It’s June. By now you’ve probably stocked up on glitter, horded handles of Absolut, and depleted CVS’s entire stock of factor-50 sunscreen (and condoms!). You’re manscaped and have made the elliptical at your gym your second home. Good for you, you’re all set for Pride. Now it’s time to get yourself in the right headspace. We suggest creating a festive mood with these fabulous films. They’re great, they’re queer, and you don’t even have to leave the house because they’re all on Netflix Instant.
The set up to Jonathan Lisecki’s 2012 screwball comedy is simple: A single New Yorker can no longer drown out the ticking of her biological clock and so enlists the help –- and semen –- of her gay best friend. Things get a bit more complicated when she says she wants to conceive the kid “the old fashioned way.” The film takes a lighthearted approach to the awkward adjustments that occur when starting a nontraditional family and doles out a great deal of laughs in the process.
2. Kissing Jessica Stein
This indie romcom has become a queer classic since its 2001 release. The story of 28-year-old Jessica Stein who, coming off a string of bad dates with men, answers the personal ad of a 30-something bisexual, Helen Cooper, it encompasses societal expectations, family obligations, and Jessica’s overbearing Jewish mother, played by Tovah Feldshuh. Also check out early 2000s John Hamm in a bit part.
One of the most critically acclaimed gay films of the past few years, Andrew Haigh’s 2011 film is an unflinching look at passion, longing, and the need for human connection. After a drunken night at a gay bar, Glen and Russell go for a one-off that turns into a weekend that will change them forever. Tender and honest, Weekend pulls no punches and will make you reexamine your next one-night stand. Watch the totally endearing "Costly Mug" scene below and fall in love with this film.
4. How to Survive a Plague
Though Pride may be a rainbow-colored bacchanal for many people, it's essential that we take a look back and remember all the people who've come before. David France’s documentary on the AIDS crisis and the bravery and activism of ACT UP and TAG has received glowing praise from critics and viewers since its 2012 release (and an Oscar nomination). It will be adapted into an ABC miniseries as well. If it were not for the work of the brave men and women featured in the film, AIDS could still be a death sentence and we, as a community, would not be where we are today.
5.Keep the Lights On
Ira Sachs’s 2012 film pulls no punches when looking at the relationship between a gay filmmaker and a closeted lawyer. Codependency, addiction, and jealousy complicate the men’s nearly decade-long romance. Simultaneously heart rending and beautiful, Keep the Lights on shows that with love often comes pain. Though at times hard to watch, you won't be able to look away, nor will you want to. (Read an interview with Sachs here.)
6. Taxi Zum Klo
A look at West Berlin in the early 1980s, Frank Ripploh’s exquisite film showcases the city in all of its seedy, sexy glory. Ripploh stars as a schoolteacher slowly unraveling in the uninhibited gay nightlife of the divided city. The film’s sex scenes are legendary and one, between Ripploh and his real life lover, made our 30 Sexiest Gay Scenes in film list, thanks to John Cameron Mitchell.
7. A Lair’s Autobiography
An animated film based on the pseudo-autobiography of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman’s, the film revels in the type of silliness made famous by the British comedy troupe. Using recordings Chapman made before his death in 1989, the queer comedian is able to narrate the film from beyond the grave, with the help of some of his fellow Pythons and some guest stars. If love Monty Python, you’ll love this film.
8. Paris is Burning
This pioneering documentary chronicles the New York City ball scene in the mid-to-late 1980s. The film is both poignant and hopeful, as it documents the poor and disenfranchised members of ball culture who create new identities, families, and worlds in which they can feel the love and acceptance of which society has robbed them.
9. Little Britain
Matt Lucas and David Walliams’ sketch comedy show can be lumped along with The State, Kids in the Hall, and Monty Python’s Flying Circus as some of the greatest sketch comedy television shows of all time. From Daffyd, “the only gay in the village,” to Lucas and Walliam’s Emily and Florence, two unconvincing transvestites, to Bubbles DeVeer, the totally broke, overweight heiress, the show’s farcical humor never fails to amuse.
10. Queer as Folk
The ground breaking British television show follows three gay friends in Manchester’s gay village. The witty and compelling drama became a transatlantic success and spawned an American version. Stuart, Tyler, and Nathan have become some of the most memorable characters in gay TV, so if you haven’t seen Queer as Folk, now would be a good time to get into it. (And could be your next boyfriend.)