Jenni Olson

Parting Glances: VIP Q Movie Pick for World AIDS Day

Filed By Jenni Olson | November 30, 2011 9:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Gay Icons and History
Tags: Alec Mapa, Bruce Vilanch, Dan Butler, HIV/AIDS history, LGBT film, Matthew Rettenmund, Outfest Legacy Project, Parting Glances, Tom Bezucha, VIP Q Movie Pick, Will Clark

PartingGlances.jpgAs World AIDS Day approaches on December 1st it's a fitting moment to share the half-dozen VIP Q Movie Pickers who have named Bill Sherwood's legendary 1986 HIV/AIDS drama, Parting Glances as their number one favorite LGBT film (alongside Desert Hearts and But I'm a Cheerleader this film has been the most popular selection amongst our dozens of celebrity movie lovers).

Matthew Rettenmund ( blogger & author of Boy Culture the novel)

My favorite gay movie of all time is Parting Glances (1986). It wasn't the first gay movie I'd seen, but it was current when I saw it during my first year at stodgy, asexual University of Chicago, and it showed me a New York and a gay life I longed to be a part of and simultaneously feared. There's a comfort between the main couple that's beautifully communicated, and the poisonous quality of settling is not a theme often explored in gay or non-gay films. Steve Buscemi's AIDS victim (we called them "victims" then) and his best friend (Richard Ganoung) have the most touching relationship, one that plays with humor and sadness and even love. Imagine that... dying people are still living and still have the balls to be in love. Rough around the edges, there's still nothing wrong with this movie--not even 25 years later.


Will Clark (adult star)

Oh easy! My favorite LGBT movie of all time and one of my top ten overall movies of all time isĀ Parting Glances! I was just coming out on a study abroad program in autumn 1986 when the movie debuted in London and I flipped out. What an amazing movie. My boyfriend at the time, my first love, Jon, and I saw it and walked out of the theatre grinning from ear to ear. We were both just coming out, both in love for the first time and the movie made the most amazing impact on us, that being gay is normal, OK and fun. Such an amazing cast: Steve Buscemi, Kathy Kinney, John Bolger (YUM!!). The writing is pitch perfect, the music appropriate, the handling of Nick's health crisis and the ensuing bitterness of the early years of the crisis, the humor and the portrayal of gay male life. I've never seen a better film that juggled all these aspects of gay life or of New York gay life.

Bruce Vilanch (writer and actor)

I've always been partial to Parting Glances because it captures the mood of New York just as what was then called "the gay pneumonia" was beginning to take hold, and also because it's just such an honest depiction of a certain kind of urban gay life of the time. Other than that, I love Auntie Mame and Get Bruce because they are both about big old queens, but one of them really knows how to dress.

Alec Mapa (actor and comedian)

My absolute favorite LGBT movie is Parting Glances. It came out in the 80?s and features Steve Buscemi in one of his very first film roles. I think it is one of the most realistic depictions of gay life on film I've ever seen. I saw it in the theater and at the time it felt like we were all watching our current lives being played out on the screen. It also has a really hot kissing scene in the shower!

Dan Butler (playwright and actor)

One of my favorite LGBT movies is Parting Glances. It's so true... fantastic characters all over the spectrum of gay life, timely, great easy performances especially by Steven Buscemi. I remember it taking me by surprise when I first saw it and I'm sad the filmmaker isn't still with us. A tie with Parting Glances is Jonathan Caouette's Tarnation. A stunning film edited together over 10 years (and more possibly) by a young gay kid growing up in the south dealing with not only his own coming out, but his ex-beauty queen mother's mental illness and his relationship to her. Beautiful and brave and unique it showed first hand how art, the cinema, can literally save someone's life.

Tom Bezucha (director, Big Eden)

One of my favorite LGBT movies is Parting Glances. Bill Sherwood's classic changed my life. I'd just moved to New York City when this came out, so there's a whole personal nostalgia working for me in this choice. This was the first time I had ever seen gay characters front and center in a story, and they were real characters -- fully realized, with vivid lives, and they looked just like you or me. Steve Buscemi is a revelation. And, I have to add Trevor, the short film by Peggy Rajski that deftly and delightfully charts a course from the pain of discovering difference to the joy of self-acceptance.

As one of the most significant gay films in our history, Parting Glances has been restored and preserved via the Outfest Legacy Project for LGBT Film Preservation. Please share your favorite HIV/AIDS movie picks below.

(Crossposted at

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.