Another Gay Movie is a groundbreaking film. Not because it’s the best movie you’ll see this year, but because, for the first time ever, the gays take on the teen high school comedy territory established by films like American Pie and Porky’s. This genre has a long history – one in which teens deal with love, romance and raging post-puberty hormones – all with humorous and usally messy results.
It’s about time that we got to see young gay sex and romance in the same silly and immature fashion as every straight teen filmgoer has had the opportunity to do over the years. Ironically, as often crass and cringe-worthy – and really funny – the film is, it marks a maturing of gay representation in film. American Pie had a violated apple pie; with Another Gay Movie you’ll never look at quiche in quite the same way again!
Over a year after it was released in the US with a succesful theatrical run, Another Gay Movie will premiere at the launch of the Pride Film Festival this month. Run independently by Ster Kinekor, the festival has presented the film as this year’s highlight.
According to director Todd Stephens the idea for Another Gay Movie came to him while he was standing in his underwear folding laundry with his boyfriend (and co-story writer Tim Kaltenecker). They were discussing “…how frustrated we were with the current state of gay cinema. How, as much as we love angsty coming-of-age dramas and homo-romantic comedies, the queer genre really needed a kick in the ass. Tim said, ‘What if we made a gay Scary Movie?’”
“‘How ‘bout a gay Porky’s?’ I replied, ‘They want something gay? Let’s make the gayest film ever made,’” says Stephens. And that’s exactly what they set out to do.
Another Gay Movie centers on Andy Wilson (Michael Carbonaro), your typical all-American seventeen-year-old gay virgin. Like everyone else, he’s dying to have sex. Totally out of the closet and horny, this naive high school senior is caught in that awkward vortex between child and adult. Much to the dismay of his mom, Mrs. Wilson (the drag icon Lypsinka) – who wonders why all her carrots and cucumbers keep disappearing – Andy spends much of his private time practicing for the big moment when he’ll finally take the plunge.
Andy is not alone. He attends high school with his three best friends, all of them totally out-loud-and-proud: Jarod (Jonathan Chase) is a buff varsity-jock stud; Griff (Mitch Morris) is the valedictorian, sinewy sexy, and a closet romantic; and Nico (Jonah Blechman) is the pierced alternative-kid gay-cinema expert. The guys all have one thing in common – they’re all anal virgins.
Muffler (Ashlie Atkinson), the boys’ “bull-dyke” Casanova stud bud, delights in teasing the boys, especially since Muffler is a cheerleader-magnet with loads of sexual experience under her mullet. The final straw for the guys comes at Muffler’s graduation party, where everyone is having sex but them. That night they make a pact to do “the big A” by the end of summer.
“I set out to make the film I desperately wanted as a gay teen…”
What follows is a raunchy ride on the bumpy road to virginity loss. Along the way, the film spoofs not only movies like American Pie and The Broken Hearts Club but the entire gay lifestyle is up for skewering.
Stephens admits that actually getting the movie made was easier said than done: “I optioned the script to a producer who swore he was down for making the no-holds-barred film I had in my head. But after more than a year of development, when the time came to actually shoot the film he wanted to completely water it down. I got myself out of the option and waited to make it the way I wanted.”
Thankfully the right production team came together to make Another Gay Movie a reality. Getting the perfect cast was also a major consideration for Stephens who says that, “I specifically wanted to cast out gay actors, and working with icons like Graham Norton [who plays a high school teacher with a twist] was a dream come true. I think working with so many talented – and fearless – actors was my greatest joy. It took forever to assemble the four lead boys, but once we were shooting I sat in awe as they played and improvised the script to the next level.”
According to Stephens, one of the best parts of making his dream film was having his all-time idol Nancy Sinatra sing the theme song, Another Gay Sunshine Day, which he co-wrote.
“There is a line in Nancy’s song that goes ‘Chickens will dance with bears.’ In the fine teen movie tradition, we checked political correctness at the door and play with stereotypes. But I tried to flip those archetypes to my advantage. In my world, the sissy can actually go on a date with the muscle man (and is allowed to get laid — for once!), the big bulldyke is a cheerleader magnet and the gay nerd has a chance with the Abercrombie jock boy. I long for a world where gay folks of all shapes, colors and sexes mix and play together,” he says,
Stephens concludes by saying that he was ultimately trying to create a world where no one is tormented, tortured, or agonises about who they are: “Where “gay” is as normal as the Brady Bunch, and queer virgins want the same thing as their straight counterparts – to get LAID! I set out to make the film I desperately wanted as a gay teen and the film [conservative anti-gay US preacher] Jerry Falwell desperately wants to ban.”
To his credit Stephens has achieved just that. It won’t win any Oscars, (although it scooped the Grand Jury Award at the Outfest Film Festival in LA), but Another Gay Movie has succesfully entertained, scandalised and induced a great deal of laugther around the world. And in the process, it’s also revolutionised gay cinema.
Another Gay Movie will be screened at the Pride Film Festival by Cinema Nouveau screened by Jameson in Joburg (Rosebank Nouveau: 28 September – 7 October), Pretoria (Brooklyn Nouveau: 28 September – 4 October), Durban (Gateway Nouveau: 5 – 11 October) and Cape Town (V&A Waterfront Nouveau: 5 – 14 October).
There is a special charity premiere of Another Gay Movie to raise funds for Joburg Pride in Joburg on Thursday 27 September. Visit the Joburg Pride website for more info.