Tag: weekend

It’s Easter Weekend. Binge upon the gayest Biblical epic of all time. / Queerty

It’s Easter Weekend. Binge upon the gayest Biblical epic of

Ben-Hur

Welcome to the Weekend Binge. Every Friday, we’ll suggest a binge-able title designed to keep you from getting too stir crazy. Check back throughout the weekend for even more gloriously queer entertainment.

The (Very) Long Stare: Ben-Hur

Director William Wyler pushed the sword & sandal/Biblical epic to new extremes with this 1959 opus, which ties with Titanic and The Return of the King for most Acadamy Award wins in history. The film stars Charlton Heston as the title character, a Jewish prince living under Roman rule in the first century. Judah Ben-Hur has just about all the comforts he could want until he runs afoul of his childhood friend Messala (Stephen Boyd), who–for reasons never expressly said–turns on Judah, stripping his family of wealth and condemning him to servitude. Several years pass, and Judah plots to avenge his family name first as a soldier, and later, as a charioteer. His rising celebrity brings Judah back into conflict with Messala, as well as the Roman governor Pontius Pilate. Ben-Hur begins to have a religious awakening thanks to his interaction with the preacher Jesus of Nazareth, as he squares off against Messala in one final chariot race.

So where’s the gay, you ask? The late, great Gore Vidal penned the script to Ben-Hur, and in the 1990s revealed that he’s written the Judah/Messala relationship to have overt homosexual overtones. In Vidal’s backstory, the pair had been gay lovers as teens. When they reconnect years later, Judah spurns Messala’s advances, prompting the latter’s petty dismantling of Judah’s life and family. Star Charlton Heston always denied Vidal’s story, though William Wyler’s direction and Stephen Boyd’s performance certainly suggest a gay affair between the two characters. Contemporary writings from other production personnel would seem to confirm Vidal’s version of the story: Judah jilted his ex-boyfriend Messala.

In other words, Ben-Hur is a Christian epic that also happens to be gay AF.

We’re sure here for it. Besides the gayness, Ben-Hur offers much more to enjoy, including terrific performances by Heston (who won an Oscar), Boyd, and Hugh Griffith (who also won an Oscar), heart-pounding action in the chariot scenes, and some of the lushest production designs Hollywood ever created. In a medium known for ambitious epics, Ben-Hur ranks among the finest ever produced.

Normally we recommend a series as part of our Weekend Binge feature, but at over three and a half hours longBen-Hur is a binge unto itself. We recommend it as a way to celebrate Easter, queer style…at least until someone makes a movie where Jesus is actually gay. Nobody has adapted Terrence McNally’s “gay Jesus” play Corpus Christi yet! We’re just saying…

Streams on Amazon, iTunes, YouTube & VUDU.

This weekend, may we suggest you ‘Make the Yuletide Gay?’ / Queerty

This weekend, may we suggest you ‘Make the Yuletide Gay?’

Make the Yuletide Gay

Welcome to Screen Gems, our weekend dive into queer and queer-adjacent titles of the past that deserve a watch or a rewatch.

The Christmas Surprise: Make the Yuletide Gay

Give mad props to Rob Williams, the writer-director who, long before the current flurry of queer-themed holiday films, began to infuse the Christmas season with a hearty dose of gayness. Last week we recommended his ode to Christmas love, Shared Rooms. This week we offer up his earlier holiday outing, Make the Yuletide Gay.

The film follows Olaf (Keith Jordan), a college boy out and proud at school, but still in the closet at home. As Olaf tries to survive the holidays with his kooky family, his pining boyfriend Nathan (Adamo Ruggerio) decides to crash the party. Hijinks ensue, of course, as Olaf tries to keep their relationship a secret amid nosy friends, prying relatives and the general holiday hoopla.

A fine supporting cast helps buoy Make the Yuletide Gay, with actors Alison Arngrim (of Little House on the Prarie), Ian Buchanan (Twin Peaks) and Gates McFadden (Star Trek: The Next Generation) all showing up game for the show. Jordan and Ruggerio also have a natural everyman quality to them, that make them relatable in the leads. Far from groundbreaking, but very sincere, Make the Yuletide Gay is a warm & fuzzy way to celebrate the magic of the holiday season, and remember that all of us deserve a fairytale holiday romance.

Streams on Dekkoo, Amazon & iTunes.

This weekend, prepare to serve some gayness with your Thanksgiving / Queerty

This weekend, prepare to serve some gayness with your Thanksgiving

A person cutting a cake

Welcome to Screen Gems, our weekend dive into queer and queer-adjacent titles of the past that deserve a watch or a rewatch.

The Flying Turkey: Lez-Bomb

This delightful Thanksgiving comedy didn’t get enough attention when it debuted two years ago. Writer/director Jenna Lorenzo stars as Lauren, a thriving lesbian professional who invites her girlfriend (Caitlin Mehner) home to meet the family on Thanksgiving. There’s just one problem: she’s not out to her family. What begins as a slightly awkward Thanksgiving buffet of eccentric relatives (including Bruce Dern & Cloris Lechman and Bruce Dern as Lauren’s grandparents, and Steve Guttenberg as her nutty uncle) turns into a full-on circus when Lauren’s friend Austin (Brandon Michael Hall) shows up, and the family mistakes him as her boyfriend.

Lez Bomb doesn’t have the high production value usually associated with this caliber of performers, though it does benefit from a very funny script and Lorenzo’s calm professionalism behind the camera. As a director, she knows how to get the most out of her cast. Pair that with a hearty side of queer affirmation, and the resulting comedy is a very entertaining one. With Thanksgiving coming up next week, we recommend it as an appetizer to real-life holiday shenanigans. Critics often label movies that fail to take off a “turkey.” In this case, the turkey certainly does fly.

