Video Rewind: Three Underrated Gay Themed Movies
Snubbed by Oscar, these films Should Have Been Nominated
Everyone has their favorite genre of films and while I like most there are some I can't stand and some I can't get enough of. If the storyline and characters are appealing then I'm hooked.
With the plethora of gay themed films out there here's a couple that in my opinion should be celebrated every year during June which for some people don't realize is the month of gay pride.
If I had to write a list of favorite movies these would be among the top 10 (based on the story and all are character driven) and worth watching over and over.Unfortunately, the only problem is when these films were made it seemed as though they had to have a character suffering from AIDS which probably turned a lot of people away from seeing them.
Longtime Companion- (1989) Having first premiered at various festivals from October 1989 to it's mainstream release on May 11, 1990 this was the first film to put a face on the disease and the first movie to be nominated for an Academy Award (Bruce Davison- Best Actor in a Supporting Role). Unfortunately Davison didn't win, but did pick up a Golden Globe for his performance as David. The movie follows a small group of close knit friends from July of 1981 (when it was referred to as a Gay Related Immune Disorder) until present day circa 1990.
While Davison, superb in the role should have had competition from his fellow cast mates as everyone turns in a stellar performance. Mary-Louise Parker was robbed of a nomination as not only their friend turned activist Lisa. Plus she could have gotten a Best Actress nod since she's the only actress in the film.
The film barely grossed $5 million and while I haven't seen the movie in quite awhile I found myself thinking back to Davison as he loses his lover Sean (Mark Lamos) when I had to put my dog to sleep. I remember trying to give her comfort just as he did to ease the pain. Not only has that scene had a profound effect on me but the ending is just as haunting and I consider it to be one of the all time great endings in film history.
Parting Glances- (1986) In all respect Steve Buscemi should have won or at least should have been nominated for his role as Nick, a rock star who's dying of AIDS. A lot of his scenes he's the comic relief to the "unofficial" breakup of the films main couple Michael and Robert (Richard Ganoung and John Bolger).
Robert (Bolger) is leaving for a two year assignment in Africa for the company he works for. He takes the position so that he doesn't have to see Nick suffer while Michael on the other hand is Nick's primary caregiver and best friend. Nick doesn't like the fact that Michael is acting like a mother hen by having him try all of these different supposed cure all's. He does however humor him.It's the evening before Robert leaves and this sweet as saccharine couple first have dinner with his boss Cecil (Patrick Tull) and his wife Betty (Yolande Bavan) before heading to a party at their friend Joan's (Kathy Kinney) loft. Robert doesn't feel like going but Michael insists and the rest of the movie takes place at the party since it's a going away party for him. Nick makes an unexpected visit which makes Robert uncomfortable and after the party Nick receives an unexpected phone call from a drunken Robert.
This movie is more of relationships and how people's lives are entwined with one another and there's an unexpected twist at the end so for all of you romantics out there be sure to have a tissue handy.
It's My Party- (1996) Another classic shunned by the Academy and this movie is based on a true story which happened in December of 1992. The ensemble cast is probably every casting director's dream cast led by Eric Roberts as Nick Stark a man who had it all with a Hollywood director boyfriend (Gregory Harrison) but when he tells Brandon he's HIV positive he doesn't know if he'll stay with or leave him.
Eventually Brandon leaves him for his assistant Zack (Steve Antin) and the breakup isn't a friendly one either.
A year has gone by and Nick, not wanting to die alone, discovers he has Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML).
As an aggressive disease Nick realizes he only has a few conscious days left and decides to throw one last party in which he's going to take his own life. His mother (Lee Grant) doesn't like the idea but goes through the motions to honor Nick's wishes. On the sly Nick's best friend Charlene (Margaret Cho who blows you away with her performance) contacts Brandon and tells him of Nick's decision. Brandon and Zack are on their way to an out of the country shoot but Brandon sends him along and goes to Nick's house naturally uninvited.
Brandon's presence isn't welcome by Nick's family (including sister Marlee Matlin) and also uninvited is Paul Stark (George Segal) Nick and Daphne's estranged father. The party itself is a celebration of Nick's life, but there's plenty of tension among the guests. It's their last time with their friend and everyone knows the outcome of what will be happening after the party's over. There are many cameos from Christopher Atkins (in flashbacks as being healthy and as a victim of the disease) to Sally Kellerman, plus Bruce Davison and Olivia Newton-John play a divorced couple who've discovered that their teenage son Andrew (Devon Gummersall) is also gay. He looks to Nick for advice and for a change is accepted by his parents.
As the party winds down you know the inevitable is about to happen and get out your hankies because you will be crying and the end song by Newton-John only adds to the tears. The main theme in this movie is love- whether current or former.
These are some of the best underrated independent films ever produced and if you're looking for a diversion from typical romantic comedies or horror films, take some time to watch and think as these movies will haunt you long after the final credits