In our new “Get INTO” series, we rummage through Netflix each week to find the very best movies that LGBTQ cinema has to offer. However you identify, these tales of love, sex and the everyday experience of queer life all deserve a special place in your Netflix queue. Also, some of these films are super hot, so whether you’re alone or with a special ‘friend’, rev up everyone’s favorite streaming service and get ready to chill with some of the best queer movies on Netflix.
What is G.B.F.? Five years before mainstream audiences learned to “Love” Simon, director Darren Stein brought his queer sensibilities to the American teen movie, drawing on the biting humor that characterized classics of the genre like Clueless and Mean Girls.
When Tanner is outed as gay, the three most popular girls in school each latch onto him and use his sexuality as an accessory to beat the other cliques. Initially flattered by all of the attention, Tanner struggles to balance newfound popularity with his true friends, including his own G.B.F., Brent.
Who’s in it? The cast is basically a who’s who of average teen fare from the early 2010s, but the titular G.B.F. himself is played to comic perfection by Michael J. Willett, the star of MTV’s Faking It. Best friend Brent is played by another MTV alumni, Paul Stanley Iacono, who starred in The Hard Times of RJ Berger before going on to become an LGBTQ activist. Beloved queer icons like Megan Mullally and Natasha Lyonne also appear and if you squint real hard, you might notice that pop star Jojo is in the cast too.
What does Rotten Tomatoes say? “G.B.F. explores high school relationship dynamics and teen stereotypes with a refreshingly humorous touch–and surprisingly subtle smarts.”
What do we say? Unfairly overlooked when it was first released, G.B.F. is exactly the kind of teen comedy that queer kids deserve, subverting the gay best friend trope by turning him into the star of his very own movie for once. With plenty of drop-dead one-liners and some genuine heart to go with them too, G.B.F. deserves the same kind of attention that Love, Simon received a few years later in 2018.
But isn’t that just stereotypical? A quick glance at the comments posted under the film’s Youtube trailer reveal that plenty of people were put off by the film’s title, which seemingly reinforces one of the longest enduring gay stereotypes still seen in movies today. Give G.B.F. a chance though and you’ll see that George Northy’s script is far more subtle than the marketing might suggest, playing around with queer stereotypes while also touching upon more serious issues like bullying and depression. Unfortunately, poor marketing wasn’t the only thing that held G.B.F. back from greater success.
Wait, G.B.F. was rated R? Yep, queer teens back in 2013 weren’t able to enjoy the positive message of this film on screen because the MPAA awarded G.B.F. an R rating for “sexual references.” Never mind the lack of nudity and violence or how other teen films like Easy A included far more sexual innuendo. G.B.F. was still deemed inappropriate for young adults and suffered at the box office as a result. While no official reason was given for this, it seems obvious that the board must have had a problem with the queer aspects of the film, overlooking how sweet and funny it actually is. The ‘Justice For G.B.F.’ campaign starts here.
G.B.F. is available to stream on Netflix now.