Hello to all the men of ManPlay in cyberspace! Today I’m launching a new weekly category that we’re going to write on every Monday. I get a lot of emails that talk about various gay television shows and films that are on at the moment but it seems like a lot of you don’t know about a lot of the history of gay cinema. That can be a ‘gay film’ that is as little as five years old and a lot of you don’t seem to be aware of it. Of course that’s not the case for everyone, but I thought it would be fun to start a new section on the blog devoted to some titles you might have missed before!
Gay Movie Monday April 16th 2012
For the first ever Gay Movie Monday I’ve chosen the Jim Fall film Trick. The 1999 indie film (made when indie films were less Oscar fodder and more low budget) was critically acclaimed when it came out and has a devoted fan base of mostly gay men and straight girls. It’s interesting because it is at once a straightforward romantic comedy that happens to revolve around two gay men and yet is also a dissection of the expectations that audiences have of a romantic comedy.
The threadbare plot revolves around struggling wannabe musical theater writer Gabriel (played by Christian Campbell, brother to Neve, who has never seemed to have the career he rightfully should) and his attempts to find a place for a one night stand after picking up a go-go dancer at a New York club one night. The other man, Mark, is played by the gorgeous Jean Paul Pitoc who some fans may recognize from appearances on shows like Six Feet Under and Ghost Whisperer. After they lock eyes at the club where Mark is dancing they later meet on the subway and try to find a place to get it on. With neither of them having a good place for the action (roommates etc.) they end up on a crazy journey through the city that never sleeps to find a way to sleep together. Hey! That sounds like it could be a tag line for the movie, but it’s not! The very clever tag line is “A Story About Two Guys Trying To Make It In The Big City”, which you can see on the theatrical poster near the top of the page.
In an unlikely (at least at the time) hilarious supporting role, Tori Spelling appears as Gabriel’s best friend Katherine, a struggling musical theater actress. One of the highlights of the film happens early on, when Katherine sings one of Gabriel’s songs that he is workshopping – to hilarious comic effect. The song, Enter You, made it to the soundtrack and is a real gem. The beauty of Spelling’s casting is that in 1999 this was way before she turned her career into a successful one full of best-selling books and reality shows galore. She was not considered someone to be taken seriously – and certainly not someone who was intentionally funny. With roles like this and The House of Yes and her cameo in Scream 2, Spelling showed the world that she was not only a funny lady, but that she was also in on the joke.
So what is it about Trick that warrants the inclusion? First off, it is funny. Very funny. Second, it manages to be a successful romantic comedy that is a genre pic (in so much that it is a decidedly gay romantic comedy) that doesn’t make that big of a deal out of the fact that the two romantic leads are men. And this is in 1999, don’t forget. Above all, though there manages to be plenty of sassy dialogue and sexy situations in it, the major word that springs to mind is ‘sweet’ when describing it. It’s a romance, pure and simple, though it might stem from one of the unlikeliest of places. It also gets bonus points for featuring a great role for the hilarious drag queen Miss Coco Peru.
Have you all seen Trick? Any memories of it in particular that stand out for you? Do you think it deserves to be part of Gay Movie Mondays? If you haven’t see it, are you now planning to? Write and let us know what you think and if you have any tips of films you want to see be featured in the future. Then head back online and hit up the chat rooms of ManPlay and discuss the film (and others!) with other members of the site.