Sometimes you forget to check up on new Netflix Instant titles, and that’s a crime for which you can never be forgiven. Netflix is looking out for you! And I’m looking out for this month’s gayest titles, the ones you’d click on a Wednesday night in November just to make it through the week. Here are the five titles you should immediately get to viewing.
Death Becomes Her
Perhaps no other movie inspires as much gay diehard fanaticism from the early ’90s as Death Becomes Her, the wild, truly one-of-a-kind camp spectacular featuring Meryl Streep as an egomaniacal actress and Goldie Hawn as the vengeful woman who’ll stop at nothing to ruin her. It’s demented, and what makes it even better is Meryl Streep’s recollection of her reaction to reading the script. “I said I’d do it immediately and I’d be thrilled to play Helen. They said, ’No, no, no. We want you to play Madeline. Madeline Ashton.’ I thought, ’Oh my God.’ Because you know I just assumed they wanted me to play the intellectual, the writer, the East Side blah-blah. Not the failed song-and-dance girl who kicks up her legs on Broadway.”
Jane Craig, played by the flawless Holly Hunter, is one of the great, flawed, and utterly intense heroines of ’80s cinema. In Broadcast News, determined newswoman Jane enjoys juicy charisma with her blank-faced anchorman (William Hurt) and somehow a just-as-appealing relationship with an ace reporter (Albert Brooks) who is secretly in love with her. My favorite scene is right at the beginning when Jane concludes a business call with typical grit, then puts down the receiver and bawls at nothing. 1987 was a competitive year for Best Actress (Meryl, Glenn, Holly, Sally Kirkland, and winner Cher all vied for the title), but Hunter would’ve been a fine choice as the year’s most committed and harried professional.
The Addams Family
After all these years, I cannot get over how good both The Addams Family and Addams Family Values are. They have no right! Part of the magic is the wonderful writing filled with tremendous one-liners (“Wednesday’s aunt Calpurnia was burned as a witch in 1706. They said she danced naked in the town square and enslaved the minister. Oh yes. But don’t worry; we’ve told Wednesday college first.”), but the real triumph is the pitch-perfect casting. Raul Julia has never been more right than as Gomez, Anjelica Huston is unspeakably fabulous as Morticia, and Christina Ricci is on fire as the deadpan daughter Wednesday.
For the Boys
The Bette Midler Oscar nomination that everyone forgets about, For the Boys sees the Divine Miss M as a USO singer in love with a prick comic (James Caan). I don’t know how to tell you this, but we need more Bette Midler movies. Has anyone seen her on Broadway as Sue Mengers? Looks very, very broad, and we need movies like For the Boys to remind us that Bette is a capable, affecting thespian.
The Importance of Being Earnest (2002)
Nope, it’s not the best adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s crowning achievement as a playwright (That would be the 1952 version with the dashing Michael Redgrave, the sexy imp Michael Denison, and the towering priestess of handbag sorcery known as Dame Edith Evans), but this version with Colin Firth and Rupert Everett has many cheeky pleasures, including a memorable performance by Judi Dench and an appearance by her daughter Finty Williams as Dench’s character in a flashback.