In 1968, two years before Harvey Milk fought hard for gay rights as the first openly gay elected official breaking barriers in LGBT history, a dramatic Broadway play called. “The Boys In The Band” opened the doors for audience members. At first it was panned, overtime it earned critical acclaim for depicting a realistic portrayal of gay people suffering from complicated friendships/relationships whom the audience can relate to. In 1970, (the year Christopher Nolan was born) William Friedkin (The Exorcist, The French Connection, Killer Joe) directed a film adaptation of the play. It earned positive reception from critics and movie goers alike. The play remains as a masterpiece.
Five Decades Later a remake was produced by Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story, The Normal Heart) was officially green-lit by Netflix.
The Boys In The Band streamed in 2020 along with “Tiger King.” It received positive reviews from critics and streamers alike. I’m gonna be brutally honest. I wasn’t fully aware of The Boys In The Band as a play and a movie. Not much of a Broadway person. I didn’t even know Ryan Murphy’s version is a remake.
Ryan Murphy’s upcoming 10th season of American Horror Story will air on FX/Hulu. To prepare for one of my favorite shows coming back sometime in 2021, I’d like to share my thoughts on this remake.
This review doesn’t contain no SPOILERS present. I’ll have you know this article isn’t fully detailed, because it’s not a big budget superhero movie as per say the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU for short) or a thought provoking movie worth rewatching like “Blade Runner.” Just a self-contained adaptation of a play.
Positive & Negative Elements
Positive: The Main Cast such as Jim Parsons, Matt Bomer, Zachary Quinto and the rest of the cast all did a great job for their respective performances. Jim deserves Bonus Points for his serious role as Michael. He has some experience in non-comedic roles in “The Normal Heart,” Hidden Figures” & the mini-series “Hollywood.”
Ryan Murphy produced the film. Like Ridley Scott, he’s a workaholic making one project to another non-stop without breaking a sweat.
Theatre director/filmmaker Joe Mantello (Wicked, The Normal Heart, Hollywood mini-series) did a decent job directing the film.
Cinematography didn’t suffer from any technical problems throughout.
Chemistry between the main leads felt organic. It serves as the main highlight factoring in complicated friendship/relationships. The moral dilemmas they face remains relevant for people struggling with their sexual orientation, fearing a confession to friends or family member could cause a chain reaction.
The film is set in 1968. Exact same year the play opened. “Once Upon A Time In The West” was also out.
Although labeled as a dramatic remake, there’s some humor that got me laughing.
The Boys In The Band takes place at an apartment to celebrate a surprise birthday party. Suddenly, all heck broke lose.
Each character brings up their personal lives.
My favorite line is “Thank you Quasimodo.”
One scene that made me laugh is when one of the guys sings “Happy Birthday” off-key.
Negative: One character is called “Midnight Cowboy.” The film wasn’t released in 1969.
The Final Verdict: A-
The Boys In The Band is a surprisingly decent remake worth watching. It’s on the same level of legit remakes as “John Carpenter’s The Thing,” “David Cronenberg’s The Fly,” “3:10 To Yuma,” “True Grit” & “A Star Is Born.” The Boys In The Band is another good movie in 2020 next to “Tenet,” “Happiest Season,” “Birds Of Prey” & “Wonder Woman 1984.” If you have a Netflix account, I highly recommend this film.