What’s up, y’all?
Today’s blog post may stir up some controversy, but as I promised, I’m going to keep it 100% with y’all. The LGBT community is a part of life, and deserves some recognition. What better way to do that than to post my very first top 10 list of my favorite movies that are LGBT themed? And yes, some of these films I’ve watched have been written off as, “Oh, that’s gay. I’m not watchin’ that.” Yes, these movies are gay, but they’re damn good, and I highly recommend them. So, let’s get on and poppin’!
I remember first hearing about Rent when I was in 8th grade, and I really wanted to see the play. I never had the chance to go to Broadway as teenager though, so I settled for the film when it was released on DVD. The movie is really great, and delivers powerful messages about friendship, love and dealing with the AIDS virus. The songs are also on point. Idina Menzel loans her vocal talents to the film (this is before she struck worldwide fame in Frozen). Rosario Dawson and Tracie Thoms sing their butts off, too (and they said they didn’t think they had great singing voices! Girl, bye!). I have to say though, if you’re not into musicals, this movie may not be for you. The songs stay stuck in your head for years, and years, and years. Trust me, nine years after I watched this film, I still remember just about all of the lyrics. No lie.
9. Kinky Boots
This film stars Chiwetel Ejiofor (one of my favorite actors, by the way), as a drag queen named Lola, that befriends a reluctant shoemaker named Charlie. Charlie just inherited his father’s shoe factory and wants no parts of it, especially considering that the boring shoes he and his workers make hardly sell. Lola pitches him a wild idea: sell high heeled boots made specifically for transvestites and drag queens. This movie is extremely funny, and as usual, Chiwetel Ejiofor does an outstanding performance. I especially loved the ending (I won’t spoil it for y’all). Another thing I loved is that there’s a scene where David Bowie’s original version of “The Prettiest Star” is played. Y’all know I love David Bowie.
8. The Crying Game
OMG…I remember when this movie came out. I was still in elementary school, and every time I turned on the TV, someone was talking about The Crying Game. There wasn’t a soul (and I believe some of my classmates were talking about it, too) that wouldn’t shut up about how Dill, the leading lady, actually had a pickle. A few years later, my mom and I checked the movie out for ourselves, and we were pleasantly surprised. It’s a tense thriller, with an unorthodox love story, and I’m a sucker for love stories. Y’all wanna know something else cool about this film? Dill’s hair. That child had some beautiful hair, and it sucks what happened to it towards the end (once again, I won’t spoil it).
7. Dallas Buyers Club
In 2014, I made it my business to check out nearly all the Oscar nominees for Best Picture. Captain Phillips didn’t really do much for me until the end (Tom Hanks killed the ending). American Hustle bored me a bit. I couldn’t sit through Gravity (admittedly, I’m thinking about giving that one another chance…maybe). 12 Years a Slave was good, but damn depressing, and The Wolf of Wall Street was wild as all hell (but I still enjoyed it)! Then there was Dallas Buyers Club. For the longest time, I refused to watch it, because I knew it would depress me. Then one night, it came on HBO…and I actually wasn’t depressed. I was moved, and ironically enough, the Oscar movie nominee I thought I’d despise was actually the one I liked best. Seeing a homophobic, ne’er do well promiscuous man use his fatal diagnosis to transform himself into a sensitive philanthropist sent a very powerful message. Not only that, but I loved seeing how the relationship between Ron and Rayon (Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto, respectively) goes from one of animosity to true friendship. Check it out if you haven’t already.
6. The Birdcage
The premise: Robin Williams’ son is getting married to a young lady with a conservative political family, so he and his fiancée fail to tell her mother and father that his parents are actually a gay couple that run a drag club in Miami Beach. Think that’s weird enough? The conservative parents make a trip to Miami to meet their future son-in-law’s family, including his “mother”…who’s actually Nathan Lane in drag. Y’all, this movie is so hilarious that I watch it every time it comes on, and when I do, I laugh so hard my side hurts. Everyone in the movie gives a great performance, and there’s never a boring moment.
