We’re in the thick of pride month (Go see “Booksmart”!) and as many online entities and blogs celebrate the month, we’re naming five of our personal favorite LGBTQ films of all time. They’re ordered by year, as I have a hard time naming my favorite of the sub-genre. These are only some of the many excellent titles, of course, as there are some banner films like “Brokeback Mountain,” “Jeffrey,” “The Bird Cage,” “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” and so much more.
Feel free to let us know what some of your favorite LGBTQ films of all time are, and celebrate with us. Happy Pride Month.
Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
The classic cult musical is still one of the best rock horror musical comedies of all time. It’s filled with debauchery, anarchy, and Tim Curry in drag. One of those movies that will assuredly live on forever, “Rocky Horror Picture Show” is a new take on Frankenstein, except now the evil doctor is a transvestite who invites a young couple to stay at his castle and integrates them in his massive sexual bonanza. Filled with excellent music, and sharp direction, Jim Sharman’s classic is a must see if you haven’t had the pleasure. If you have seen it, see it again. And again.
To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995)
A mix of comedy, drama, romance, and bonafide road trip film, “To Wong Foo” centers on a trio of drag queens that leave behind New York City to take on Hollywood. When they end up stuck in a small town, they bond with the locals and also learn something about themselves. Played with class and a great comic flair, “To Wong Foo” was a risky film in 1995, and it’s even much more harrowing as it stars a trio of popular actors mainly known for action oriented roles. Despite its age, “To Wong Foo” is a funny, and engaging ensemble.
Relax… It’s Just Sex (1999)
One of my personal favorites, P.J. Castellaneta’s ensemble comedy is an entertaining mix of drama and comedy that confronts the real issues in the LGBTQ community in 1999. The film focuses primarily on a group of friends all of whom are facing their own obstacles in life. Buzz is facing a life with HIV and refuses to opt for chemo, Vincey is looking for a direction in his life as a gay author, and Tara is trying to have a baby with her husband, and splits her time with him and supporting her group of friends. Teeming with fascinating discussion social issues, and some great performances, this is definitely worth checking out.
Mysterious Skin (2004)
Gregg Araki’s drama mystery is an excellent look at two fates crashing together based around circumstances that dictated the rest of their lives. Joseph Gordon Levitt is bold and mesmerizing as Neil, a young man whose homosexuality and self-realization was forever altered by the molestation and sexual abuse of his baseball coach as a child. Now living a risky promiscuous life jumping from sexual partner to sexual partner, across the country, young Brian is convinced he was abducted by aliens. When he begins investigating the weird flashbacks, the narrative comes full circle in a heartbreaking and soul crushing revelation. This is a wonderful drama, and the performances all around are fantastic.
Barry Jenkins’ drama is a wonderful exploration of toxic masculinity, staying true to yourself, and embracing that there is no definitive way to be a man. Jenkins’ drama covers a trio of chapters in life of Chiron who grows up in the ghettoes and struggles with his identity as well as looking for a family to belong to. One fateful night with his best friend Kevin changes the course of his entire life and how he ends up relating to people in general. Jenkins’ direction is incredible filled with bold colors and pastels. He gathers a wonderful cast that includes Mahershala Ali, Trevante Rhodes, Janelle Monae, and Naomie Harris. It’s recommended if only for the very romantic climax.