That scene. You know the one. If you’re a woman (yes, gay women, too) and you didn’t get a little, umm, involved in that scene, well, you don’t have a pulse. If you’re a gay man and you didn’t get a little involved in that scene, you don’t have a pulse. And if you’re a straight man and you didn’t get involved in that scene, well, OK, you’re still straight. But kudos to you for going to see the movie, mister.
2. ANGELS IN AMERICA (2003)
Layered, complicated and visually stunning. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll be so pleased you don’t have to relive the ’80s with Reagan’s unattached avoidance of the surmounting AIDS epidemic. And watching Roy Cohn posthumously “get his” ain’t bad, either.
3. THE ADVENTURES OF PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT (1994)
Drag queens on a road trip and a very young Guy Pearce. Hilarious, touching and all set in the Australian Outback. Many say Priscilla is the inspiration for To Wong Fu, but we think it was a plain rip-off. If you’ll notice, that movie is not on our list. Rightly so.
4. BEAUTIFUL THING (1996)
Ah, adolescence. Throw in a screwed up mother, an abusive father and we have the makings of a beautiful thing. Set in London, these boys have the odds against them, but it turns into a sweet love story.
5. PHILADELPHIA (1993)
Old, conservative fuddy-duddies vs. Tom Hanks. Guess who wins? This movie brings the AIDS epidemic to your lap and makes you think about it. Antonio Banderas is convincing as Hank’s partner. Denzel is Denzel, but he has his own personal journey, too.
6. BOYS DON’T CRY (1999)
Brandon Teena is the new guy in town. He’s popular and even has a new girlfriend. But he also has a secret. Heart-wrenching, emotional with a powerful narrative. Based on actual events. And Swank won the Oscar for going full-frontal — and for a fantastic performance.
7. TIPPING THE VELVET (2002)
Male impersonators, Victorian period costumes and a little lovin’ on the side. This film is about looking for something, and finding it. And it’s gor-geous!
8. HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH (2001)
We don’t even know what to say about this one. Hansel, now the broken-hearted Hedwig, recovers from a botched sex change and chases her anger through rock and roll and Eastern Europe, all to find Tommy, who’s become famous by stealing her lyrics.
9. SAVING FACE (2004)
Wilhelmina (“Wil”) is shocked when her 48-year-old mother turns up at her doorstep, pregnant with a mystery man’s child. Meanwhile, Wil’s girlfriend, Vivian is annoyed at Wil’s reluctance to come out amongst a backdrop of a traditional Chinese community where Father knows best. Funny and sweet.
10. BIG EDEN (2000)
After hearing about his grandfather’s stroke, Henry returns to his small town in Montana (Big Eden) to visit. Old feelings arise after he sees his high school friend and crush, Dean. He has to come to terms with lost love, while slowly accepting his new one.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: KISSING JESSICA STEIN (2001) Straight, gay and everything in between. Great romantic comedy. BILLY’S HOLLYWOOD SCREEN KISS (1998) Doesn’t take itself too seriously and it’s just fun. Sean Hayes is always a treat. HIGH ART (1998) Ally Sheedy graduates from the Brat Pack to drug-addicted, womanizing photographer. Well played, Sheedy. DESERT HEARTS (1985) 1950’s repression does not apply to these ladies.
See? How sweet was that? Feeling the love? Great! Show your support for Marriage Equality and call your State Representatives so we can collectively stop the madness. If you’re in New York, the same-sex marriage bill has passed in the Assembly and is now being decided in the New York State Senate. Go to www.nysenate.gov to find your representative and then call call call. Believe me; you’ll feel so good good good.
Sarojini is a freelance writer and lives in Brooklyn, NY. You can follow her New York City exploits at www.onthepavement.com.