In Booksmart, two friends decide to take a break from over-achieving and let loose before graduation. The film features a realistic portrayal of a young lesbian woman through Amy's character, and makes her sexuality a feature of her identity without relying on stereotypes. This funny movie is perfect to watch during Summer break!
For his portrayal of Andrew Beckett, a lawyer who faces workplace discrimination due to his AIDS infection, Tom Hanks won the Oscar for best actor for the movie Philadelphia. In 1993 when the movie released, it was rare to see a movie tackle the topic of AIDS, much less present a character who is likeable and in a committed relationship. The movie also has great performances from Denzel Washington as Hanks' lawyer and Antonio Banderas as Hanks' partner.
She blew up after her song Coffee became a huge hit on social media. Today she's touring with Taylor Swift on the Eras Tour. Check out bisexual artist Beabadoobee's latest project, Beatopia featuring the wistful pop song See You Soon.
Asexual vocalist and guitarist Bradford Cox of the band Deerhunter has some great vocal moments on Halcyon Digest. Check out the vibey song Helicopter, one of the band's most streamed tracks.
For more Pride Month movie and TV picks, check out this list!
Some great foreign films for Pride month are:
A Fantastic Woman: in Spanish, from Chile. Academy award for best foreign language film
Ma Vie en Rose: in French, from Belgium: follows a child's exploration of their gender identity
I recommend these documentaries:
Chris & Don: the touching story of the relationship between writer Christopher Isherwood (author of the Berlin Stories which were the basis for the musical Cabaret) and artist Don Bachardy who was 30 years younger. Against all odds, this extraordinary, openly gay couple in Hollywood created a bond that lasted for 30 years, until the passing of Isherwood.
Stonewall Uprising: Based on David Carter's critically acclaimed book, Stonewall: The Riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution. Personal recollections of what life was like for gay people in New York before Stonewall are hard to believe today, but reveal the inevitability of the violent week-long riots that marked a turning point in the gay civil rights movement here and around the world. DVD
We Were Here: An intimate, yet epic history of the AIDS years in San Francisco, as told through the stories of five longtime San Franciscans. Extremely moving and personal, it shows how this catastrophe both devastated and transformed the gay community as it came together with compassion and determination. DVD
The Times of Harvey Milk: The life, career and assassination of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person elected to public office in San Francisco. There's also a great feature film called Milk, with Sean Penn as Harvey Milk. Harvey Milk was an opera lover, so it's fitting that there is also an opera about him by Stewart Wallace: Harvey Milk.
Some lesser known feature films:
Beginners: A young man is rocked by two announcements from his elderly father: that he has terminal cancer, and that he has a young male lover.
Wilde: The rise and fall of the literary Oscar Wilde, from celebrated London socialite to banished pariah.
The Happy Prince: the last three years in the life of legendary writer Oscar Wilde, during which he traveled across Europe after serving time in prison for his relationships with other men.
Spoiler Alert: this new movie is a heartwarming, funny, and life-affirming story of how Michael and Kit's relationship is transformed and deepened when one of them falls ill. With Jim Parsons, Ben Aldridge and Sally Field.
In the nineties, there was a burgeoning of new cinematic voices hitting Hollywood. One of the most memorable was Gus Van Sant's My Own Private Idaho. The movie about two street hustlers played by River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves leaving the street culture of Portland to search for the mother of one of them. Phoenix's performance established him as one of the greatest of his generation of actors.
As part of the same movement of new voices, filmmaker Marlon T. Riggs created the poetic documentary, Tongues Untied which showed the plight faced by many Black gay men who were excluded both from the Black community and the gay community for intersectional reasons. Happily the film has been restored and preserved with Riggs' other works in a Criterion box set The Signifyin' Works of Marlon Riggs with many extras that help with understanding the film's importance.
Another startling documentary from this time period and well before RuPaul's Drag Race, the phenomena of drag was explored and celebrated in the documentary, Paris is Burning. During a time when drag was a more obscure subculture and with the AIDS virus decimating the gay community the joy of performance and creativity burns bright against the darkness.
Alfred Hitchcock's Rope about two college students murdering a classmate for intellectual reasons and then throwing a party for the victim's family (where the victim's body is hidden) is full of gay subtext. The film was written by a gay writer, Arthur Laurents and starred two gay actors, John Dall and Farley Granger (who was born in San Jose, CA) as the murderers. The movie is also significant for its long takes and being largely shot within a single movable set which separated and moved around the bulky film cameras. A curio worth checking out.
Set in the 1950's, but made in the mid 1980's the groundbreaking romantic film Desert Hearts became a cult hit because of its frank romance between two women. A professor arrives in Nevada to get a divorce and finds herself attracted to a woman working at the ranch she is staying at. The film feels less radical now but the sense of boundaries being broken is strong. Its refusal to punish its characters for breaking those boundaries remains refreshing.
Some great listens for Pride include Now, That's What I Call Pride a terrific collection of classic and contemporary pride themed songs.
On Broadway, there are many musical adaptations that "queer" their original material and won Tony Awards for their leading actors. Santino Fontano won a Tony Award as Best Actor in a Musical for the Broadway musicalized Tootsie which manages to update the original film's cross dressing premise and make it more inclusive. J. Harrison Ghee made Tony Award history for being the first non-binary actor to win the Best Actor in a Musical Tony for the musical version of Some Like It Hot. The adaptation features more outwardly queer characters than the delightful film classic it's based on. Finally, Harvey Fierstein won a groundbreaking Tony award in the same category for the delightful musical Hairspray which, like Some Like it Hot, features a song score by the great Marc Shaiman, a gay composer. The film that inspired the musical John Water's Hairspray is also worth checking out.
Movies & Music - Question of the Week
When Sam Smith accepted the Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Writing's on the Wall" for the James Bond film Spectre, he claimed to be the first openly gay winner of an Oscar. Which of the following openly gay Oscar winners who all won the award before Smith, did so in the same exact category, Best Original Song?
Dustin Lance Black0
Last Week's Trivia Answer: Lucille Ball in Mame