Celebrate Pride Month With These Great Queer Movies
Happy Pride! Naturally, the traditional queer celebrations involve parades and rallies and marches and protests. But what if you’re a homebody and you just can’t take the crowds? Fear not — you’re not alone. Plenty of us find the massive throngs exhausting. A perfect alternative is gathering just a few close friends (or even hanging out by yourself!) and watching a movie.
But which movie to choose? Here are a few handy suggestions for your Pride watching.
Many queers can’t resist the allure of powerful, talented, or otherwise bewitching ladies. The finest movie in the “incredible women” genre is titled simply The Women, and it stars — you guessed it — women. A classic film of feminine competition, morality, and allegiances, it’s got some of the best snippy one-liners ever written.
For more ladies pitted against each other, check out What’s Up Doc, starring Barbra Streisand and Madeline Kahn. It’s a ridiculous romp where everything seems to go hilariously wrong for everyone — and that’s what makes it so right.
If you’re in the mood for a documentary, consider Grey Gardens, the incredibly true story of a mother and daughter who’ve trapped themselves in a crumbling estate. It’s gripping and deeply affecting.
There’s an incredible moment of flirtation in the film Red River: Two cowboys compare guns, ruminate on the futility of having women in their lives, and speculate about inviting a third party to join them. The innuendo is so thick you’ll feel like you’re soaking in it.
Give a watch to any movie starring Marlene Dietrich — an assertive beauty, she can be caught donning men’s apparel on the regular. Quentin Crisp is another must-see figure; a great British dandy, any film with which he’s involved will charm you to bits.
But of all the films from before you were born, The Boys in the Band is probably the most important. A post-Stonewall look into the lives of New York gays, it speculates about a future where self-loathing is no longer a defining trait of the queer community.
To be queer can mean cultivating a love of excess, and there’s no shortage of campy overdone films to fall in love with. Check out anything by John Waters, the master of trash.
Or slip into the film Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, a semi-sequel to the far-more-serious Valley of the Dolls. It has a party scene that’s like a visual poem.
Showgirls is often hailed as a masterpiece of camp, and rewards repeated viewings despite the alarming assault at the end. But for something even more fun, make a marathon of movies about witches: Ursula from The Little Mermaid is based on the drag queen Divine, and there’s never been a non-campy Wicked Witch, whether you watch The Wiz or The Wizard of Oz.
Of course, no queer movie event is complete without drag queen films. One of the best is Priscilla, Queen of the Desert — or at least it would be if not for a gut-wrenchingly racist character in the middle of the film. To Wong Foo is a similar American movie that treads far more gently on stereotypes, but never reaches the same heights as Priscilla.
And then there’s Paris is Burning, one of them most important queer films ever to have been made. The movie traces the careers of drag queens in 1980s New York with startling closeness, and their dedication and wisdom and struggles are unforgettable.
And speaking of wisdom, you can get a dose of sage advice from, of all places, The Brady Bunch movies. RuPaul makes a cameo as a guidance counselor and the advice she offers is both funny and practical.
So there you have it — the beginnings of a long must-see list! Of course, there are hundreds more, and exploring related titles on IMDb will send you even further. Now go enjoy your Pride by shutting yourself indoors and staring at a screen!