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F*&% the Prom (2017)
Oh dear, what a shame it didn't get better.
I so wanted this movie to be good, it held such promise from the subject and background, but oh dear what a shame, from a dismal start it didn't get any better.
The film goes full on the 'exaggerated' stereotypes, which could be offensive, indeed I think the producers wanted them to be so, to perhaps get them the 'edgy drama comedy so close to the line its exciting' side of the market. It didn't work. If you're going to use such stereotypes, to highlight the bullying that goes on in high-school, then do it with some class. Pushing the head of a dead pig in the face of an overtly Jewish kid isn't classy, isn't realistic and isn't clever. Same goes for having a gay kids locker filled with dildos, including one very realistic erect penis pointing directly to the characters mouth is going for the graphic humour of a movie aimed at adults rather than the 12-15 youth market this film was made for.
Every clique employed was played in such an exaggerated way that it ceased to be funny and was more on the border of cringe and offence, offence won out.
The acting, now without wishing to sound harsh, nor do I want to spout out negatives to the cast, however a good director would have taken some more takes to get a better performance from the actors. Indeed, perhaps some more direction would have made the performances either believable or more animated and less wooden. Let's not even mention the script, I guess the best thing about it weas the paper it was written on!
I wanted to end with a good reason to watch this movie, but, sorry, I can't find one, the only reason to watch this movie is if you're stuck on a plane flying somewhere and there is literally no other entertainment options!
My road trip adventures in a bus never matched this amazing tour.
A relatively low budget Australian film about drag queens took the world by storm, almost caused a riot at the Cannes film festival and drove a million young queens to the dressing up box in the hunt for sequins, sparkles and pink flip-flops! The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of The Desert gave us such classic lines as, "Just what this country needs, another cock in a frock on a rock!" and "Listen here you mullet, why don't you just light your tampon and blow your box apart, it's the only bang you're ever going to get, sweetheart"
It is without exception the best and arguably the most successful drag queen movie of all time, breaking box office records and capturing the top of the charts in numerous countries around the world. It was an Academy award winning extravaganza of glitter, glam and lip-syncing with the most outrageously camp costumes the world had seen outside Madame JoJo's or Funny Girls! Uproariously funny and yet deeply affecting it proved to be way more than just a camp outing of tried and tested queer humour.
The late eighties was a bit of a coming of age time for Australia's gay population, especially Sydney, it really came alive and blossomed into one of the bigger gay populations in the world. Australia has a reputation for all the big butch manly men, which considering how the modern nation of Australia started, would seem pretty accurate, only it's not, it's completely different, ever so much more vibrant and colourful. It is that vibrancy, that colour and that hopefulness that is so perfectly depicted in Priscilla.
Stephen Elliott, the director and writer, who incidentally has a small cameo in the movie as a cute door boy in Alice, says he saw drag shows in other places, like the US and England, which were essentially men in dresses lip-syncing to other peoples songs. In Australia they did the same, but took it in a completely new direction, it became a completely new strange variety of theatre, so much so that he even used to go to drag queen jelly wrestling, pushing the envelope to the maximum. It was this experience along with watching a drunken drag queen at the Sydney gay Mardi Gras, which gave birth to the movie idea, which took hardly any time at all to write.
From the very opening you know this film has deep rooted soul, first shots of Hugo as Mitzi mouthing the words to the poignant Charlene song, 'I've been to paradise, but I've never been to me' give the impression of an emotively sad song, yet this is so rapidly defused by the appearance of a lethargic priest and Felicia nursing a baby rubber chicken. You have left in no doubt after that that is no ordinary Australian movie and the jokes and gags just tumble on from there in rapid succession. However it's not all giggles, there are some key moments of high emotion - seeing the graffiti sprayed on the side of the bus in pink paint the morning after shocks the trio along with the audience and strikes a chord with those of old enough to have lived through a time of such prejudice and discrimination and how true those word seem when they ring in our ears, that no matter how tough we think we are, such things still hurt.
There are deeply moving scenes, such as the gay bashing of Felicia and the confrontation between Mitzi and his son in Alice, which really seem seep through the comedy to dance in your heart and make you fall in love with the film. ￼ One of the key aspects of the movie is the superb casting; Terrence Stamp previously typecast as your typical British villain, took a risk on the role of Bernadette and knocked it out of the water in a downbeat, down trodden put upon yet completely resilient way. Hugo Weaving is the less visually striking member of the trio and the central character of Mitzi, who really is the lynch pin between the two worlds. The role of Felecia is taken by the simply stunning Guy Pearce who had literally just left long running soap Neighbours, in which he played goodie two shoes Mike and was an inspired choice and oh so pretty. Guy's superb performance takes the movie to new heights and is so good that the he has had trouble-convincing people he is actually straight in real life, even to this day. Bill Hunter a massive Australian character actor shines outstandingly as the gruff and butch Bob, the mechanic and unlikely love interest for one of the three.
Priscilla is a beautiful magical combination of humour, catty bitchiness, kitsch costumes, stunning disco soundtrack and subtle sentiment with provocative thoughtful scenes and a delicate brush of honesty. Some jokes are obvious so too is the stereotypical veneer of the characters upon first glance, yet look a little deep as the film rolls on, you see more and more layers being unpeeled and exposed in a gently moving and comical way. It is one of the most enjoyable gay movies of all time; each subsequent viewing cements that sentiment further into fact. Read more and find out where this film made it in the Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time book, search on Amazon for Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time, or visit - http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007FU7HPO
The Birdcage (1996)
Put simply this is a glitzy, colourful, modern remake of La Cage aux Folles in which Robin Williams stars as the hairy and sweaty Armand, South Beach drag club owner alongside the incomparable Nathan Lane as the star and Armund's lover and partner Albert.
Just like the original version, their lives are turned upside down and inside out when Armund's son, Val, comes home to announce he is getting married to an ultra-conservative senator's daughter called Barbara. Everything goes haywire and speeds up to comic high gear when those future in-laws come down to meet their daughters intended and his family. Scandal is what the senator wants to avoid at the great cost, you cannot blame him, and his co-founder of the coalition for moral order partnership has just been found dead in the bed of an underage black prostitute.
There are laughs a plenty when first Armund and then Albert try and play it butch, they desperately need a woman and it's so not often you hear a couple of middle aged gay men scream that! In steps the wonderful and delightful Christine Baranski who always lights up the screen with a presence that is electrifying. However, is life that simple, that easy? You bet your sweet little arse it ain't!
Barbara tells her parents that Armand is a cultural attaché to Greece, whilst Albert is a housewife, and that they divide their time between Greece and Florida. It is only a little white lie really, just as changing their last name from Goldman to Coleman is. The evening of the meeting arrives, the apartment above the drag club is transformed from gay paradise to near austere monastery, Val's real mother, Katherine (Baranski) is held up by traffic and a boat and out pops Albert as a wonderful creation of freakishly good yet awfully bad middle-aged mother. Armand and Val are both horrified at first but have no option to go along with the façade, which for some bizarre reason in this movie world works. More jokes, no proper meal and the most amazing china dinner service of naked boys playing leap- frog and still the senator and his wife do not catch on. Until that is at the door arrives Katherine, introducing herself as Val's mother and the whole charade is shot to pieces, just as TV news crews arrive out front
How on earth can the senator and his wife leave the drag club without some kind of mass scandal erupting and ending his political career? The answer is simple, drag up and we are treated to the wonderful scene of Gene Hackman in a dress making the late great Bea Arthur look as feminine as a virginal princess.
It is a great feel good movie, full of lightness, the jokes and funny situation fire by in rapid succession that you will probably not catch them all on the first viewing. Robin William's is superb as the nightclub owner even if he does sweat profusely at times and almost cracks up completely in the kitchen scene with the houseman come butler. I adore Nathan Lane, with his scene stealing 'Starina' performance and utter camp flamboyant majesty. Gene Hackman is equally good as the chocolate addicted extreme right wing senator with his sour face and dry delivery.
