Indie Films and other LGBT gems from Hollywood: Repost from 10/19/06

And while we are on the subject of Brokeback Mountain and Making Love, I have a few other GLBT- related movies to recommend.

Boys Don’t Cry: Hilary Swank in an Oscar winning performance as transgendered teenager Brandon Teena; Chloe Sevigny also shines as the girl who falls in love with Brandon even while suspecting that he may not be what he seems.

The Boys in the Band: The first “gay movie” to be made by a mainstream director (William Friedkin of The Exorcist and The French Connection fame), this landmark adaptation of Mart Crowley’s off-Broadway hit play is brought to the screen with the entire original stage cast intact. The minimal plot revolves around a group of gay men who gather for a friend’s birthday party and the uninvited guest who may or may not be a closet case. Some feel that this movie has dated badly since it was first released in 1970, but for those of us who are old enough to remember those days, it remains not only relevant but an important historical document of gay male social life at the time. And it is loaded enough witty and bitchy dialogue to make anyone laugh out loud.

Longtime Companion: the first major AIDS drama is a fierce and poignant tale of a group of gay men told over the first ten years of the epidemic. Bruce Davison (in an Oscar-nominated role) is particularly memorable as a man who watches his partner succumb to the ravages of the disease.

Philadelphia: this one is a companion piece to Longtime Companion which derives most of its power from Tom Hanks’s Oscar-winning performance as a lawyer battling both AIDS and the law firm that fired him for having the disease. Director Jonathan Demme does not quite live up to the promise he showed with The Silence of the Lambs; instead of focusing his camera directly on the events that move the picture along, he plays it safe. Antonio Banderas is well-cast as Tom Hanks’s partner, but his role has been obviously cut, and the way they relate to each other seems at times like apair of college buddies living together. And much too much screen time is given to the homophobic ambulance-chasing attorney (played with considerable charisma by Denzel Washington); still, this is in the last analysis a courtroom drama, and once we actually get IN the courtroom, the film becomes a devastating statement about AIDS, fear, and homophobia in “old boy’s clubs” such as some law firms. Mary Steenburgen, as the defense attorney, has perhaps the best line in this film when, after cross-examining Hanks in a particulary cruel way, takes her seat at the defense table and mutters under her breath “I hate this case.” You may hate the case too, but Tom Hanks is unforgettable, and in spite of Hollywood sanitization, this remains an important film about GLBT people and about AIDS in particular.

Torch Song Trilogy: Harvey Fierstein and Anne Bancroft as mother and son; Ma is your typical Jewish mother,insisting on having her own way and trying to make her son live a life she can approve of. Oh, did I mention that the son in question earns his living as a drag queen? Brian Kerwin and Matthew Broderick are Fierstein’s love interests. Pure delight!

Latter Days: a recent independent film that tells the story of a Mormon Missionary and the gay party-boy he falls in love with. It is sappy and corny and all the things that make straight romances so popular. As for the lovemaking scenes, this one is far more daring and explicit than either Making Love or Brokeback Mountain, making this one not to be missed!

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One Response to “Indie Films and other LGBT gems from Hollywood: Repost from 10/19/06”

  1. Pretty! This has been a really wonderful article. Thank
    you for supplying this information.

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