Cringe: 13 movies with blatantly homophobic scenes

The new comedy “Get Hard” stars Kevin Hart as an unlikely coach who trains Will Ferrell for a stint in prison. In one scene, Hart insists that Ferrell go to a top LA brunch spot and give oral sex to a random patron in the bathroom to learn — I guess? — the mechanics of prison rape. Yes, this movie equates consensual gay sexual activity with actual rape. Cut to Will Ferrell in a restaurant bathroom gagging at the sight of a penis for the amusement of a multiplex audience. Could it be the most homophobic scene in a comedy of the past ten years? It's certainly a candidate.

To commemorate this weirdly ignorant movie, we've compiled a list: movies with homophobic scenes so blatant, they made us shudder. Sometimes a movie reeks of homophobia (See: that ol' heart-warmer “Cruising”) and sometimes it's just a couple of moments in a film that feel mean-spirited to the LGBT community (“Wedding Crashers,” etc.). In either case, yeesh. 


There were quite a few historical inventions in Mel Gibson's “Braveheart,” like his own character's origins, and some odd Scottish battle traditions. But one creative add-on worth noting is the presentation of Prince Edward II and the defenestration of his lover Phillip. The Prince, historically, is said to possibly have been bisexual, but in this film, his character is constructed as overtly effeminate, cowardly and ineffectual. While his father the King is obviously a paragon of cruelty, the scene in which he casts Phillip out of a window to hurt his son is a violent knock at the homosexual relationship, and was shot in such a sparse manner that it practically played for laughs, insensitive to Edward II's loss. It played like a scheme to trump up the attraction of Edward II's wife Isabella to Gibson's manly William Wallace, as an opposition of caricatures.  – Katie Hasty

“The Hangover Part II”

“The Hangover: Part II” features a transsexual Thai “ladyboy” stripper-hooker Kimmy who barebacks Ed Helms” drunken character while he is in a blackout. Queue the gagging (and gags) about anal sex. The joke is that the sex worker — played by trans porn actress Yasmin Lee, who plays her role powerfully — is sexy, but her penis makes her disgusting and anal sex is shameful. “The Hangover” use of trans and sex workers act as comedy crutches to such  extremes are the bro-franchise's shame. In response to the accusation that the film is homophobic and transphobic, Lee said, “The role of Kimmy was never meant to be a role model, or someone that represents the community as a whole. For me it was a means of income as well as an opportunity to shed light on who I am, and more importantly our community and our struggle for equality.” – Katie Hasty

“Hot Tub Time Machine 2”

The title doesn't suggest you're in for highbrow humor, but “Hot Tub Time Machine 2” torpedoed the charm of the original in a number of key ways. First, no John Cusack. Second, not enough actual sense. Third — and most importantly — it offered up a climactic, surreal scene in which Craig Robinson and Adam Scott are chosen to have sex onstage in front of a cheering crowd. It is gay panic played for a cackling audience, and it is disgusting. As our own Drew McWeeny noted, “If you're going to make a joke about this kind of thing these days, you need to come at it from a perspective that is genuinely subversive and smart and that has something to say. Otherwise, this is just a five or six minute sequence about two guys crying in front of a crowd because they are forced to have sex.” – Louis Virtel

“Ace Ventura: Pet Detective”

Watch the embedded clip. Right around 2:40 is where the score suddenly starts to work in “The Crying Game,” and when Jim Carrey connects the dots and realizes that Sean Young's character is actually a guy, treat yourself to an extended over-reaction. I've heard several people defending this kind of beat since I published my “Get Hard” review, but I'm sorry… not only is it a preposterously tired joke, it is also grotesque and offensive. I don't understand someone saying, “But of course this is how a straight guy reacts.” Is it? Is it really? Because it seems to me that part of being a mature human being is recognizing that sexuality comes in all sorts of forms and configurations, and just because someone's interests are different than mine doesn't mean I have to wretch like I've got food poisoning at the mere thought of it. Using the “Crying Game” cue just doubles the offense, because the Neil Jordan film's scene is brilliantly staged, and Steven Rea's reaction is nuanced and real, not a cheap joke that uses transgendered people as “grody.” – Drew McWeeny

“Night Shift”

Prison and terrible gay jokes — like peanut butter and jelly! In the '80s, Ron Howard offered up “Night Shift” starring Henry Winkler as a dejected Wall Street lackey who becomes an attendant at a morgue. He and his loopy coworker (Michael Keaton) take advantage of their red-eye jobs and open a prostitution service. In one memorable moment, Winkler ends up in jail and mutters, “At this moment, I have sunk as low as I can go.” Naturally we cut to a shot of his cellmate, a leering man who is cutting out paper hearts and giving Winkler the eye. Winkler adds, looking skyward, “I was wrong!” Ugh. You too, Ron Howard. – Louis Virtel

