April 9, 2014

"How Many Of These Lesbian-Themed Films Have You Seen?"

There are 42. Have you been systematically avoiding these?

I've seen 5 myself, including "The Hours," which I loathed. I loved "Bound" and "Heavenly Creatures," and "Mullholland Drive" was interesting. The other one I saw was "Personal Best," which must have been on TV in the 80s.

The checklist — which is at Buzzfeed — is missing the 1983 John Sayles movie "Lianna." ("A happily married woman comes to realize herself of being a repressed lesbian after she has an affair with a female college professor, and then tries to come to terms with her newfound lifestyle.") That was a big deal, breakthrough movie in its time, which was a time when I nearly always stepped up to the task of consuming the movies that were supposed to be important.

And back in the 80s, we understood that John Sayles was important. "Brother From Another Planet"? "Return of the Secaucus 7"?! I feel that you will not get these references in our fractured, alienation-deprived culture.

37 comments:

Hagar said...

"... realize herself of ..."?
"... consuming movies ..."?

EDH said...

Missing from the list:

The Kids are Alright (2010)

And, the entire genre of Big-Bush Lesbian Porn.

David said...

I systematically avoid nearly all modern films so my answer is yes.

jeff said...

Never heard of all but 4 of them. Of those, I've seen 3. Of those, 2 were because there is a ton of female nudity and 1 of those, I didn't even realize it was lesbian themed. I don't think I am in the demographic audience for this genre.

Titus said...

The Hours-which I too detested.

But loved The Phillip Glass soundtrack, natch.

Henry said...

John Sayles' The Secret of Roan Inish is a beautiful movie and surely the most important seal-themed movie of all time.

madAsHell said...

I've seen a lot of lesbian movies, but I don't recognize any of those titles.

rhhardin said...

I bought a few Anne Hathaway DVDs hoping for one as good as Get Smart.

Brokeback Mountain had only a few minutes of Hathaway. I wish they'd warn you.

Unremarkable acting.

I think she played opposite the same guy in Love and Other Drugs, which was much better. They apparently actually like each other and he was heterosexual in the latter so it worked out better.

There's a backstage pic of him holding Hathaway's hand before a difficult scene. Said to be a difficult scene.

Beth said...

I guess I'm an ok lesbian because I've seen 33 of them. Most are silly and unrealistic. A lot are also badly acted. I must say though, I thought Blue is the Warmest Color was one of the most realistic and best acted looks at first love - especially lesbian first love, and even it's fall out.

Freeman Hunt said...

I liked Chasing Amy and everything but the torture talk in Bound. (The minute anything torture related comes on in a movie, I leave until it's over.)

I hated The Hours so much that I can feel myself getting irritated at the mere mention of it.

I remember liking Monster, but I remember nothing about it.

I saw Pariah. Not my bag.

Couldn't Rebecca be on this list because of the housekeeper?

Lucien said...

Can't imagine how I missed a movie entitled "But I'm a Cheerleader."

RecChief said...

Here are my results:

"How Many Of These Lesbian-Themed Films Have You Seen?

You have seen 0 out of 42 on this list!

Maybe this genre isn’t for you or maybe you’re just getting started. Consider this a to-do list!"

And my reply is:

Dear Buzzfeed, you're welcome for the click, you should thank Althouse too for getting me to click over to you click-whores at Buzzfeed. You're right, it isn't my genre. Also, consider this a hearty Fuck You to your to do list.

Ann Althouse said...

I agree that it's a crappily thrown together checklist.

No attempt to put them in order of worthiness or in order of how much they are actually about sexual orientation.

CatherineM said...

Curious as to why you loathed the Hours Ms Althouse...

I just remember the controversy about Personal Best (although not the specifics as I was only about 10 when it was in the theaters).

William said...

I saw some of those movies but can't remember anything about them. Fried Green Tomatoes was about lesbians. Who knew? In general movies that are not exploitive of lesbians miss the whole point of lesbianism. I have heard of lipstick lesbians and I've got no way of proving that they don't exist, but as a general rule lesbians don't look like gorgeous movie stars.

chuck said...

I haven't seen any of them. OTOH, I doubt I've seen many more than two dozen films in my life. Dull, trivial, and dumb pretty much covers the adjectives needed to discuss film.

Joe said...

Really Henry? I thought The Secret of Roan Inish to be one of the worse movies I've had the misfortune to watch.

persiflage mahal said...

The Chidren's Hour is the only one I've seen. Edgy films from the '50's and early '60's are better than what passes for edgy now, as they manage to be both restrained and intelligent.

Richard Dolan said...

"... a time when I nearly always stepped up to the task of consuming the movies that were supposed to be important."

An odd turn of phrase, "consuming the movies" -- the sort of thing an economist might write since economics is all about producers and consumers and how they transact business. But it's a dismal, dismal way to talk.

DKWalser said...

Fried Green Tomatoes and, maybe, The Children's Hour. I don't recall thinking Fried Green Tomatoes was lesbian-themed. Maybe I didn't recognize the theme because I found the movie so boring I was actively trying to think of other things.

I don't recall seeing The Children's Hour, but I've seen most of the movies made before 1965 that are still being shown on TCM. I like old movies. My wife and I don't go to the movies often because neither of us like much of the newer stuff -- too much special effects (including graphic sex) and not enough story.

Henry said...

Joe wrote: Really Henry? I thought The Secret of Roan Inish to be one of the worse movies I've had the misfortune to watch.

The Secret of Roan Inish II was even better.

Dr Weevil said...

Wow. I'd only so much as heard of four of them, and haven't seen any in movie form, though I did see an excellent undergraduate production of the play The Children's Hour a year or two ago.

gadfly said...

I don't think anyone watches lesbian movies except the men who get their jollies from naked woman-on-woman sex scenes. If woman like the unnatural relationship part, I would guess that it has to do with the chick-flick mentality that no man will ever comprehend.

Andy Freeman said...

I thought that guys weren't supposed to watch lesbian films. Or is it that we're not supposed to enjoy them?

Sam L. said...

One; my wife wanted to see it. Don't remember the lesbian aspect. I've only heard of one of the other movies.

It's not one of my interests.

dbp said...

Kind of an odd list. It didn't include The Hunger which has a lesbian romance between Susan Sarandon and Catherine Deneuve. Also a film I just saw last week on Showtime or HBO called About Cherry which had James Franco and Heather Graham.

RonF said...

I've seen one, "Fried Green Tomatoes". But then if you made up a list of 42 random movies I've probably only seen a very small number of them anyway. And from this vantage point I don't recall FGT being particularly "lesbian-themed", anyway.

Clyde said...

My Summer of Love. Emily Blunt. Yum!

SOJO said...

I've seen 4. I have "Pariah" in my queue and honestly have been avoiding it because I don't watch TV alone and don't want to hear the inevitable whining of other parties. This doesn't just happen with lesbian flicks.

OTOH, I've seen A ZILLION explorations of gay romance films to the point where I don't want to see anymore. It's become like Holocaust/Nazi movies. They're a safe bet for high quality, but I've just seen too many.

SOJO said...

The four I've seen, plus two additions:

Gia: Netflixed it in the 90s in my pre-suburbs days. Angelina was in her pre-Brad days still wearing vials of blood which persona I found more interesting. Anyway, it was pretty good, but my favorite was her performance in "Girl Interrupted" which had erotic overtones as well. Winona had a girl crush on Angelina's character.

Heavenly Creatures: young Kate Winslet. This was the strangest film, but I loved it at the time. Captured that insane, feral closeness you get with your teenage best friend around 12 to 13, thought I think they were a bit older.

Personal Best: Can't remember much of it. Saw it because I'd heard of it.

Chasing Amy: I've seen most Kevin Smith flicks.

ADDITION: "Girl Fight" with Michele Rodriguez. Even though she had a boyfriend in the movie, she gave off a heavy lesbian vibe and I enjoyed the movie on that level because of it. She has since come out as bi or gay. I'd count it as a lesbian/revenge flick - as she gets just a moment of revenge on her abusive, drunken father.

Pariah: Stalled in the queue, as I said, because I don't want to hear the whining



SOJO said...

Since we're talking boundaries, I'd like to put in a word for Showtime's " The Borgias" for actually making the specter of brother/sister incest appealing by both emphasizing the deep, love connection amidst psychological isolation and putting some leather pants on Cesare under his velvet Cardinal's robes.

