The Renegade Rip

Gay films deserve happiness

The Gay Agenda: Life and times of a modern gay man.

J.R. Hensley

J.R. Hensley

J.R. Hensley, Photo Editor

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This past Oscars was historic. Not for the flub, which took all of the spotlight, but that a black, gay film was nominated for “Best Picture”. I’m saddened to say I have yet to see “Moonlight.” My life has been too busy and what little time I do have has been filled with “Golden Girls” episodes, since the entire series was released on Hulu.

When it comes to gay cinema, the most commonly known film is “Brokeback Mountain.” While it is one of the best among the few, it falls into the same trap every gay film falls in, the depressing ending.

I don’t know if gay filmmakers all got together and ruled that nothing can end well for the character, because for most, if not all, end with the character learning a harsh life lesson. Maybe it’s the fact that most of our lives are typically fraught with sadness. But that’s not what movies are for, which is an escape from reality. Yes, we want the hero to struggle, but they’re supposed to come out better for it in the end.

My husband jokes that I just watch gay movies because they’re gay. Which is true. I think all of us want to see ourselves projected in our chosen mediums.

I think that’s why I’ve watched so many, even if they are terrible; and let me tell you there are some horrifically trashy gay movies out there.

Trudging through the muck and mire gets exhausting, but there are some glittering gems that I have clung to my chest.

“Brokeback Mountain” is the benchmark because it is first and foremost a commercial success. It had actual in-cinema release. Most gay movies are straight to DVD. I really do love this movie because it is so beautiful and the story, while slow, is still very strong. It told the story of two men who fell in love but had to maintain the illusion of a straight life. It toes the line of the men who identify as heterosexual but will from time to time fool around with a guy. The main character Ennis wasn’t gay; he was in love with Jack.

My second favorite and the one everyone has to watch, like right now, stop reading this article and check it out, is the film “Shelter.” The story is incredible and heartfelt and unlike the previous, it doesn’t end sad.

It actually has a happy ending that warms my heart and makes me want to start the film over from the beginning. I call that my “shelter loop.” For a while I had a digital copy on my phone and would just listen to it repeatedly while at work. Also, it has an incredible soundtrack, which I, of course, purchased. The third must is “Beautiful Thing.” It’s from the early ‘90s and comes across the pond from the U.K. I am such an Anglophile that anything from the mother-country always grabs my favor.

However, this one deserves it the most. It tells the story of these two boys who fall for each other accidentally, while the one is hiding out from his abusive family.

The film is filled with the songs of Mama Cass, which really frames the story and enhances the final scene with her classic “Dream a Little Dream of Me.” Honorable mention: “Big Eden,” “Latter Days,” and “Mambo Italiano.”

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Gay films deserve happiness