As a modern re-make of a seventies classic it is both successful and complimentary, it also stands up on its own, which is a jolly good job, and for I am sure, the vast majority of its audience would not have seen La Cage aux Folles. Sure, it is lightweight, sure, it plays a little to stereotype, but it goes beyond them, reaching in to the human side and honest inner core aspect admirably. It is outrageously camp, unashamedly so, blatantly exotic and wonderfully charming, a great feel good movie. Read more and find out where this film made it in the Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time book, search on Amazon for Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time, or visit - http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007FU7HPO
No Short Measures With Shortbus
Shortbus the 2006 American sexually charged comedic drama shocked and delighted audiences around the world, it has since gone down in history as one of the most sexually explicit films ever to be granted a general distribution certificate by film boards around the world. There is no skirting the issue, this is an explicit movie, it has full on sex which is as real as the bodily fluids that get spurted on faces and bodies, although not pictures. However, before you jump to the conclusion this is just hard-core porn by another name, be aware that it was written and directed by respected filmmaker John Cameron Mitchel, him from Hedwig fame and it transcends normal sexually explicitness with a deeply affecting storyline and a journey of self-discovery.
It achieved a worldwide box office total or around $5.5 million, although DVD sales have way more than matched that, it also went to win many awards at various festivals all over the world and was critically acclaimed, at least in the most part. It certainly has gained a fair slice of publicity for the many actors in the film, not least the lovely Jay Brannan, who plays Ceth and has a song on the soundtrack, the deceptively deep SodaShop. His infectious smile, simpering nervous giggle and delicate voice hint at a vulnerability that makes everyone want to look after him, before or after they shag him senseless.
John Cameron Mitchell bases the plot around an endearing sex therapist/couples counsellor Sofia Lin in New York City, she is married to the dishy but dim Rob who has amazingly potent and dexterous contortionist sex, yet there is a problem. One of the couples seeking counselling she encounters is James, allegedly a former rent boy and Jamie a former child actor, they need to communicate more, however in the common cruel twist of therapy it is the clients that come to help the therapist. She confides in them that although she is a sex, sorry couple's therapist, she is pre-orgasmic; meaning she's never had an orgasm, not ever! To help her hunt for the big O, they invited her to the freakishly good underground sexually expressive artistic boutique like salon they go to called Shortbus!
The host of Shortbus, the club is an infamous New York entertainer, Justin Bond, who helps Sofia open her eyes and her mind to all the new experiences around her, of which there are plenty. Not least of all a mass orgy scene of writing naked bodies engaging in all manner couplings and sexual expressions, even the director is somewhere in the mêlée of human flesh on display. She strikes up a friendship with a dominatrix whore by the name Severin, who we saw earlier in a side scene whipping her client to surprising and incredibly far reaching conclusion.
One of the guests at the salon is a young handsome model come singer by the name of Ceth, who is seen using a hand-held device to find a suitable mate, gosh sounds so familiar to these days when gay guys about town are switching on their mobile smart phones and turning to Grindr! What's the about art imitating life? Anyway, that flunks out and he meets James and Jamie and jingle jangle sparks fly and we have ourselves a funky threesome of fine fanciable fellas.
All this is closely watched by a stalker kind of character, which does not quite make a whole ton of sense, but then this is the movies and anything can happen, although on the DVD you will find excess deleted scenes which exemplify this character with an even more implausible line of story as an assistant to the US President. The hard on three-way sex scene between Jamie, James and Ceth is one of the best and one of the funniest sexual explorations I have ever seen in a film of this sort. It is erotic, exotic, sexy yet also strangely empowering and thus works on many levels and I wonder how many people have since gone on to use a penis as a microphone and sung a national anthem into such a place? I don't know about you, but I think I noticed a few bum notes! ￼ It has an interesting and charming cast, from sad song singer Jay Brannan as the delightfully giggly Ceth, to PJ DeBoy and Paul Dawson as Jamie and James. I adored Canadian radio star Sook-Yin Lee as Sofia Lin who excels at this role and performs with such understated passion and honesty that I was practically feeling her orgasm with her. Raphael Barker is the cheeky straight boy next door, the jock with a heart, Rob and is interesting to watch. Peter Stickles is exemplary as the stalker character and I feel almost betrayed that the bizarre deleted scenes were not in the final cut of the movie, such is the ability of that actor. Justin Bond should be credited for a fine performance, how I would love to have him at my next garden party. A small, but nonetheless significant role was that of the former New York mayor, played by Alan Mandell, who spoke so eloquently and for older gay folk everywhere with aplomb. Read more and find out where this film made it in the Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time book, search on Amazon for Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time, or visit - http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007FU7HPO
Torch Song Trilogy (1988)
They don't make 'em like this anymore....
Harvey Fierstein started performing as a drag artist in Manhattan clubs from the age of 15; even before that age he knew he was just a bit different. He became widely known on the New York club circuit and was more often than not to be found playing drag roles in off off Broadway shows. Following a bad break-up Harvey set about writing a play detailing the difficult and painful experience, this became the play 'The International Stud' and was presented in New York during 1976. The play introduced the character of Arnold Beckoff to the world, writing a further two semi-autobiographical plays about Arnold's life. Eventually Harvey conjoined and amalgamated these three plays into just one, 'Torch Song Trilogy' which, had its stage debut off off Broadway in 1981, where it ran for almost 1230 performances.
Torch Song Trilogy was adapted from stage for cinema and came out in 1998, directed by Paul Bogart and not surprisingly starring Harvey as Arnold Beckoff. Also included in the cast were Brian Kerwin, sexy stunner Matthew Broderick, screen legend Anne Bancroft and infamous American female impersonator Charles Pierce.
The play version ran for over four hours, something not possible in film and thus many cuts, exclusions and edits had to be employed to bring it down to a studio demanded running time of two hours. Without wishing to ignore the onset of AIDS whilst also not wishing to alter the entire fabric of the story the time line of the movie was shifted back several years, started in 1971.
It is a deeply affecting film, emotional and funny to the extreme and yet it works marvellously well, which I am sure is thanks mainly to the authentic way Harvey tells it as Arnold. There are such wonderful moments, high drama, deep sadness and almost unbridled joy, that watching Torch Song Trilogy could be considered of riding on a roller coaster of emotions. However, that should be seen as and is indeed a good thing; it allows you scope to feel things that perhaps you had not even noticed in yourself, or others. It gives you the power to see the good and bad in the characters of others, in all our Technicolor differences.Read more and find out where this film made it in the Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time book, search on Amazon for Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time, or visit - http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007FU7HPO ￼
A Single Man (2009)
A Simple Triumph
Colin Firth heads a superb cast in this delightful motion picture drama based upon the sensitive poignant Christopher Isherwood novel 'A Single Man'. An exquisitely created cinematic debut from director Tom Ford that floats effortlessly along an agonisingly sorrowful tale of love, life and death.
Wonderfully shot in just three weeks this film is achingly beautiful film takes place on 30th November 1962 revolving around a day in the life of emotionally challenged English professor teaching at a Los Angeles college at a time of the Cuban missile crisis. The award winning Colin Firth takes up the lead role of George Falconer, a native Englishman, now residing under the Californian sun, who is finding the going a little tough. It has only been eight months since Jim, his beloved partner of sixteen years died in a terrible car accident. An event that still haunts George on a daily basis, even though he wasn't there at the time of the accident. The only reason Jim and George were not together at the time of the crash was that Jim was on his way to visit his horribly homophobic and stuffy family. Colin Firth shows his true ability as master craftsman of this acting business in a tear- making scene back at the time of the accident when Jim's family inform him of the accident, death and the fact that he is not welcome at the funeral. Mr Firth plays such rapid flux of emotions from concern to shock, pain, anger and total obliteration with just his eyes and face as few others have the ability and skill to even attempt, let alone triumph. All the way through the film, there is a delicate and gentle narration from Firth as George, which provides tender insights highlighting the story.
