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…



“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.