We’re once again in the midst of election season and it’s time to head to the polls…and vote for your favorite gay movie! Web site AfterElton wants you to choose the 50 Greatest Gay Movies of all time. Last year, Brokeback Mountain took top honors – other notables were Milk at #4, The Birdcage at #24 and The Rocky Horror Picture Show at #36. Logo is spotlighting some potential top 50 candidates in a special marathon this Sunday, starting at 1pm EST. In case you need a little additional inspiration, here’s a look at my personal top 10 favorites (some made the grade last year, some didn’t). If your favorite’s not here, make sure to head to AfterElton.com starting tomorrow to make your voice heard!
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Ranked #12 in last year’s poll)
The quirkiest Australian import since Dame Edna, this 1994 cult favorite (later to become a successful stage musical) tells the tale of a pair of drag queens and a transsexual who venture across the land down under on a bus named Priscilla and bring their fabulous style to the outback. The acting is top-notch, with Terence Stamp playing the world-weary Bernadette (and satisfying your desire, if you ever had one, to see Superman II villain Zod in drag!) The film also stars Hugo Weaving – before he donned his shades to portray the evil Agent Smith in The Matrix and Memento‘s (hunky) Guy Pearce. The movie picked up a well-deserved Academy Award for costume design for both Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner (who memorably walked the Oscar red carpet in a dress constructed of American Express cards) – you’ll never look at flip flops the same way again!
There’s more – lots more – after the jump!
To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar Not to be outdone by the Aussies, this 1995 US road trip comedy stars John Leguizamo, Wesley Snipes and Patrick Swayze as a trio of drag queens who drive cross country to attend a drag competition in LA. The gals get stuck in a small Nebraska town and hilarity ensues as the trio bring a little razzle dazzle and some “say something hats” to the Midwest – and work a little makeover magic on Stockard “Rizzo” Channing. Out of the two, Priscilla is the superior in this little “drag race”, but you can’t discount the surprisingly rich and touching performance of the late Swayze as the eternally regal Vida Boheme. (I also love the cameos from RuPaul and Lady Bunny!)Girls Will Be GirlsPossibly a nod to the era of Shakespeare, definitely a modern camp classic, this 2003 indie delight stars Jack Plotnick, who plays the washed up Evie Harris, a d-list actress whose biggest claim to fame was playing a sexy astrophysicist in the 1970s disaster pic Asteroid. Evie, who lives with her companion, maid and whipping post Coco (Clinton Leupp, a/k/a Miss Coco Peru) in a house which is definitely stuck in the 70s (it’s even got a red, white and blue bicentennial room), is trying to make a comeback and tries (with hilarious results) on her cable access spectacular “All About Evie”. Adding to the chaos of Evie’s life is the arrival of wannabe starlet Varla (the wonderful Jeffery Roberson, a/k/a/ Varla Jean Merman), who forces Evie to face her past while romancing her son. This screamingly funny flick also stars Eric Stonestreet, playing a character as far away from his portrayal of Cameron on the sitcom Modern Family as it could possibly be. Die Mommie Die!Based on his stage play of the same name, Charles Busch borrows from both the films of Douglas Sirk and the Julianne Moore vehicle Far From Heaven to tell the sordid tale of a washed-up pop singer and her dysfunctional family. This 2003 film takes us back to the 1960s and introduces us to Angela Arden (Busch), who scored a radio hit with “The Salt and Pepper Polka”, but lost her mojo when her twin sister died mysteriously. She’s in an unhappy marriage with failing movie producer Sol Sussman (Philip Baker Hall) and finds herself entangled in a steamy affair with unemployed actor/gigolo Tony (90210s Jason Priestly). To add to her problems, Angela’s daughter Edith (Natasha Lyonne) may have given a bit too much of her heart to daddy and her son got himself kicked out of school for flirting with his all-male faculty. Add a little murder, a noisy maid and all of the sappy melodrama you can handle, and you’ve got one entertaining flick!Paris is Burning Documentary filmmaker Jennie Livingston spent five years hanging with New York’s black and Hispanic transvestite community to craft this compelling look at drag balls, houses and voguing (contrary to popular belief, Madonna did not invent vogue!) At times, it’s not a pretty picture – many of the queens portrayed in the film are poor or even homeless. Some had to turn to working in