The film then follows the emotionally charged and surprisingly full last day in Georges life. There are so many moments of pure beauty that it would take a months worth of Sundays to list them all here, yet I've never seen such a film that held 100% of my attention 100% of the time.
There is even a brief little cameo appearance from Don Bachardy in one scene, Don was the long-time partner of Christopher Isherwood, and according to Tom Ford, was a great help during the writing of the screenplay. In the scene he's in, he wears Isherwood's lucky red socks!
It is a deeply moving drama, heavily accented with sorrow and depression, yet delicately light and compelling from start to finish. I am not always a fan of slipping into black and white to indicate the recollection of memories in movies, however the delicate and enchanting colour changes here are perfect and tell the story of emotion in visual beautifully. Such exquisite cinematography and intelligent scripting and interpretations helped ensure box office and critical success for this 2009 dramatic masterpiece of love and longing. The fact that this was Tom Ford's first outing as a director and he financed the entire film himself is incredible and amazing and he should be applauded and celebrated for creating something so utterly magical and compelling. The setting, sets, scenery, costumes and musical score are all wonderful aspects of a movie made with care, attention and I dare say a big dollop of love, so perfect are they all, either in isolation or together. I am trying to find fault with this film, but such a task is proving difficult, I will settle with the fact that it was not long enough and for me could have been eked out another ten minutes or so! Seriously, it is a faultless movie and whilst the influence it offers is still relatively limited due to its recent nature, I am sure it will be felt for years to come. It achieved an impressive total of £16 million approximately at the box office. I would also add that maybe this has set a bar in terms of quality that other serious mid-budget films will forever onward have to match to be considered truly great. Read more and find out where this film made it in the Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time book, search on Amazon for Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time, or visit - http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007FU7HPO
My Beautiful Laundrette (1985)
Still The Best Laundrette In Town
Critically acclaimed, My Beautiful Laundrette is a true masterpiece of British cinema, a remarkable film detailing a collide of cultures, minds and values set against a backdrop of Thatcher's troubled and dysfunctional Britain. The incredible images, impressive camera work, superb cinematography combined with an epic screen play with intricately created dialogue of a highly charged and provocative story make this one of the greatest British films, not just of the eighties, but of all time.
Directed by Stephen Frears and written by Hanif Kureishi, My Beautiful Laundrette took the world by storm in 1985/86 for its portrayal of gay love, homophobia, racism, capitalism and colliding cultures in such a vibrant and honest way. It was truly a landmark film and for any gay teenager growing up in the 80's a tour de force of hope and possibility. It seemed to come with such authentic honesty that many at the time believed it must have come from the mind of a gay man; however, Hanif Kureishi the writer was a heterosexual male with an incredible vision and remarkable ability.
Essentially this is the story of life, love and passion, a love story set during rapidly changing society during a time of great differences between those that have and those that didn't and those trying to moving between the two.
Described like this, it is perhaps hard to see why it was such an important and landmark film, yet it managed to encapsulate all the tensions of the economically troubled times with panache and tenacious realistic style. There are numerous aspects of importance at work here, not least the prejudicial racial tensions, demonstrated on both sides of the English / Asian divide, which were oh so common during those days of Thatcher's Britain. Homophobia ran rampant and unchallenged by authority indeed it was practised most by the Tory government and so homosexuality was also a key ingredient to this film along with the rather matter of fact way it was presented, which left little room for argument. There are also issues evolving around the merging of Asian ancestral behavioural and cultural loyalties with the British way of living, which often does not run smoothly. As this was originally a 'made for TV' movie it could quite easily have descended into soap opera and over sentimentality, yet it managed to stay way above that line, thankfully so. Also with comedic touches here and there it is prevented from falling into a possible gloomy pit of self-obsessed depression, again this is a fine testament to the skills of both the writer and director. My Beautiful Laundrette remains to this day a wonderful and remarkable piece of British cinema.Read more and find out where this film made it in the Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time book, search on Amazon for Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time, or visit - http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007FU7HPO
Parting Glances (1986)
Dated But Parting Glances Emotions Endure
Parting Glances was made in 1984 and had a somewhat limited release in 1986 and is without a doubt a powerful and important film in the genre that is gay cinema. It was one of the very first American films to feature the then relatively new disease of HIV/AIDS at a time when much was still unknown about the disease and prejudice against it was at its highest. Bill Sherwood, the writer and director passed away from an AIDS related complication in 1990, Parting Glances was his first and last film.
The main aspect of the story focuses on a New York gay couple, Robert and Michael, in their twenties. Robert is heading off on an incredibly long assignment for the World Health Organisation to deepest darkest and most isolated Africa, Michael, his partner, is staying behind. The film is set out over the two days prior to Robert's departure, with some scenes taking place at an amusing farewell party hosted by the couple's friend, Joan. Some other scenes take place at a dinner party thrown by Richard's unconventional boss and there is a whole bulk with Nick, an old friend and ex-lover of Michael's who happens to be living with AIDS.
The script is fun, witty, exciting and interesting, some of the lines given to the character of Nick are so sharp they cut the dialogue like acid through skin, they really are that potent. There are many different character types populating the movie, especially at the party scenes, which show off New York's society rather well and make you hanker for a live in Manhattan in the early eighties.
Parting Glances was one of the first movies to deal with the subject of AIDS in such a frank, direct and honest way, which for the time was a real revelation. It did not gloss over, nor shy away from the implications or the savagery associated with the disease, at a time when everything like it was still new. There are some deeply searching moments, not least when Nick talks of the decadent and hedonistic days back in the freedom of the seventies creeping into the early eighties. This low budget but important film was made on a budget of a couple of dollars over $40,000, which in movie terms is not even the shell on a peanut. The shooting was completed in a whirlwind seven days, which is remarkable to say the least, you'd certainly not think it was made that quickly when you watch it.
I am fond of this movie, it may seem a little dated at first, but then we are going back almost thirty years since it was made, so it is bound to show some signs of age. Yet, through an exceptionally shrewd script and some talented acting the complexities and nuances of the human relationships shine on the screen, yes even now, after all this time, they still have the power to move. I would suggest a couple of viewings are required to get the full impact of this film to the innocent virginal viewer, otherwise you might not catch some of the intriguingly witty throw away lines peppering the dialogue. Read more and find out where this film made it in the Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time book, search on Amazon for Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time, or visit - http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007FU7HPO
Profound, entertaining and charming.
￼ Quite simply one of the most exquisitely cinematic explorations of gay love that has ever created produced by Ismail Merchant, directed by James Ivory and adapted from the classic E. M. Forster novel, Maurice is a true masterpiece.
A quintessentially English example of love between men in the early 20th century at a time when homosexuality was still illegal and persecution was everywhere. This delightfully considered and delicately fragrances tale starts with a windswept walk along the beach for an eleven-year-old Maurice Hall and his bumbling although well-meaning school master Mr Ducie, played by a darling of the British theatre scene and all round nice guy, Simon Callow. Mr Ducie tries to explain the rudimentary "sacred mysteries" of sexual intercourse with the aid of sand drawings to the fatherless young man on the very periphery of puberty. Years later, in 1909, Maurice Hall is attending Cambridge, striking up friendships with aristocratic Lord Risley and the jolly lip smacking lovely Clive Durham. Durham, played by a devilishly handsome and not yet type cast Hugh Grant who seems to fall quite madly in love with the long tall blonde Maurice Hall, and who could really blame him. He surprises Maurice by fessing up to his emotions, which take young Maurice on the hop a bit. At first, he is muddled and confused by the declaration, yet soon comes to realise and accept he has similar feelings for his friend. Maurice is sent down, leaves under a cloud from the academic hot seat of Cambridge and yet, he maintains a strong friendship with Clive Durham. Maurice, with a little help, finds work embarking on an unrewarding career as a London stockbroker. A big fat spanner is thrown well and truly into the workings of a 'happy ever after' life when our two platonic lovers get frightened as university chum Lord Risley is not only arrested, but also sentenced to six months hard labour. His crime was supposedly soliciting sex from dashing army soldier, who may well have been up for it at the time!
