odd jumble of scenes of unsimulated sex scenes and orgies.

I always loved teaching Ancient Rome, especially the mad emperors Tiberius (Reigned 14–37 CE), Caligula (Reigned 37–41 CE), Claudius (Reigned 41–54 CE), and Nero (Reigned 54–68 CE). It was always one of my most popular lectures. I read a lot about the emperors, especially Suetonius’s The Twelve Caesars. So, back when Netflix still mailed out DVDs, I requested Caligula to see what all the talk was about. While it’s a terrible movie, it is by far not the worst that I have ever seen. I have seen many independent gay movies that were atrocious and barely watchable. However, I used to (with a disclaimer) allow my college students to watch and review Caligula for extra credit, along with dozens of other much better historical movies. Only a few took me up on the offer to watch Caligula, and those who did were all shocked. It is a shocking movie; how shocking depends on whether you watch the 1981 105-minute R-rated version without the explicit sexual material or the original 1979 156-minute version.

If you’ve never watched the original version of Caligula, you might think Guccione’s post-production edits and additions might have turned the film into the sexy, high-quality pornographic film Guccione intended, but you’d be sadly disappointed. The spliced scenes of endless orgies and graphic close-ups, complete with a graphic castration sequence, fisting, and oral sex, are so strange and out of place in this strange attempt to portray Caligula’s debauchery. Honestly, most of the film is just boring. Although contemporary reviews were overwhelmingly negative, Caligula is now often considered a cult classic by some, and its political content is deemed to have some merit. I think we have all seen cult classics that are so bad that they are good. Nashawaty Esquire article states that Caligula is not in this category. Amazingly, McDowell, O’Toole, Gielgud, and Mirren emerged from the ignominy unscathed, considering how bad the film was. As for Vidal, he cashed his six-figure check and told Caligula war stories for years.

Have you ever seen Caligula? Did you see the full version or the edited version? What was your opinion of the movie? If you haven’t seen it, are you tempted to watch it? Warning: It is graphic!

Some Favorite Gay Movies

On Thursday, Miss Coco Peru will be hosting her Christmas special, “Very Merry Casa Coco.” I’m not sure I will tune into it, even though I love Coco Peru, and she’s been around for nearly 30 years. I was telling a straight female friend of mine who loves drag queens about the Christmas special, and I was also telling her that I first saw Peru her role in the 1999 independent film Trick, a movie I particularly enjoy. It is one of my top five gay independent films of all time. Trickstarred Christian Campbell, John Paul Pitoc, Steve Hayes, and Tori Spelling. Tori Spelling is probably the most familiar name, but even her bad acting couldn’t ruin this movie for me.

Back when I was coming to terms with my sexuality, I would go to the Blockbuster in Montgomery and rent any gay film I could get my hands on. Most of them were foreign films, such as Beautiful Thing (1996—British), Come Undone,aka Presque Rien,(2000—French-Belgian), and Wild Reeds, aka Les Roseaux Sauvages, (French —1995). I enjoyed all of these movies, but I wanted to see more. In 2000, I moved to Mississippi, and while I continued to rent from Blockbuster’s lackluster selection of gay movies, I discovered Netflix. With them sending a DVD each time you sent one back (and they had a much more extensive selection), I watched many more gay movies. I was finally able to get my hands on some American films, mostly independent films.

Independent gay movies have always been hit or miss. If they’d been a genuinely great movie, they might have been picked up by a major studio and had the money for production and casting, but as independent movies, filmmakers made do with what they had. Some were bad; some made it to the list of my favorite movies. One of those movies was, of course, Trick. The acting is not always great in these movies, but sometimes the stories made them worth the mediocre acting. Occasionally, the acting was pretty good. But if you watched many independent gay films in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, you watched a lot of terrible movies. But like I said, there were some gems.

