A lot of straight male reviewers look at Leaving Metropolis and have a real problem with it because they say there is no way that a straight man would ever fall in love with a gay man. But having been in one of those relationships three or four times in my life I know it happens very much and I think there is a level of denial and being threatened that goes on with a lot of straight people, particularly men, and we need to overcome that. ~ Brad Fraser
Toronto playwright Brad Fraser wrote several plays about jaded 30-somethings sleeping with, mistreating and occasionally murdering each other. His work has more heart than that of Gregg Araki or Brett Easton Ellis as he understands most cruelty comes from pain. A recurring theme in his work is the seduction of men who identify as straight.
This is a common fantasy in gay media, in both pornography and narrative film. (And Eating Out films which are somewhere in between). It usually starts in adolescence as closeted youth grow up with no other outlet for their desires. If it continues into adulthood it can be called experimenting or bi-curiousness. “Masc for Masc” or self-loathing. When it happens in films it’s usually called “bi-erasure” as the guy is defiantly referred to as “straight.”
I wrote an article on films about straight/gay male friendships last November. Several of the straight men ended up sleeping with their gay friends out of curiosity or pity. The following films continue that trend and leave a question open as to whether the straight friend still identifies as “straight” when it’s over.
Triggers and spoilers ahead.
Full Length Films
Big Eden (2000). I covered this film in my romcom article. Artist returns to his rural town and confronts the straight friend he abandoned after high school. White Collar’s Tim DeKay carries the films strongest scenes as the conflicted friend. But the lead and his eventual love interest are boring. C
Bromance (Como una novia sin sexo) (2016). Low key study of male friendship and sexuality. Three guys go on a camping trip. When one hooks up with a female tourist the other two get jealous. The actors have charm but the script doesn’t flesh them out beyond archetypes: the nerd, the clown, the cad and…the Smurfette. I was engaged but wanted more context for the inevitable hook ups and break ups. Argentine director/co-writer Lucas Santa Ana apes the subject matter of his peer Marco Berger but lacks that director’s flair for eroticism. C+
Denied (2004). Two guys dated girls in school but fool around with each other after graduation. One is almost ready to come out. The other insists he’s straight… but doesn’t want to stop hooking up. The acting is amateurish but the writing gets intense. D
Everything is Free (2017). Brian Jordan Alverez casts his sketch comedy friends in a drama about a man who falls for his best friends’ brother. The brother isn’t sure of his sexuality and the friend turns violently angry. Is it protectiveness? Jealousy? The actors lack the range for the uglier scenes and the romance is too hasty to invest in. C
Like a Brother (2005). Zach moved to Paris, came out of the closet and found a boyfriend. But now Romain, his best friend from his closeted days, is coming to visit. The film alternates between flashbacks and the present day. Did Romain know Zach loved him? What happened between them? What does he want to discuss now? The flashbacks gradually give us the predictable answers. The gents are handsome but are cast for their softcore love scenes rather than their personalities. D
Love and Human Remains (1993). Thomas Gibson plays a bitter waiter who breaks hearts and attracts the attention of a serial killer. On stage Brad Fraser’s play was sexy, scary fun. The screenplay cuts back the comedy and homoeroticism. In its place we get violence and Gen-X ennui. We lose the plays love scene between Gibson and his straight male friend but keep one between a straight woman and a lesbian. That’s 1993 for you. Gibson smolders but the film is a slog and minimizing the gay/straight relationship leaves the film feeling shapeless. C-
Leaving Metropolis (2002). The lead from Remains, older and sadder, seduces a married “straight” man by painting his nude portrait. A subplot for his ailing trans friend adds pathos, while a recurring conversation about closeted superheroes never really goes anywhere. Brad Fraser adapts and directs his own work this time. There’s more sex and camp than the prior film, but the performances are stagey and the central couple lacks chemistry. D+
Macho (2016). Mexican farce. Straight fashion designer pretends to be a rude gay stereotype to aid his career. A male intern falls in love with him. Complications ensue. Tries to make a statement about sexual fluidity but is too crude to pull it off. Misogyny, rape and suicide attempts are treated as jokes and I was not having it. F
Say Yes (2018). Dying woman asks her straight husband and her bi twin brother to hook up when she passes. Will they or won’t they? Film careens between grim cancer drama and a romance with the nuance of an Eating Out film. The inevitable sex scene is too porny for the inexperienced characters. D
Sodom (2017). A suave German (Jo Weil) seduces a nervous Brit (Pip Brignall). Afterwards the Brit confesses he’s engaged to a woman but keeps hooking up with men. The German tries to coax him out of the closet with generic “It Gets Better” speeches. The actors have charm but their repetitive conversation grows dull. Lacks the nuance of two-handers like Weekend or Theo & Hugo. C
Spin the Bottle (1999). Campy revenge drama. Angry gay man invites his high school tormentors to a wedding party to get revenge. He sleeps with an engaged couple, Frank n Furter style, to break them up while goading the more cynical members into self-awareness. Premise is juicy but the actors are boring. C-
Teenage Kicks (2016). Writer/ director Craig Boreham expanded his short, Drowning, into a full length film. Mik, an angsty teen, has a melt down after his brothers’ death. He suffers everything from parental abuse to sexual assault. When his straight best friend finds a girlfriend Mik does his best to sabotage the relationship with triggery results. The film tries to have things both ways, both shaming and objectifying the nubile actors. C-
Derek and Cameron (2014). Straight identifying man falls in love with his gay best friend. They start a relationship but the “straight” guy wants monogamous domesticity while the gay guy is used to hook ups and partying. The interesting ideas are undercut by hopelessly amateurish actors. Their chilly romance feels like the porn version of a gay/straight relationship. Ended on a cliffhanger when the creators ran out of money. C-
Sweet Short Films
Bro (2016). Hot guy confesses his crush for his slovenly straight friend. The friend is surprised as his life is a mess and women keep dropping him. Amateurish but sweet. Commenters agree the hot gay guy could do much better. C-
En Colo (aka Holiday Camp) (2010). Closeted teen is teased by his friends at camp. When they pressure him into kissing a straight guy things go better than expected. B
Fragments (2017). Hipster musician flirts with his girlfriend and a preppy gay man (rising star Connor Jessup). The girlfriend sees the chemistry and tries to nudge him to experiment for reasons of her own. Aimless but atmospheric. C
Gryning (Stockholm Daybreak) (2013). Two straight friends confess their feelings for each other as they stumble home from a night of drinking. Ends sweetly. B-
My Friend Jamie (2013). Swimmer comes out to his team mate, who balks, then accepts him. Eye candy but little story. C
No, No Homo (2014). Gay guy goes to the movies with his friend who makes suggestive remarks about the popcorn. C-
Pig Boy (2017). Two men wake up handcuffed after a wild party and try to clean up before the wife gets home. What actually happened between them the night before is left ambiguous. Opts for obnoxious gross out humor. D
Ronny and i (2013). Gay guy films a road trip on a cell phone. He confesses to his friend Ronny that he loves him. Ronny laughs it off but begins to consider his options. The cell phone conceit strains belief but gives it a voyeuristic feel. The end is pure wish fulfillment. B-
The Roommate (2007). College jock freaks out when his gay roommate mentions he’s “not his type” and proceeds a clumsy seduction attempt. C-
Angsty Short Films
Basketball Math (2013). Ah nerds and jocks. Tale as old as time. Teen tutors a basketball player. The jock kisses, then bullies him. A supportive male friend offers sympathy. The nerd and the jock end up back together but I wanted him to end up with his friend instead. C
Cappuccino (2010). Swiss/French teen asks his straight crush out to dinner. The crush is a player who toys with him, then drops him. A different, yet still sad, take on a common scenario. Ends with a clash and a truce with his brassy mother. C
Cuarto Rosa (Pink Room) (2018). Student hooks up with his gay friend on a school trip, freaks out, then calms down. Some overacting in their fight. C
Curious Thing (2010). Gay men share three short stories over re-enactments. Falling for a straight friend, leaving an unfaithful partner and surviving a gay bashing. Little insight but interesting format. It’s distracting to see openly gay comic Matthew Wilkas playing the conflicted straight guy. C
Der letzte Freund fürs Leben (The Last Friend for Life) (2017). Gay teen blackmails a bully into being his “friend” for the weekend. The handsome actors maintain a creepy-sexy vibe and the film keeps you guessing what’s “real.” C+
False Negative (2018). Awkward encounter between a gay man and a possibly closeted man at a night club and a long drive home. Oddly paced. Starts to turn sour but ends up sweet. C
How the Moon Fell From the Sky (and no one even noticed) (2018). Gay teen falls for his straight friend and hallucinates fantasy dance numbers between the two. Both twee and gloomy. Lots of time went into the dances and the design scheme. The plot hits too close to home for me. B
Jain (2012). Gay photographer is jerked around by his “straight” boyfriend. His pals try to talk him out of the crush. But when he’s attacked by a bully the boyfriend defends him and accepts his own feelings. The photographer is a charismatic actor who carries the piece well. B
Prora (2012). Two friends roughhouse in an abandoned building. The brunette wants to score some chicks. The blonde has other plans. The seduction gets uncomfortable as consent feels blurry and things get violent afterwards. The actors are very chill about the situation in the “Making of” feature on the channel. C
Thirteen or so Minutes (2008). Two guys who thought they were straight hook up… One wants to keep going (he’s the better actor). The other’s freaked out (he’s a green actor). Their stilted conversation feels like fan fiction. C-
Tomorrow (Clark and Trevor) (2016). Teen love triangle at a party. Sara wants Clark who wants Trevor who wants… maybe both of them? Ends ambiguously. C
Trunks (2011). Man tells his ex-girlfriend about his first crush on a man. We see their encounter at a swimming pool and he’s left a few things out of the story. Kiki Kendrick delivers a lovely vocal performance as the ex-girlfriend. C+
NSFW Short Films (basically porn)
Anything Once (1997). Two friends, gay and straight, agree to try sleeping with the other gender. No points for guessing who the straight guy ends up in bed with. Sexy and stupid. We see far too much of the m/f coupling for my taste. C+
Boygame (2013). Two boys prepare to go out and “pick up girls.” One convinces the other they should “practice” with each other first to get some experience. Goes farther than either expected. B
Coffee (2004). Gay and “straight” guy hook up in the bathroom of a coffee shop while their oblivious friends have a fight. Both the sex and the fight are awkwardly staged. C-
Dare (2005). High school romance (between 20-something actors). Spotlight operator falls for leading man in the play. They agree to “study” at his house and a porny seduction scene ensues. A blow and a blow. Adam Fleming makes a very sexy “nerd.” C
Flatmates (2007). Porny but depressing. Straight roommate keeps hitting on his gay roommate. Gay roommate takes advantage of him while he’s drunk. The friendship ends in tears. C
My Straight Boyfriend (aka Uninhibited) (2002). Gay man spies on “straight” roommate’s hookup. And is subsequently ravished himself. Jorge Ameer made a series of comedic shorts that were later compiled. C
Underwater (2015). Student is seduced by a “straight” bully at a swimming academy. Filled with porn actors who aren’t known for their skill with dialogue. The most graphic film on this list but the violence makes it rather unplesant. D
- 12 of these relationships escalate to violence.
- 9 of these films end with the possibility of a romantic relationship with the “straight” guy
- 3 of these films end with the gay lead moving on and finding an openly gay love interest.
- Seduction Techniques involve: Alcohol, Bachelor Parties, Dares, Play rehearsals, Portrait painting, Straight porn, Swimming Pools and simply saying “I love you.”
- My favorite Films on this list: Boygame. En Colo. Gryning. How the Moon Fell from the Sky. Ronny and I.
These films lack nuanced discussions of fluidity, bisexuality, pansexuality and the Kinsey Scale. The characters would probably feel less traumatized if they could talk about these things. Have you seen any of these films? Do you find the premise cute or cringey? Are there any you’d add to the list?
For more reviews of LGBT+ media click here.