Getting Away

10 easy comedies to soothe the soul in a disturbing time of backlash

Yes, the 4th of July is here again. But with the ever-growing list billionaire bigots, judicial retirements of queer heros, Russian collusion, immigrant detention, babes being ripped from mother’s arms, and asinine tweets of the second grader president we are simply not in the mood this year.

You get the point. Given some of the awful things in America’s past, and a whole lot of awfulness in its present, we understand why any rational person might feel a bit less than patriotic this year. Fortunately, we have just the thing to ease the mind and raise the spirit: a selection of 10 queer comedies guaranteed to leave a smile on your face and at least temporarily help you forget our political predicament, especially when combined with a cocktail or five.

So don’t forego the backyard barbecue altogether; maybe just bring the hot dogs, chips and beer to the couch and check out these comfort films designed to make this 4th fabulous.

1. Love, Simon

The fact that Love, Simon–a mainstream rom-com about a gay teenager–even exists fills our hearts with joy. The movie itself, for that matter, is pretty heartwarming too, thanks to a great cast with awesome chemistry and sensitive direction by Greg Berlanti. Besides, we still can’t get enough of the scene-stealing Alexandra Shipp in full-on diva-in-waiting mode.

Streams on Amazon, YouTube, iTunes & VUDU.

2. To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar

Nothing says Americana like a cross-country road picture, and nothing says feel good like three drag queens played by three of the top action stars of their day. Still funny after 25 years, To Wong Foo has enough zingers, fabulous drag and just enough heart to make us sigh every time we see it.

Streams on YouTube, Amazon, VUDU and iTunes.

3. The Birdcage

Robin Williams, we miss you. Fortunately, Mr. Williams left behind one of his most hilarious performances (which says something) with this Mike Nichols comedy that also stars Nathan Lane, Oscar-winners Gene Hackman and Diane Weist, Callista Flockheart and Christine Baranski. Elaine May pens a script of stinging comedy, and one years ahead of its time: given that the central conflict, more or less, involves two men getting married (or palimony, which was close enough at the time), we find the movie delightful and heartwarming.

Streams on YouTube, Amazon, VUDU and iTunes.

4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

This coming-of-age story flew under the radar back in 2012, which is a crime: it’s one of the best movies of that year, and one of the best in the genre. A mix of hilarity and stark drama, we particularly love the movie for the awesomely gay Patrick (played by the out-queer hunk Ezra Miller), and his subplot about being in love with a closeted fellow student. Bittersweet and tender, the movie makes us grab the tissues, but warms our hearts the way few other teen comedies can.

Streams on YouTube, Amazon, VUDU and iTunes.

5. Mean Girls

We know you’ve seen it–the seminal teen comedy of the 2000s, which helped launch the careers of Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Amanda Seyfried and Daniel Franzese. Almost 15 years later, the movie still makes us laugh with its astute observations about teen girl culture, and the role the gay besties play in high school social structure. Watch it, and see how long it takes to refer to a clique of fellow gays as “Plastics.”

Streams on YouTube, Amazon, VUDU and iTunes.

Related: Jonathan Bennett And Daniel Franzese Had A Mean Girls Reunion That Was So Fetch

6. G.B.F.

Director Darren Stein’s answer to the sort of Mean Girls comedy plays like a twisted mix of Love, Simon and the former. In other words, it focuses more on the gay characters and has the same catty sense of humor. Though it debuted straight-to-streaming (or is that gay to streaming?), G.B.F. has also established a Mean Girls-type cult for its satire of teen culture. We hope it gets the Broadway musical treatment too.

Streams on Netflix, Hulu YouTube, Amazon, VUDU and iTunes.

7. But I’m A Cheerleader

Critics back in 1999 didn’t quite know what to make of this odd blend of camp comedy, colorful satire and genuine drama. Fortunately, we do: But I’m a Cheerleader captures the difficulty in coming out as a teen, the hysteria and hypocrisy of pray-away-the-gay religious types, and the dark comedy of it all. The movie also features a splendid performance from Natasha Lyonne, as well as a dramatic turn from an out-of-drag RuPaul, who proves he too has some acting chops.

Streams on YouTube, Amazon, VUDU and iTunes.

8. Trick

Once upon a time, gay romance movies had an odd predilection with sex over genuine feeling. Trick plays with that sex obsession in that two characters out to get laid realize they really want genuine affection. Tori Spelling gives one of her best performances (yes, really) as the straight-girl bestie, though it’s the young Christian Campbell that brings genuine feeling to the film.

Streams on YouTube.

9. Girls Will Be Girls

Drag performers Coco Peru & Varla Jean Merman join acclaimed comedian Jack Plotnick in this drag campfest which aims to satirize Hollywood and camp cinema. Crude, weird and totally outrageous, Girls Will Be Girls combines a very weird premise with some very big laughs. Besides, since we’re still waiting on that much-delayed sequel, we need something to tide us over.

Streams on Amazon.

10. First Period

Though released direct-to-streaming, First Period attracted an immediate cult following for its quirky blend of camp, satire of 80s high school comedies and a litany of guest stars which includes Cassandra Peterson, Jack Plotnick, Deven Green and Judy Tenuta. Two female high school outcasts (played by two male actors, Dudley Beene and writer Brandon Alexander III) plot to become the most popular girls in school by winning the annual talent show. Do they succeed? We won’t reveal here, other than to say the film has some very big laughs and surprisingly affecting performances by Beene and Alexander.

Streams on YouTube, Amazon, VUDU and iTunes.