I believe the kidlets call it "borgiacest". ��

Ann Althouse said...

"Curious as to why you loathed the Hours Ms Althouse."

Here's an excerpt from the plot summary at Wikipedia:

"Richard... tells Clarissa she is the most beautiful thing he ever had in life, before he commits suicide in front of her. Later... Laura reveals it was a better decision for her to leave the family after the birth of her daughter, rather than commit suicide.... The film ends with a line from Virginia's suicide note (in voiceover) in which she thanks Leonard for loving her: 'Always the years between us. Always the years. Always the love. Always the hours.'"

UGH!

Sentimentality about suicide, presented in this extremely pretension fashion, with maximum opportunity for actresses to show off what actresses they are.

When the man suddenly jumps out the window, I was extremely annoyed.

And don't tell me he died. He was an actor jumping through a window onto a mattress or something, and then we had to watch Meryl Streep get "upset."

Ann Althouse said...

"An odd turn of phrase, "consuming the movies" -- the sort of thing an economist might write since economics is all about producers and consumers and how they transact business. But it's a dismal, dismal way to talk."

I meant to convey that it was a dismal practice. I'm glad I got over the feeling of having to see movies that were supposed to be important!

sunsong said...

Perhaps I should be embarrassed, I have seen two of them :-) "Desert Hearts" and "Fried Green Tomatoes". I like the title, "Better than Chocolate".

The rest of them I really haven't heard of, but I'm not a big movie buff.

Saint Croix said...

Best lesbian movie ever: Manji.

Sex! Drugs! Lesbians! Suicide! Hysterical movie, way cool.

We've got a Japanese love triangle (quadrangle?). Try to keep up with the math. A married woman (1) becomes obsessed with a beautiful model (2), they go all lesbo, and her husband (3) tries to put a stop to it. So 2 seduces 3, too. So then 4, who is 2's boyfriend, signs a love pact with 1, who is all pissed that 2 is sleeping with 3. Anyway, take like 4 years of an American soap opera, compact it to 90 minutes, dial it up to 11, and you'll be halfway to describing this movie. Masumura is the man.

gbarto said...

I've seen two. The Hours was tedious. Somehow, I missed that it was lesbian themed though. I thought it was simply pretentiousness of every variety.

Blue is the Warmest Color was an amazing movie. Normally realist movies are ugly and beautiful movies are unrealistic. Every moment of the film felt real but just a little bit otherworldly at the same time. I know the actresses felt the director had gone too far, especially with the love scenes. Maybe it was awful being on the other side of the camera; I can believe that. But fantastic to see on screen.

Saint Croix said...

The Kids Are All Right

What’s funny about this one is that it’s a lesbian nuclear family. Mommy lesbian, daddy lesbian, and two kids. And the family’s under stress because the daddy lesbian has to work and support everybody and the mommy lesbian is kind of a goof-off. There’s some tension. And then Mark Ruffalo shows up and he’s a man. And you can tell the filmmakers really like this man when they designed him. “I want the perfect man! And he’s sensitive and he drives a motorcycle and he’s a sexual dynamo and he’s a master chef and he never says the wrong thing, ever.” He’s way better than the lesbians, who are screwed up and normal. Daddy lesbian is a cranky alcoholic and mommy lesbian is an unfaithful liar. And Mark Ruffalo is their sperm donor, I forgot to mention that part. So he’s the dad to the lesbians’ two kids. That doesn’t even make sense, actually, because the kids are three years apart. “We like his sperm so much we want to use it again!” Anyway, both the kids like Mark Ruffalo and the lesbians like Mark Ruffalo and everything would be so cool. Except that damn straight sex gets in the way. Sex! Sex! You had sex with Mark Ruffalo! And the mommy lesbian swears she’s gay and she loves everybody, but she’s such a liar you’re not sure whether to believe her. And the acting’s so good, I’m crying along with the lesbians. “How could you have sex with Mark Ruffalo?” And poor Mark is peeking through the windows, trying to be a daddy. But it’s so cold now, and the kids don’t like him anymore. And no, they don’t play the Who. But there is a Joni Mitchell sing-along. And Mark Ruffalo’s joining in on the chorus. It’s almost like his character was designed by a woman or something.