Jun 7, 2022

Going to Movies in 1992: Does Broderick Take His Shirt Off? Does Stallone Get a Girlfriend?

Nazarenes aren't allowed to go to movies, so when I left the Nazarene Church in 1978, I was in a theater once or twice a week, seeing over 50 per year.  But when I moved to West Hollywood, movie-going was considered weird, and even disreputable:  
1. It meant venturing away from West Hollywood into the straight world, which we avoided whenever possible.
2. Two guys sitting next to each other in a movie theater would draw attention (straight guys sat with a seat between them). You want to get beat up? 
3. Almost every movie was loaded down with homophobic slurs or swishy stereotypes, or both. Why pay to be insulted?
4. Almost every movie emphasized boy-girl romance.  Who wanted to see that? 
We rented a lot of VHS tapes.  We went to stage shows, drag shows, book readings, and gay film festivals. but we saw movies in the theater maybe a month, when there was an exceptionally hot star who might take his shirt off, or when there were rumors of gay subtexts.  

In 1992, for example, I saw only 11 movies in the theater:

January: Kuffs, about a high school dropout who becomes a cop, because there were life-size cardboard images of Christian Slater in all of the stores, and he wasn't bad looking.  Unfortunately, he doesn't take his clothes off, and there is a heteronormative ending, with Christian married with children.  

February: Stop, or My Mom Will Shoot!, because it starred Sylvester Stallone and Estelle Getty (Sophia on The Golden Girls) as a tough cop and his mom solving a murder.  It's widely considered one of the worst films of all time, even by Stallone himself, but his character doesn't get a girlfriend, which in West Hollywood made the movie a winner.  

My Cousin Vinny, because we heard that Ralph Macchio has a boyfriend, and indeed, the two New York college boys charged with murder in Alabama (Ralph, Michael Whitfield) can be read as a gay couple.  Of course, the actual stars are Joe Peschi as "my cousin Vinny" and Marisa Tomei as his girlfriend, but gay subtexts are gay subtexts.

April:  None.

Encino Man, because it starred the hunky Brendan Fraser, and we heard that he had a gay-subtext bond with Sean Astin.  However, the caveman (Brendan) has a girlfriend, and when he's frozen in ice for 40,000 years and revived in modern Los Angeles, he mostly helps a current high schooler (Sean) win the Girl of His Dreams. With lots of homophobic slurs to boot. Ugh.

May (second movie of the month!): Sister Act, because it starred Whoopi Goldberg.  She plays a Las Vegas singer on the run from her murderous ex-boyfriend, who hides in a convent, and saves the nuns by revitalizing the choir.  They turn old girl-group classics into religious songs: "Nothing you can say will keep me away from my God..."  And of course there's no heterosexual romance in a convent.

June: None

July: Cool World, because it starred Brad Pitt, and the promos promised a hilarious comedy that mixed humans and toons, like Who Framed Roger Rabbit?  It was actually forced, cynical, and unpleasant; plus there are two boy-girl human-toon romances.  Ugh!

August: Three Ninjas.  Gay men didn't usually go to kids' movies, for fear that some parent would accuse us of plotting to kidnap their kids.  I don't remember why we went to this one, but I remember being turned off by the attempts of one of the preteen ninjas to win the Girl of His Dreams.

Out on a Limb, because the promo showed Matthew Broderick naked (a title placard covering his naughty bits).  But we see his bare butt in the movie. Celebrity nudity was vanishingly rare in the 1990s, so it was worth watching a confusing, tonally discordant caper film.

September (second movie of the month!):
School Ties: A huge array of hunkoids, including Brendan Fraser, Matt Damon, Chris O'Donnell, Ben Affleck, Cole Hauser, and Anthony Rapp, in a plot about anti-Semitism in a posh private school in 1955.  No gay characters, of course, but in 1992 everyone assumed that Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were lovers, and anti-Semitism could stand in for homophobia. 

October: None

November:  The Crying Game: the only movie we saw that year with a LGBT character, the depressed, miserable trans girl Dil (Jaye Davidson), who doesn't tell her boyfriend until they're ready for sex.  The big reveal -- she has a penis! -- causes him to throw up, and resulted in panicked transphobes fleeing from the theater.  But we didn't mind -- all LGBT people in movies at the time were depressed and miserable, shrieking serial killers, or both.  Representation is representation.

Chaplin: A biopic of the famous silent-era comedian (Robert Downey Jr.).  I saw this on an airplane, and fell asleep through most of it, but I remember Charlie falling in love with the Girl of His Dreams, whom he tries to replace by marrying lots of other women.  Also Douglas Fairbanks is heterosexual; at the time I thought he was gay, but actually it was his son, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. 


  1. I saw plenty of movies with straight friends and we never left an empty seat between us-from that list "School Ties" is the one with most potential gay fantasy content- you know some of those guys had to be getting it on with each other

  2. We saw a lot of VHS tapes too, but more because I was a kid at the time. Movie, pizza, and Nintendo. What more could a kid in the early 90s want on a summer night?


No offensive, insulting, racist, or homophobic comments are permitted.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...