Summertime is a gay season. What could be more queer than comfort and carefree days? You owe it to yourself to enjoy your summer months — and how? Why, with the gayest summer movies and TV shows you can get your hands on, of course.
Twice a month I host a video livestream where I talk to viewers about the books, movies, music and more that they’re obsessed with right now. During my most recent stream, we talked about summer-themed entertainment, and viewers shared some of their favorites.
Topping the list for some was the show The L Word, which included storylines set on a gay cruise. Though it aired around the same time as Queer as Folk, The L Word doesn’t always get the credit it deserves for bringing same-sex relationships to the screen at a time when Americans were still getting used to the idea that queer people should be allowed to exist.
There was also a lot of enthusiasm for Call Me By Your Name, the film that was on everyone’s lips last summer. One of the true summer movies, it’s set at a balmy Italian villa in 1983, perfectly capturing the highs and lows of a truly peachy summer.
Or you might go a bit further back to The Talented Mr. Ripley. A far more sinister film, it shows the lengths to which a dangerous man might go to protect himself. There are same-sex romances in the film, but be warned: Don’t expect to feel good about them.
For something a bit lighter, you might consider Psycho Beach Party. This Charles Busch film revels in the tropes of ’60s beach party films, with plenty of campy overacting and gender confusion. While the production might work best as a stage play, as a film it’s a gas.
Or take a look at the movie Summer Storm — or Sommersturm in German. It’s a moody 2004 meditation on young men holding secrets from each other. It’s psychological and dramatic, and best enjoyed while thunder rumbles far away at twilight.
And if that’s up your alley, you might like The Way He Looks, too. It’s another international coming-of-age story, this time from Brazil, and focuses on the impossibility of depicting the awkward experience of coping with early romance.
Rounding out the list of recommendations at a place of dishonor is the movie Boat Trip, which loves to set up queer people as a punch line. Made by a pretty straight team, there’s little to appreciate here — it’s only on the list as a warning to avoid. You don’t want to ruin a day of summer movies with a turkey like that.
And of course there’s no reason you can only enjoy these experiences in the summer time! Even if it’s the dead of winter, there’s never a wrong time to leap into a fair-weather romp with queer characters.