I remember seeing Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss and wondering how Sean Hayes continued to refuse to say publicly that he was gay when it was so incredibly obvious. Also, I fell in love with Brad Rowe. Besides Trick, the movie that I have watched numerous times because I love it is the 1997 movie Defying Gravity. This movie’s love story was so sweet, even if the film did not include the best acting. However, there was a hospital scene when Griff says, “Oh, man,” to Pete that I just can’t describe the feeling of what it’s like for me hearing this line. It’s not a great line; it’s almost corny, but it gets me every time. My heart breaks, and it soars at the same time. I can still hear that line in my head as I am writing this. I also enjoyed the 2000 film The Broken Hearts Club. Since he played Superman, I have had a thing for Dean Cain, too bad his politics are so fucked up.

In 2003, Latter Days was released, and it became one of my all-time favorite gay movies. As some of my friends can attest to, I have made them watch this movie with me. I love the two main characters, and while there are parts of the story that could have been done better, the airport scene is magical. Speaking of magical, I also loved the gay take on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In 2008, Were the World Mine was released, and I just loved it. There have been other movies, and I am sure I am forgetting some of the foreign gay films that I loved and some independent films, but these are just some of them.

I also have a few honorable mentions that were more mainstream films. I think the first gay film I ever saw was either The Birdcage (1996) or In & Out (1997). More recently, I enjoyed the movie Love, Simon. I have refused to watch Call Me by Your Name because I know how it ends. Then there were a few movies that were less apparent as gay films, such as Fried Green Tomatoes and Midnight in the Garden of Good and EvilFried Green Tomatoes ranks up there with Casablanca and Auntie Mame as movies in my top three favorites. I can’t tell you how many times I have watched those three movies.

By the way, I did not include Brokeback Mountain in this list of favorite movies. Although, in my opinion, it is responsible for allowing more gay mainstream movies to be made, it is just not one of my favorites. To be honest, I don’t like movies without a happy ending. The same is true of the books I read. I have enough in my life to make me sad; I don’t need someone else making me sadder with a movie or a novel. I read and watch movies to escape not to fall deeper into depression.

So, these are a few of my favorite gay movies. What are your favorites? What have I missed? Is there a movie you think I should watch (I may have seen it, but tell me anyway)?

Love, Simon

I have been wanting to see this movie since it came out. I finally got to see it on the plane from Chicago to Burlington. I happen to love romantic comedies, and I love gay movies. This is the perfect combination. The Hollywood Reporter said, “Love, Simon, a sweet, slick, broadly appealing YA adaptation (Becky Albertalli’s 2015 novel was called Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda) touted as the first major-studio-backed romantic comedy with a gay teen protagonist.”

There are two things in the movie that I loved. One is the process of coming out. It is different for everyone. For some it is easy, others it’s hard. For some it’s accepted, for some it’s not. The coming out process in this movie is not one of the easiest ones, but it’s not so difficult either. It definitely pulls at the heart strings.

The other thing is the love affair over the internet. You can get to know the most intimate things about a person online when it’s anonymous than you often can in person. Some people feel freer to talk online with someone than in person. It can bring two people very close. The internet can surprisingly bring an honestly that is amazing. I know sometimes it’s the opposite, but when you truly find a good person, the honesty can be so rewarding.

Star Wars

I’m going to see the new Star Wars movie today. I’m more of a Star Trek fan than a Star Wars fan, but I still enjoy seeing the Star Wars movies. I’m hoping that this one will be good. I haven’t heard much about it, so I’ll form my own opinion after I see it. At least it gets me away from family for a couple of hours.

Rogue One

I went to see Rogue One yesterday. My first impression was that it was good, but not great. Honestly, the more I watch Star Wars movies, I am convinced that the original three were by far the best and all the others just can’t compare.

The more I thought about the movie, the more disappointed I was in Rogue One. The ending was dissatisfying. Such a disappointment. I like a movie with a happy ending.  Not to give this one away but it has a happy ending and at the same time doesn’t. This movie leads up to right before Episode IV begins, so you know ultimately good comes from it, but it was still disappointing and overall depressing.