Okay, so to wrap-up my little article mini-series on movies, here is a list of the Top 5 Must-see Movie Classics that every gay man should know, love and be able to recite. Bear in mind that these are the “classics”, not the “newer” movies that every gay man should know. Each of these movies has at least one “gay icon” in them and focuses on the strong, amazing type of women that we love.
- “All gay men have track lightin’. And all gay men are named Mark, Rick, or Steve.”
- Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis and Julia Roberts… do I really need to say more?! I will, of course, but I could’ve just stopped right there! At any rate, Steel Magnolias is a story centered on a beauty shop owned by Truvy (Dolly Parton) in Louisiana and the various lives of her clients. The plot revolves mostly around Shelby (Julia Roberts) and her mother M’Lynn (Sally Field). Without giving away too much, Shelby is a diabetic and is getting married at the beginning of the movie. The movie then takes you through the next few years to deal with the joys and heartaches of these amazing women. The entire cast of this movie is inspired; however Sally Field is simply brilliant in her role as overbearing mother M’Lynn. What’s even better is that the movie sports the tagline, “The funniest movie to ever make you cry” due to it being jam-packed with great jokes and one-liners. Sincerely, you have to watch this movie.
- “Iris Myandowski is a hand-walking queer!”
- Someone once told me that you can classify gay-men into one of two categories: Barbara (Streisand not Hershey) or Bette. I’m not sure how true that is, but in my case- I’m definitely a “Bette” and Beaches with Ms. Midler herself is one of my all-time favorite movies. Bette Midler plays singer CC Bloom opposite Barbara Hershey in this film about friendship, love and life. The touching story spans the life of child performer CC Bloom and upper-class San Francisco resident Hillary Whitney who meet while on vacation in Atlantic City and maintain a rocky, yet strong childhood friendship over the years.
- Mommy Dearest
- “No… wire… hangers. What’s wire hangers doing in this closet when I told you: no wire hangers EVER?”
- “Classic” is really the only word to describe Mommy Dearest, a movie adaptation of the best selling memoir by Christina Crawford depicting the abusive and traumatic upbringing she endured at the hands of her adopted mother, Joan Crawford- played by the legendary Faye Dunaway. The movie was met with bad reviews when it was first released in 1981; however Paramount seized the opportunity to turn it into a cult classic after audiences began to flock to the theater with Ajax and wire hangers to engage in The Rocky Horror Picture Show-esque audience participation. Today, the movie is absolutely a bona fide camp classic and if you haven’t seen it at least once yet- you’re WAY past due.
Fried Green Tomatoes
- “Oh it don’t make no kind of sense. Big ol’ ox like Grady won’t sit next to a colored child. But he eats eggs- shoot right outta chicken’s ass!”
- Fried Green Tomatoes features Kathy Bates, Mary Stuart Masterson, Mary-Louise Parker and Jessica Tandy in a film about Evelyn Couch (Bates) who befriends Ninny Threadgoode (Tandy). Evelyn becomes enthralled in Ninny’s stories about Iggy Threadgoode and the town Whistlestop, Alabama during the 1920’s. Through Ninny’s stories, Evelyn learns to find happiness in her own life and builds a bond with Ninny that will endure the test of time. There are hints of a lesbian relationship between Iggy, played by Mary Stuart Masterson, and Ruth, played by Mary-Louise Parker, and the film also deals with issues like racism, slavery and domestic violence within the context of the 1920’s. Kathy Bates and Jessica Tandy are in fine form here and Fried Green Tomatoes is definitely a must-see.
The Color Purple
- “You sho’ is ugly!”
- Last, but certainly not least, is The Color Purple featuring Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah and Danny Glover in a story about Celie (Goldberg), a young black girl growing up in the early 1900’s. Celie suffers rape from her father and abuse from her husband throughout the 30 years covered by the movie, which also explores the stories of Sofia (Oprah) and Shug Avery (played by Margaret Avery). Nominated for 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role and Best Actress in a Supporting Role for both Oprah & Avery- the film is a poignant message about the capacity of the human soul to love and endure, through anything.
So there you have it- 5 non-gay movie classics that every gay person should know!