Maurice is heartbroken he cant have Clive who is now set to marry, he seeks to rid himself of his gay feelings. Maurice and his aloof ways come to the attention of the supposedly uneducated under- gamekeeper working on Durham's country estate. How Maurice fails to notice the adorable Alec Scudder, played supremely by Rupert Graves is a mystery to all bar himself, yet the young handsome manly servant is not put off. One rainy evening a few nights later, Scudder risks everything and yet nothing by climbing a ladder and into Maurice's bedroom, they kiss and spend most of the night 'getting to know' each other.
Long-term joys are not on the horizon, in just a couple of days Alec Scudder is booked on a passage to a new life in the new world. Somehow, Scudder misses the boat, confusion reigns supreme for a good long while. Maurice muddled by everything confesses all to Clive Durham who understands little and off Maurice trots to the boathouse. Oh, the rapture and the wonder then he find dear young Scudder there, waiting for him. It's bewilderingly romantic and powerfully affecting, Scudder apparently sent a telegram to Maurice, though it was never received, informing him that he'd left his family and the chance of a new life overseas to stay with Maurice and telling him to come to the boathouse. They melt into each other's arms and the effervescent glow of love surrounds them in a bubble of happiness as Scudder whispers "Now we shan't never be parted."
Oh, how I wanted my own Scudder, or indeed to be someone else's Scudder when I first saw Maurice back in 1987 or 88, such was the magnificence and beauty of the story. The stunning production qualities, wonderful photography and cinematography in plump richness, exuberant colour with the finest of details all ensure this is one of the finest costume period drama ever made. Gay or otherwise! Forster wrote this mainly between 1913 and 1914, yet it was only published for the first time in 1971 a full year after his death. Forster himself was reticent about its publication mainly because of the legal and public attitudes towards homosexuality at the time. Indeed, a handwritten note on the original manuscript allegedly said "Publishable, but worth it?" He wanted it to have a happy ending, not the one made up in the film version, but perhaps one of the Scudder and Maurice years later as a pair of woodcutters, having lived a long and happy life together, although this epilogue of sorts was discarded by Forster himself.
Many academic types, including those at Kings College, believe Maurice to be a substandard Forster novel, compared with A Passage to India and Howards End. They very nearly did not give permission for the film to be made, or indeed shot on location at Kings. Thankfully, they relented, and the world could enjoy a cinematic masterpiece, filmed in part, where Forster himself would have walked during his days at Cambridge.
James Wilby and Hugh Grant excel as Maurice and Clive; indeed many still believe this to be Grant's career best performance. Rupert Graves is magnificent as the beautiful Alec Scudder. In addition, there is a potent supporting cast including Denholm Elliott, Simon Callow, Billie Whitelaw and Ben Kingsley.
This movie had a profound impact on my early teenage years, not only igniting a love of literature but also in my acceptance of sexuality, profoundly moving, entertaining and liberating. There are parts now, even after all these years, still make me swoon and moisten my eyes.Read more and find out where this film made it in the Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time book, search on Amazon for Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time, or visit - http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007FU7HPO
Longtime Companion (1989)
Ground breaking in its time, now an education of times past.
Longtime Companion was perhaps one of the very first movies to put a face, heart and soul to the epidemic of HIV/AIDS at a time when movie makers as well as society as a whole, ran as fast as they could away from not only the disease itself, but also those that had it. For that, alone it should be congratulated and celebrated. Head on it tackled the issues without glitz or glamour and with an authentic honesty of emotion and interaction that is quite breath taking.
Essentially, Longtime Companion is the story of how life takes a sudden change for a group of gay friends from the very onset of the whole HIV/AIDS crisis in 1981. Back then the New York Times carried an article that mentioned an outbreak of a 'rare cancer' in the gay community, often termed 'gay cancer' which was tragedy in itself as it shielded the actual method of transmission of the illness that was spreading with alarming speed. During the film we travel with the group of friends from the streets of New York to the hedonistic freedoms of Fire Island where the mentality of 'it couldn't happen to me' 'you can't catch a cancer' ruled the heads of many.
Nobody was invincible and nobody was immune to the onslaught of this new horrific disease, which is exposed to the full in this highly charged and emotive film. Coming as it did in 1989/90 it was the first time that a vast majority of its audience had seen beyond the all too often misleading newspaper headlines, it was especially heart wrenching. There is not a particular plot line to follow, except watching with tear festooned eyes the lives of a whole circle of friends crumble and falter in the face of illness and death. There are few punches held back, nor emotions left unstirred as the action takes place at a reasonably fast pace. Many critics at the time had issues with the clinical approach of the piece, but those issues are unfounded and groundless.
Longtime Companion gives a wonderful vent to the sense of confusion, misinformation and huge sense of loss that existed at the time. It is only with the benefit of hindsight that we see how tragically accurate this was. I firmly believe this should have been mandatory viewing in secondary schools during the early nineties for the way in which it dealt with homosexuality, relationships, and the whole HIV/AIDS crisis from its early beginnings. It would have done so very much more than a pathetic iceberg and a strap-line of 'Don't die of ignorance' that was pretty much all the UK got in the way of warning and advice,
One of the amazingly beneficial aspects of Longtime Companion is the matter of fact style of presentation was see the story unfold, some have even said it a shadow of 'documentary' which is no bad thing. We see the lives of men cut down in their prime, of devastated lovers and partners, of a whole community decimated and challenged, which was exactly the reality of the times. Read more and find out where this film made it in the Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time book, search on Amazon for Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time, or visit - http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007FU7HPO
There should be more like this...
The Catholic League for religious and civil rights was so outraged by this film they called for all of their members to boycott it and all other products from Disney. The Catholic Church in Ireland sought to have the film banned and battled with the Irish film censors, who eventually let the film come out with an 18 certificate. It deals directly with the hypocrisies of the Roman Catholic Church head on, from remorselessly casting aside vows to god, upholding the seal of secrecy of the confessional condoning as it does incestuous sexual abuse, denunciation and dismissal of homosexuality and homosexuals. A clear part of the story here in Priest is that according to the catholic church it is OK to sexually abuse your daughter, as long as you say a couple of Hail Mary's afterwards. Sin is awful and bad, unless of course, it is the priest doing it and then, hey it is all right after all.
There are some impressive performances at play during Priest, not least Father Greg Pilkington – Linus Roach and his love interest, Graham played by Robert Carlyle. They are compelling to watch as they compassionately confront the situations they they must endure in the story, a real triumph of ability. Tom Wilkinson who plays the old and sinning Father is absolutely wonderful and chilling at the same time, such is the authenticity of his performance. The gritty realism aspect is perhaps not surprising as the screenplay was written by none other than Jimmy McGovern, so you know it's going to have more layers than an onion and just the same amount of bite. Read more and find out where this film made it in the Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time book, search on Amazon for Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time, or visit - http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007FU7HPO
Another Country (1984)
A True Classic
A magnificent enchanting and deeply touching tale of class and hypocrisy surrounding the young inhabitants of a history English public school. This is a highly moving expose of the supposed teenage school days of infamous spy Guy Burgess is rich, deep and luxurious. It is aesthetically pleasing with authentic although slightly mixed locations and the moody atmospherics employed heighten the enjoyment factor no end. The running undercurrents of class, breeding, expectation and tradition are the key features of this moving and entertaining story showing the underbelly of a traditionally British educational establishment.
