Sep 21, 2023

Going to Movies in 1995: DiCaprio Gets Naked and Dies, Pacino Holds Hands and Dies, Devon Sawa Just Dies, and Thomas Dekker Lives


For the sake of completeness, I'm viewing the movies I saw in theaters in 1995.  There aren't many: I was thoroughly immersed in West Hollywood's gay culture, where venturing east of Fairfax, north of Sunset, or south of Melrose would result in raised eyebrows and whispered questions.  But if you wanted to see a movie, had to go north to Hollywood for Mann's Chinese Theater, or east on Sunset to the Cinerama Dome. Lane and I ventured out eight times.

January: None

February: Boys on the Side, because it was advertised as a comedy, boys.  Sorry, neither.  It's a depressing drama about three women friends.  One comes out as a lesbian and dies of AIDS (the seroconversion rate among lesbians is miniscule, but I guess gay people in 1990s movies always had to die).  Another goes to prison, but gets out and marries Matthew McConaughey (top photo). The third is Whoopie Goldberg.

March: None

: Village of the Damned, because Lane was a fan of the original science fiction novel, The Midwich Cuckoos.  Ten women in a small town give birth to alien children with weird psychic powers.  Superman Christopher Reeve plays the town doctor, who is trying to stop their nefarious plans.  Thomas Dekker, the only boy with human tendencies, became a teen idol and adult hunk.

May: Casper, because I grew up with the Harvey comics version.  Sigh -- where to begin?  In the comics, ghosts are not dead people; they are magical beings with regular lifespans.  Casper is a 1960s nonconformist, a hippie in a capitalist world.  And he is not interested in girls.  Here Casper (Devon Sawa) is a dead boy, the plot involves an inheritance, and he gets a girlfriend.  Yuck.

June: None

Clueless. Super-entitled rich girl falls for her socially-conscious ex-stepbrother.   En route, she tries to seduce classmate Christian (Justin Walker), but he turns out to be gay.  First clue: he's fashion-conscious.  Second clue: for their movie night, he rents Some Like It Hot and Spartacus;  Kicker: he refuses sex.  Two subplots involve other heterosexual romances.  

August: Jeffrey.  Gay guy who has sworn off sex due to a fear of AIDS changes his mind, due to the intervention of a gaggle of helpful heterosexuals. 

September: To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar.  Three drag queens descend upon a small town and solve everyone's problems.  In the four years since Silence of the Lambs,  Hollywood changed from drag queen as serial killer to drag queen as fairy godmother.  Quite an improvement.

October: None

 Total Eclipse, because it was about French poets Verlaine and Rimbaud, who were gay, and because it starred Leonardo DiCaprio whom we assumed was gay.  Except here Rimbaud is a bisexual predator who uses the established poet for his prestige, and pushes him into a BDSM relationship (in the movies, tying someone up is always portrayed as the nadir of decadence). And  he dies (of course, Rimbaud really did die at age 37, but here it seems like a punishment for being gay).  But if you want to see DiCaprio's wang, this is your chance: just grab a screenshot and magnify 400%.

Heat: A gay-subtext romance between cop Al Pacino and the criminal he's chasing, Robert DeNiro.  They even hold hands.


  1. I mean, in the 90s, a character could be intended to be gay, canonically have lots of sex partners of the opposite sex because of the risk of stereotyping but still have dialogue with a character of the same sex peppered with eroticism, and still be possessed and ultimately killed by his father who is just as canonically a child molester but we're supposed to believe he's the good guy.

    I didn't even see Casper. Yes, I was in the age demo to like Devon Sawa. No I didn't see it

    I did see Clueless. Not particularly funny, and of course "a man always wants it" was wearing thin in the 90s.

    I don't think modern audiences can appreciate To Wong Foo properly. This was quite the difference from drag queens in older movies, where they were serial killers and rapists.

  2. "To Wong Foo" has aged well


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