WATCH: When Jack Lemmon Played A Gay-Loving Priest

8.26.2013

By Andrew Belonsky

Jack Lemmon and Željko Ivanek worked well together in this 1984 gay movie.

When not out making the masses laugh, comedians Ben Lerman and David Smithyman host Serving Realness, a podcast on which they discuss gay and lesbian films currently streaming on Netflix. Recently the gents invited me on to discuss Mass Appeal, the 1984 movie adaptation of Bill C Davis's 1980 play of the same name.

You are forgiven if you've never seen this film about a sexually ambiguous Catholic priest (Jack Lemmon) torn between his affluent congregation and an unexplained connection to an admittedly bisexual seminary student played by real life gay man Željko Ivanek. Mass Appeal didn't do well in the box office or among critics when it came out, and it's not the best movie in the world, mostly because of the "play-to-movie" awkwardness, but the performances are solid and the film does raise timeless questions about how the Catholic Church can evolve with changing society, how money and faith come into conflict, and whether or not sexuality and sex acts are inherently linked. But that's not all we talk about: Carrot Top, homophobic autocrats, and cruising at church all came up, too.

You can and should listen to our conversation over at the "Serving Reelness" website. But be warned: we consistently refer to Ivanek as Ray Fiske, the character he played on Damages. Also, here is the trailer for Mass Appeal, so you have some visual reference.

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