Gay Cinema 1995: LGBTQ Movies

Heading the list are movies that should appeal to savvy gay audiences looking for something “different.”  Few of these will be on Variety’s Top Grossing chart; some will only be seen by select viewers. But with at least a dozen pictures, you’ll find yourself thinking about them when the lights go up–and beyond. They will provoke and enlighten you with fresh ideas, powerful images.

 

Gay-Themed Movies

 

Angus (New Line)

Produced by Dawn Steel, Angus is a funny, heartwarming film about a youngster trying his best to make sense of his angst-ridden life.  A dreamer and football player, Angus Bethune has an unconventional family life: His father (George C. Scott) is gay, his mother (Kathy Bates) a lesbian.  Angus, played by newcomer Charles M. Talbott, has a quirky but loyal best friend, and a hopeless crush on the prettiest girl in school.  A stellar cast, headed by two Oscar-winners, should make this unusual movie quite visible.

 

 

The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love               

Fine Line (June 16)

 

Is there anything sweeter than recalling one’s first kiss Maria Maggenti’s Incredibly True Adventure is a naive but poignantly touching lesbian romantic fable that celebrates first love.  The narrative, detailing the romance of two highschool seniors of different racial and class backgrounds, is conventional. But the overtly lesbian milieu is new, as is the girls’ age, setting the film apart from traditional youth comedies and lesbian comedies like Go Fish.  A personal film that will evoke nostalgic memories of your own pangs of the heart.                                                                              

 

Postcards from America (Strand (May 26)

 

Inspired by the writings of the late artist David Wojnarowicz, Postcards from America is a complex, elusive meditation on a gay outsider at different stages of his life. Interweaving three stories, first-time director Steve McLean, moves from the personal to the social and political. The film begins in New Jersey with the character as a victim of an abusive father.  It then jumps to his hustling days on the streets of N.Y., and culminates in the Southwest, as he’s fascinated with the open road and anonymous sex.

 

Stylishly distant, the fractured narrative is impressively photographed by Ellen Kuras (Swoon). Audacious, if not totally satisfying, it captures the contradictory values of the American Dream: freedom and repression, family nurturing and oppression.

 

 

Roy Cohn/Jack Smith (Strand, July 14)

 

A Jonathan Demme presentation, directed by Jill Godmilow (Waiting for the Moon).  Ron Vawter, an icon of the N.Y. theater who died of AIDS in 1994, delivers a tour-de-force performance in a theatrical piece that examines the lives of two infamous homosexuals.  Roy Cohn, the homophobic right-wing lawyer and sleazy politico, and Jack Smith, the notorious underground filmmaker, had nothing in common except for being white homosexuals living in an oppressive society.  Yet the fact that both died of AIDS lends an ironic and tragic note to their opposing lifestyles.         

 

Unzipped (Miramax, summer)

 

Douglas Keeve’s documentary is everything that Altman’s Ready to Wear should have been: An insider’s view of the fashion world that is hip, light, authentic, and amusing.  Unzipped offers a fascinating portrait of famed designer Isaac Mizrahi as he goes about the long, exciting yet tedious, process of creating a new line and orchestrating its exhibition.  Mizrahi’s eccentric personality is revealed through his amusing narration, which frames the film and gives it unique texture.  Much of Mizrahi’s inspiration comes from pop culture, specifically Hollywood and its glamorous stars.  In a wonderful moment, he relates his obsession with silent film Nanook of the North, which stimulated a line of Eskimo look.

 

 

To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar

            Universal (May 5)

The American response to Priscilla. Three stars of N.Y.’s drag-queen beauty pageant circuit hit the road in a l967 Cadillac Convertible.  Their destination: Hollywood.  Noxema (Wesley Snipes), Vida (Patrick Swayze) and Chi Chi (John Leguizamo) are determined to teach America something about being fabulous.  But their car breaks down in tiny Snydersville, Nebraska. Ready or not, the town receives an infusion of flash, trash and glamour, the likes of which it’s never seen.  During one incredible weekend, eyes are opened, broken hearts healed and hair teased within an inch of its life. Wouldn’t it be fun to see the auditions of William Baldwin, John Cusack, James Spader, Matt Dillon, Robert Sean Leonard, and Stephen Dorff                         

 

Wigstock: The Movie (Goldwyn, June)

 Advertised as “Woodstock without the bad wigs,” Wigstock is a  big colorful extravaganza celebrating the annual drag festival. The art–and politics–of drag are no longer an underground phenomenon. Wigstock, which burst onto the scene 10 years ago, now boasts a record-breaking attendance of 20,000 people.  Using footage from the festival’s two latest editions, the cameras go behind-the scenes to reveal the studious preparation and rehearsal, culminating in a variety that showcases dazzling costumes and hilarious acts of uniquely talented performers.  With such pop culture icons as Alexis Arquette, Jackie Beat, RuPaul, and Lypsinka. 

 

World and Time Enough (Strand, June 23)

 

Eric Mueller’s clever, bittersweet romantic comedy tracks the deceptively modest aspirations of a twentysomething couple as they grapple with love and morality.  Mark’s a radical artist-activist, Joey’s a garbage collector–together that sift through the detritus of family obligations, HIV status, temp jobs, and the unavoidable fact that, in spite of everything, they’re a happy couple. Heartfelt and lively, the film offers a witty glimpse into a side of gay life rarely seen–young, MidWestern, and more grunge than chic.