Gay Lov’n on Netflix Baby!
Snowy, frigid, winter days are here (for most of us here in the States, at least) which basically means one thing: a great excuse to stream hours and hours of all the movies you have yet to watch on Netflix.
And, if you’re anything like me, you’re always looking for a good gay flick to “chill” with and accompany your popcorn (and cookie dough…and ice cream….etc, etc.)
Netflix has a ton of options! Dramas, documentaries, comedies, satires – the list goes on and on. For the sake of this article, however, I’m going to focus on my personal favorite topic: gay men falling in love (and in bed) with other gay men.
And, let’s be honest, picking out a good film of this genre in the LGBTQ section of any streaming service can be as much of a shot-in-the-dark as scrolling through Grindr with a headless torso pic and “Right Now” in mind – there’s something for everyone, but who knows exactly what you’re going to get when you dim the lights and turn them on….
This is, in no way, a knock on Netflix – high-quality gay filmmaking has just recently started to work its way into mainstream media and our streaming services just have yet to catch up.
Of course, there have been the Hollywood standouts like this year’s peach-friendly Call Me By Your Name (Armie Hammer, anyone?) and the legendary Brokeback Mountain (Will any of us ever really “quit” Heath Ledger, because I refuse to).
And even a few indie flicks have gotten some significant attention and distribution. (If you haven’t seen Weekend by Andrew Haigh, put it at the very top of your list – while you can’t stream it on Netflix anymore, it is a must-see and you can find it elsewhere on the web!)
But, I’m sure you’ve had your fair share of disappointments after clicking on a movie title you’ve never heard of which, undoubtedly, featured at least one shirtless (and beautiful) man peering longingly into the distance – and learning very quickly that the acting is horrendous and the story is cheesier than your popcorn.
So, I’m here to offer some advice. For those of you looking for some gay lovin’ on Netflix, here are five films you should be watching:
1) Stranger by the Lake
This film is, by far, the biggest reason I have written this list – so I’m going to not waste another second! It’s a terrifying (yes, terrifying), emotional, and sexy thriller about an attractive, young guy who spend his days one summer visiting a nude beach in the countryside of France where the men cruise each other in the trees surrounding the lake.
There are plenty of trysts in those woods that leave little to the imagination and raise a lot of questions – and, eventually, the plot takes a juicy turn. It’s a French indie film (get ready for subtitles!) that received rave reviews around the globe – and it packs a punch on all levels. I can’t recommend it enough!
2) Tab Hunter: Confidential
In the glitz and glamour of Hollywood in the 1950s and 1960s, Tab Hunter was an unmissable heartthrob who charmed his way into the hearts of all the leading ladies – but it was the men of Tinseltown who had his attention.
This intriguing documentary examines the twists and turns of being a closeted, hunky, Golden Boy in a hush-hush era of Tinseltown.
3) The Way He Looks
If you’re looking for a coming-of-age love story, this is your winner. This romantic-drama from Brazil (more subtitles!) follows a blind high school student whose interest is peaked by the new boy in school.
Sweet and subtle (and wonderfully not R-rated), this film makes you fall in love with that crush in math class all over again.
Believe it or not, so many folks have yet to see this movie. In my opinion, it’s a masterpiece that I thought everyone with any inclination towards gay flicks had seen. I was wrong.
This historical drama about gay-rights pioneer Harvey Milk’s rise in the 1970s to being the first openly-gay elected official in California (and third in the US!) is gloriously acted and beautifully filmed – and should be required viewing, in my humble opinion.
(As soon as it’s over, watch writer Dustin Lance Black’s acceptance speech at the Oscars.)
5) King Cobra
Okay – hear me out. If you’ve heard of this one, you’re probably judging my taste in films. This movie has some big-time stars in Christian Bale and James Franco, but it’s certainly not a master class in acting (or filmmaking, for that matter).
But what it does offer (besides some ridiculous yet sometimes tasty sex scenes) is a story inspired by the true-life events surrounding the life and early career of porn star Brent Corrigan. (Now do I have your attention?)
As with all film, it takes some liberties with the proven facts – but it’s a fun couple hours of storytelling. (And afterwards, you can revisit those Brent Corrigan clips with a fresh new perspective.)