Rupert Everett stars as both an old Guy Bennett in a small apartment in snowy cold Moscow recounting his school days to a young female writer as well as the fresh faced young man he was in 1931. His performance bristles with the authenticity of class and ability. He is perfect as the too clever by half and defiantly too clever for his own good schoolboy Guy heading toward his last year of school, hoping to receive the adulation and power of school god. Such dizzy heights seem well within his grasp, after all, this is what his entire school days have been building up to, plus it's the level his ancestry achieved in generations gone by.
His best friend is the broodingly attractive Marx reading communist loving Tommy Judd, played with skill and passion by the young Colin Firth, already demonstrating the skills that have taken him to the very top of the British acting profession. Guy and Tommy are friends, mainly because they are on the outside of the establishment, in that they simply don't follow the accepted norms of behaviour. Guy simply for his open homosexuality and Judd for his communist Marxist leanings and beliefs. Their friendship is one of surprising depths, based on mutual respect and affection, a respect that would later have far-reaching implications. The public school setting of the 1930's could really be anywhere in the United Kingdom and at any decade of the last one hundred and fifty years or so, such is the timeless charm of tradition, still played out in many schools up and down the country to this day. A master on his way somewhere hears a noise and stumbled upon Martineau, an endearingly cute blonde haired lad and a boy from another house engaged on a sexual act in one of the school changing rooms. It is a mutual act, which we are lead to believe is commonplace in the darker places of a school of this type and time and is usually ignored, a blind eye turned to it. However, there are no blind eyes when it comes to the masters and Martineau faces expulsion for the most scandalous of reasons, a fate he just cannot allow to endure. Thus, the poor troubled boy takes his own life in the school chapel.
Master and pupils alike are aghast at this course of action and they must pull together to prevent a scandal striking at the school, for all their sakes, they pull ranks and tighten the positions and time to rule with a rod of steel. What follows is essentially a power-based annihilation of homosexuality that may or may not be prevalent in each house of the school. Bennett, who is rather more open than most about his preference, is subject to increased scrutiny and investigation. The unspoken message seems to be that no gay boy will be allowed as a school god; it is a simple as that. No commies and no queers..... Read more and find out where this film made it in the Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time book, search on Amazon for Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time, or visit - http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007FU7HPO
Latter Days (2003)
Perfectly Moving Movie
This roller coaster of a movie has you up one minute almost wetting yourself with laughter and then almost blubbering like a schoolgirl into a snotty hanky the next. Put simply it is a modern day gay love story, but it is so much more than that, taking a look at uniting love from different sides of a religious divide as it does. It had mixed reactions from the critics when it was released in 2003/4 and barely broke even on the production costs, yet it garnered many awards from various lesbian and gay film festivals from all over the world.
Briefly Latter Days is the love story of Aaron Davis, played by Steve Sandvoss and Christian Markelli acted by Wes Ramsey who come from different sides of the religious tracks, so much so that it might as well be different worlds. It's these seemingly insurmountable differences that provide the bulk of the films content, substance and emotion. Aaron is a young Elder of the Mormon Church Of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints, yep a Mormon missionary, he desperately wants to do his family proud and is quite passionate about his religion, he's also passionate about film. He is sent to the big bad city of Los Angeles with three fellow missionaries to preach the word of god, Mormon style. These three men of 'god' move into an apartment next door to Christian and his roommate Julie, who are both waiters with dreams, she's a singer and he's a err party boy!
At first glance, Christian seems a rather shallow character who only looks forward to shagging a new guy every night. This shallow and emotional carefree existence is amplified no end when he makes a $50 bet with a work colleague that he will bed one of the three newly arrived missionaries before the end of the month. He works fast and latches on to Aaron, the most inexperienced missionary and makes an assumption he has a closet gay guy. Now there are a few problems from here on for the two heroes of the piece, firstly Christian is falling for Aaron, secondly Aaron thinks Christian is a shallow 'shag anything' sort of guy and thirdly, most importantly the Mormon church doesn't do gay very well.
What follows is a tangled tale of battles and woe as first they are discovered in a romantic clinch and their love and sexual identity is forced out in the open. A cavalcade of emotion erupts for the two, as they have to go through the emotional ringer with things like regret, loss; perseverance, forgiveness and courage which all vie for mental head-space. Is it going to be a happy ending, can love conquer such a vast religious divide? I suppose you will just have to watch the film to find out, all I will say is it is a well-crafted picture laying emotion down thick, fast and heavy and really should have got a better reaction that it originally amassed. The story is well written and put together in a completely honest, frank and believable way. There are several issues raised during the course of the movie regarding not just gay, but any relationships where such a religious obstacle and difference is in place. For me, the movie only works because of that, take it away and you are left with little more than candy-floss. It is a passionate little film, with a passionate and powerful story to tell and I am so glad they made it. The Toronto Sun said it was "The most important gay movie of the last few years" whereas the LA Times chimed in with "At once romantic, earthy and socially critical. Latter Days is a dynamic film filled with humour and pathos". I for one cannot argue with those sentiments for as I said before the film is a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Gary Booher of Affirmation – a lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gender Mormon organisation praised the films accuracy "It was so realistic that it was scary. I felt exposed as the particulars of my experience and of others I know was brazenly spread across the big screen for all to behold" Those thoughts are echoed the bucket loads of positive comments received from former Mormons, excommunicated from the church because of their sexuality. It really is a powerful and honest emotive film about a subject that is not often covered in gay or even mainstream cinema. Read more and find out where this film made it in the Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time book, search on Amazon for Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time, or visit - http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007FU7HPO
Get Real (1998)
Get Real This Is A Rite Of Passage Movie With A Real Kick
This is one of the best gay coming of age drama's to come out of the British movie industry in recent times, well if 1999 can be considered recent? It created quite a stir on the film festival circuits including Edinburgh, Toronto and Sundance. Pulled in acclaim and derision in equal measure from that odd bread of human called movie critics, yet were not quite so divided and loved this kooky British story of love and coming out from 1999.
Sixteen year-old lanky Steven Carter is a boy with a secret, he cannot tell anyone he likes boys and not girls, except of course his slightly chubby best pal Linda, who seems old before her years. Oh and the occasional older bloke he picks up at the various public bogs around town, just to add that sleazy aspect to gay life that movies like to hit with. He wants to be a writer (Don't we all sugar!) and is already on the school newspaper team.
He also cannot tell anyone that he has the hot's for John, the school hunk and head boy, who without out a doubt would be called a jock if this were an American made picture. He's the sporty handsome guy with prospects that your mum longed for you to bring home after school or before a date, except he's straight. John's current squeeze is a model, but he is not short of admirers, seems the whole school get moist whenever he is around.
Before long, John and Steven finally meet, not at school, but in the cubicle of the local cottage, weird, odd, yes, I mean how many times do you strike up relationships with people you bump into during a random fumble in the dirty park bogs? However, hey, this is fiction and these sorts of things happen, besides, it helps the story develop and I am not being harsh, just honest. So anyway, as I say they strike up a friendship away from the seedy toilet sex and I don't mean swapping Match sticker cards at break time either, it's a full on love fest. However, this is Britain, supposedly modern times, this is school and John is supposedly straight, so they've got to keep their little romantic liaison secret, but as we all know, with secrets come lies and deceit and what a tangled web we weave when trying to keep our private life away from public eyes.
There is a lovely little scene at the school prop when they dance with each other with their eyes alone, in reality, they are dancing with their respective prop dates, but their eyes are locked on each other, which is both touching and oddly strange. However, things all work themselves out in the end, with a few little spills along the way. It really is a nice little film, even though I seem to knock it a bit, it has some important messages, not least when it raises the spectre of homophobic bullying and the harsh bitter reality of classroom taunts and sports field aggression. Dark and light go together in this film, with comic moments and serious situations simmer along side by side quite nicely. There are some weak jokes in the script that reply on old and overused campy gags you would expect from Julian Clary or Graham Norton.
Not often will a films DVD cover give the whole game away, usually it's just a slight flavour, but Get Real seems to not want you to watch by spelling out in American lingo most of the films plots and interests on the cover 'What if you can't avoid sexuality, guilt, peer pressure, lies, bigots, rumours, misunderstandings, nerds, jocks, romance, loneliness, shame and insecurity? Your only choice is to get real. School's out and so is Steven Carter.' It is such a shame because you know it has already put half the audience off, and that is the half that would really benefit from seeing it.
Get Real is a lovely film, some key issues are brushed upon; other's mysteriously absent, but on the whole an engaging movie of surprising depth. It has the ability to make you laugh aloud at the funny bits and tear up at some of the not so happy bits. I am sure the appeal of this movie has much to do with the reminiscent quality its storyline evokes in much of the collective minds of the audience. Many of us have had similar experiences at school, dealt with the same crap and overcome the taunts and teen angst as we battled our way through the choice of either staying safe and ultimately unrewarded in the closet. Alternatively, risking the abuse, possible gay bashing and isolation of coming out and being the only gay in the school. Read more and find out where this film made it in the Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time book, search on Amazon for Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time, or visit - http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007FU7HPO
Juste une question d'amour (2000)
Juste A Wonderful Movie
Juste Une Question D'Amour Director: Christian Faure. Starring: Cyrille Thouvenin, Stephan Guerin-Tillie, Eva Darlan. A beautiful emotive portrait of love between two people who are opposite ends of the coming out process coupled with strained family relations and emotional upheaval. With broad-brush strokes and delicate touches of colour and humour Juste Une Question D'Amour, gets to the heart of human emotion in a pure and faultless way. There is an refreshing honesty in the characters and storyline that really is a joy to watch, especially as it navigates well clear of the supposed stereotypes that can often dog other releases from the gay cinema industry. There are no drag queens, no leather men, no simpering disco dollies with their heads in the clouds and no randy bears lusting after the next young cub to wander in sporting check shirt and dirty Levi's. Nope, this is so not that sort of movie, there are just ordinary people here, just nice average ordinary folk and it is so much the better for it.
A heart-breaking portrait of suburban and rural French life, Juste Une Question D'Amour follows two weeks in the life of Laurent, a fascinating young French guy in his very early twenties as he navigates some difficult personal circumstances and decisions. Laurent's family are hideously beset with deep-seated homophobia, Laurent's own cousin and childhood best friend, Marc, was completely disowned and ostracised when his sexuality became known. The entire family, with the exception of Laurent refused point-blank to visit Marc in hospital before he died.
We see Laurent's family, his father and uncle talking about how homosexuality disgusts them and his grief weary mother is seems to be walking through life in a zombie like state, so consumed is she by her own thoughts, her own grief who swallows half a drug store each day just to get by. Laurent has unsurprisingly and understandably retreated away from his own sexual identity, as well as his family to some extent. On the occasions when he does visit, he is never alone, he takes his friend and roommate Carole with him. There are some beautiful moments between Laurent and Carole that are light, easy and yet so full of affection and care they are a joy to watch and had Laurent not been gay, you know they could have made a lovely couple.
Beautiful scenes follow as the two young men get to know each other, explore the others personalities, ideal and dreams. There are moments of pure tender reflection, infectious affection, laughter and just a little pain. Laurent is amazed and secretly impressed with the open attitude of acceptance by Cedric's mother, she bat's not an eyelash, let alone lid, at her sons sexuality. So far removed from his own first hand experiences, it opens his eyes and his mind a little further, expanding the realm of possibilities.
Cedric's mother is a deeply feeling and intuitive person, she is also refreshingly honest and makes no bones about the fact that she wishes her son were straight, yet as she calls it, it is better for her son to be gay and part of her life, than be gay a not part of it. The mother- son dynamic works incredibly well here and they are such believable characters that you cannot help but feel drawn and warm to them. The affection, care and love is clear to see, enjoy and almost taste.
Cedric's mother does not want her son to be unhappy and heart-broken again and you get the impression she has the same feelings toward Laurent, that whilst Cedric is away in Paris, she decides on a little trip herself. Off she drives to the country village where Laurent's parents run a little drug store. Once there she tells them she wants their help to get their two sons back together. Now there is some ambiguity surrounding her knowledge, did she know Laurent was not out and therefore forcing the situation, or did she genuinely believe he was as open with his parents as her son is with her? Either way, the news that she brings is not welcome and goes down like Gary Glitter shopping in Mothercare! Laurent is beside himself when he finds out what she has done, it is all his worst nightmares arriving at once. His head and heart are pounding yet answers are far from his confused mind. His parents are equally as distraught and muddled and you recognise there is going to be much soul searching and tears falling before bedtime.
It is an achingly poignant and deeply affecting movie for its realistically honest depictions of human relationships in the crux of death and revelation. It shines a light on the scenario or situations that many gay people go through on the 'coming out' bus journey. It affectionately and decently deals with a range of views and emotions, without ever getting confused. It is also a film about love, first love, real love, family love and friendship love and what each of those mean and how they make us react and engage. Read more and find out where this film made it in the Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time book, search on Amazon for Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time, or visit - http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007FU7HPO
Don't overlook this wonderful movie.
￼ The Broken Hearts Club Director: Greg Berlanti Starring: Dean Cain, Nia Long, Timothy Olyphant, Zach Braff, Andrew Keegan, Mary McCormack, John Mahoney, Billy Porter, Justin Theroux, Ben Weber, Matt McGrath Every stage and age of gay life is here in this neatly packaged 'romantic comedy' movie which In all honesty was surprisingly good and oddly poignant. Written and directed by Greg Berlanti who had previously written episodes of the popular American teen television show Dawson's Creek, could have been kitchen sink teen soap drama material. However, this slice of American gay life focusing on a close-knit social group of gay guys in the hot and vibrant West Hollywood, California has much more depth that you would have thought possible. Throughout the movie, we watch as this group of guys with very different personalities, tastes and ideal support and care for each one another. There is Howie who just cannot seem to let go of his ex-lover Marshall, even after Marshall starts to date another guy. There is the dashing narcissistically challenged Cole who would uses men like play things, carelessly throwing them away as soon as he's done, until he falls for someone, who literally throws him away. Patrick is another member of this band of friends; he has self-worth issues and must decide if he can pass on his sperm to his lesbian sister and her partner. Benji works hard on being accepted at any cost by the muscly dudes he admires so much, but the costs are high. Just at the start of his gay life, coming to terms with his sexuality and heading toward his first gay experience is the adorably cute Kevin, who touches a few hearts. The various stages of a break up are all consuming for the charmingly sweet Taylor and all this is set against the local gay softball team from Jack's Broken Heart's restaurant. Jack is the father figure of the group but ultimately the real lynch pin holding it all together is Dennis. Now Dennis is an aspiring photographer with a great eye for a shot and a caring personality that the others sometimes abuse yet love. Tragedy strikes this wonderful little group of pals and they come together for support, for love and for strength.
One of the best things about this film is the way it shows all the various stages of gay life, the important things we all seem to go through, from the coming out, the exploration of our sexuality and our feelings. There is the self-conscious period, the shag anything period, the times when a relationship just will not work, yet being single does not seem to work. A wonderful poignant yet funny film about friends who love, support and annoy the hell out of each other.
