My Photo
Location: Kansas City, Missouri, United States

Doing my part to irritate Republicans, fundamentalists, bigots and other lower life forms.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

KweerWolf's Homo-Tastic Valentine's Day All-Gay Film Fest

OK, so I've been a tad heavy on the politics lately. In honor of Valentine's Day (or as I like to think of it "Make Us Single People Feel Like Crap" Day) here's a list of my favorite gay date movies. (Word to any the guy gays reading this: "Date" refers to a social custom in which two single people arrange to go out to an event such as dinner or a movie and should not under any circumstances be confused with the word "trick.")

10. "Trick" - Speaking of tricks, this 1999 comedy features two guys who meet and begin a frantic search all over Manhattan for a place to (ahem) "consumate." It's not as sleazy as it sounds. Actually, the title aside, it's a rather sweet commedy. And speaking of tricks, it pulls off a neat one by getting me to actually like a film in which Tori ("I Owe My Acting Jobs to My Daddy") Spelling plays a supporting role.

9. "The Broken Hearts Club" - Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. It can't decide between being a schmaltz fest or a gay soap opera and falls kind of flat by achieving neither goal, but that's what date movies are all about. It's also a movie a lot of its stars would probably hope you'd forget. Dean Cain who played Superman on TV and Zach Braff who stars in TV's "Scrubs" probably don't list it prominently on their resumes. Basically the plot is a bunch of gay stereotypes - the sensitive guy, the pretty boy who screws around, the drama queen, etc. - who all play on a gay softball team. Much "Mary"-ment ensues and John Mahoney, best known as Fraiser's dad on "Fraiser" has a few endearing moments in and out of drag.

8. "The Sum of Us" - The straight dad/gay son dynamic was never like this! Russell Crowe (yes, THAT Russell Crowe!) plays the gay son whose father is not only accepting, but downright supportive enough to teach even PFLAG parents a thing or two. This Australian movie was based on a stage play and, to its detriment, keeps some of the stage conventions such as Jeff's dad, played by Jack Thompson, speaking directly to the camera. That worked on the stage, but on film it's jarring. The film could have used some judicious editing since it drags in places ... but date movies need to drag a bit to give datees a chance to make out.

7. "Edge of Seventeen" - Plenty of teen angst to go around here, but it's definitely NOT "Dawson's Creek." Set in the summer of 1984, it's a gay coming-of-age story that will make even the most jaded queen remember the first time his heart was broken. Plus, my favorite butch dyke, Lea DeLaria, plays a small role in the movie!

6. "Green Plaid Shirt" - A small independent film from 1996 that charts the relationship of two men who meet and fall in love under the shadow of the AIDS epidemic. This is perhaps the best version of "boy-meets-boy, boy-loses-boy" I've ever seen ... and the best examination of the forces that tear people apart and keep them together.

5. "Jeffrey" - An AIDS comedy? You bet! This film started as an off-Broadway play (and still retains a bit of the play's clunkiness in places). Basically, the plot revolves around Jeffrey's (Steven Weber) vow to give up sex in the face of the AIDS epidemic. Then he meets and is pursued by handsome (and HIV+) hunk Michael Weiss. The supporting cast runs the gamut from great - Patrick Stewart of TV's "Star Trek: The Next Generation" as a interior decorator tossing a pastel sweater around his shoulder and complaining of looking like "a gay superhero" - to the sadly wasted (Nathan Lane as a gay priest). The movie may be wildly uneven, but when it's hitting on all cylinders, it's hysterical.

4. "Latter Days" - OK. I admit it. This one makes me cry every time I watch it. And to think when I first heard of this movie I thought, "Yuck! I'll pass!" The plot is simple: gay West Hollywood club kid Christian bets his co-workers he can seduce his neighbor, Mormon missionary Aaron, fresh out of Idaho. Steve Sandvoss as Aaron is a real gem! Plus there are strong supporting performances by Jacqueline Bisset as Christian's worldly and sympathetic boss and Mary Kay Place as Aaron's mother. Sure, the schmaltz factor gets a bit heavy at times; but if you watch this movie with a date and he doesn't at least get teary-eyed, dump the loser!

3. "Big Eden" - This is one of those movies gay guys either love or hate. I suspect those who hate it aren't able to see the movie as a (pardon the expression) fairy tale. A neurotic gay New York artist gets called back to Big Eden, Montanna, for a family emergency. While there he learns that the guy he had a crush on during high school is returning fresh from a divorce. Meanwhile the townsfolk watch the happenings and try to steer our hapless New Yorker toward the real Mr. Right. Big butch Montanna men playing cupid for a budding gay romance? Suspend your disbelief and just go with it. If you must, repeat to yourself, "It's only a fairy tale ... It's only a fairy tale."

2. "Drift" - Not many people have heard of this independent film from Asian-Canadian filmmaker Quention Lee. That's a shame. This is a brilliant film that examines the obsessive search so many gay men embark on for that perfect soulmate. The story (or stories, rather, since their are three all wrapped together) is simple: lovers Ryan and Joel met Leo at a party. Ryan feels a connection with Leo that he doesn't feel for his partner. What follows is the same story told with three different outcomes. It's a film where the story's simplicity ultimately becomes its most profound statement.

And the Number 1 all-time favorite gay date movie: "All Over the Guy" - In Hollywood, couples are supposed to meet in cute ways and share misadventures before they realize they were made for each other and settle down to a life of happily ever after. In this movie, Eli and Tom get set up on a blind date by their straight best friends. The date is a disaster (and who among us can't relate to that?) and much hilarity follows. But it doesn't follow the Hollywood formula. Before the final credits role, there's plenty of examination of the gay "dating" scene that's often as pointed as it is funny. As an added bonus, watch for Doris Roberts in a small role as a receptionist at an AIDS clinic.