#41: Gay Culture Films


Driven by their desire to undo the damage done by The Normal Heart, TimmieRyan, and Michael discuss important films that focus on gay culture.

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I. Intro

A. HBO’s questionable track record | The Case Against 8 (2014)
B. Why This is personal
C. Criteria for our picks

II. Three Must-See Gay Films

A. How to Survive a Plague (2012) [00:23:00]
Larry Kramer’s Speech
B. Milk (2008) | The Times of Harvey Milk (1984) [00:47:00]
C. Blue is the Warmest Color (2013) [01:10:27]

III. Personal Picks [01:42:40]

A. Michael: Weekend (2011)
B. Ryan: A Single Man (2009)
C. Timmie: Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)
D. Michael: Were the World Mine (2008)
E. Timmie: Eyes Wide Open (2009)

IV. Mini Segments [01:52:15]

A. Timmie Loves: Horror
B. The X-Files Files
C. Community’s Potential Future

V. Conclusion [01:59:20]

The Entire List

Top Contenders:

Milk (2008) / The Times of Harvey Milk (1984)

Blue is the Warmest Color (2013) 

How to Survive a Plague (2012)

Weekend (2011)

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)

A Single Man (2009)


Cut List:

Many of these are fantastic films, but were cut because they were not as powerful as the films in our top 3 or did not match the following criteria:

1) The film should be readily available

2) An example of great cinema

3) The gay experience and point of view has to be the focal point


Eyes Wide Open (2009) It’s great, but doesn’t focus as much on the topic as it does the Israeli Orthodox Jewish culture.

Sunday Bloody Sunday A good film, but I don’t think think it’s focus is on the topic as much as we’d want.

We Were Here (2011)  Good, but not as powerful as How To Survive a Plague.

Mysterious Skin (2004) Decent, but kind of overdone in a “student filmy” way. Also seems more like a story about the ramifications and damages that come  from being a victim of child molestation.

Victim (1961) Doesn’t show the experience/culture. Everything is under the surface because of the time period it was made.

Angels in America Same problems as ‘And the Band Played On’ and ‘The Normal Heart’ — play to film adaptations suck when directors don’t take risks. Melodramatic and on the nose. This article explains it all (and then whimps out at the end) http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2003/12/the_lector_effect.html

Taxi Zum Klo (1980)  A good depiction of the “dual lives” — main character teaches children during the day and lives a more exciting life at night. Were it an American film it would probably be a bit on the nose, but hypocritical as this is, because it’s German, it feels slightly quirkier and more interesting. Lots of parallel editing that gets a bit over the top.

Dallas Buyers Club (2013) Great film, but quickly discounted on our list because the main character is a white heterosexual male. 

Were the World Mine (2008) One of Michael’s favorites, but too campy and absurd.

The Birdcage (1996) One of Timmie’s favorites, but the tone was not what we were looking for.

The Kids Are All Right (2010) Great film, but we preferred the “day in the life” experience of Blue is the Warmest Color.

Bridegroom (2013) One of Michael’s favorite docs of the year, but we preferred The Case Against 8

The Hours (2002) Amazing film, but only a portion is spent on a gay character’s POV

Trick (1999) Definitely looks at things from the main character’s perspective.  Not great filmmaking.  Didn’t really need to be a film in Timmie’s opinion.  Also, Tori Spelling is the worst.  Get your shit together. 

Transamerica (2005) Good film, but maybe focuses a little too much on the transgender aspect, which merits its own episode at some point. 

Stranger By the Lake (2013) Interesting look at the sort of “cruising” culture in France, but doesn’t focus enough on an actual relationship.  But cinematically it is beautiful.  The acting is great.  And it’s a really interesting intermingling of this subject and a murder mystery.  Warning: There is a lot of full nudity throughout the film

Paris is Burning (1990)  Very cool documentary!  The focus however, is more on the drag culture, as opposed to gay culture specifically. 

Maurice (1987) NJAM didn’t get to screen this, although it comes highly recommended.  You can purchase the DVD for around $80.  

Boys Don’t Cry (1999)  Another great film, but again, focuses mainly on the struggles of being transgender, which is another episode.  

Priscilla Queen of the Desert (1994)  A great combination of funny, heartwarming, and poignancy.  However, there is a lot going on here, and the actual main character is not gay himself.  


Original Music

The music found in this episode was written and performed by the talented Jesse James.

Audio Editing

This show was edited by Ryan Jacobi.

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