5. The Rocky Horror Picture Show
VH1 played this movie for its 20th anniversary when I was in 9th grade (which shows how old I am), and it scared the shit out of me. Why? Because Meat Loaf got chopped up with a pick ax midway through the movie. Hey, I love Meat Loaf (the man, not the dish. Actually, I can’t stand that kind of meatloaf). I didn’t touch this movie with a ten foot pole until I was in my late 20’s or early 30’s, and after I was done laughing my behind off, I couldn’t believe I was actually afraid of it (the red lips against the black background in the opening credits still creep me out, though)! Most of y’all know the plot: Brad and Janet (Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon) have a flat tire and they end up stranded at Dr. Frank-n-Furter’s (Tim Curry) house. The doctor’s a sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania and he’s about to unveil his greatest creation…a human boytoy. When Halloween comes around this year, be sure to pop this classic in the Blu-Ray or DVD player. It’s funny as hell. Also, if you haven’t had the chance, please watch The Rocky Horror Show stage play. The audience participation alone will have you rollin’!
4. Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence
I know what y’all are thinkin’, “You only have this movie on the list because David Bowie’s in it!” As I always say, just because my favorite celebs are in a movie, it doesn’t mean the film’s good by default. If that were the case, I’d consider Just a Gigolo to be cinematic gold (God, I hate that movie). No, Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence is a very well made film with an interesting story about British soldiers trapped in a Japanese POW camp and both sides trying to work through cultural barriers. I know what else y’all are thinkin’, “What’s this have to do with LGBT themes?” The camp leader (Ryuichi Sakamoto) has a crush on Mr. Bowie’s character, which was a no-no in 1940’s Japanese society. But hey, who can blame him? By the way, Ryuichi Sakamoto not only plays the hell out of the lovestruck Captain Yonoi, but he also created the kickass score for the film. I have two versions of the title track downloaded on my IPod.
No, this movie isn’t about my favorite dairy product/drink. It’s the true story of the first ever openly gay politician in California, Harvey Milk, played by Sean Penn. Harvey was a San Francisco supervisor during the 1970’s that fought for gay rights until he was assassinated in 1978. Whether you’re gay or straight, seeing how Harvey fights for what he believes in and continues to get back up even when he’s knocked down (he lost three elections before he was finally voted into office) is completely inspirational. Once again, this is another film I watch every time it comes on.
2. Velvet Goldmine
At its core, Velvet Goldmine is about a well renowned 70’s British rock star by the name of Brian Slade (beautifully played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers, another one of my fantasy men) who fakes being shot, is made a pariah by his former fans and disappears into thin air. In 1984, Christian Bale is tasked to do a story on the singer’s career and disappearance, which stirs up good and bad memories, since he was part of the glam rock scene during the previous decade. I’m not gonna lie…Velvet Goldmine is strange. Very strange. The structure of the movie is completely non-linear, and there’s musical numbers scattered throughout that don’t make sense, but at the same time, they do. Don’t get me started on the surrealistic aspects of the film (i.e. the spaceship that’s flying around in certain scenes). The character of Brian Slade was based on David Bowie, whereas his love interest, Curt Wild (Ewan McGregor), has a combination of personalities from Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and Marc Bolan. Ironically enough, Mr. Bowie hated this film and refused to lend any of his music to the project. I’ve always loved this film, though. It’s weird, but it’s also interesting. Plus, the movie has the extra added bonus of one of my favorite men playing a character based on one of my favorite men. By the way, the costume and hair designer had Mr. Bowie’s looks down pat! I can’t say this movie is for everyone, but I will say that the scene where Obi Wan Kenobi is gettin’ his freak on with Batman can’t be missed.
1. To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar
C’mon! What did you think would be number one? I’ve loved this movie ever since I was 14, and yes, it’s another film that I have to watch whenever it airs. Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze (may he rest in peace), and John Leguizamo killed their roles. For those of you that haven’t seen this classic, it’s about three drag queens that travel cross country to a pageant and get stranded in a small town that’s near dead. Naturally, the three vivacious ladies breathe life into the inhabitants of the town, all the while being pursued by a racist, homophobic cop, played by Chris Penn (may he rest in peace). This is one of the sweetest, most heartfelt movies ever, and it’s damn funny to boot. Every time I watch it, I forget that the three main characters are drag queens, and I see them as just women bonding during a road trip and using their flamboyant personalities to give some small town people life. Plus, RuPaul makes a cameo. You gotta love that.
—Written by Nadiya
Do you agree with my top 10 list? What’s your favorite LGBT movie? Give me your thoughts!