I was recently going through my favorite movies and realized I'm a huge homosexual. Ok, so maybe I didn't JUST realize that but I digress. I realized there certainly are some "gay classics" that have absolutely nothing to do with the gays at all. What makes a movie totally gay besides actual gay characters? Divas? Underdog revenge? Roller skating musical numbers? Whatever the case may be, I've put together my list of Ten Totally Gay, Non-Gay Classic Movies. Enjoy!
Between the big hair, the outfit changes every 6.5 minutes and fornicating with every available man she meets, Barbarella is a big ol' drag queen. Ok we're not all sluts but mostly (wink, wink). There's the whole 60's hippie future vibe going on and since this movie was obviously made be a man there are some free love lesbitarian moments but very few. Though I'm guessing the Great Tyrant chooses from any menu she pleases and she looks fierce so go for it girl. Let me just say that Barbarella made me want to be a drag queen. Thank you Jane Fonda, thank you.
Side note: As if it couldn't get any gayer, this is also where the 80's rock group Duran Duran got their name from. I don't think any of them are gay but they looked like 80's homos.
Murder, deceit and hilarity set to an iconic children's board game! What little gay boy didn't want to be Miss Scarlet? Just me? This film had some legendary comedic actors, Tim Curry, Eileen Brennan, Christopher Lloyd, Leslie Ann Warren, Martin Mull, Michael McKean and one of my personal favorites Madeline Kahn. What's not to love? Maybe it's homo-appeal is partially because all three actresses have quite the gay following, especially Madeline (RIP). I can't even count how many times I've recited Mrs. Whites' speech, "Flames on the side of my face, breathing, breathless, heaving breaths..." Brilliant!
*SPOILER! (As if you need one for a movie that's almost 30 years old. Yikes! Now that made me feel old!)*
Ok so technically there is a gay character depending on which ending you are to believe.
"A plant? I thought men like you were usually called a fruit." - Miss Scarlet
Originally when it was released into theaters, each theater showed only one ending. But with the third ending and supposed real ending, Mr. Green outs himself as a hetero.
An outcast virgin gets the ultimate revenge on everyone! What's not to love? I can't tell you how many times I shout out, "Plug it up! Plug it up!" I do get funny looks when I do it in Starbucks. Can we talk about the performances by Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie? Stellar! It also has been made into a musical, spoofed and its scenes have been used in countless drag numbers. Not a gay character in site though hat girl and Miss Collins are questionable. I always imagined Tommy and Billy schtupping underneath the bleachers while the girls had their gym detention (Do I need to make a John Travolta gay joke here?)
I'm just going to say, you know when she went all mental you rooted for Carrie. I did. Maybe it's because I saw myself in school being endlessly harassed and wish I had a little telekinesis to whoop some ass. I mean, not in a let's-kill-the-whole-prom way but the little shaking and toss-out-the-window-into-a-pool-of-rancid-manure kind of way.
Almost anything with Better Midler is going to be a gay classic. She's like this fruit fly beacon to all homosexual men. Is it her brassy bawdiness? Her big boobs? Or that epic voice? Whatever the case it, the gays have always flocked to the Divine Miss M.
Who'd have thought it though? A tale of a friendship (with no late-night drunken lady kisses) between two little hetero girls, CC Bloom and Hillary Whitney (Barbara Hersey), would become a gay rite of passage. It also gave us a drag queen staple: "Wind Beneath My Wings." How many queens have enthralled audiences by performing it? How many times have I gone to the bar when a queen does it?
6. Flash Gordon
The costumes alone are gag worthy! Is all that glitters really gay? I remember watching this movie with my galpal roommate Darienne Lake (RuPaul's Drag Race Season 6 (shameless plug)) and then trying to make cardboard and glitter replicas of the head pieces. I would have to guess a drag queen designed all the costumes for this movie. And how about Ming's eyebrows? Girl, he was nothing but a bearded queen. There's even winged leather men! Oh yeah and a theme song by Queen. This movie just oozes gay decadence without any gay characters in site, though Ming's right hand woman Kala might be. Glitter, campy music and leather, you can almost smell the poppers in the air.
