Streaming with Pride

“Hey, Hey. Ho, Ho. We’re OUT! We’re LOUD! And we should go…” Go watch some Queer Cinema to celebrate Pride Month that is…

“Fire Island”

June is Pride Month. A chance to embrace our LGBTQI+ family, friends and neighbors. Many art house cinemas have Pride Programming. This gives you a chance to see some great queer cinema on the big screen. Let’s celebrate that there’s such a diverse selection to choose from on streaming services. Here’s a list of 104 that was community-curated from the Bryn Mawr Film Institute.

You could pick from classic films like “My Beautiful Launderette” (sexy Daniel Day Lewis) or “Victor, Victoria”(Julie Andrews cross-dressing as a man cross-dressing as a woman) or “Desert Hearts”(steamy lesbian drama). You might choose a cult classic like “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” (Australian Drag Queens with great costumes and fabulous music) or “The Hunger”(Susan Sarandon in a steamy vampire swoon w/Catherine Denueve). Perhaps a more modern film like “Brokeback Mountain”(Oh, we miss you, Heath Ledger) or my favorite, “Weekend” (2011, a sexy queer romance).

A new Gay Romantic Comedy is streaming on Hulu, Joel Kim Booster and Bowen Yang’s film, “Fire Island”. With a nod toward Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, “Fire Island” features a group of gay friends navigating a different sort of class and social mores than those of British Aristocracy. Instead, the group of friends are off for a hedonistic week of adventure where beauty, wealth and class are the challenge.

On Fire Island Pines, instead of a ball, there’s an Underwear Party. Instead of a brooding wealthy Darcy, there’s an uptight wealthy lawyer (Conrad Ricamora). There’s matchmaking and cattiness. There’s dancing and swooning and to make it realistic to this setting: casual sex and drug taking.

It’s light summer entertainment that happens to feature Asian men in the romantic leads and even better, to tell a story that centers on the importance of friendship. This will be the last year the tribe can gather here as their Fairy Godmother (played by queer icon, Margaret Cho), must sell the beach house. Yes, there’s a crush and some bad advice, and the Rom Com standard trick of a misunderstanding that leads someone astray. Who will hook-up and who might find romance in their last Fire Island vacation?

Most people will know Bowen Chang from Saturday Night Live. He wrote the script with his friend Joel Kim Booster (actor, comedian, producer and writer) and the film is directed by a gay Asian director, Andrew Ahn (“Spa Night” & “Driveways”). The film is charming; a little risqué, but also touching. The film doesn’t shy away from some of the cruelty that happens and acknowledges how white men of privilege (and looks) rule the island. If “Fire Island” feels like a low-budget film made for television, it’s also great to think we’re in a time that makes space for that. It’s even distributed by Walt Disney Studios, which seems like a forward-thinking move on their part.

Bowen Yang & Joel Kim Booster who wrote & star in “Fire Island” w/Margaret Cho, Bradley Gibson & Tomás Matos

It seems we now have seasonal films featuring queer romance like Queer Christmas Movies (see Kristen Stewart’s “Happiest Season”); so why not Queer Summer Rom Coms too? This is a trend I can get behind. In fact, there seems to be a trend in young adult movies on streaming services that feature queer teens in love. Disney+ is even using it’s latest “Love, Victor” (sequel to “Love, Simon” & now in it’s third season on Hulu) and “Trevor, The Musical” to entice people to sign up for the service.

What I find ground-breaking is the latest trailer for a High School Rom Com, “Anything’s Possible” (premiering July 22 on Prime). It features a black trans girl as the lead. The film is the feature directorial debut for Billy Porter (“Cinderella”, “Pose”) and looks to have high production values and a great cast. With all the awful legislation across the United States trying to restrict and ban trans youth, it’s crucial that we get films like these shown far and wide.

It’s the youth of America that will lead the way to bring us to a future we can be proud of…not just for the month of June, but all year round! So stream a film or series or documentary that celebrates queerness and spread the pride.

Drinks with Films rating: “Fire Island” 2 1/2 shots of well tequila for courage at the Underwear Party (out of 5)

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