Enough With The Sad-Gay Movies, Says Critic

Categories: Film

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"I think I'm done with the sad-gay man drama," writes film critic John DiLeo in his new book of essays.

Mind you, DiLeo raved about Brokeback Mountain, loved Sean Penn's performance in Milk, and admired a lot about A Single Man.

But he's right in pointing out that it would be nice to also have more contemporary gay scenarios filmed, ones with gay characters who actually live at the end of the film.

"It is important to have our stories told," DiLeo concedes, "our history acknowledged, and our heroes celebrated, but movies like Milk simply aren't enough anymore.

"What I am ready for," he concludes, "is the movie in which Colin Firth and Hugh Grant get married, or the one in which George Clooney and Brad Pitt adopt kids together, or the drama about Sean Penn and Johnny Depp getting involved in the battle for marriage equality, or the triangular romantic comedy starring Ryan Reynolds, Ryan Gosling, and Jake Gyllenhaal.

"Please let's broaden the spectrum of what constitutes a gay movie.

"Who will be man enough to take the next step?"

I guess it was Lisa Cholodenko, lol.

Her The Kids Are All Right, which came out after DiLeo's essay was written, showed contemporary lesbians with issues but working them out -- and still breathing.

As for the males, Beginners had a happy gay, but he died, and Weekend spread some joy and was contempo, but it was small.

Come on, Hollywood. Spread some gay sunshine.



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32 comments
Shadow Sterling
Shadow Sterling

I suppose some would say you are "lucky" Hollywood is even spending money on a gay movie, however it would be nice to see a happy ending too, anyone listening? Shadow Sterling

Kscptv
Kscptv

Keep happier and positive message movies for our Gay community. Hollywood needs to find uplifting stories to tell.

AMous
AMous

'All Over The Guy' was a good romcom, wasn't it?

neighborhoodmole
neighborhoodmole

No one died in The Wedding Banquet, although there was an incident of straight sex.

Gerryfisher61
Gerryfisher61

Until they come around, feel free to watch Parting Glances, My Beautiful Launderette, and Desert Hearts again. '86 was a real breakthrough year. If you think the gay movies are bleak NOW, you should have seen them prior to '86. Still, I hear y'all about more "every day" types of LGBT roles....

David
David

Thank you. I've ranted about this for years.Fortunately there's been one: "Big Eden" 2000 film directed by Thomas Bezucha. With Arye Gross, Eric Schweig, Tim DeKay, Louise Fletcher, George Coe, Nan Martin.  Finally there was a movie where people actually care about each other, and gays weren't in the film merely for laughs, insanity, or murder.I was so shocked that I had to write a "fan" letter to the producers and bought a copy of the film.

Michael Sandolo
Michael Sandolo

I want to see an animated Disney-type flick, like Little Mermaid and Snow White, with the singing animals, catchy musical numbers, etc. but about a gay hero and his prince.

JB
JB

I agree. I think we all have a generational duty to instill hope for those who are younger. They will face their challenges like any adult will, despite the fact they are gay or not. There are tons of people who meet the love of their lives and still live a life free of guilt and prejudice ... I am all for a fun, light-hearted and inclusive happy ending story. 

S1AMER
S1AMER

All true. But I'd add that Hollywood doesn't do a great job generally when it comes to making movies about anybody but hetero white people. All-black or all-Asian or all-anybody-not-white movies are quite rare and, with a few exceptions, either made by Tyler Perry or are exploitative B (C? D? F?) cheapies. Movies with multicolor casts are common, of course, but the non-white actors are usually in supporting roles (sometimes as the humorous sidekick, a role also often played by a gay guy).

Don't get me wrong: I'd love to see more happy-ending movies (and not just comedies) with anybody but straight white people. But we probably won't, and it's not really prejudice at play, it's economics. Most of the people who go to most of the movies are straight and white, and that is and will continue to be the group for whom most movies get made.

(And, of course, most of the straight whites at movies are also adolescent males who love fart jokes and explosions and lots of T&A, which is why there are damned few movies for adults of any race or sexual orientation. But that's a different complaint about movies today.)

tsunami
tsunami

How many 'straight' movies end with one of the stars dead or dying?  How many gay films have one or both of the leads dead or dying? In my large collection of feature gay films, the majority have at least one death by the end. Both straight and gay directors/screenwriters seem to feel they have to kill us off.

Toni G. Engle
Toni G. Engle

This is essentially a replay of what happened in the '50s in what was called Closet Theatre. Tennessee Williams and others wrote plays in which the (secretly) gay characters either killed themselves or were ceaselessly miserable throughout. Hollywood has finally gotten just THAT far recently, proving once more that film is 60 years behind theatre. Pitiful.

Dorah the Explorah
Dorah the Explorah

THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT also featured a subplot where one-half of the lesbian couple suddenly starts an affair with a man, perpetuating the idea that all it really takes to turn a woman straight is the "right" man.  Yuk.

duke
duke

There have been tons of "happy" gay movies like Broken Hearts Club and Adam and Steve. Unfortunately, they all suck.  

Rbrtptrck
Rbrtptrck

HA! LOOK AT THIS DESCRIPTION I JUST RECEIVED OF A NEW GAY FILM: Breaking Glass’ Queer Culture Cinema is proud to announce the Director’s Cut of Jean-Claude Schlim’s “House of Boys”, a look at one young man’s journey into adulthood through a world of sex, drugs, rock n’ roll, and a terrifying new “gay cancer”. In 1984 Amsterdam, punks and youthful drifters could find a glamorous fantasy world among the city’s late night dance clubs and cabarets. It’s this promise of adventure and opportunity that attracts Frank (Layke Anderson), a high school aged runaway from Luxembourg who’s recently come out of the closet. Thanks to his good looks, he soon earns a place at the House of Boys, a cabaret that’s famous for it’s troupe of male dancers, its extravagant performances, and its eccentric Madame (Udo Kier, “Melancholia”). But, as Frank finds friendship and explores his passion for music and performing, news of a mysterious “gay cancer” puts a dark cloud over his newfound sense of freedom.This colorful coming-of-age story captures the excess, optimism and, ultimately, devastation of the 1980s as the early AIDS crisis swept across the world. Featuring a classic 80s soundtrack and a cast of rising young stars, “House of Boys” is a stylish drama told with compassion and bittersweet nostalgia. The New York Times called the film “A gay tragedy in three parts” that “conveys an emotional honesty” while the Los Angeles Times lauded “House of Boys” as a “mostly winning combo.” Schlim probes the subterranean world of homosexuals in the early 1980’s, as the world is reeling from assassination attempts, drug use, exploration and, in totum, a changing world both fulfilling and terrifying.The DVD release of “House of Boys: Director’s Cut” will come loaded with behind-the-scenes and interviews.Pre-order: http://www.shop.breakingglassp... more information on House of Boys: Directors Cut including interviews and final DVD copies, please contact Justin@bgpics.comwww.BreakingGlassPictures.comwww.Facebook.com/BreakingGlassPictureshttp://ww... Cook, Social Media & PressBreaking Glass Pictureswww.facebook.com/Break... 973.800.7278Office: 267.324.3934Fax: 267.687.7533Breaking Glass’ Queer Culture Cinema is proud to announce the Director’s Cut of Jean-Claude Schlim’s “House of Boys”, a look at one young man’s journey into adulthood through a world of sex, drugs, rock n’ roll, and a terrifying new “gay cancer”.

In 1984 Amsterdam, punks and youthful drifters could find a glamorous fantasy world among the city’s late night dance clubs and cabarets. It’s this promise of adventure and opportunity that attracts Frank (Layke Anderson), a high school aged runaway from Luxembourg who’s recently come out of the closet. Thanks to his good looks, he soon earns a place at the House of Boys, a cabaret that’s famous for it’s troupe of male dancers, its extravagant performances, and its eccentric Madame (Udo Kier, “Melancholia”). But, as Frank finds friendship and explores his passion for music and performing, news of a mysterious “gay cancer” puts a dark cloud over his newfound sense of freedom.

This colorful coming-of-age story captures the excess, optimism and, ultimately, devastation of the 1980s as the early AIDS crisis swept across the world. Featuring a classic 80s soundtrack and a cast of rising young stars, “House of Boys” is a stylish drama told with compassion and bittersweet nostalgia.

The New York Times called the film “A gay tragedy in three parts” that “conveys an emotional honesty” while the Los Angeles Times lauded “House of Boys” as a “mostly winning combo.”

Schlim probes the subterranean world of homosexuals in the early 1980’s, as the world is reeling from assassination attempts, drug use, exploration and, in totum, a changing world both fulfilling and terrifying.

The DVD release of “House of Boys: Director’s Cut” will come loaded with behind-the-scenes and interviews.

Pre-order: http://www.shop.breakingglassp...

For more information on House of Boys: Directors Cut including interviews and final DVD copies, please contact Justin@bgpics.com

www.BreakingGlassPictures.com

www.Facebook.com/BreakingGlass...

http://www.twitter.com/Breakin...

###

Justin Cook, Social Media & PressBreaking Glass Pictureswww.facebook.com/Break... 973.800.7278Office: 267.324.3934Fax: 267.687.7533

mae swazey
mae swazey

Great piece by Mr. DiLeo, like almost all of the pieces in his new book.  I heartily recommend SCREEN SAVERS II to any movie lover, especially old movies.  (No, I'm not John, I swear.  But I have read the book and it is wonderful.)

And Allen and Robert, your posts are dead-on, as well.  All we can do is keep writing and hoping for happier (for lack of a better word) gay movies. 

Tim in SF
Tim in SF

And, that said, gay cinema is like the Special Olympics. It's judged on a different standard. A lower one. 

Tim in SF
Tim in SF

Any gay movie where more breeder sex is shown than gay sex gets an F. Any gay movie where a character dies of AIDS gets an F.Any gay movie where a character dies from drugs gets an F.Any gay movie that starts out with the protagonist moving to New York or LA gets an F. Any gay movie with hustlers gets an D; if one of them dies: F

That's about all of them, right? 

(Not counting the lesbian movies. But... who counts those, anyway?)

