The era of cheesy gay cinema is upon us – here are 8 feel-good films for your watchlist

A composite image of gay films Red, White & Royal Blue, Bottoms and Theatre Camp

If you’re on a Barbie comedown and desperate for more feel-good film recommendations, look no further than this list of the best gay films coming to cinemas this summer.

There’s nothing better than finding the perfect camp film that hits all the right spots. This year alone has seen the release of culturally iconic horror flicks M3GAN and Scream VI, The Little Mermaid starring Melissa McCarthy as the drag-inspired Ursula, and Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, which had all the gays seated with a bucket of popcorn in hand.

That’s not to mention Oscar-nominee Stephanie Hsu’s return to the big-screen in the star-studded Asian-American comedic romp Joy Ride, or Elizabeth Banks’ cinematic masterpiece Cocaine Bear about the gory antics of a massive bear high on coke. Need we go on?

Maybe Billy Eichner really did herald in a new era of silly and high-camp queer movies with his history-making 2022 comedy Bros. Whatever the reason, it’s time to cease watching But I’m A Cheerleader and Mean Girls on repeat (at least, for the time being), as we enter a brand-new age of cheesy gay cinema.

Ryan Gosling as Ken (L) and Margot Robbie as Barbie (R).
Don’t panic, PinkNews has you covered with eight queer film recommendations. (Warner Bros. Pictures)

The second half of 2023 is promising even more knockout films. Whether you’re waiting for the highly-anticipated adaptations of BookTok sensations, craving casts jam-packed with the hottest names in the industry or searching for hidden indie gems, we are just getting started.

During a time when existing as an LGBTQ+ person feels tougher than ever, it’s the perfect way to practice self-care in the face of a relentless news cycle. So whip on the “I am Kenough” hoodie you inevitably ordered after watching Barbie and gather all your queer friends.

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We have your future movie nights sorted with these eight incredible upcoming releases.

Red, White, & Royal Blue (on Prime Video from 11 August)

What do you get when you combine two dashingly handsome political enemies, a diplomatic wedding cake crisis and an international sex scandal? That’s right, Prime’s adaptation of Casey McQuiston’s bestselling novel Red, White & Royal Blue.

Starring Nicholas Galitzine as England’s Prince Henry opposite Taylor Zakhar Perez as the First Son of the United States, this film is guaranteed to leave you with a ridiculously big grin on your face. We’re talking heartwarming professions of queer love, a brilliant supporting cast and just the right amount of suspension of disbelief.

Red, White, & Royal Blue arrives on Prime Video on 11 August, 2023.

Bottoms (in cinemas from 25 August)

Hollywood’s rising stars Rachel Sennott (Bodies Bodies Bodies) and Ayo Edebiri (The Bear) are joining forces for this ’90s nostalgia trip – Bottoms. When outcast lesbian friends PJ (Sennott) and Josie (Edebiri) start a fight club to pick-up girls and lose their virginity before graduation, everything soon spirals out of control.

Early reviews are already heaping praise on this absurdist comedy, which is bringing much-needed sapphic representation to the cinema release roster.

Bottoms opens in cinemas on 25 August.

Big Boys (release TBC)

Jamie (L) and Dan (R) arm wrestling in coming of age film Big boys.
Big Boys is a heartwarming coming-of-age comedy. (Perfect Dog Pictures)

LGBTQ+ coming-of-age media doesn’t always needs to be filled with deeply closeted trauma and Big Boys is proving just that. Following in the uplifting footsteps of Heartstopper, this cheesy comedy sees teenage boy Jamie discover their sexuality after falling for their cousin’s boyfriend while on a family camping trip.

Corey Sherman’s feature debut promises several laugh-out-loud moments, some awkward cringe-behind-your cushion scenes and a beautiful discussion around body positivity for all the LGBTQ+ youth in your life.

There is currently no release date for Big Boys. Sign up for updates here.

Drive-Away Dolls (in cinemas from 22 September)

Drive-Away Dolls is probably worth a watch for the star-power alone, with a cast that boats Margaret Qualley (Maid), Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal, Beanie Feldstein and Colman Domingo (Euphoria).

The plot follows two queer women, Jamie (Qualley) and Marian (Geraldine Viswanathan), who are disillusioned by life and looking for a fresh start. As they embark on an innocent road trip to Tallahassee the duo fall upon precious contraband. Thus begins a cross-state cat and mouse chase as our team of disgruntled criminals try to steal their goods back.

Drive-Away Dolls opens in cinemas on 22 September, 2023.

Theater Camp (in cinemas from 25 August)

Dear Evan Hansen star Ben Platt, his fiancée Noah Galvin and childhood best friend Molly Gordon bring their creative power together for this feel-good feature.

When the owner of a New York theater camp falls ill, the eccentric and categorically queer staff must team up with the owner’s straight ‘bro’ son to put on the show of the summer. This is essential viewing for all the former (and current) nerdy drama kids who found themselves on the stage.

Packed with witty-dialogue, endearing characters and a heart of gold, we have no doubt you’ll be rooting for this ramshackle but resilient theatre group by the end.

Theater Camp opens in cinemas on 25 August, 2023.

Egghead and Twinkie (release TBC)

This micro-budget, TikTok-funded feature film is ready to make a big splash in the LGBTQ+ cinema world. In yet another road-trip comedy, this time round we are following best friends Twinkie (Sabrina Jieafa) and Egghead (Louis Tomeo).

After Twinkie comes out to her parents, she drives away with Egghead to meet her online crush. Naturally, chaos ensues.

There is currently no release date for Egghead and Twinkie. Sign up for updates here.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (in cinemas from 8 September)

Based on the bestselling novel of the same name, Aristotle and Dante is the perfect addition to the steadily growing genre of LGBTQ+ coming-of-age films.

When Mexican-American teenagers Ari (Max Pelayo) and Dante (Reese Gonzales) meet in 1987 they must overcome the many hurdles before them in order to find true happiness. Although it has its fair share of tearjerking moments, it’s ultimately a joyous tale of friendship, first love and the beauty of human connection.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe opens in cinemas on 8 September, 2023.

Marry My Dead Body (on Netflix from 10 August)

From Taiwanese director Cheng Wei-hao comes this tongue-in-cheek horror-comedy, filled with twists, turns and countless jaw-dropping moments. Nothing sums up the brilliance of Marry My Dead Body better than the premise, itself which is rooted in the Taiwanese ghost marriage tradition.

When straight policeman Wu Ming-Han (Hsu Kuang Han) accidentally picks up a strange red wedding envelope he becomes betrothed to the ghost of a sassy gay man Mao Pang-Yu (Austin Lin), who died under mysterious circumstances.

Soon they reluctantly team up to solve how Mao truly died and along the way Wu starts to unlearn the prejudices he was brought up with.

Marry My Dead Body arrives on Netflix globally on 10 August, 2023.