[This post is part of today's Queer Film Blog-A-Thon at friend of Low Res Queering The Apparatus.]
Ah, queer cinema. Where would we as a culture be without you? We'd be down several screenshots of Johnny Depp in drag as a Cuban prostitute, I'll tell you that. And a rallying point for the nation's collective hatred of Crash. Jonathan Schaech's career would be considered boring in its entirety rather than simply boring once he stopped making movies with Gregg Araki. Not to mention losing a whole host of oppressive-or-perhaps-hilariously-
super-supportive mom roles for actresses like Mary Kay Place, Andrea Martin, and Meredith Baxter (-Birney). Pedro Almodovar, Jay Brannan, the Threshold of Revelation, hideously overpraised Tori Spelling performances, Curt Wild, Ian McKellen... A world without Hedwig or the last fifteen minutes of Y Tu Mama Tambien would not be worth living in.
So I'm very glad to be participating in this blog-a-thon. As for choosing a topic, I figured the topics of coded homosexuality under the Hays Code, the underrepresentation of lesbians, and why the hell we know the name "Matt Keeslar" would have been well taken care of by the time I'd signed on. And then it hit me, while I was recapping Weeds...
Best Performances In Queer Films By Actors Who Shockingly Turned Out To Be Straight:
Justin Kirk -- Angels In America
It is absolutely a testament to Justin Kirk's acting talent that he was the first person to come to mind under such a heading. Everything about his endlessly compelling rendition of Prior Walter in Mike Nichols's Angels in America screamed "one of us!" to me. The sad-eyed sensitivity, his expressive physicality, his...ease with the French language? I don't know. This wasn't a straight actor mincing it up for the camera, I knew that. All the principal actors in Angels -- Ben Shenkman, Patrick Wilson, Jeffrey Wright -- gave convincing performances, but only Kirk seemed like he went home with it. Shows how much I know. Cut to two years later when he shows up on Weeds, and within three seasons, he's erased any and all lingering ideas about his potential queerness. Andy Botwin is so incredibly, heterosexually disgusting, I can't imagine any self-respecting homo ever touching him. Not even while taking it up the bum with a giant black strap-on. Uh...kudos, I guess? No, seriously, it's an awesome performance -- so good, in fact, that I don't even think of Prior and Andy as being played by the same person. Thank God, because: seriously. Those two don't need to be sharing my headspace, ever.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers -- Velvet Goldmine
Chalk this up to the whole British-or-Gay thing. Or perhaps the whole wishful thinking thing. JRM is not a bad actor, and he gives a good performance here (still the best thing he's ever done), but it's not like he's so incredibly good that he had me totally fooled. I guess I just fell for the fey, pouty demeanor and (more importantly) the way Todd Haynes was able to create the all-things-to-all-people rock-god hysteria over Brian Slade so successfully that we (or at least I) fell under the same spell the audiences in the film did.
Dan Futterman -- Urbania
Look, he just really loved his boyfriend, okay? Maybe -- maybe -- I was projecting a little. A little. Can you blame me? It really is a sympathetic portrayal in a surprisingly affecting movie.
Gina Gershon -- Bound
I still can't believe Gina Gershon isn't an actual lesbian. Jennifer Tilly, sure, she was just a tourist, but Gershon. After Bound and Showgirls? She didn't earn that icon status for nothing.
Wes Ramsey -- Latter Days
I have weird mixed feelings about Latter Days, but I was completely sure that at least one of the central gay romantic pair was the real deal. Okay, maybe note Steve Sandvoss, whose sensitive-guy baby face was likely hiding a total poon-hound, but Wes Ramsey? Looked really into those sex scenes. And considering the other acting we'd seen from him in the rest of the movie, what were the odds that he could fake it so successfully? Of course, now his website is full of ruggedly butch head shots, and a few years ago he showed up on Charmed. Which seems like it should have been a queer-tinted show, but it really, really wasn't. Boo.
SPECIAL BONUS QUEER CONTENT
Just to continue the theme, I thought I'd dig up the five gayest posts in Low Res history. Generally, this blog's queerness is set at a low simmer with the occasional flame-up, so to speak. Here are the flameiest:
I *Heart* Johnny Weir.
I High-Five The Universe Over Reese Witherspoon's dress.
I Get Psyched About Nina Garcia Having a Baby.
I Express My Love For Janet Jackson's "If" video.
I Get Girly For Orlando Bloom.