One of the telling lines of “The Queen” is when show runner Flawless Sabrina explains that the biggest task of organizing the Miss All American Camp Beauty Pageant is finding a hotel that can house all the contestants, and finding a hotel that’s “hip” enough to want to house them. In 1968, being out and yourself was about being as discreet as possible and operating behind closed doors. While “The Queen” is basically a documentary about the cut throat world of Drag pageants, as well as a sobering portrayal of how the LGBTQ community had to function behind closed doors for much of the twentieth century.
This week we have seven stellar short films from around the world including Asia, Hungary, and The Ukraine, as well as one from prolific indie filmmaker Patricia Chica. Some of the shorts featured have competed in Cannes this year, and all deal with some kind of interesting and very widely discussed social theme including LGBTQ Pride Month. Look for these excellent films when you can. If you’d like to submit your short film for review consideration, submissions are always opened to filmmakers and producers
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.
Writer Paul Rudnick walks a fine line with “Jeffrey” as he balances comedy and drama with his stage play and film. “Jeffrey” has every opportunity to be melodramatic or cheaply exploitative, but it instead manages to find a way to laugh through tears and fears. In 1995 America was still basically in the midst of the AIDS epidemic with the government doing just about nothing about it, so “Jeffrey” examines the relative fear and terror behind it.
“To Wong Foo” was an especially curious film for me when I was twelve as I was admittedly not at all aware of what Drag Queens were. All I knew about “To Wong Foo” then is that it starred three of my favorite movie stars dressed as women. While the trailers completely advertised the film as men who dress as women for some kind of action oriented premise, I was surprised that it was a lot better than that. “To Wong Foo” isn’t a masterpiece, but through and through it’s a charming and funny drama comedy about acceptance, and enduring through pain.
I feel every generation should have a movie or two that defines them and how hard it is to grow up during that period. We’ve had movies like “Dazed and Confused,” “Mean Girls,” and “Breakfast Club,” and we’re very fortunate to have had two very good movies (“Eighth Grade”) about the modern youth culture in the last five years. Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut is one of the finest drama comedies of the year. It’s an honest and entertaining look at two girls trying to find out who they are before they graduate high school and enter in to college–possibly without one another.
It’s pretty disappointing that the Academy almost cut out the entire Live Action short category this year for the Oscars, as there are so many wonderful short films nominated. There are five pretty fantastic short films with strong messages about childhood and loss of innocence, and I hope now that they’re back in the broadcast, that audiences get a chance to watch and celebrate them.
The best thing I can say about “Bohemian Rhapsody” is that it aims to become a surefire Oscar contender, and the only aspect deserving of an Oscar is Rami Malek (bad fake teeth and wigs be damned). If you have to absolutely see “Bohemian Rhapsody” see it for Rami Malek, whose portrayal of Freddie Mercury is heartfelt, sublime, and much too fantastic for a movie that’s pretty much a sanitized version of the story of Queen and Freddie Mercury. When you have a biopic of the group that’s been authorized by the surviving members and is PG-13, there’s only so much flexibility allowed, and Malek thankfully rises to the occasion. And then there’s the rest of the movie.