Where the Boys Were

What do 20-something gays think of the vintage film The Boys in the Band, just released on DVD? One guess…

BY Dave White

October 21 2008 11:00 PM ET

“Yeah,” Adam says. “He’s out of control. He makes you think they were trying to make the movie and he just showed up and started butting in with, “Hell-o-o-o!”

“Wildest thing about that actor,” I say, “is that he was totally straight and known for playing tough guys. Except here. Well, sort of here too, now that I think about it. Queens like that were made of titanium.”

As the fictional party ramps up, the old-school catchall nickname “Mary” gets more traction, African-American character Bernard (Reuben Greene) is advised to go eat some watermelon, and acid-tongued character Harold (the late Leonard Frey) shows up to deliver withering, disgusted glances and blackened, deadpan insults. My young viewers express their amused appreciation: “These are the worst friends ever!” Graham says, laughing.

“I know,” Steve says. “Why are they so fuckin’ bitchy? Although I could probably see this same thing playing out at the Abbey on any given night -- just change the neck scarves to Fendi and D&G.”

“And the gays now are just as racist,” Juan adds. “One guy recently told me he thought I was Indian instead of Mexican, like it was supposed to be a compliment.”

The consensus, however, is that the poisonous level of relentless meanness on-screen is still qualitatively different and way worse than anything anyone in the room has experienced. But it also kicks Gossip Girl’s ass, so that’s awesome. When a surprise thunderstorm drives characters off the balcony and back into the small apartment set, though, my young watchers begin squirming. “How long is this movie?” Adam asks.