Summer is almost here, and though you might not be expecting much in the way of great LGBT content coming your way given the season's big straight blockbuster tendencies (not that some of those worthwhile… every gay man we know is more than excited to go see the Zac Efron shirtless opus that is "Neighbours" this weekend), we are here to queerly assure you that is not actually the case. On screens big and small, there's actually a really strong mix of LGBT film and television about to come your way, and here's a big gay summer preview to prove it:
The Case Against 8
When/where can you watch it? June 6th in select theatres, and then on June 23rd on HBO (you got all the options!)
Why should you be excited for it? Shot over five years, Ryan White and Ben Cotner's documentary (which won a best directing prize at Sundance and an audience award at SXSW) offers an incredible inside look at the legal battle behind overturning Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California back in 2008. It's an inspiring journey that Cotner and White (along with editor Kate Amend) tightly put together into a very powerful film about a legal battle that will and has dramatically changed the legal rights situation for gay and lesbian couples in the US.
Watch the film's trailer:
When/where can you watch it? Right now on MTV. The debut season runs until mid-June.
Why should you be excited for it? We have to admit, we weren't exactly excited for this show when we heard its premise: Two straight girls fake being lesbians to become more popular at high school? In the hands of MTV, god only knew where something like that could go. But the show -- which has now aired three episodes -- is impressively way more complicated than that, and has gotten better with every episode. Set at a progressive high school in Austin, Texas, "Faking It" is probably as insightful as it gets when it comes to LGBT youth on television. It sort of feels like a more melancholic, more transgressive, and certainly much more gay version of the cult WB series "Popular." And that's a major compliment.
Watch the trailer below, or better yet just go find the first 3 episodes that have already aired.
When/where can you watch it? Season two of the series premieres on June 16th on ABC Family.
Why should you be excited for it? We met ABC Family's lovely drama last summer and its coming back for more next month. Featuring a biracial lesbian couple at its center, the series follows Stef (Teri Polo) and Lena (Sherri Saum), married women raising a blended family of biological, adopted and foster children. Appealing to adults and younger viewers in a smart, heartwarming way, there's nothing else like it on television (or on this list).
Watch the promo for season 2:
Love is Strange
When/where can you watch it? Sony Pictures Classics wants you to save the the date of August 22nd for this late summer love story.
Why should you be excited for it? John Lithgow and Alfred Molina's heartbreaking, complex and perhaps even career-defining performances in Ira Sachs' "Love Is Strange" are about as good as it gets -- gay or straight -- this summer. As Ben (Lithgow) and George (Molina), the two portray an aging gay couple who -- after finally getting the chance to tie the knot after 39 years together -- run into serious financial troubles when George is fired from his job at a Catholic private school when word gets out about his nuptials. This evolves into a nuanced, beautiful portrait of not only their love but the love of the many friends and family members around them, with Lithgow and Molina providing the centerpiece of an impressive ensemble (that includes Marisa Tomei and Cheyenne Jackson).
Watch the film's Sundance Film Festival Q&A (a trailer isn't out yet):
The Normal Heart
When/where can you watch it? HBO on May 25th.
Why should you be excited for it? Well, yes, a couple days ago we ran this piece explaining exactly why you shouldn't be excited for it, our writer Charles O'Malley is clearly (and bravely) in the minority. Adapted from Larry Kramer's groundbreaking 1985 play (Kramer wrote the screenplay as well), "The Normal Heart" follows New York-based writer and gay activist Ned Weeks as he struggles to pull together an organization focused on raising awareness about AIDS, which at that point had yet to even find a name (before it was AIDS, it was called, seriously -- GRID, or Gay Related Immune Deficiency). Mark Ruffalo plays Weeks in the film, and he leads a cast that includes Julia Roberts, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parsons, Alfred Molina, Denis O’Hare and Jonathan Groff. It's been a long while since we've seen an unflinching narrative take on the onset of AIDS, and HBO has a pretty stellar track record (see "Angels in America," please).
Watch the film's trailer: