"Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it's unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside.
Or consider a sidewalk. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of trash from take-out restaurants there or breaking into cars."
That is an example from the Broken Windows theory. That theory was developed by James Q. Wilson in 1982, and was used by Rudolph Giuliani to help make New York a safer city.
I try to relate to the Broken Windows approach here. If I hear the word "sissy" in a movie, I will let you know. If no apologies ensue, or no other action to counter the damaging effect takes place, the movie will get a Shipwreck rating. Ray is a sad example. Really, even though the word "sissy" is uttered only once, and is not all that damaging per se, I believe it can have a very damaging cumulative effect. If the reference is positive, even if very small, you will also know. The Assassination movie is a positive case in point.
Additionally, I had been all upset by going to movies that depicted gays in a bad light, and wished there was a way of knowing if a movie depicts gays at all, and how the depiction goes. I avoid going to movies that reinforce homophobia, and so should you, even if you are not gay, after all, would you see movies that reinforce racism? Again, remember the Broken Windows.
Consider what openly gay screenwriter Barry Sandler said on AfterElton: "We had a hundred years of negative stereotyping, where gay people were the butt of jokes, or suicidal, or desperate, or killers, or victims. It had such a deleterious effect on gay people. With Making Love, we tried to counteract that. Since then, I've been very conscious, probably overly conscious, of how gay people are portrayed in film."
With that in mind, I started writing the movie reviews in August 2005. The Queer Beacon was only actually launched to the public in February 2006 though.
Of course not. This is for everybody, although gays will enjoy it more I guess.
I created the rating system all by myself (ain't I multi-talented?) from LightShed 10 (the best possible rating, which indicates that a movie portrays gays in a very positive light) to No Gay Content (which is a neutral rating, as it is neither positive nor negative), to Shipwreck 0 (for movies that are really bad in portraying gays). So this is the basic and most important rating system. This rating does not tell you whether the movie is good or not. Get it? A movie can have an excellent portrayal for the gays and still suck, or have an awful portrayal and still be good (unfortunately).
I also provide a regular rating system, from bad to excellent, so that you can also know if, regardless of the occasional gay content, the movie sucks. Or if the movie blows.
In any case, the rating is entirely arbitrary. Don't even try to get how I attribute the rating. It's all about feelings and emotions and that kind of girl stuff.
I actually have to go to the movies or rent them, and see them, and pay close attention in order to write every single review here. In a nutshell, the reviews will pretty much depend on me going to the movies! Which I love to do and do often. The old movies will be pretty much my weekly rentals. It's that simple. I do hope to have contributors soon (could be you, just send me an e-mail).
The reviews are deeply personal as you would assume, and will usually reflect the impact the movie had on someone who is not a trained movie critic, someone who is just a moviegoer, like most of you readers. For that matter, I will try not to analyze the crap out of the movies because that's not what people usually do when they go to the movies. The reviews will usually be short, just a few paragraphs. In any case, feel free to participate, I will rarely delete comments, however harsh they might be (although I do reserve the right to make fun of your e-mails and comments of course). I will remove comments that are racist, homophobic or any of the sort.
If you are looking for academic essays on film theory or long, boring, reviews that showcase all of a critic's sensibility and culture, leave now. Seriously. Oh, and this is not the place to look for well written reviews. My English is terrible.
I will try to review movies that are not targeted to a gay audience or that are targeted to a large audience because those are the movies for which we need more light (non gay movies). Gay movies, even when portraying gays in a bad light, will likely only be seen by gays, and the damage will be more contained (although gays are in desperate need of positive light -- there is still a lot of internalized homophobia out there).
I will review gay movies, I will, don't get me wrong, but not as often as wider released flicks.
The Queer Beacon sheds a queer light on movies. That's it. Just a name I thought would convey the movie reviews I intended to write. I also have www.gaymoviewatch.com, www.queerbeacon.org, www.gaybeacon.com, www.queereyeonfilm.com, and www.gaybeacon.org, it's all the same thing.
Oh, I place a bigger picture for the LightShed 10 movies. They deserve more attention, don't they?
I review every single movie that I watch, and if it happens that a movie has no gay content, I will indicate that as well. If you think about it, that actually turns out to be a great feature in this site. Seeing negative gay content is a reason for me not seeing a movie, so if I knew there was no gay content in a movie at all, that means it is safe to see the movie, right? With no gay content, I won't get all aggravated.
I would love that, just e-mail me. I cannot guarantee a good review of course.
I actually only say I write movie reviews because I haven't figured out another name for them. They are indeed short.
In order for me to write good, lengthy, movie reviews -- actual movie reviews, I would need to be an avid reader of movie reviews (like the ones from The New York Times), but I am not. I think that movie reviews give away too much of the movie and I prefer to go into the movie not knowing much -- I like surprises. My movie reviews very rarely give away much of the plot. I'll likely give you the main actors and a brief snapshot of the plot.
However, in order for me to discuss the gay content in the movies, I may have to sometimes spoil the plot or part of it, but I will let you know if and when that happens.