Oct 2, 2012

Matt Dillon


Androgyny was in during the  late 1970s and  early 1980s -- there was Peter Barton, Michael Gray, John Stamos -- but no one encapsulated raw androgynous erotic energy more than Matt Dillon.  Born in 1964, Matt got his start playing a surly high schooler in Over the Edge (1979).














Edgy roles followed.  He became famous, in a sleazy, controversial way, for Little Darlings (1980), in which he helps some underaged summer-camp girls lose their virginity.  But much more often, the main relationship in his movies was with a brother --  Jim Metzler in Tex (1982), Mickey Rourke in Rumble Fish (1983) -- or a buddy, as in the The Outsiders (1983) and The Flamingo Kid (1984).  Sometimes the buddy-bonding was even domestic.












Never a teen magazine fave rave, but a favorite of gay teens, Matt bulked up, filled out, and moved seamlessly from the world of serious films about troubled teenagers to serious films about troubled adults: a professional gambler, a heroin addict, an ordinary guy caught up in a murder plot, a neo-noir antihero.










And non-troubled adults.  In the comedy In and Out (1997), Matt plays a movie star who accidentally "outs" his old high school teacher (Kevin Kline) during an Oscar award speech -- except his teacher isn' really gay.  Except he is.







Matt remains a reliable presence in Hollywood, nonchalantly recognizing his gay fans, and regularly starring in movies that they enjoy seeing, well-written, well-acted, and with just as much buddy-bonding as boy-meets-girl fade-out kisses.