Well, didn’t we know this was going to happen?
I mean, don’t get me wrong. I love queer people. I myself am a super queer person. I celebrate my little LGBTQ+ tribe. I read the books, I watch the movies and TV shows, I’m a subscriber and a fan. Hell, I even tried to watch Dahmer last week (10/10 do not recommend by the way), and I’m blasting the new cast recording of Into the Woods as I type this. Yes, honey, shout out to reinforcing gay stereotypes. I’m all the way into our art and I support it with my whole entire gay soul. You can count on my vote, I will buy the t-shirt, and donate an extra $20 — BUT LISTEN — somebody has got to come get little Ms. Billy Eichner.
Last weekend I did the unthinkable. I crawled out of my cave and leaned all the way into this whole “let’s pretend the pandemic isn’t still happening” thing everyone is so into at the moment. I visited FANDANGO (snaps to online convenience for making my life feel like a magic trick) and bought tickets for my husband, a friend, and I to see BROS.
Perhaps you’ve heard of it?
I was a tinsey bit worried. You mean this loud and grating dude is in a romantic comedy?? Curious. Frankly, I was scared Billy would scream me deaf and I’d sprain my neck trying to push myself deep into my $900 movie theater seat to get away from him. BUT. Like I said — I gotta support my gays and BY GOD — I am a fun person who enjoys eating giant overpriced snacks in a room full of germy strangers, so I kept these thoughts to myself. At the time — I was glad I did because I laughed. I laughed a lot, actually. Between shoving fistfuls of popcorn into my face I clapped at the super funny parts, and scream whispered lines at my BFF in the dark like the good homosexual that I am. Don’t tell anyone, but GD I ENJOYED MYSELF! I’d maybe even watch it again since fun and silly romantic comedies are the very best kinds of movies to re-watch when you’re sick or it’s so cold you’ll freeze to death if you step outside.
At our post movie kiki at Chili’s we dug around and worked to find issues. Were there any? Maybe? None of us could really figure out why in a movie full of LIVE YOUR VERY BEST GAY LIFE ALL THE WAY OUT LOUD vibes someone would direct Luke Mcfarlane to pitch his voice down so low that at times he sounded like Groot with a chest cold. We were also a little bored with the subplot of Billy’s LGBTQ history museum (though who among us isn’t going to guffaw at a giant Jodi Foster hanging from the ceiling). And — maybe it did feel a little like someone had gone through a grocery list of queer terms throwing in every single thing so the straights would have something to Google once they got home. Otherwise? It was totally fine.
Did I have a good time? Yes!
Did the movie change my life? No!
Do I recommend you run out at watch it? ABSOLUTELY!
Flash forward to Monday and Billy Eichner losing his damned mind and throwing us all into a very special HORROR episode of Billy on the Street.
It seems that BROS, a movie that has earned glowing approval from critics and audiences fizzled at the box office over the weekend. The movie opened in fourth place (behind Smile, Don’t Worry Darling, and The Woman King) with a $4.8 million gross from 3,350 locations.
Billy, of course, did what he does best and since he didn’t have a camera crew and a mic took his mishegas to Twitter. Like some new world Larry Kramer he worked to shame the straights by scream tweeting, “…straight people, especially in certain parts of the country, just didn’t show up.”
Girl. This isn’t your little YouTube program. Watch your mouth.
First of all? I’m no mathematician, and I’m not usually in the business of defending the straights (BECAUSE DON’T THEY GET ENOUGH ATTENTION), but I’m pretty sure $4.8 million from 3,350 locations means ain’t nobody gay, straight, or anywhere in-between showed up for your movie.
Gee, I wonder why.
Could it maybe have a little something to do with Billy’s self-aggrandizing? This fool has been running around epic monologuing us all for months. It started before the world premiere of Bros at the Toronto International Film Festival, where he bragged that the movie, “is not an indie movie. This is not some streaming thing which feels disposable, or which is like one of the million Netflix shows. I needed to appreciate that ‘This is a historic moment, and somehow, you’re at the center of it. You helped create it.’”
Uhhhh — OK GIRL — you made a movie.
This ain’t Selma.
While I fully appreciate and applaud how thoroughly exciting this moment must be for him I’m going to need somebody to pull out several seats. Yes, you wrote and star in a movie produced by Judd Apatow. Yes, same-sex movies focused on subjects other than trauma and hate are few and far between. BUT DAMN. What a shady and hateful thing to say. We (as in THE WORLD) watch tons of LGBTQ+ programming on Netflix and other streaming platforms. Way to insult everyone who is helping to tell our stories and MAZEL TOV for doing it a whole 3 MINUTES after writer/comedian Joel Kim Booster gave us the delightful and QUEER romantic comedy Fire Island.
So like … is this really about the LGBTQ+ community, or is this allll about Billy Eichner?
Let’s be real. While it is super rad that Bros is the first gay rom-com to be given a wide theatrical release by a major studio and super extra rad that it also happens to be the first with an all-openly LGBTQ+ cast — are these reasons people actually go to see movies? I mean, yes, of course, I am one of these people, but also — NAH, BRAH. People don’t go see movies because they’re good for them or it’s something they’re supposed to do. We go see movies because they’re good, because a friend told us to, because they’re funny.
The fact is — as wonderfully queer and funny as Bros is it’s not life changing. No amount of Jewish-Moming (yes, thank you, I just created a new verb) from Billy on the street or anyone else can help cover this fact. So you made a romantic comedy and it’s aiiight. Isn’t the most amazing part of this conversation that we got here at all? Do we have to both create a gay movie and make nine zillion dollars for this to have been worth it? What movie from literally any artist anywhere can withstand this kind of pressure? Also, in case you haven’t noticed, not many folks of any background or identities are running out to see movies in actual movie theaters.
This whole thing is just so completely sad to me. We should be celebrating opening this door. Instead, we’re watching someone who thinks they’re the world’s greatest LGBTQ+ star and activist be a jerk. Despite what Billy might have us believe his movie (huge success or not) will allow for more queer stories. It just might be that he won’t be asked to make them. And after his shenanigans this week — who can be mad about that? What a shame we’re talking about his screaming and not how Bros is a fun movie. What a shame that all the hollering won’t lead to more ticket sales. But like I said — didn’t we know this would happen? His whole job before this movie was to run around and scream at strangers on the street. Didn’t we expect him to yell homophobia in a crowded theater? I wish he’d zip it, put his head down and get back in the game.
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