Monday, May 29th, 2023

Three recent “gay movies” streaming on Netflix

Dream Boat

Directed by Tristan Ferland Milewski
Premiered February 11, 2017, at the Berlin International film Festival


Directed by Sudhanshu Saria
Premiered November 19, 2015, at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, Estonia

Like You Mean It

Directed by Philipp Karner
Released December 4, 2015

I didn’t like much except shots of the deep blue of the sea about Dream Boat (2017, “written” and directed by Tristan Ferland Milewski). Only later did I learn that the large cruise ship went from Lisbon to Grand Canary in each September. I can remember being a disco bunny and the ecstasy of the dance floor, but even in my late 20s would have been bored by a whole week of it with scantily dressed men. I noticed that like my (clone) era, unlike the long-running “boi” look here, most of them had beards, which made their drag “gender-fuck.”

Those who get some focus are not perfectly sculpted and not unabashedly given over to hedonism. South Asian Dipanker (who works in Dubai) is a bit pudgy (and short) and not very confident. Philippe, who is 50 something, has to dance in his wheelchair (though he can go into one of the swimming pools and scale a wall propelled by his arms). The Palestinian-Belgian Ramzi is caring for a lover with cancer and thinking about the plight of gay men back home.

Though some of the interviewees are in couples, the movie is almost entirely about the quest for play and new dick. It doesn’t even show food, the mainstay of cruises. It shows very little sex, though lots of exposed buttocks (Philippe appreciates that is at the level to have the best view of them).

There are no interviews of the crew who have to clean up the mess, including piles of discarded condoms each morning. And nothing about readjusting to everyday life… or about coming up with the funds to pay for the cruise.

I have to say that the movie stirred homophobia in me. What impact would it have on those with already existing homophobic attitudes about superficial, terminally narcissistic, sex-obsessed, flamboyantly feminine gay men? (Drugs go unshown, btw.)

I also loathed “the first gay Indian movie,” Loev (2015) and was bored and disliked Like You Mean It (2015). A case could be made that all three promote homophobia, the latter two with very unlikable gay characters, though one in Loev far exceeds any others in behaving badly (to a man he supposedly loves).

Though I didn’t loathe it, I didn’t much like Like You Mean It, written, directed by and starring Philipp Karner. He plays Mark/Markus a frustrated, failing actor who seems to have nothing to give his kind and attentive lover, the gawky, bearded Jonah [Denver Milord]. Couples therapy [with Hilary Ward] cannot work because Mark brings no interest to trying to salvage the relationship. He has concluded, probably correctly, that he is never going to be or do what Jonah needs from a partner. (Mark also rebuffs attempts by his sister, Isabelle [Claudia Graf] in Austria (/German) to talk—if not bond—with him.) He is unhappy and makes anyone who attempts to connect with him unhappy.

Jonah is not stupid, and he realizes there is no hope that Mark will be more than polite to him (though they are still sleeping in the same bed). He looks woebegone, though, which helps not at all.

Other than having no plot, no real backstory, and an exceedingly unlikable, mostly frozen protagonist, nothing other than Mark looks good in the movie, and scenes are cut off too soon, to flash back to an early day on a bluff above the ocean in which the pair have vacuous dialogue about not going there even though it is close to where they live (probably at that time separately) and to a visit to a car-wash.

Some “gay movies” streaming on Netflix that I like better include Stranger by the Lake (though I can see an argument that it is homophobic): The Way He Looks • Handsome Devil • Being 17 • Blackbird

©2017, Stephen O. Murray


About The Author

Stephen O. Murray grew up in rural southern Minnesota, earned a B.A. from James Madison College (within Michigan State University), an M.A. from the University of Arizona, a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto (both in sociology), and was a postdoctoral fellow at Berkeley (in anthropology). He is the author of American Gay, Homosexualities, etc. and lives in San Francisco.