Another Gay Movie was one of those gay-culture rites of passage that I missed out on for not coming out until college. Had I been like Will and come out at, say, age 14, I would have likely come across this movie as part of my indoctrination into the community. I felt the same way about this movie as I did about Queer as Folk. I knew that it, along with its sequels, was a staple of gay culture for past decades. I’d hear friends and even Will bring it up sporadically in conversations, usually when something reminded them of a particular scene. “It’s just like that one scene where such-and-such happens…” they’d remark. Meanwhile, I would just stare blankly at them until they would turn to me and ask “wait, have you not seen it?”
I used to make it a point to avoid these kinds of gay-culture staples, writing them off as perpetuating stereotypes. Of course, as you know, I began watching Queer as Folk, and was subsequently won over. Thus, this past weekend, when someone proposed the option of watching Another Gay Movie on Netflix, I was very much on board. I was tired of being out-of-the-loop and ready to continue my edification as a well-connected, well-read gay man. To make things even better, I knew how to properly prime myself for this movie. If QAF was any indicator, I would need to shut down my inner cynic and prepare my appetite for gratuity and camp.
Let me say that this movie did not disappoint. Perhaps its greatest strength is its blatant refusal to take anything seriously. Absolutely nothing is sacred in this movie. On the contrary, I feel like this movie tries to go for shock factor and thumb its nose at anyone who might find its subject matter offensive. I consider myself pretty difficult to shock. Let me put it this way, most horror movies make me laugh. Yet there were still a couple of moments where I found myself raising my eyebrows. It’s pretty obvious that this movie tries to be over-the-top and in your face. The color is saturated, the performances are over the top, the characters are outrageous, and script is crass. Of course, since the plot of the film involves an American-Pie-esque pact by a group of characters to lose their virginity, there is lots of sex and nudity, just paraded around on camera. It’s as if certain scenes are meant to double as a comedic soft-core porn video for gay teenagers to enjoy after their parents have fallen asleep.
Of course, this cavalier lack of subtlety works well for most of the film’s more outrageous moments. Unfortunately, like any comedy, Another Gay Movie also has to include a few sincere moments to build some sort of foundation for its characters. This is where the film inevitably lags. The director tries to minimize any dragging by keeping his actors’ performances over-the-top and colorful. While it may add comedy to these moments, it also kills the audience’s ability to emotionally connect with its characters. Sure, any gay can sympathize with their situation of being a sexually-starved high-schooler. But the film loses the opportunity to pack more of an emotional punch. This is exacerbated by the film’s constant dependence on stereotypes. Granted, I don’t mean that word to have a negative connotation. Anyone who has spent any sort of time active in the gay community can immediately identify people who personify these characters in real life. But these caricatures of the jock stud and the flamboyant queen and the butch lesbian et al are never explored or developed or deconstructed in any way. You’re just supposed to see these characters an immediately know almost everything about them. They’re just there, having their shallow conversations and chasing tail and getting into various antics.
That said, the key to enjoying this movie is simply knowing what you’re in for. I watched it while drinking at a party with a bunch of other gays, and at one point, I was also playing beer pong in the process. So since I really wasn’t looking for a profound cinematic experience, I definitely enjoyed myself, albeit mildly. See, I’m the kind of person who can never fully turn their inner critic off. If you’re one of those type of people, then you can approach it the same way I first approached Queer as Folk. It’s something you can watch as a zeitgeist piece, something that will clue you in to the spirit of the times. In that way, Another Gay Movie works really well. Whereas previous gay-themed movies and TV shows focused on the angstiness of being gay and misunderstood, this film is more empowering. It doesn’t dwell in its gayness so much as just relish in it, and then raise a giant-dildo-sized middle finger to anyone who doesn’t approve.
In that aspect, Another Gay Movie is a worthwhile film, since it unabashedly celebrates homosexuality. It’s attitude can be best summed up in one of the film’s ending scenes. Towards the end of the film, one character (I won’t say who) ends up getting penetrated by two men at once, which causes him to raise his hands to the air and yell “QUEER AS FOLK, EAT YOUR FUCKING HEART OUT!!!”