The Broken Hearts Club (2000)

The first time I watched this movie, I couldn’t relate to it at all. It dealt with friendships between gay men, and at the time, I felt isolated because I didn’t have any gay male friends. I’ve got acquaintances, ex-dates and ex-boyfriends, but when it comes to platonic relationships, all of them are with straight people, mostly women.

But for some reason, I wanted to see Dean Cain play a gay role, even though he doesn’t shed his shirt for his sorta gay sex scene in the movie. So I rented it again.

The Broken Hearts Club was the first feature film directed by Greg Berlanti, who would go on to create the WB’s Everwood and Jack & Bobby. Watching The Broken Hearts Club again in this context made sense.

The Broken Hearts Club makes for a good TV drama, but it isn’t that great as a theatrical film. (Which I’ve said before.) It’s billed as “romantic comedy”, and it does a good job of painting within the lines of that billing.

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Like It Is (1998)

I originally saw this film at aGLIFF in 1999, and I liked it enough. It wasn’t mind-blowing in the same way as the original Queer as Folk or Bedrooms & Hallways, but the coming of age story was handled in a novel way.

I rented it again because for some reason, I wanted to see Roger Daltrey — yes, the lead singer of the Who — play a gay record label executive. I’m on the fence about whether Roger Daltrey is handsome, but he is definitely sexy. There’s a scene where he’s walking around in a tight tank top, and he’s got nice pecs and biceps for a guy who’s 60 (or late 50s, when the film was made).

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A Home at the End of the World (2004)

When I watched Lost in Translation in the theatre, I was squirming.

The long shots of Scarlett Johannson bored stiffless in her hotel room bored the hell out of me too. Which is part of the appeal of the movie — Sofia Coppolla wanted to make it clear just how stifling Charlotte’s boredom was.

I didn’t actually like the movie till after I left the theatre. Thinking back on the little details — the inaudible dialog between Charlotte and Bob Harris at the end, the fluster Bob feels over choosing carpet swatches over long distance, the stark difference between the night Bob spends with Charlotte and the one he spends with the jazz singer (Catherine Lambert).

I won’t go so far to say A Home at the End of the World achieves a similar effect, but the film’s storyline might leave a viewer pondering the nature of attraction.

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The Object of My Affection (1998)

What a mediocre movie.

And what a testament to Paul Rudd’s acting.

Rudd manages to elevate his character to rise above the pedestrain motions of the script.

When Jennifer Anniston’s Nina proposes Rudd’s George should help raise her baby, he says nothing but his body language speaks volumes of his discomfort.

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The Living End (1992)

This movie sucks in all the most obvious ways.

Grainy picture. Terrible sound. Hipper-than-thou plot devices. One-dimensional stereotypical side characters. Annoying industrial soundtrack.

And, of course, that’s the entire point.

The Living End put Gregg Araki on the map, and his quirky movies are instantly filed under the “cult” label.

There’s only one reason why I even remotely bother with this movie — the sex scenes are damn hot.

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Bedrooms and Hallways (1999)

[This past Labor Day weekend, I rented a bunch of gay-themed movies for my own version of aGLIFF, especially since this year’s festival didn’t really draw me out of the apartment. The next few blog entries will cover those movies, plus others I’ve seen in the past month or so.]

If I were stuck on a desert island with a DVD player and only 10 movies — never mind the power supply or any other such details — Bedrooms and Hallways would be high on that list.

Aside from being one of the funniest films ever, it indulges in perhaps the ultimate gay male fantasy — getting seduced by a straight guy.

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The Joy Luck Club (1993)

OK, I’ll admit to being a pussy and confess that I teared up during this movie.

I think I’m comfortable enough in my pussiness not to resist getting swept up in weepy moments of a film.

But I’d much rather tear up from something in a story resonating with my experience than from being manipulated by a scene full of sobbing.

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Agnes of God (1985)

I don’t remember who in my family wanted to tape this movie off of a network broadcast, but that was how I first saw this film.

And I’m not sure exactly when I started watching this movie repeatedly, but it must have coincided with the era in my life when I started recovering from Catholicism.

Agnes of God wasn’t a very likely movie for me to appreciate, let alone enjoy. I was extremely bitter at religion at the time, especially since so many years of doctrination made me hate myself for desiring other men.

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Priest (1994)

I’m thinking of hosting a Recovering Catholics Movie Night. Or perhaps curating a series of them.

Agnes of God one night. Dogma another night. And Priest on another.

Predictably, church-going folks protested Priest before its release in 1994. With obvious cause, of course — the main character is Father Gregg, a gay priest who doesn’t keep his vow of celibacy.

But that’s the least of his worries.

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The Wedding Banquet [喜宴] (1993)

Without The Wedding Banquet, Miramax would not be a Disney company, and “commercial arthouse movies” would still be an oxymoron.

Back in 1993, The Wedding Banquet became the most profitable film ever. It was made for practically no budget but went on to become an international hit. The film pretty attracted the attention of “The Industry” and made them realize arthouse does not equal box office death.

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