After compiling a list of the most essential LGBT movies, The Advocate is pitting the top 32 entries against one another in a series of one-on-one face-offs. In this Sweet 16 round, the show-stopping musical Cabaret, starring Liza Minnelli as a club performer during the dawn of Nazi Germany, is up against But I'm a Cheerleader, the celebrated lesbian-cheerleader comedy that lampoons gay conversion therapy. Which film is more essential? Vote below, and check out our full list of the top 175 most essential LGBT movies at Advocate.com/top175.
Cabaret, 1972 (4 seed)
There's no doubt that Berlin's Kit Kat Klub is just the most fantastically awesome place this side of World War I. Right at the beginning, the Emcee, played by the tireless Joel Grey, bids the audience a hearty "willkommen" to this world of seedy glamour. Our heroine Sally Bowles -- portrayed by an exquisite Liza Minnelli -- pops off the screen in a story that follows her trapped in love with two men, while the Nazi regime rises to power. The film is epic, gripping, and entertaining. You will be singing at least one of the songs from this musical for days. Weeks. OK, in my case, years -- it's "Two Ladies," "Money, Money," and the title tune. --Michelle Garcia
But I'm A Cheerleader, 1999 (13 seed)
This comedy manages to both make fun of the absurdity of efforts to "de-gay" people by sending them to organizations that claim to rid patients of homosexual desires, and make a poignant statement about the dangers of so-called sexual orientation change efforts. Lesbian director Jamie Babbit brings a poignant queer woman's perspective to the feature, which also stars lesbian fan favorites Natasha Lyonne and Clea Duvall. Ultimately, the most powerful component of this lighthearted film is the nuanced exploration of female sexuality, which has helped more than a few now out and proud ladies -- this writer included -- come to terms with being a feminine woman who isn't straight. --Sunnivie Brydum
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