The script is wonderfully written, with powerful and funny lines side by side delivered by a wonderful ensemble cast, including Superman Dean Cain and Frasier's dad the lovely and talented John Mahoney. It had a low budget and was shot at a very rapid pace, which perhaps shows in one or two places, however the enjoyment factor overrides these slight flaws. It's not a rite of passage movie, or a film about AIDS, nor are there drag queens at every turn and you'll be hard pushed to find embittered angry parents, which may surprise you, this being a gay movie and all. Yes, it is a romantic comedy, yes it is a gay romantic comedy and yes, it is a bloody good film. Read more and find out where this film made it in the Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time book, search on Amazon for Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time, or visit - http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007FU7HPO
My Own Private Idaho (1991)
As current today as it was then....a modern classic perhaps.
My Own Private Idaho Director: Gus Van Sant Starring: River Phoenix, Keanu Reeves, James Russo. Gus Van Sant essentially takes on Shakespeare's Henry IV; it featured the aesthetically delightful River Phoenix as Mike Waters, a wonderfully apt narcoleptic male whore who we first get a glimpse of tipping down an open stretch of road in Idaho. Mike and the action shifts from the cold Seattle to equally cold Portland. It is here that he makes friends with Scott Favor, a secretly soon to be rich guy who is also on the game played by the often-maligned Keanu Reeves. The future for both is as uncertain as uncertain can be, will Scott take up the inheritance he about to get, will Mike survive the streets with his narcolepsy? ￼ Mike feels real affections for Scott, however Scott refuses to believe men can really love each and it would seem that Scott is only doing the gay whole whore thing to kill time and get back at his family. Mike believes Scott will continue with the grand life on the streets, turning tricks even after he bags the inheritance; such is the allure of the unknown. There are many of fellow working boys who agree with Mike's view.
This is an uneasy picture, a colourful and surreal attempt to really take the characters to a different kingdom. At times, it is a wonderful although slightly glossy take on the real street hustlers shagging their way to oblivion or not as the individual case may be. Drug abuse and risky behaviours are commonplace on the streets and in the world of the male hooker and it is a small feature of this sometimes-disturbing film.
The character of Mike seems almost apologetically plausible, abandoned as a child and obsessed with finding his real long lost mother. Scott less believable as the rebellious disillusioned spoilt little rich kid gone rebelliously bad. You really would not have put them together by design, but fate disregards those lines and together they embark on a quest to find Mike's mother, from Portland to Idaho to Italy they do travel.
There is no argument the cinematic quality and the unbelievably stunning settings help to make this film an intriguingly striking viewing delight. It is exceptionally well thought out in terms of location and setting and a master-class for any would be cinematographer. The characterisation I found to be impressive, even Keanu Reeves played his part with just the right amount of smug pathos and humour, especially with the flippantly arrogant lines afford to him. River Phoenix works pure magic on screen with this performance and I am fairly sure I'm not alone in believing this is the role that set him into the great immortal movie star hall of fame. It is no wonder that he pulled in a number of 'best actor' type awards for this intrinsically faceted role. His campfire scene, in which Mike declares his love for Scott, is much applauded by audiences and critics alike – Newsweek claiming it to be "A marvel of delicacy" it really is a testament to what a wonderful talent River Phoenix was, because he wrote that part of the script himself. Village Voice said, "Phoenix vanishes with reckless triumph into his role". It earned around £5 million at the box office worldwide, which is quite impressive, more than that in video and DVD sales.
My Own Private Idaho takes the spirit and passion of Shakespeare, bends, manipulates and shapes it to find form in a more modern setting, which works beyond expectation in the most part. Although the traditionalist in me seems to hold the opinion that you should not mess with old Shaky and if you do, you best be prepared to face the harshest of critics. Adaptations are always open to personal interpretation and modifications, which others may not agree with, like or even accept, yet this one seems to work and seems to be commended as a job well done.Read more and find out where this film made it in the Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time book, search on Amazon for Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time, or visit - http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007FU7HPO
Chun gwong cha sit (1997)
Happy To Watch But So Not Happy Together!
Happy Together is a deeply dark tortuous movie written and directed by Wong Kar-wai that was mostly filmed on location in Argentina during 1995 and 96. Kar-wai wrote and re-wrote it many times and re-conceived various parts of the story repeatedly during the shooting of the movie, straining both patience and health of both cast and crew. It proved to be a very long and troublesome film to produce, partly due to the subject matter and party the lack of financial backing. Moreover, it has been said they even ran out of good film stock during some stages of the production, yet the result is stylish, provocative and visually dramatic.
It may not have been a mega box office smash hit, yet it remains an intensely passionate cinematic gem which scored no less than seventeen award nominations, winning best director for Kar-wai at the 1997 Cannes Festival, best cinematography for Christopher Doyle during the 1997 Golden Horse Awards and best actor for Tony Leung Chiu-wai at the Hong Kong Film Awards also in 97. Critics the world over seemed mostly enthralled by it, especially the symbolic, ultra gritty innovative cinematography and impressively free and stylistic directorial approach.
This is no walk in the park type of movie, nor is it glitz glamour and drag queens aplenty, it is a hard-hitting gritty passionate tale of evolving love and internal courage to break free from a cycle of devastation and destruction toward a more hopeful tomorrow. A movie metaphor for anyone living in a destructive relationship if ever there was one, although it is much more than just a metaphor it is a damn near dramatic instruction manual. Read more and find out where this film made it in the Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time book, search on Amazon for Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time, or visit - http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007FU7HPO
Not just a surfer movie...
Shelter is an award winning 2007 debut feature by writer, director Jonah Markowitz, often dubbed the 'Gay Surfer Movie' by journalists and reviewers alike, in much the same way as Brokeback Mountain was labelled the 'Gay Cowboy Movie'. It is essentially a love story between a couple of guys doing what they love, surfing and spending time outside, and considering they come from California they have a lot of opportunity to do that.
Trevor Wright plays Zach, an aspiring artist living in San Pedro, which is a pretty working class suburb of Los Angeles. He is essentially a nice guy, he has put his dreams of art school on hold for a while as he helps his family out. Taking care of his older manipulative sister Jeanne, his little nephew Cody and their disabled father takes up a fair amount of his time. To make ends meet he works in a restaurant cooking fast food and when he gets some free time he likes to paint, draw murals, surf, and hang out with his best mate Gabe. He also finds time to see his quasi-girlfriend, their relationship seems to be one of those off again on again off again affairs, both not quite ready to cut the cord completely and they really understand in an unspoken sort of way it is more friendship that relationship.
All is sedate revolving and unaffected until Gabe's older brother Shaun comes down for a few weeks and as Zach and Shaun go surfing together a friendship grows and develops between them at thunderous speed. Shaun, played by the lovely Brad Rowe, encourages Zach follow his dreams a little more and take control of his life. Confusion starts to rage in Zach's mind, his emotions are all in a state of flux, which is only added to when one evening after an afternoon of surfing Shaun kisses Zach. Whilst it is a pleasurable experience for them both, Zach is not quite ready to expand and explore the feelings the kiss has given birth to. It takes a little while, but a little soul searching later their friendship soon morphs into a full on romance, all the while Shaun builds up a strong rapport with Zach's little nephew, Cody.
There are some lovely comic moments spaced throughout the movie, for example, Zach and Shaun are in bed together after a bit of bonding, when they hear Gabe coming back from college, which results in a rapid hiding of Zach, which could have easily turned into loose farce had the scene pacing been carefully thought out.
Sister Jeanne knows Zach has been spending a lot of time with Shaun, she warns Zach of Shaun sexuality and telling him to keep Cody away from him. This brings in the obligatory social pressure needed to further confuse poor Zach. Behind the scenes, Shaun has been a bit of a mischievous minx and secretly submitted an application to art school on Zach's behalf. This my darlings is the movies so....Zach an offer of a full scholarship. However, we are not quite at the happy ever after stage yet and there is more malarkey on the horizon to deal with. Jeanne's boyfriend, the rather nasty Alan gets a job in some godforsaken place; I think it is called Portland, which is so not within LA commuting distance.
