Mar 26, 2015

10 Gay Movies I Hated

I haven't seen a lot of gay-themed movies since 2005, when I moved to small-town American: they rarely make it out to the multiplex next to the Wal-Mart.  But before that, living in West Hollywood, New York, and Fort Lauderdale, I saw practically everything.  Some were good, but a surprising number were awful: angst-loaded melodramas set in worlds where there is no gay community, every heterosexual is homophobic, lesbians turn straight, and gay men keep falling in love with women.

Here is the list of the biggest offenders, excluding historical artifacts like Cruising and The Boys in the Band, and movies where the gay guy dies (which I never see in the first place).

It's Still the 1950s
1. Get Real (1998). The only gay guy in the world (Ben Silverstone), who plasters his room with pictures of hunky footballers but still worries that his parents will "find out,"  falls for a local jock, who won't acknowledge his presence in public, continues to date girls, and beats him up to prove he is heterosexual.  But there are no other options.

2. Sordid Lives (1999).  In "modern" Texas, a drag queen named Brother Boy (Leslie Jordan) is in a mental hospital, undergoing de-homosexual therapy.  Meanwhile, a gay man (Kirk Geiger) moves from Texas to Los Angeles, where he undergoes 300 years of therapy to accept "who he is," but is still terrified that his theater-crowd friends will "find out."  Are you kidding me?  (Southern Baptist Sissies is in the same vein).

3. Cruel Intentions (1999).  Teenage brother and sister have fun destroying people's lives.  Fruity queen (Joshua Jackson, not even the most homophobic of the Jacksons) helps them blackmail his sex partner, a closeted footballer, who tries to turn hetero by throwing out his Judy Garland cds.  Excuse me?  Who researched this movie?

Gay Men Really Want Women
4. The Object of My Affection (1998).  Straight woman (Jennifer Anniston) and gay man (Paul Rudd) fall in love and begin a relationship.  Um. . .what exactly did they think the word "gay" meant?

5. The Opposite of Sex (1998). Teenage girl (Christina Ricci) shows up at her gay brother's house and seduces his lover (Ivan Sergei), who never once states that he's bisexual.  He just likes women, like all gay men.

6. Party Monster (2003).  Party boy (Macaulay Culkin) says he's gay, but he falls in love with a girl, who almost convinces him to abandon his "destructive lifestyle."  But it doesn't work, and he becomes a murderer.

Gay Men are Really Women

7. The Birdcage (1996).  It may have been ok with La Cage aux Folles in 1978, but in 1996, the sight of one effeminate stereotype (Robin Williams) teaching another (Nathan Lane) how to butter his toast "like  a man" was infuriating.

8. Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001). East German boy (John Cameron Mitchell) falls in love with an American GI, and decides to become a woman for him.  Operation is botched, creating a transwoman with an "angry inch," who becomes a punk rocker and falls in love with a homophobic Bible-belt boy.  Same-sex desire doesn't exist; it's all male-female, regardless of the body you inhabit.

Lesbians Switch Teams a Lot
9. Chasing Amy (1997). Hetero man (Ben Affleck) falls in love with a lesbian and begins the task of converting her to heterosexuality.  Isn't that a debunked myth -- lesbians will "turn back" if they meet the right man?  It works, albeit temporarily.

10. Kissing Jessica Stein (2001).  Jessica meets a lesbian. She's astounded, utterly unaware that such things exist.  In Manhattan.  In 2001.  To be fair, she lives in a gay-free Manhattan, where people constantly make heterosexist statements ("Oh, you got flowers!  Who's the guy?").  They begin a relationship, but then Jessica switches back to heterosexual again.

Gay as Arrested Development

11. Chuck and Buck (2000).  The worst gay-themed movie since Cruising.  I'll save it for another post.

See also: 10 Gay Movies I Loved; 12 Songs I Hate; and The 39 Dumbest Things on TV

Fall 2004: The Boy Who Cried "Fabulous"

How is it possible to get into a relationship with someone that you don't even like?

I met Florian when the South Florida Gay Men's Chorus performed at our church.  He was a Cute Young Thing, a fencing champion back in high school, handsome, with a firm, hairy chest, a little too tall for my tastes. But his extremely upbeat personality won me over:

"Isn't a beautiful day?  Of course, every day in Florida is beautiful, isn't it? Gosh, it just doesn't get any better than this, does it?  Welcome to Paradise!"

Our First Date

Picking me up: "I didn't know if you gave me the right address or not.  If you didn't, that would have been ok.  I had a marvelous evening planned, either way.  What a fantastic house!  And the decor is fabulous!"

Dinner: "This is the best crab quesadilla I've ever had!  And, oh, gosh, this salad is marvelous!  And aren't the waiters gorgeous?  I've never had such a fabulous meal!"

The Filling Station: "Isn't that guy hot!  And him, too!  I've never seen so many gorgeous guys in one place before!  It's like a Mr. Universe contest!  I can see why you like coming here! It's the best!"

Back to my house: "This is the most wonderful evening I've ever had!  You are positively incredible!  I can't believe how lucky I am just to be sitting here beside you!"

The kiss: He leaned in for a kiss -- with a wide grin on his face.  You never smile when preparing to kiss! It looks idiotic.

The bedroom: nice physique and beneath-the-belt gifts, but the "fabulousness" never stopped.  "Oh, this is fantastic!  The best ever!  I can' believe how hot you are!"  On and on and on.

The next morning, breakfast with Yuri and Barney: "This is the best coffee I've ever had!  And cinnamon buns!  Incredible!"

I walk him to the door: Gosh, your housemates are absolutely fabulous!  Barney is a cuddly old bear, and Yuri is just incredibly handsome!  I'm dying to ask you to share, but I guess it's a little too soon, isn't it?  I should be happy with the most gorgeous guy in the world!"

