This 1998 movie reminds me of how far we’ve come. The movie launched Sean Hayes’ career and he was quickly picked up for the role of Jack McFarland in Will and Grace. The movie may have been the screenwriter’s idea of gay life then, but it wasn’t mine.
This early movie was a well-meaning attempt to portray out gay characters but it’s fluffed up with characters what were already stereotypes in 1998. While the movie ends of a positive note, the story line is basically another sad gay boy track. I want to see are movies with positive images of gay men in those days who had lots of sex and were fulfilled by their engagement in life; we weren’t all losers. By 1998 we’d taken on the AIDS epidemic and proved to the world we were capable of not just taking care of our own but showed the medical establishment new ways of dealing with epidemics, better ways to care for the dying and faster drug approvals. I want to see movies with characters who are madly in love and change the way their family and community see gay men and lesbians the hard way through trial and error and unconditional love, not the Hollywood way aka In and Out.
I worked for three Mayors of San Francisco and know politicians need to be led to good decisions when it comes to human decency. On the other hand our artists are the advance guard and pole stars, and I love when they celebrate the good in our lives as well as the tragedies through their film making. I know tragedies make better plot lines, but they don’t make better history because good history shows readers everything from our broken hearts to our heady successes. We are far enough past the epidemic to look back to our lives in the 70s when we were learning how to be fully-functioning human beings who loved each other and threw fabulous parties (just threw that in) without shame or guilt. I watched a generation of gay men grow up in San Francisco, and there are artists like Ang Lee who know how to tell that story, so in ten years I can watch a movie about a gay man who has a rich loving life with another man, and neither needs children or marriage to accept himself or feel accepted by the rest of society.
Come on! Let’s celebrate the good old days.
#Sean Hayes, #Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss.