1. Brokeback Mountain 2. My Beautiful Laundrette 3. Heavenly Creatures 4. Weekend 5. A Single Man 6. Bound 7. Milk 8. Boys Don’t Cry 9. Monster 10. Philadelphia 11. The Kids Are All Right 12. Beautiful Thing 13. Water Lilies 14. Shortbus 15. My Own Private Idaho 16. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert 17. Mysterious Skin 18. The Boys in the Band 19. The Crying Game 20. Bent
These kinds of lists are always subjective and will always omit personal favorites. I’m not angry at their choices — for the most part — but I wanted to share some additional films (and lists) that you should keep in mind the next time you’re Netflixing or whatever people do now that rental stores have become so hard to find.
First, calling this list the “most glorious, groundbreaking gay and lesbian movies of all time” begs a separation — not all glorious gay films are ground breaking. Not all groundbreaking films are glorious. And um, not all of these movies are particularly gay.
I must applaud Total Film for putting “Heavenly Creatures” so high on the list. When I found out it was on Netflix a few months ago, Ms. Dyana Bagby and I had a movie night to die for!
Add these to the list and I’ll go away:
“Magnolia” If Total FIlm is going to include something like “The Color Purple” (the book is way more specific about it’s gay plot point than the film (something Steve Spielberg now regrets) I think Paul Thomas Anderson’s brief gay subplot in “Magnolia” is worth a glance. It’s painfully but beautifully written and helps show the emotional havoc the closet can wreak on even the smartest life… or at least the result of an unrequited gay crush. William H. Macy delivers the tearful performance.
“Before Night Falls” It’s been a while since I’ve seen this. Like video rental stores, VCRs have become hard to find and the last known copy I owned was VHS. “Before Night Falls” is based on the autobiography of gay Cuban poet and novelist Reinaldo Arenas, following him from his early writing ambitions through several attempts to flea Cuba to his last years truly suffering with AIDS. Javier Bardem’s performance as Arenas garnered an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Johnny Depp is in it, too.
“I Love You Phillip Morris” It wasn’t my cup of tea, but fans of black comedy and um, really gay themes, should definitely not miss the relatively big-budget “I Love You Phillip Morris.” Ewan McGregor and Jim Carey play an unlikely pair in this truth-is-stranger-than-fiction film.
“Paris is Burning” In the category of best gay documentary realness, “Paris is Burning” is truly the queen. It’s light in the most excellent, over-the-top hilarious ways, informative to those unfamiliar with the ball scene or the origin of the word “kiki,” and horribly sad in it’s exploration of transphobia. See it for the voguing, remember it for the legacy left by the brave house queens that came before us.
“Albert Nobbs” Some might argue it’s more about gender identify than anything, but both the female-pretending-to-be-male lead characters date women, so I think that qualifies. It’s “Downton Abby” meets “Yentl” and definitely worth a look, even if it’s just to see Glenn Close’s transformation.
Other’s that should be added with little explanation, in my book anyway: “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” “Angels in America” (I know, it’s a mini-series, but it should count), “Broken Hearts Club,” “Noah’s Arc: Jumping the Broom” (It’s about time gay people of color see their stories reflected on the big screen.), “Longtime Companion, “Cruising” (Yes, it’s a little dark, but seriously, young Al Pacino going undercover in the vintage leather scene… awesome and terrifying), “Torch Song Trilogy,” “To Wong Fu,” and maybe if you’re really bored “Party Monster.”
Here’s the whole list from Total Film: 1. Brokeback Mountain 2. My Beautiful Laundrette 3. Heavenly Creatures 4. Weekend 5. A Single Man 6. Bound 7. Milk 8. Boys Don’t Cry 9. Monster 10. Philadelphia 11. The Kids Are All Right 12. Beautiful Thing 13. Water Lilies 14. Shortbus 15. My Own Private Idaho 16. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert 17. Mysterious Skin 18. The Boys in the Band 19. The Crying Game 20. Bent 21. Show Me Love 22. High Art 23. Transamerica 24. Maurice 25. The Color Purple 26. Tomboy 27. Your Sister’s Sister 28. But I’m a Cheerleader 29. Patrick 1.5 30. Kissing Jessica Stein 31. My Summer of Love 32. Gods and Monsters 33. The Wedding Banquet 34. Mulholland Dr. 35. The Celluloid Closet 36. Prayers for Bobby 37. All Over Me 38. Dog Day Afternoon 39. Female Trouble 40. The Hours 41 D.E.B.S. 42. Latter Days 43. L.I.E. 44. Go Fish 45. The Birdcage 46. C.R.A.Z.Y. 47. She-Monkeys 48. Loose Cannons 49. When Night is Falling 50. Shelter