The Advocate's 27 Favorite Films of Outfest 2014

This year's Outfest features more than 150 films. The Advocate has chosen 27 of our favorites.

BY Daniel Reynolds and Jase Peeples

July 07 2014 8:00 AM ET

The Foxy Merkins
Saturday, July 19, 7 p.m. at DGA 1

For the uninitiated, a merkin is pubic wig, which, as one character in The Foxy Merkins points out, first rose to popularity among prostitutes in the olden days as a means of masking venereal diseases and preventing lice. It’s a bizarre yet appropriate symbol for the film, which follows the journey of Margaret (Lisa Haas), a down-on-her-luck lesbian trying to learn how to be a sex worker in modern-day New York. As a bespectacled, bewildered, and Rubenesque character, Margaret is the antithesis of the popular image of a prostitute, a circumstance from which much of the film’s humor is derived. She is shown the ropes by Jo, a sexy and more street savvy streetwalker, who teaches her, for example, how to pick up Republican clients in front of Talbots. Filled with running gags and tongue-in-cheek nods to hustler films like Midnight Cowboy or even last year’s Outfest star Concussion, The Foxy Merkins is a refreshingly new comedic take on the world’s oldest profession.


Girltrash: All Night Long
Saturday, July 19, 4:30 p.m. at Redcat

The long-awaited, hard-rocking, steamy musical that is Girltrash: All Night Long is available for your viewing pleasure on the big screen. This must-see lesbian rock-and-roll romance, directed by Alex Martinez Kondrake and written by D.E.B.S.screenwriter Angela Robinson, features Kate French, Rose Rollins, Mandy Musgrave, Gabrielle Christian, Clementine Ford, Malay Rivera Drew, Michelle Lombardo, and Lisa Reiffel. The film, brought to you by LGBT film nonprofit Power Up Films, documents one epic night where the ensemble cast goes looking for love, lust, and rock stardom, but finds rival bands, a lovesick babe, a club-swinging badass (The L Word's Rose Rollins), sleazy con artists, and coke-snorting sorority sisters.


Jamie Marks Is Dead
Friday, July 11, 9:30 p.m. at DGA 1

One of the more terrifying entries in this year’s Outfest, Jamie Marks Is Dead is a ghost story that also serves as an allegorical tale of LGBT youth in small-town America. When the body of high school outcast Jamie Marks is discovered near a river, the life of Adam (Cameron Monaghan, Shameless) changes forever, particularly when he spies Jamie’s ghost (Noah Silver, The Borgias), shivering and nearly naked in the distance. Despite warnings from his love interest Gracie (Morgan Saylor, Homeland), Adam closes this corporeal divide, bridging a relationship between the living and the dead that is filled with longing and a love that dare not speak its name. Under Carter Smith’s direction, the film’s dramatic grip is tightened by its bleak and beautiful cinematography and a paper-moon performance by Liv Tyler, who, as Adam’s emotionally and physically crippled mother, embarks on her own curious relationship with a woman who almost kills her, played by Judy Greer.


Kate Bornstein Is a Queer & Pleasant Danger
Saturday, July 12, 7:15 p.m. at Redcat

Directed by Sam Feder, Kate Bornstein Is a Queer & Pleasant Danger is an in-depth portrait of one of the LGBT community’s most captivating trans pioneers, Kate Bornstein. As the author of Gender Outlaw, a groundbreaking manifesto on gender and sexuality, Bornstein has established herself as a leading voice in gender theory. The documentary, based on her memoir of the same name, features Bornstein as she reflects on activism and writing as well as her experiences as a former Scientologist, her battle with cancer, and a lifetime bridging the gender divide.


Life Partners
Thursday, July 10, 8 p.m., Orpheum Theatre (Opening Night Gala)

There's something for audience of all persuasions to love in Partners, a bra-mance comedy that showcases the friendship between two women — one lesbian, the other straight. As best friends since childhood, Paige (Community's Gillian Jacobs) and Sasha (Gossip Girl's Leighton Meester) are navigating adulthood together in a joyful state of prolonged adolesence, drinking cheap wine and watching marathons of America's Next Top Model. However, the arrival of a suitor for Sasha, played by Adam Brody, changes the dynamic of this relationship, and Paige embarks on a series of less successful romantic ventures. Gabourey Sidibe, Abby Elliott, Julie White, and Kate McKinnon in a cameo round out the talented cast of a hilarious film that shows the virtues and vicissitudes of love and friendship.

Tags: film, Outfest