Making Love in 1982
July 14, 2012 6:27 PM   Subscribe

How Making Love Changed Us. Screenwriter Barry Sandler discusses the legacy of the 1982 gay-themed drama with "The Advocate".
posted by crossoverman (14 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
So help me, I initially read that as 'Barry Sadler,' and thought, 'the Ballad of the Green Beret guy wrote a gay drama?'
posted by jonmc at 6:41 PM on July 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

Funny, I'd always been taught that this movie was groundbreaking (discussed favorably in "The Celluloid Closet", for example), and yet when it came out Roger Ebert said it was strictly meh.
posted by Melismata at 7:11 PM on July 14, 2012

Melismata, I was only eleven when this came out, but I was a budding film geek and watched Siskel & Ebert and remember this movie being reviewed and I remember realizing that it was something of a big deal.
posted by jonmc at 7:28 PM on July 14, 2012

A movie can both be groundbreaking and be meh. Subject matter is not the same as execution.

And that's been a continual frustration of mine -- that so much media about gay people across the years has been so highly celebrated simply for existing, and so much of it is really inferior product. Why can't we have great movies about gay people? (I mean, we do, but for the longest time, we didn't. Or they were few and far between.)
posted by hippybear at 8:08 PM on July 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

1982 Hollywood releasing a mostly positive portrait of gay men was such a BFD that the movie could both be "meh" and "groundbreaking"; I think it was/is both.

I'm glad to live in a world that we can focus on how boring* it seems, since even when I saw it in 1997, it felt like a BFD and only seemed dated because of the hair and clothes.

* And even then, I'm not sure. I mean, Kate Fucking Jackson and super hot gay Harry Hamlin are still pretty much worth the price of admission.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:09 PM on July 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

When you talk about this thread, and you will, be kind.
posted by PapaLobo at 8:37 PM on July 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would have guessed that this was a TV movie from the late 70's. I saw it on TV and I thought at the time "Okay, we can have movies on TV about this now. So there's that hurdle jumped over". If only.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 9:46 PM on July 14, 2012

No, I think the first TV movie to deal with gay subject matter in a serious way was Doing Time On Maple Drive.
posted by hippybear at 11:22 PM on July 14, 2012

Oh my god, hippybear, I was beginning to think I was the only person alive who remembered that movie! I loved that one!
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 11:48 PM on July 14, 2012

I absolutely loved that movie too (talk about something that the came out at the right time...and with the right-named actor playing gay...for me) and though I don't know which is definitely the first gay TV movie, but preceding Doing Time by a bit (and Making Love by 10 years) was That Certain Summer, a 1972 ABC movie of the week in which divorced dad Hal Holbrook has to explain to his visiting son that Martin Sheen is his lover. I've never seen it and like too many ABC Movie of the Weeks probably never will due to rights issues, so am fascinated by it for that reason.

There's probably really interesting research waiting to be done reviewing how much positive social change took place due to stuff getting on the air by last place due networks trying to get ratings.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:08 AM on July 15, 2012

Oh, I forgot all about "That Certain Summer". That was a good one. I ended up with a big crush on actor Scott Jacoby after that one.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 4:20 AM on July 15, 2012

Alexander: The Other Side of Dawn, a made-for-TV movie from 1977, deals with gay subject manner in a mostly non-negative way, although the movie is mostly about gay male prostitution. It's also a sequel to the cult flick, Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway starring Eve Plumb from The Brady Bunch.
posted by cropshy at 7:42 AM on July 15, 2012

It's probably some indication of how far society has come in that the Advocate has another article out titled, "WATCH: Haley Joel Osment May Go From Gay Twink to Middle-aged Lesbian."
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:03 AM on July 15, 2012

I sneaked in to see this film when it was out. I was 12. "Making Love" was a nice film. I rewatched it a couple of years ago and cried. This film came out right before AIDS captured the nation's conscience, so it was heartbreaking knowing that the Harry Hamlin character was likely to die in a few years from AIDS and at least the Michael Ontkean character found what appeared to be a solid monogamous relationship so his life was probably saved. I stand by this movie. It's good for its time. Then ending is a weeper, and then she takes the path to her heterosexual life and he takes the other path. A very sweeping visual.

Before "Doing Time on Maple Drive" which I think was 1991 since I saw it in college, there was "Consenting Adult" with Marlo Thomas and I loved it as a high schooler circa 1987. Also "An Early Frost" the first one that addressed AIDS and homosexuality circa 1985. I never saw "That Certain Summer". I will have to look that one up on Netflix.
posted by WilliamMD at 4:36 PM on July 15, 2012

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