“Adventures in Babysitting”

This is the slightest entry on the list, but still: Is benign banter between ignorant children a big deal? When it's in a family movie blockbuster, I'd say so. In an early scene from “Adventures in Babysitting,” Brad and Sara Anderson (Keith Coogan and Maia Brewton) argue about Thor's sexual orientation in angst-ridden fashion. As Brad repeatedly calls Thor a homo, you remember how much passive homophobia reigned in '80s comedies. – Louis Virtel

“Boat Trip”

Horatio Sanz and Cuba Gooding Jr. unwittingly board a gay cruise even though they are straight people trying to hook up with women. Oh, well. Honest mistake! No problem here, right? Well, none except this gay panic freakout for the ages. – Louis Virtel

“Crocodile Dundee”

1986's second highest grossing film features a notorious scene in which Mick (Paul Hogan) grabs the crotch of a transgender woman in a crowded bar to prove that she was born with male genitalia. She is then literally laughed out of the room as he points after her and cries, “That was a guy! Guy dressed up like a Sheila!” It's a shocking moment of transphobia that's played for cheap, mean-spirited laughs. – Chris Eggertsen


William Friedkin had to cut a legendary 40 minutes of footage from “Cruising” before it could get a pass from the MPAA, but that was mostly graphic sexuality and not the non-stop string of slurs and cartoonish depictions of what the filmmakers tried to emphasize was a look at one subset of gay culture, but not the entire culture. There's little doubt that the hostile reactions from characters in the film are period-appropriate and shouldn't be taken as the POV of the film, but the film's POV on both the leather bar subculture, and on any gay characters who exist outside the subculture sits somewhere between disgusted and horrified. You watch “Cruising” today and if you aren't laughing at the absurdity, you're scratching your head at where the line is between the filmmakers' fear and fetishizing of the culture and the culture's fetishizing of itself. It's fascinating and worthy of discussion, but more as a regressive time capsule than as a film of progressive merit. – Daniel Fienberg

“Wedding Crashers”

Well, here go those homosexuals again, preying on the irresistible Vince Vaughn in the middle of the night, stroking his chin, and announcing they've made sexual art about him. “Wedding Crashers” is proudly lowbrow through and through, but this moment is still one of the most annoying moments of “comic” homophobia in the past decade and a half. – Louis Virtel

“I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry”

As is often the case with Adam Sandler movies, “I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry” tries to have it both ways. When you get to the end, there's absolutely no question that the movie comes out in support of loving gay couples and gay marriage. This has to be acknowledged. But it'd be equally silly to deny that a goodly percentage of the 115 preceding minutes — Yes, this movie is obscenely long — are mostly about Kevin James and Adam Sandler's characters making it clear that in order for Chuck and Larry to do some silly thing involving life insurance, they have to lower themselves in the most humiliating way they can imagine, by pretending to be a gay couple. What follows is a string of “Being gay is gross” and “Having people think you're gay is gross” farce, punctuated by “If you're gay, you can get ultra-close to hot women” ickiness, followed by “But really this is a great thing, even if straight guys might think it's gross.” The scene in which Jessica Biel, soaking wet from a rainstorm, disrobes in front of Sandler's character and begs him to squeeze her breasts to see how real they are has its merits, but “enlightened quality” is not one of them. It's like “Tootsie.” Only awful. – Daniel Fienberg

“Eddie Murphy: Raw”

“I did a lot of jokes about homosexuals a few years ago, and faggots were mad.” Gee, I wonder why. Let me make it clear, I think Eddie Murphy was an extraordinarily gifted stand-up comic. He could talk about anything and totally own a crowd. I saw him live on the same tour where he worked on the material for “Raw,” and I can honestly say it's still one of the three or four most impressive live comedy shows I've ever seen. But when you look at this clip now, or the whole film, it's clear that this is a moment that has thankfully passed. Judging the material on its own, it is a clear expression of a culture that needed to make homosexuals “the other,” as clear an expression of hatred as anything on this list. – Drew McWeeny

Tons of Michael Bay movies

Did you catch this? Gawker did a great mashup of homophobic asides in Michael Bay films in 2014, including an extended “gay panic” scene in “Bad Boys II” where Martin Lawrence and Will Smith realize that their conversation about Lawrence's character being shot in the butt — which sounds like anal sex out of context (hilarious!) — is being broadcast to an entire electronics store. Also gotta love that green transformer affecting stereotypically “effeminate” mannerisms to make fun of someone for being scared. Watch all the fun hijinks here. – Chris Eggertsen