the sex industry to keep a roof over their heads, while others found themselves on the streets after being tossed from their homes by their own parents, who couldn’t accept their way of life. On the other hand, there’s the vibrant atmosphere, colorful costumes and incredible dancing at the drag balls – inviting the viewer to a raucous celebration of pride. It’s an important time capsule of gay history and a moving look at race, identity and gender in the late 1980s. Wigstock: The Movie This fun documentary – or “frockumentary” – chronicles the (gone but not forgotten) 1994 Wigstock Festival in New York City. This annual festival was organized by the legendary Lady Bunny (currently seen on RuPaul’s Drag U) and featured performances by the nation’s top drag performers (including Miss Bunny herself, RuPaul and Lypsynka) and gay-friendly entertainers (such as Lady Miss Kier from Deee-lite and Crystal Waters). Interspersed with the performances are interviews and a look behind-the-scenes into the performers’ lives, motivations and incredible transformations. And, as an added bonus, you get to see Alexis Arquettte when she still had to use the men’s room! Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Ranked #29 last year)Pairing a compelling story of a “slip of a girly boy” with a sweet tooth for Gummi Bears and glam rock with a rocking soundtrack, John Cameron Mitchell brings the German transsexual wannabe rocker Hedwig to vibrant life. Adapting his off-Broadway show to the screen, Mitchell, supported by the eternally mopey Michael Pitt and SCTV veteran Andrea Martin, weaves a yarn that is alternately funny, poignant and ultimately, life-affirming. Hedwig was born Hansel in East Germany and, to escape the oppressed country (before the wall was torn down), he succumbs to the charms of a US serviceman and undergoes a botched, back-alley sex change operation that leaves a little something behind (the “angry inch” of the film’s title). The rest of the film details Hedwig trying to find her “other half”, who she believes is rival musician Tommy Gnosis (Pitt), who stole Hedwig’s music to achieve his fame. Mitchell’s performance and songs such as “Wig in a Box” and “Origin of Love” make this a definite must-see. The Wedding BanquetThe second film from director Ang Lee, he of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hulk (the Eric Bana version) fame, this quiet, soild comedy-drama centers around a gay Manhattan couple, Wai-Tung and Simon. Wai-Tung faces the constant pressure from his Taiwanese parents to settle down, get married and have a family. To appease his parents, he arranges a marriage with a tenant in his building, the lovely artist Wei-Wei, an illegal Chinese immigrant who needs a green card. Hoping for a quickie wedding, Wai-Tung’s plans are thwarted when his parents decide to come to New York and throw a lavish, traditional wedding for their son. The film was nominated for both an Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Beneath the comic misunderstandings and deceptions lurks a moving picture with a lot of heart. Law of Desire Before Antonio Banderas met Melanie Griffith and used his vocal talents to bring the fairytale Puss in Boots to life, Antonio smoldered in this 1987 Pedro Almodovar classic. The drama involves a love triangle between a film director named Pablo, his lover Juan, and Pablo’s obsessive former one-night-stand (Antonio). In keeping with his affinity for eccentric characters, Pablo’s sister Tina (played by Carmen Maura, Almodovar’s pre-Penelope Cruz muse) is a transsexual who might possibly be a lesbian. Confused yet? In true Almodivar fashion, the intense drama of the story is punctuated by some slightly bizarre, yet comic touches and unforgettable imagery. Here’s a clip, it’s in Spanish, but it needs no translation! Trick (Ranked #9 last year)It may be love at first sight (it’s certainly lust) in this 1999 comedy as aspiring Broadway composer Gabriel locks eyes with go-go dancer Mark at a bar. Their attempts to find a location to “trick” (enjoy a one-night-stand) are thwarted at every turn by friends, roommates and an evil drag queen (Miss Cocu Peru from Girls Will Be Girls). Tori Spelling turns in a solid supporting performance (did I just write that?) as an aspiring actress obsessed with her role in an adaptation of SalomÃ© set in a women’s prison. Will Gabriel and Mark hook up or find the magic of true love? Tune in and find out – you can see this one during Logo’s Marathon – 5pm EST on Sunday!Did we leave out your favorites? Feel free to leave comments below and don’t forget, you can vote on AfterElton.com starting tomorrow! And spend your Sunday watching a few of the nominees, including the award-winning Capote on Logo, starting at 1pm EST.