Alonso Duralde is The Advocate’s fabulous arts and entertainment editor. He’s also the author of 101 Must-See Movies for Gay Men. Every queer, closeted or uncloseted, should have it on their bookshelf. Alonso carved some time out of his busy schedule reviewing movies and interviewing celebs to talk to Queerty’s Steve Pep.
What made you decide to compile a list of must-see movies for gay men?
Well, as I mention in the book, I’ve worked with a lot of very bright and very creative 20-something interns at The Advocate. But I constantly find myself being shocked at what great movies they *haven’t* seen. So the book was a way to share with gay men — of all ages — some film titles that are definitely worth checking out, just in case you haven’t already.
Your provides a pretty humorous and unconventional interpretation (read: gay) of the plot for Casablanca. Do you find that a lot of classic “straight” films can be so easily redefined this way?
I think just about any art opens itself to alternate readings, depending on how you look at it. I think the recent release of “Brokeback Mountain,” for instance, has made people look at classic Westerns like “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” in a new light.
You might have a hard time with this question, but can you pick one film that you would perceive as the gayest movie of all time?
I would say that a) there is no such thing, and b) if there is, JACKASS: THE MOVIE would probably be a leading contender. A bartender I know in San Diego told me once that his bosses don’t let him play gay porn on the TV sets in the bar, so he screens JACKASS instead.
After the jump, Alonso talks Brokeback Mountain, blogs, lesbians, and Gene Shalit.
Have you received any flack for including or failing to include certain films on your list?
Let’s just say that the fan base for The Wizard of Oz and Steel Magnolias runs deeper than I’d ever imagined.
Since your book is titled 101 Must-See Movies for Gay Men, will you be writing a sequel for lesbians?
I think there should absolutely be a 101 MUST-SEE MOVIES FOR LESBIANS. And I think a lesbian should write it.
What is it like being the arts and entertainment editor for one of the most well-respected gay and lesbian magazines in the country?
Working for The Advocate has been an exciting opportunity, and certainly the magazine’s distinguished reputation opens a lot of doors. The world of gay pop culture is certainly an exciting place to be right now, and I’m grateful to have such a good seat.
Do you read any blogs? If so, which ones?
I spend far too much time reading blogs every day, starting with my husband Dave White’s. I’m also a fan of Americablog and Defamer, and Alison Bechdel’s “Dykes to Watch Out For” blog, but I’m always finding great blogs about old shopping malls, grocery stores, and other random esoterica. And while I’m just sick that Diana Eng got booted from Project Runway, I’m enjoying her blog quite a bit as well.
What sort of impact do you think the success of Brokeback Mountain will have on gay cinema breaking out into the mainstream?
I’m adopting a wait-and-see attitude, but I think anytime a gay movie makes money and becomes a center of attention for the mainstream, it can only be a good thing.
Any thoughts about the attention over Gene Shalit’s review of Brokeback?
I’m giving Mr. Shalit the benefit of the doubt on this one, particularly since he wrote a very lovely essay about his relationship with his gay son for The Advocate back in 1997. And he sent a letter to GLAAD clarifying his statements, so I think the whole thing will blow over.
What are some upcoming must-see gay movies being released this year?
There are lots of promising films on the horizon, including Craig Chester’s Adam and Steve, the comic-strip adaptation The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green, and the big-screen versions of Armistead Maupin’s novel The Night Listener and Augusten Burroughs’s Running With Scissors. But like most people, I’m just counting the days until Snakes on a Plane.