Streams on Tubi, Amazon, YouTube and VUDU.

This weekend, boldly go where no queers have gone before… / Queerty

This weekend, boldly go where no queers have gone before…

Pictured (l-r) Anthony Rapp as Lt. Commander Paul Stamets and Wilson Cruz as Dr. Hugh Culber of the CBS All Access series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY. Photo Cr: James Dimmock/CBS ©2019 CBS Interactive, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Welcome to the Weekend Binge. Every Friday, we’ll suggest a binge-able title designed to keep you from getting too stir crazy. Check back throughout the weekend for even more gloriously queer entertainment.

The Boldly Going: Star Trek Discovery

Yes, we admit it: we’re really big nerds here at the Weekend Binge. Not that we’re ashamed–finding LGBTQ themes and characters has always been one of the great strengths of the sci-fi and fantasy genres. This weekend, we celebrate one of the more recent achievements in the genre: the welcoming of LGBTQ characters to the world of Star Trek with Star Trek: Discovery.

It’s hard to believe Trek had been voyaging through space for more than 50 years before it finally got openly queer characters in one of its incarnations. Thankfully, said characters–not to mention the actors playing them–more than make up for the wait. Star Trek: Discovery dives into the Trek universe roughly 10 years before the adventures of Captain Kirk. The Federation has constructed an experimental new ship called Discovery with the ability to jump massive distances across the universe thanks to the work of its gay chief engineer, Paul Stamets (Anthony Rapp). Actor Wilson Cruz plays Stamets’ longtime partner, Dr. Hugh Culber, as Discovery ventures out onto her maiden voyage.

Each season of Discovery follows a new story arc. The first deals with an accidental war triggered by Discovery‘s second officer, Michael Burnham (Soniqua Martin-Green). The second follows Discovery’s investigation into the appearance of a mysterious “angel” and the rise of a rogue AI trying to (what else?) conquer the galaxy. Season 3, now halfway through its run, jumps more than 1,000 years into the future, with Discovery arriving in a time when the Federation–the force of hope and justice in the galaxy–has fallen after a mysterious event known as The Burn.

Besides Rapp & Cruz, Discovery also features a memorable turn by gay comic Tig Notaro as a sarcastic engineer, a rival of Rapp’s Stamets. Season 3 also introduces Blu Del Barrio and Ian Alexander as the first transgender & non-binary characters in Trek history–a welcome addition as well. Start the series from the beginning, or jump in at the start of a new season. Either way, Star Trek: Discovery offers bold adventures where LGBTQ people have never gone before.

Streams on CBS All Access & Amazon.

This weekend, take a break. Go on a date with American TV’s first man-on-man kiss / Queerty

This weekend, take a break. Go on a date with

Welcome to the Weekend Binge. Every Friday, we’ll suggest a binge-able title designed to keep you from getting too stir crazy. Check back throughout the weekend for even more gloriously queer entertainment.

The Soap: Dawson’s Creek

In case Election 2020 has you down, exhausted, or feeling a bit dirty about 68.7 million Americans who still somehow think Donald Trump is a good idea, never fear: the landmark teen soap Dawson’s Creek has landed on Netflix this week.

Dawson’s Creek invited gasps and grumbling when it hit the airwaves back in 1998 for its depiction of teen sexuality. The good looks and talent of Katie Holmes, James Van Der Beek, Joshua Jackson and Michelle Williams attracted the show a loyal audience. The series’ real gravitas, however, came in its depiction of LGBTQ characters, including teenagers coming out and finding love. Actor Kerr Smith played the character of Jack McPhee beginning in Season 2; the third season would see Jack have his first kiss with another boy (the Season 3 finale, in case ya wanna fast forward), with Smith becoming the first actor in the history of US primetime network television to have a passionate kiss with another man. Go figure that writer Greg Berlanti–who would go on to direct The Broken Hearts Club and Love, Simon, as well as executive produce Riverdale, The Flash, Arrow and a host of other series–created the character of Jack when he landed a writing job on the show’s second season.

Hormonal, lurid and groundbreaking, Dawson’s Creek offers up just the nostalgic, cotton candy relief we need right now in the midst of election madness. Watch it…and care about some fictional problems for a while.

Streams on Netflix & Hulu.

This weekend, meet the world’s youngest sex therapist / Queerty

This weekend, meet the world’s youngest sex therapist / Queerty

Sex Education

Welcome to the Weekend Binge. Every Friday, we’ll suggest a binge-able title designed to keep you from getting too stir crazy. Check back throughout the weekend for even more gloriously queer entertainment.

The Uproarious: Sex Education

Asa Butterfield and the ever-awesome Gillian Anderson lead this Netflix comedy about the son of a famous sex therapist…who sort of becomes the default sex therapist for his private high school. Butterfield plays Otis, said teen, as a man so overwhelmed by sex he doesn’t really stop to explore his own sexuality. That becomes more and more difficult as he begins to feel an attraction to Ola (Patricia Allison), a beautiful young woman in his class.

Sex Education makes fun of high school sex comedies with its own frankness, as well as its constant satire of the public’s sexual ignorance. (Season 2 sees an outbreak of “airborne chlamydia,” sending parents into a panic). The show also benefits from a storyline involving Otis’ best friend Eric (Ncuti Gatwa), a gay Nigerian immigrant struggling to reconcile his queerness with his family and culture. Neurotic and sexually frank as its main character, Sex Education plays like an anathema to the work of John Hughes…or possibly the show he was never bold enough to make.

Streams on Netflix.