This year, gay men and women moved me with their terrific work in front of and behind the camera, even if that work was simply telling their own stories. If anything, this top ten list is a celebration of the incredible diversity of talents, tastes and lives in our community.
1. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (dir. Tim Burton): Stephen Sondheim’s gorgeous music and lyrics unite with Burton’s beautiful imagery to tell a terrifying, bloody and emotionally wrenching tale.
2. I’m Not There (dir. Todd Haynes): The director of Far From Heaven, Velvet Goldmine and Poison twists the biopic genre inside out with his tribute to the chameleon-like Bob Dylan, played by six different actors. Cate Blanchett is the most memorable.
3. The Bible Tells Me So (dir. Daniel G. Karslake): Gay men and women share their stories about how Christianity and coming out impacted their relationships with family members. Some stories are heart-warming, others are painful, but all are authentic.
4. The Bubble (dir. Eytan Fox): An uncompromising look at complications that arise when an Israeli man and a Palestinian man fall in love in Tel Aviv. The film-maker behind Yossi & Jagger (2002) and Walk on Water (2004), Fox just gets better and better.
5. Small Town Gay Bar (dir. Malcolm Ingram): Ingram brings his camera home to visit gay bars in the Deep South. Living in places that are notoriously hostile towards homosexuality, these men and women share a sense of community lacking in big cities.
6. The Life of Reilly (dir. Frank L. Anderson, Barry Poltermann): Charles Nelson Reilly, veteran actor and fixture on game and talk shows in the 1970s and 80s, tells his life story with generous humor and undeniable sorrow. There is more to him than Match Game.
7. ShowBusiness: The Road to Broadway (dir. Dori Berinstein): Four musicals (Avenue Q, Caroline or Change, Taboo, and Wicked ) vie for the Tony Award in the 2003-2004 Broadway season. If you didn’t know, many gays are involved in the theater world.
8. Hairspray (dir. Adam Shankman): John Waters is a friendly flasher in a film adapted from the musical adapted from his own 1988 film. Ostensibly about racial integration of television shows in the 1960s, the film is pure fun, notwithstanding John Travolta.
9. Wrestling with Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner (dir. Freida Lee Mock): A profile of the scribe behind Angels In America. It covers such milestones as his 2001 play, Homebody/Kabul, his marriage to Mark Harris, and his work for John Kerry’s campaign.
10. Gray Matters (dir. Sue Kramer): Flawed romantic comedy that is perhaps the antithesis of Go Fish (1994), but sweet and funny. Gray (Heather Graham) likes women but is a dork about finding love. Alan Cumming and Molly Shannon try to help her.