Jul 25, 2015

Chuck & Buck: The Most Homophobic Movie since Cruising

Some movies you go into expecting homophobia -- any comedy about young adult slackers, anything directed by Ron Howard, anything starring Will Smith. But sometimes the director or actors are gay, or the reviews suggest that the movie is gay-positive, and the homophobia hits you out of nowhere, like a slap in the face.

I heard that The Phone Call (1989), with Michael Sarrazin, was the most homophobic movie of all time, but it has to be Chuck & Buck (2000), just because the homophobia is so unexpected.

Mike White is the son of gay Christian advocate Mel White, author of Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America.  One would not expect him to be homophobic.

Chuck & Buck was actually advertised in gay publications!  Sort of like advertising Birth of a Nation in Ebony.

The premise: Chuck (Chris Weitz) and Buck (Mike White) were gay boyfriends when they were kids.

Years have passed, and Chuck has grown up: he has a a house, a job, and a fiancee. And of course, he's now heterosexual  But Buck hasn't grown up. He's living with his mother, he still likes childish things.  And he's still gay.

When his mother dies, Buck remembers his lost boyfriend, and begins stalking him.  Humorous complications ensue.  Chuck is up for a "bit of fun," one last homoerotic fling, but he finally convinces Buck that he's got to move on.  Being gay is fine for kids, but eventually you have to grow up, get a house, job, and wife, accept your heterosexual destiny.

But it's not merely a matter of acquiescing to the heterosexist mandate.  When you grow up, you literally turn heterosexual.

What about adults who are gay?  Well, they are, in the words of Mike White, "retards."  They've experienced arrested development.  They're terrified of adulthood, with its responsibilities and its ladies, so they get stuck in childhood.

 Freud thought that, too: you're gay because you stopped at the oral stage of psychosexual development, and have yet to experience real, mature, heterosexual desire.

And Mr. Falwell -- um, I mean Mr. White -- expected gay people to eagerly accept this theory?  Did he think he was writing for Will and Grace?

This is easily the most homophobic movie made in the U.S. since Cruising (1980).  I would say "the world," but Poland's Floating Skyscrapers is a little worse.

Two years later, Mike White wrote the script for Orange County (2002), which has two gay characters ( played by Kyle Howard and RJ Knoll), but they actually are adolescents, so I can't tell if they have "arrested development" or not.

And director Miguel Arteta?  The New Normal (2012).

By the way, the top photo is of Eric Nies, who has no connection to this movie, and has probably never even seen it.


  1. With 'The White Lotus' on HBO currently receiving A LOT of attention, I was wondering if you saw it and what your opinion of it is? It was written and directed by Mike White. I knew I recognized him when I saw the "behind the scenes' of the show. Then I found your blog. I saw 'Chuck and Buck' in the theaters and just thought it was a strange movie but very forgettable. Now I want to see it again just to see how cringe-worthy it was...lol

    1. No, I haven't seen it. I don't actually get HBO. Are there gay characters depicted as Peter Pans?

  2. No Peter Pans just your typical recovering drug addict older gay guy lusting after the young "straight" guys. It got a lot of press because of its graphic rimming scene with Murray Bartlett. This is the second limited series that Mike White has written/directed for HBO.

  3. I saw Chuck & Buck when it was in theatres and the only thing I remember is the pity blow job. Thank you for your article. I knew there was something wrong with the movie but just coming out of the closet, I didn't realise what it was until reading your article. Needless to say I have no desire to watch this movie again.


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