By Tim Parks
Any gay man of a certain age worth his salt (the term “salt lick” had to come from somewhere, ya know), can probably quote Mommie Dearest verbatim.
But that movie came out in 1981 and is somewhat considered the pinnacle of queer cult classics – the stuff by which we gays have to gauge worthy successors by. Uh oh, bad idea – never put size queens in charge of measuring.
What I am trying to convey, without the requisite mention of a penis, is that there are a plentitude of other films released in the time since Faye Dunaway beat the crap outta her movie daughter, Mara Hobel.
However, my mind turns to the younger gay generation on this subject and I wonder, “What about the children?”
Albeit, it’s not in a Michael Jackson kind-of-way, but I do question if it’s an older generational thing when it comes to loving cult movies.
I am certainly not trying to be ageist and maybe turning 40 this year has me ready to shriek, “Hey you kids get off my lawn!”
But I do think that there may be some movies that have passed by the future of gay culture and I want to help.
Especially when I hear a twenty-something proclaiming that Grease 2 was better than the original…say what?! Is my generation gap showing? Nah, my legs are crossed.
Now that that’s out of the way – no, I am not referring to tucking, I meant my lapse into old manhood – what makes a gay cult movie, well, gay? Is it a film’s ability to be quotable enough to be added to our daily lexicon and relatable on multiple levels?
Perhaps, it’s that we simply have different tastes from those “mainstream” audiences. We have suffered as a people – so, why shouldn’t our movie tastes reflect that?
Can I get a “amen, sister?”
Whether you like your “classics” served up with a one, two or, gasp, even three stars – here’s a look at some films for your consideration.
Stick To Your Day Job
Whenever a musician decides it’s time to translate their, ahem, “artistry” to the big screen the results are a mixed bag. For every The Bodyguard there has to be the opposite end of the spectrum, like, Swept Away. Sorry, Madonna that movie sucked balls and not in a good way!
Unquestionably, Glitter with Mariah Carey has garnered itself quite the reputation in the pantheon of bad movies.
This tale of rising “star” Billie Frank is an abject lesson that dreams really do come true, but only if you can suspend your belief system long enough.
C’mon, what singer with one hit single sells out Madison Square Garden, can order a chauffeur to drive to “a farm somewhere in Maryland” to reconnect with an estranged mother and have him find it, or thinks that wearing a side ponytail is a good look?
The biggest lesson it serves? When a video director says: “The glitter can’t overpower the artist,” truer words were never spoken. And, apparently he’d never met any drag queens.
But, my favorite part of Glitter comes at the end…because it’s over.
From Justin to Kelly was no love letter to “American Idol” fans – it was more like hate mail! Once described as “Grease on the beach” by Kelly Clarkson (hey, what did Grease ever do to you?!), it was nothing more than a failed attempt to cash in on Idol’s popularity.
Sure, it’s crap on toast, but it’s still fun to see Kelly singing with that “other guy” before she got big. That’s not a swipe at her weight.
Girls Just Wanna Fit In
Not-so-surprisingly, a great many films that we can latch onto feature female protagonists (that’s a fancy word for characters) and their quests for recognition within society – hmm, that’s queer.
Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion certainly resonates with anyone whose been cast aside.
Not only does this comedy with Lisa Kudrow and Mira Sorvino teach viewers the glue recipe for Post-its (um, I invented them, girls, and I’m the Mary), it gives one a great excuse to use after meeting a loser in a bar.
“Would you excuse me? I cut my foot before and my shoe is filling up with blood.” Works like a charm every time.
Long before Winona Ryder became linked with a love of five finger discounts that derailed her movie career, she was the poster girl for teen angst.
No movie demonstrated this better than Heathers, a black comedy about high school cliques that was “very” as the titular popular girls would put it.
Need to add to your arsenal of comebacks (not that kind)? Why not lob a “F**k me gently with a chainsaw” at someone.
Showgirls is to cult movies what “Ver-sayce” is to fashion. Nope, not a SAT question, just one of the many priceless lines uttered by Nomi (Elizabeth Berkley).
It is also one of the few in the film, about the cutthroat world of Vegas showgirls, that doesn’t require her to pick up the F-bombs she constantly drops.
Be wary of the drinking game that comes with the deluxe version of the DVD, in which you take a shot each time Nomi hits something – you’ll end up with alcohol poisoning by the time the credits roll!
Cut. Print.That’s A Wrap!
Wow! I really learned something here today and I was supposed to be educatin’. Guess you can teach an old dog new, uh, tricks, as the universal language of film can speak to everyone. Guess I was just cranky and needed a nap at the beginning. Until next time, that’s all of the news that’s of the news that’s fit to print.