If you've never seen this Sci-fi amazingness here's Flash Gordon in 6 minutes:
5. Death Becomes Her
Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn together? Gay gasp! And they play fading stars who take a potion to stay young and live forever? Gay-mazing! Gay men everywhere still want to be either Madeline Ashton or Helen Sharp or even Lisle Von Rhuman (Isabella Rossellini). Though nothing in it is out and proud gay, you can't get gayer than the opening number Me from a ill-conceived musical version of Sweet Bird of Youth. This film also deliciously skewers Hollywood and its obsession with youth and beauty. Maybe that's the draw from gay men? Beauty and youth at all costs! I know I'm definitely taking the potion.
4. 9 to 5
It's no secret that gay men love their divas. Jane Fonda. Lily Tomlin. Dolly Parton. Enough said? This movie is comic genius! The chemistry between the three leading ladies is what you wish every movie had. The whole cast is perfect! Even though the look screams 80's the message and humor still hold up today. We gays do love watching the underdogs triumph and these fabulous ladies do it in the most hysterical way possible. Is that why it's a gay classic? Or is it because Dolly is pretty much an honorary drag queen? No matter because this will always be one of my favorite movies of all times.
3. The Wizard of Oz
They aren't called "Friends of Dorothy" for nothing! A pretty young gal gets swept away in a tornado, lands in a colorful magical land and squashes (literally) the one ugly being around. She then gets fabulous sparkly new shoes, meets three members of a Gay Men's Chorus who help her get to a hologram Wizard. She then goes on to defeat the hag of the
bears monkeys. That all sounds like a night out in West Hollywood on molly.
Ultimately, it's about knowing that the power is within you. Again, the gays love their boozy, pill popping, messy, yet wickedly talented, divas and Judy Garland was one of the first. Divas, sparkly shoes and musical numbers? Need I say more.
2. Mommie Dearest
Why do us gays love a movie essentially about child abuse and alcoholism? Maybe it's because we identify with Christina and the abuse she endured? Do you call this clean? Do you? Or is it because we know the perils of proper clothing storage? No wire hangers! Perhaps. More than likely it's because it's freaking camptastic! This is definitely in part to Faye Dunaway's over-the-top and iconic performance as Hollywood legend Joan Crawford. It's so beyond the point of ridiculousness, it became a camp classic before the first screening.
It's really hard to make unintentional camp and this movie nails it. Not many other movies are continually quoted in gay bars and drag shows across the land (I may know every single damn word!). Check out this fantabulous remix video that plays at Broadway nights at bars across the land like SpurLine in Palm Springs and Sidetracks in Chicago. You haven't lived until you've been in a bar with grown men shouting along with Christina, "Because I am not one of your FANS!"
The plot of this movie (if you can call it one) is that one of the nine muses of Greek mythology (played by Olivia Newton-John) is sent to Earth by coming to life from a painting on a brick wall. She is sent to inspire artist Sonny Malone (Michael Beck) to open a roller disco with the help of Gene Kelley all set to a soundtrack by ELO. Roller skates, disco music and mega gay icon Olivia Newton-John! You can't get much gayer than this movie even if you had a gay character. I have lived for this movie ever since my sister and I used to reenact scenes from it in our living room. The only thing gayer than this movie Xanadu would be Kurt from Glee (Chris Colfer) going to the Tony Awards, riding a unicorn that poops rainbows.
Bonus Movie: Drop Dead Gorgeous
I frankly just wanted to list this movie because it's absolutely one of my favorites. Technically Peter is GAY! but we never see him. Oh, and then there's Tammy Curry who I'm pretty sure is a bean but I don't want to assume. I will quote this movie until the end of my days. Buy American! USA is a-ok! Amer-I-can! I don't know it's like a gift from God or something. AND, Kirstie Alley, Alison Janney and pretty much the whole cast are totally brills in this. A must see!