I slam the door and sigh loudly.  Florian was so goshdarn chipper, so in-your-face fantabulous, that I couldn't stand him!

But he was also very aggressive.  Before I knew it:

Our Second Date

The movie: "This is the funniest movie I've ever seen!  And the world's best popcorn!  I can't believe how good it is!"

The dinner:  "That shrimp tempura was marvelous, and this is absolutely the best red bean ice cream in the universe! And isn't that waiter gorgeous!  Do you know the Japanese word for super-stud?  I wouldn't mind eating cat food if he brought it out!"

Back to my house: "This is the most wonderful evening I've ever had! Gosh, everything was just fabulous!  I can't believe how lucky I am to be dating you!  You are absolutely the most gorgeous guy in the universe!"

One more superlative, and I'll pour my soda on your head!  But you'd probably think it was fabulous!

I could just refuse all future dates.  But I didn't have the will power, and besides, he hadn't actually done anything wrong -- he was just annoyingly chipper.

Maybe I could scare him off.  BDSM sometimes worked.

I suggest a BDSM Scene:  "I've never tried anything like that before, but it sounds perfectly marvelous!  Tie me up and use me, Daddy!  Or should I say Sir?  Gosh, it's just so exciting!"

The Scene: I gagged him.

The next morning:  "That was by far the most erotic evening of my life!  You were just fabulous! Seriously, I couldn't imagine a better scene!  But maybe we could get that super-stud Barney to join in next time! Two Sirs -- that would be incredibly amazing!"

Maybe some of life's sorrows would tone him down a bit.

Our Third Date

An auction at Out of the Closet. Discussion of George Bush:  "I'm sure that he'll be defeated in the election next month!  The straights are much less homophobic now than when I was a kid!"

Walk on the beach.  This is the spot where Yuri had rocks thrown at him from a carload of homophobes. "'t he lucky that nothing worse happened!  Um...he is by far the most gorgeous guy I've ever seen.  Gosh, he must get cruised a hundred times a day!"

Dinner at my house with Barney. When Barney's partner died, his family refused to come to the funeral:  "Well know...he was lucky that...that he had a supportive alternate family...and....this is the best moussaka I've ever eaten!"

Movie: Philadelphia, with Tom Hanks as a lawyer with AIDS who loses his job.  Boxes of kleenix all around.  "This most beautiful movie I've  Tom Hanks is a fabulous kleenix, please?"

Invitation to the bedroom:  "Sorry, I'm not really feeling well.  But it's been a fantastic day.  I've never had so in my life."

That was the end of my relationship with Florian. Instead of toning him down, I turned him off.

A couple of weeks later, I ran into him at the Filling Station with another guy: "Jeff, this is Philip!  Isn't he the most gorgeous guy you've ever seen?  And isn't this a fabulous place?  I had to bring him here for our second date -- I knew he would have positively the best night of his life!  Well, gosh, it's been great seeing you again!

Philip shot me a pained look as Florian led him away.

See also: 50 Ways of Saying "Fabulous"

The Beverly Hillbillies

The Beverly Hillbillies, one of the 1960s line of hayseed comedies (others included Petticoat Junction, Green Acres, Gomer Pyle, and The Andy Griffith Show), slogged on from 1962 to 1971, and your parents watched every week, so you couldn't avoid it.  It was amazingly popular with adults: some of the regular episodes -- not even Christmas specials -- became the most watched episodes of all time.

The basic premise: a hillbilly from Bugtussle, Tennessee or Arkansas, Jed Clampett (Buddy Ebsen), becomes unbelievably rich when oil is discovered on his property, so he moves to a mansion in Beverly Hills, along with his crotchety mother-in-law Granny (Irene Ryan), his daughter Ellie Mae (Donna Douglas), and his dumb-lunk nephew Jethro (Max Baer Jr.).

Though they became marginally assimilated after nine years, they still wore hillbilly clothes, ate possum pie, and referred to their swimming pool as a "cement pond."  Plots usually involved big city types trying to dupe and manipulate them, but their backwoods wisdom, orneriness, or dumb luck win out in the end.

The message: big city life is dehumanizing.  Only in the country can real be real.

Other plots involved Ellie Mae's dating, Jethro's get-rich quick schemes (odd, since he already was rich), and Granny's dislike of all things big city.

There was never much beefcake in hillbilly comedies.  Max Baer Jr., son of the famous boxer Max Baer, had a nice physique, but rarely showed it on camera.  We were supposed to laugh at his dopiness, not sigh over his muscles.

Bonding was also rather uncommon.  Most of the primary relationships were platonically male-female: Jed and Granny, Ellie Mae and Jethro, bank president Mr. Drysdale and his secretary, Miss Hathaway (Nancy Culp, who incidentally was gay in real life.)

But gay-vague was everywhere.

1. Mr. Drysdale's son, Sonny (Louis Nye) is sophisticated, well-educated, and not interested in girls.  His parents keep trying to hook him up with Ellie Mae (so he will eventually inherit the Clampett millions), but he will have none of it.  He and Ellie are just friends.

2. Hollywood star Dash Riprock (Larry Pennell), a parody of Rock Hudson, is handsome, suave, and not interested in girls.  He vaguely courts Ellie Mae, but his heart isn't in it,  regardless of how much his studio pushes them together.

Apparently the producers thought it hilarious to keep having Ellie Mae run into men who were not interested in girls.

3. Jethro had a "twin sister," Jethrine.  She stayed back in the hills, and didn't show up often, but when she did, it was obvious that it was Jethro in drag.  I got the distinct impression that everyone was just playing along, responding to his drag persona as if she was a different person.

See also: Petticoat Junction; Green Acres