The film scored a slew of awards from various GLBT film festivals, including best actor and best cinematography at Tampa, best film at Dallas, best feature at Melbourne, best director at Seattle and GLAAD honoured it with an outstanding film award in 2009.
It is a sweet and gentle romance with a heart and an interesting core whilst also not being too adventurous, left field or controversial. Some in the cruel light of a dank, drizzly English morning might proffer Shelter is as tame as an episode of In The Night Garden, so packed is it with typical clichés and soft soaping of the issues that it should stay as a teatime special on Hallmark or Really.
Find out where this film made it in the Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time book, search on Amazon for Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time, or visit - http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007FU7HPO
Taxi zum Klo (1980)
A colourful and advanced slice of seventies sleaze!
A film from the seventies, released in 1980, Taxi Zum Klo tells the story of a life divided by society and standards into two different parts, respectability by day and licentious indecency by night. An autobiographic account from Frank Ripploh who by day was the respectable and liked schoolteacher yet by night a hedonistic, sex seeking, public toilet inhabiting cruiser. The bulk of the story is taken with Frank's need and desire to hunt for the latest sexual conquest and encounters in risky and unsavoury places. He meets and falls for a theatre manager and they move in together, could this be the end of his hunting for sex in the underbelly of the very edge of Berlin society? Another question raises itself, does he manage to keep his seedy sex life out of the classroom, even if he does from time to time he has been known to mark students work in the public lavatories he inhabits hunting for his next slice of cock?
There was a lot of outrage surrounding this film at the time of its release, not least the refusal by many film censors to even allow it to be shown. Read more and find out where this film made it in the Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time book, search on Amazon for Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time.
Zero Patience (1993)
To late to do any good.
I so wish I had a glass or two of whatever they were drinking when they thought up the idea of Zero Patience, I mean, hey now, a happy gay musical about how HIV started, with talking arseholes, ghost conversations, no illness, lie about who does and doesn't support AIDS research, alienate most people add dance numbers, songs, oh and don't forget bringing back to life a Victorian adventure pretending he's 170 years old and if people don't like it, pretend it's a satirical parody!
It was made in the late 80's and had it come out then, it would have really set straight some of the common misconceptions about AIDS, however it didn't reach a mass audience until the mid 1990's, which by that time society understood HIV / AIDS a lot better. It was too late to do any good and just confused a whole load more!
Read more and find out where this film made it in the Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time book, search on Amazon for Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time
Head On (1998)
Head On, thumbs up!
This bold film concentrates on a 24-hour period in the confused muddled world of Ari an engaging nineteen-year-old. He comes from a traditionally Greek background and is having a hard job coming to terms with both his Greek background in an Australia that does not much care for its immigrant population and his own sexuality. Ari, as most guy's his age are is obsessed with sex, he is a bit of a player, having a few rampant sexual encounters during the span of this film, whilst most are gay, he does not limit himself to the male sex, half-heartedly having a sexual liaison with the sister of one of his friends. Ana Kokkinos the director is of Greek-Aussie descent, which automatically gives this tale an authentic guiding hand and some of the lines spoken by fictional characters are not that far removed from the reality of experience. This is a surprisingly gritty film, heavy on the hopeless dissatisfaction of life as a son or daughter of immigrants in a country that is no stranger to racial and economic tensions. Ari is a handsome boy; he has that rough, cheeky, yet handsomely provocative look that can melt hearts at one hundred paces. He uses those looks, along with his aggressive sexual hunger and heat to have random sex with older guys in dark alleyways, grabbing a quick fix before going back to hang with his equally dissatisfied mates. There isn't a clear road ahead for him, he knows that, yet could he be dreaming of a better tomorrow, the way most trouble teens do? It does not look like judging by a lot of the scenes and muddled moments.
The film had nine nominations from the Australian film institute and received much acclaim from critics both in Australia and around the world for its harsh realities, passionate performances and authentic script.
Read more and find out where this film made it in the Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time book, search on Amazon for Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time.
Another Gay Movie (2006)
Oh, no, not Another gay........
It had to happen at some stage, did it not? The whole American Pie larger than life lad flick feel given a coat of pink paint and a liberal dusting of glitter! Another Gay Movie is that movie. An entertaining light-hearted romp through stereotypical eyes at the lives of four teenage friends who agree to lose company with their virginity before summer's last stand. It is without a doubt one of the most outrageous gay parody films ever seen. The jokes come thick and fast and there are some that come pretty close to crossing from boundary from scandalous to bad taste. It is a silly and irreverent look at gay sexuality and lifestyles with all the exaggerations expected of a parody of this time of film. The whole plot line for example should give you all you need to know about the movie before you sit down and watch it, four gay guys desperate to lose the big V plates in a few short weeks and that is basically it. Perhaps like most spoofs the joke aspect grows thin a quarter of an hour in and the jokes just become banal and stereotypical.
It get's a mention in The Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies Of All Time book, but what position did it reach? Search on Amazon for the book to find out. :)
It should have been a major massive blockbuster!
Jeffrey should have been a major massive blockbuster, a sure-fire smash hit, just take a look at some of the names on the cast, Christine Baranski, Patrick Stewart, Sigourney Weaver, Kathy Najimy, Nathan Lane and Olympia Dukakis, yet it failed to set the queer or the straight world alight. Jeffrey a gay romantic comedy from America came out in 1995/6 and was based on a Paul Rudnick play about a young gay New York guy who considers sex is too dangerous in the days of AIDS and commits to a life of celibacy. Just to throw a spanner in the works and pad the film out another hour he meets the man of his dreams, whom surprise surprise just happens to be HIV+.
It starred Steven Weber who was nice enough as the insipid Jeffrey an actor/waiter who is supposed to be AIDSaphobic, which just does not wash. Michael T. Weissis handsome and some nice eye-candy but you just wish he would get on and so something, anything as this film drags on and on and ever on. It would have been a total flop and dire mess on the floor of movie history were it not for the dozens of big names doing small cameos - Olympia Dukakis, Robert Klein, Nathan Lane, Kathy Najimy, Kevin Nealon, Ethan Phillips, Sigourney Weaver and Christine Baranski for example.
Read more and find out where this film made it in the Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time book, click this link.
Pink Narcissus (1971)
Have little doubt, like it or loathe it, Pink Narcissus is a classic of the cult variety, lauded for its high artistic cinematic quality, position and production. It is a visual fantasia of expression, colour, eroticism, sexuality and stimulating contemporary artistry. Pink Narcissus is no shrinking violet, no wilting wallflower, it is a full on meadow in full bloom. This low budget film took a number of years to complete and filmed, mostly, within the tight confines of writer and director James Bidgood's New York apartment. There is little in the way of plot lines or subplots, the story is as flimsy as Dick Van Dyke's accent, dialogue is virtually non-existent for this 1971 offering is all about the erotic images fostering themselves on the screen.
Bobby Kendall plays the 'kept boy' who whiles away his hours waiting for his master by dreaming of various things, he seems a young fellow obsessed with his own beauty and physical appearance, but maybe you guessed that already by the title? He envisions himself as a Turkish prince, a Roman slave, a wood nymph, a matador and even a kept boy in some far off sheiks harem. Everything is so incredulously heavy on the design front, bejewelled and stylised to excess. It is that excess, that visually expressiveness that has made this little independent movie become a landmark of gay cinema as well as a statement of contemporary art.
It still stands the test of time as classic of the art of gay movie making.
Read more and find out where this film made it in the Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time book, search on Amazon for Top 50 Most Influential Gay Movies of All Time, or visit - http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B007FU7HPO