Tony
Tony

As long as no movie spends its talent budget on hiring Rupert Everett again, I'm fine. God if I have to listen to that man bitch about the work he gets and how it was a huge mistake coming out personally and how he would have been a huge leading man otherwise, I will just open a vein.

Oh, but then I'd be a dead gay man--and they could make a movie about me.

Ryan Segura
Ryan Segura

Agreed.  For far too long gay cinema has been way too formulaic. I drafted these simple steps a while back in the event you want to draft your own gay screen play:  1. Protagonist: Choose ONE: Gay man OR Lesbian....

2. Setting:  ...moves to (Choose ONE) New York City OR L.A...

3. Plot: ...because (Choose ONE) they want to be an actor/actress OR oppressive community/family OR spontaneous decision to "find themselves".

4. Character sketch: You may choose more than one, but  I would suggest no more than two. 1. AIDS   Victim        2. Closet  Case  3. Drug Addict 4.Drag Queen/Transgendered 4.Prostitute/Male escort

5.Plot twist: this typically involves the "romance" portion of the film. (Choose ONE) Main Protagonist 1.Falls in love with 1.AIDS Victim 2. Closet Case 3. Drug Addict 4. Drag Queen/Trangendered 4. Prostitute/Male Escort 5. A Heterosexual.  Please make sure that character sketch options and plot twist selections are not corresponding otherwise, how will the nail biting question of "How will such two polar opposites ever be happy together?" ever develop? (Yes, my stomach is turning too)

6.Denoument: Choose ONE: 1. Protagonist dies. 2. Love interest dies. 3. Both die.

6a....by means of, (and feel free to get creative here because even though the options are limited you can mix and match): 1. Murder 2. Suicide 3. Overdose.  We can pause for a moment here and look at what our options might be.  Murder: sure that's an easy one.  A trigger happy/stabby neighbor/parent/religious group/angry lover could do the trick.  Suicide: well c'mon, all fags and dykes are eternally depressed.  But lets look at what COULD be.  We could do a murder/suicide.  You're protagonist could be so in love with a hetero and decide that if he/she/it can't have him/her then no one can! As a result your protagonist just can't take the cruel world anymore and goes out in a blaze of Dido-esque glory impaling him/herself with a sword. (Don't worry about the symbolism here - it words for any gender). Or we can do the classic Romeo and Juliet/Thelma & Louise scenario and decide that life is too cruel (yes cruel again) to live if we can't have one another/it's a man's world baby and just swan dive off a cliff while doing shots of Red Bull and Clorox.  Have some fun with it!  This is the most important part of your film as it's what viewers are going to remember because THE BULK OF GAY CINEMA BLURS INTO ITSELF!

Rbrtptrck
Rbrtptrck

Oh, there are so many of us who would love to write the movies Mister DiLeo asks for, butwho cannot get a script read or a phone-call returned. See my credentials on Wikipedia under Robert Patrick (playwright). A sample: Blue Is For Boys was the first play about gay teenagers, and "Blue is for Boys Weekends" in honor of the play were declared by Manhattan Borough Presidents in 1983 and 1986.The Trial of Socrates was the first gay play presented by New York City.Other works by Patrick include Untold Decades (1988), a history of gay-male life in the United States, told in a humorous vein; and Temple Slave, a "totally romanticized" novel about the early days of Off-Off Broadway and gay theatre.

Oinks
Oinks

Too bad for the lesbians Kids was the only one that put them center stage and made them living and breathing. it's very rare. But at least they don't have to be tragic like the gay men are in every gay movie.

Allen Firth
Allen Firth

Ah, but sadly, in any of those combination movies you mentioned, there will be at least one scene where one of the gay characters has sex (or attempts to have sex) with a woman, to prove that he's not really gay.  

Hollywood (and apparently Peoria) just can't admit that some gays are "born that way" and have absolute Zero Interest in a woman's body, naked.  Clothing them is, of course another matter and a great career choice!  ;-)

rolph
rolph

Agreed! Hollywood only loves the gays if they die. But in the ld days there was The Birdcage and that Julia Roberts movie with Rupert Everett.

mae swazey
mae swazey

Sad to say it, but you're right, duke. 

Barff
Barff

Not only do they suck but they are indies, not Hollywood product.

S1AMER
S1AMER

 True. Alas ...

Allen Firth
Allen Firth

Maybe they should offer him $$$ to film the story of his Hustling days in London.  That obviously was a happier time in his life (anything before working with Madge!).  Make it an NC-17 and controversy will ensue and perhaps his career (or talk-show circuit) will improve.

Or maybe he's bitter that the other star of "Another Country" went onto to greater heights of fame and glory and an Academy Award.  That would hurt!

Musto
Musto

I love you, Robert Patrick! Thanks for posting here.

Daniel Curzon
Daniel Curzon

There is nothing wrong with sad gay movies. I would rather have those than movies showing gays as silly ninnies without problems. --Daniel Curzon, author of the first gay protest novel, Something You Do in the Dark (Putnam, 1971)

Beans
Beans

Well, we get those too. Lots of supporting gay characters who run around the office getting coffee for people and spouting bon mots. That's just as bad.

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