I took my nephews (between the ages of 5 and 11) to see the new Get Smart movie. It was funny and very good especially if you enjoy slapstick comedy. They kept it much the same as the original television show and I thought they did a great job.
While watching the movie there is a scene in which Maxwell Smart (played by Steve Carell) kisses another male on the lips in slow motion. During this scene a man with three children (between the ages of 14 and 8) behind us contemptuously says out loud, “Disgusting!”
I was thrown back to 1978 watching the movie Midnight Express where two naked men in a shower scene kiss each other. I was a gay 15-years-old and was excited and aroused by the scene having never viewed anything like it before. The audience shouted anti-gay slurs screaming epithets like, “gross”, “fags” and then clapped when one of the men pushed the other away. The message sent to me at that time was, “never tell a soul about your homosexual interests or people will insult you”.
Back to the movie, Get Smart, 30 years later there is at least now only one man in the audience making a shaming and negative remark about two men kissing.
I sat there angry and hurt not knowing what to do. Had I not been there with my nephews I would have turned to him said something about this homophobic statement. But I didn’t.
When we got back into my car I told my nephews that the comment made by the man behind me hurt me and angered me. My 8-year-old nephew said, “Because you are gay?” and I answered, “Yes”. He then said something very wise, “But maybe to people who are not gay it is disgusting to see two men kissing”. I responded by saying, “Maybe so but people should not say that out loud you hurt people’s feelings. I kiss Mike like that and it is not disgusting to me”. He agreed.
I was glad I said something to my nephews so they do not think that what that man said in the movie was okay. What about this man’s children and the other children in the audience? Homophobic messages of hate and contempt go into the minds and psyches of children and perpetuate anti-gay beliefs.
What would you have done about this at a movie theatre?