Though summer itself actually still has a month left, the "summer movie season" ends this weekend. What it leaves behind is what should always be remembered as the gayest slate of films Hollywood has ever put out during its biggest blockbuster months. And we never saw it coming.
1. Neighbors: When Seth Rogen's Mac sees Zac Efron's Teddy in the film for the first time, he offers Rose Byrne's Kelly one of the film's best lines: "He looks like something a gay guy created in a lab." It's funny 'cause it's true, and honestly sometimes feels like the same could be said for 'Neighbors' itself. From its homoerotic frat house moments to its fetishization of Efron (and co-star Dave Franco, for that matter) to uniquely subversive takes on the standard gay panic jokes found in the long lineage of homophobic films that 'Neighbors' was born out of, the film seems to be outright pandering to gay audiences.
2. 22 Jump Street: Though it does not contain Zac Efron man-candy or Dave Franco’s bare ass, ’22 Jump Street’ may have just knocked ‘Neighbors’ off its shiny gay pedestal with the most unapologetic pair of bromances I’ve ever witnessed on screen. The film, self-aware to a fault, plays constantly on the idea that ‘22 Jump Street’ is a direct repeat of ‘21 Jump Street,’ only this time we follow Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) to college. It is a funny meta-premises for an even funnier sequel to the 2012 original, with a never-better turn from Ice Cube as Captain Dickson and some hilarious supporting turns, particularly fast-talking newcomer Jillian Bell. But, amid the drug ring mystery hijinks and spring break debauchery, only Jenko and Schmidt’s relationship rings true as a narrative thread worth keeping track of. Their’s is a bond of undercover partnership, friendship, and ultimately (and I don’t think I’m overstepping), love (read more about that here).
3. Maleficent: Outgrossing both "22 Jump Street" and "Neighbors" (not to mention every other summer movie save "Guardians of the Galaxy") comes a different kind of gay-pandering: the campiest that is Disney's "Maleficient." Though surely kids helped the film take in its $237 million, gays clearly did their part. Any screening we went to seemed like part of a night out for dozens of gay men. Why? This fantastic Slate article explores many of the reasons, extending beyond the aforementioned camp-factor:
Personally, I was most struck by 'Maleficent’s exploration of queer family, the notion that the families we choose, often out of necessity, are more important than the ones we are born into. Soon-to-be-sleeping Aurora comes from a straight family, but from the moment she is cursed by Maleficent, her life takes on a queer trajectory.
And then of course there was the fact that Angelina Jolie herself embraced the film's potential influence on drag performers in this much-watched press conference clip: