Friday, October 3, 2008

The 10 Best Macho Dancer Movies Ever

If the Western has the Wild West with its cowboys, the Macho Dancer Movie nestles within the dark walls of the Gay Bar with its cast of gyrating, undressing male performers. Macho dancers are not to be confused with the callboy/common prostitute or the torero/live sex performer, although they can be those too. The Macho Dancer's weapon is his particular brand of striptease. And just as the Western is American and the Samurai film Japanese, the Macho Dancer Movie is quintessentially Filipino. Is there any country other than the Philippines that can fill a top ten list of macho dancer movies with a few extra to spare? In these films, the plight of a people are played out via intermittent seductive numbers, like a musical, but hotter, where the thongs usually come off. Herewith, the zarzuelas of our time.




1. Sibak: Midnight Dancers
Directed by Mel Chionglo (1994)
Written by Ricardo Lee

Packed end to end with eroticism, buoyed by three brothers who work as dancers in the same bar, Sibak recreates a universe that is so complete, it's downright epic. There's drugs, theft, streetwalking, repeated abuse by an influential client, a minor who moonlights, true romance between dancers and gay men, and of course, the nightly shows where the stage literally spills with the swarm of nubile bodies. And yet it's most vividly about family, dismantled and reassembled by poverty and the new conditions of postmodern times. A decade and a half since it was unleashed, Sibak still feels like a needle shot straight from the underground.
Hot Dancers: Gandong Cervantes, Lawrence David, Alex Del Rosario, Danny Ramos / Hottest Dance: The debut of Gandong




2. Macho Dancer
Directed by Lino Brocka (1988)
Written by Amado Lacuesta and Ricardo Lee

Where it all began. The story -- a rookie enters the world of macho dancing, loses his innocence and ends co-opted in a corrupted society -- struck such wild resonance that it has become the formula for the genre. That, and the bold, lingering devotion to the dances, jerkoffs, and onstage sex, plus the blatant melodarama. If everything else that followed seemed like copycats, that's because the first one hit the right nerve.
Hot Dancers: William Lorenzo, Allan Paule, and Daniel Fernando (who is still the only actor to win a Gawad Urian for portraying a macho dancer) / Hottest Dance: The Shower


3. Sa Paraiso Ni Efren
Directed by Maryo J. Delos Reyes (1999)
Written by Robert Silverio and Jun Lana

The first thing it did was to shift the point of view to the gay man sitting in the audience (Allan Paule), lonely and struggling to understand his object of admiration. The macho dancer here is a thing of enigmatic, beastly beauty, yet no other movie has dived as deeply into the psyche of the supposedly bisexual man in a homosexual relationship, even entering his childlike dreams. We've yet to see a richer exploration of the bond between the gay spectator and his macho dancer love.
Hot Dancers: Anton Bernardo, Simon Ibarra, Zoltan Amore / Hottest Dance: Fishnet Dance


4. Burlesk King
Directed by Mel Chionglo (1999)
Written by Ricardo Lee

Funny and tongue-in-cheek, as is the trend in TF's (Titillating Films) of the 90's, Burlesk King was a refreshing entry to the genre because it basked in the naivete of its two cute young leads, who start in the macho dancing business with beaming smiles and little hang-ups. They're also American half-breeds at a time when the U.S. military bases had abandoned the people in sex entertainment who depended on them. The audition scene is untoppable, pure funny-sexy gold, but is only the beginning of a depraved yet sappy journey.
Hot Dancers: Rodel Velayo, Leonardo Litton, Tonio Ortigas / Hottest Dance: Velayo's soapy peek-a-boo


5. Bridal Shower
Directed by Jeffrey Jeturian (2004)
Written by Chris Martinez and Armando Lao

Sure, it's about the chicks -- three gal pals who try to mount the perfect bridal shower party -- but the heart (and groin) of this sexy comedy is the search for the perfect macho dancer and the romance that develops between him and Miss Insecure and Overweight (Cherry Pie Picache). Alfred Vargas' Joebert is the Macho Dancer as Leading Man, the most romantic male stripper in Pinoy movies, with two supporting macho dancers who are romantic in their own right -- they share a kiss.
Hot Dancer: Alfred Vargas / Hottest Dance: The Bridal Shower




6. Twilight Dancers
Directed by Mel Chionglo (2006)
Written by Ricardo Lee

The macho dancer movie hits midlife crisis. An ageing performer meets a young rising star, and just when you think every macho dance has been filmed before, here's one with a live snake, and older people are now prone to sudden political speechifying.
Hot Dancers: Tyron Perez, Lauren Novero, Allen Dizon, Kris Martinez, Johnron Tanada, Chester Nolledo, Harold Montano / Hottest Dance: The Search for Mr. Big


7. Totoy Mola
Directed by Abbo Dela Cruz (1997)
Written by Cris Marcelino and Bunny Martinez

Adapted from a popular serialized fiction in a tabloid newspaper about a guy with a gigantic penis who finds a home in a gay bar, this hit could have left less to the imagination (we never see the schlong). But macho dancers don't come as iconic as the character of Totoy Mola.
Hot Dancer: Jay Manalo / Hottest Dance: Totoy's training


8. Hada
Written and directed by Lau De Jesus (2006)

Ridiculed when it was shown in theaters, this piece of bad filmmaking from before the boom of gay digital movies rewards those with patience and a sense of humor. A runaway teen bunks with his cousin the macho dancer. They're both irresistible jailbait, but the rest of the attraction is real-looking macho dancers with not exactly great bodies doing extended lazy solos. Begs for a video release to be rediscovered.
Hot Dancer: Dexter De Vera / Hottest Dance: De Vera's solo


9. Stardancer
Directed by Ihman Esturco (2007)
Written by Aileen Viray and Ferdie Aboga

A straight-to-video documentary that interviews real-life headlining macho dancers, good-looking and personable, with re-enactments of their gigs. By no means an exceptional doc, it nonetheless mixes humanity and sexuality to steamy effect.
Hot Dancers: Victor Valerio, Brent Lorenzo, Kiko Montenegro, Russel Anderson


10. Mapanukso
Directed by Robert Abihay (2003)
Written by Rolly Perello Lao

A B-movie in which a former macho dancer illogically murders the gay man (Emilio Garcia) who gave him his break in showbiz. It gets a spot on the list only for the onstage magnetism of Gerald Lauron, who wasn't memorable in anything else.
Hot Dancer: Gerald Lauron / Hottest Dance: Lauron's solo


Almost made the list: Gusto Ko Ng Lumigaya (2000) with Alyson VII, Bawal Na Halik (1997) with Jay Manalo (again), Biglang Liko (2002) with Harold Pineda, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (2005) with Paolo Serrano, Kalakal (2008) with Froilan Moreno.

Other movies in which macho dancing only makes a minor appearance and therefore cannot really be classified as macho dancer movies: Sagad Sa Init (1998) with Jomari Yllana and Cholo Escana in a wonderful number in front of screaming ladies, Manay Po! (2006) with Christian Vasquez in a pool party, Trabaho (2005) with a gang of ordinary boys doing a bridal shower, straight-to-video Provoq (2006) with John Miller as a macho dancer in one of ten unrelated vignettes. The instructional video Hubad! (2007) features wall-to-wall stripteasing men, but the dancing is depicted as a recreational diversion, not a profession.

Any of your favorites were overlooked?

Further Reading:
"Re-Envisioning the Macho: Masculinity in Philippine Visual Culture" by Reuben Ramas Canete
Forum: Who is the Most Daring Actor in a Macho Dancing Role?
"Macho Dancer Movie Capital of the World" by Jessica Zafra
"A Swan Song For Macho Dancers?" by Rasheed

9 comments:

joelmcvie said...

Panalo ang list! Let's have Robinson's cinemas sponsor a macho-dancer-movie-marathon, hahaha.

The time is ripe for "Not Another Macho Dancer Movie", featuring Michael V and the rest of the Bubble Gang men. With special guest appearances by Provoq and Viva Hot Men.

lobster-tony said...

Ooo! That sounds like a great idea for a film. I wonder how movie goers will receive an indie film that makes fun of other indie films. Haha. Hmmmm....

"Not Another Macho Dancer Movie" with Allan Paule and Coco Martin (subtitled "Not another indie film with Allan and Coco"). Haha....There is some gold in that idea. Campy, but gold!

rustcell said...

Sori, pero if 'macho dancer' films define in any way Filipino cinema then I resign as a Filipino! OK, medyo OA LOL pero I'm really serious. Macho dancer films are not the worst at all but come on now. Westerns elevate American cinema, ditto with samurai films and Japan but you CANNOT say the same about this sub-genre and Pinoy cinema. "Twilight Dancers" is one of the worst films I've seen and, yes, let's face it "Macho Dancer" is overrated (except for the soaping/macho dancer scene). Lino Brocka crafted much better films, esp. "Maynila: Sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag", "Orapronobis", "Ina, Kapatid, Anak" just to mention my faves.

thebaklareview said...

the response i wrote on manila gay guy:

haha, there’s so much hate for macho dancer movies. i guess that’s also why i wrote about it.

i didn’t know there were this many macho dancer movies before i started listing. we make a lot of it, and we watch it, so obviously something can be learned from it. it’s not for us to decide if it’s philippine cinema or not. it’s already been decided! i didn’t say it was the be-all of pinoy cinema, but i did say we should own up to it as ours. (i’m not the first one to say so.) the americans and japanese produced a lot of same old-same old western and samurai genre fare before they got to the revisionist stuff, before john wayne, before kurosawa got famous. i don’t think the genre “elevates” their cinema. it’s just that it’s theirs. something about their culture allowed it to be born. clearly there’s a notion that macho dancer movies are purely for the flesh. and if they are, clearly there’s a stigma around sex in movies. or maybe it’s hard for us to accept that sex trade or prostitution has played a huge part in our national consciousness and that it’s always a topic of deep concern or interest to filipinos. maybe we’re embarassed by it. obviously i like the sexy aspect of macho dancer movies. there also seems to be a stigma around the name of my blog, like “bakla review” is only about sex, maybe it is, i don’t know, haha, or maybe it’s my choice to wax about gay movies, even the trashy ones that no one takes seriously. i’ve realized it’s not a popular point of view. thanks for taking an interest, migs. :-)

Anonymous said...

hahaha... as previously mentioned, panalo ang list, though ive only seen 2 or 3 of them plus winner ang "Not Another Macho Dancer Movie" with the sex balls...hahahaha

Macho Dancing movies are just a facet of Pinoy cinema that has been getting attention these days (not just the sexual-gay themed ones)..its like saying most indie flicks are gay marketed... anything by Lav Diaz and Jeffrey Jeturian are somethings to look forward to these days...

hm, not another macho dancer movie?

rustcell said...

The issue (for me at least) wasn't whether macho dancer movies are part of Philippine cinema or not, obviously, it is. The question is is it a good representative of Philippine cinema and ang sagot ko, "No way!" :D Just out of respect, I'll post here, too, what I said in MGG: "You have a point in saying that maybe macho dancer films will improve in time but tingnan naman natin 'to: "Macho Dancer" was done in 1988, "Twilight Dancers" in 2006--if anything, the sub-genre got WORSE. Philippine cinema isn't known for anything, really, and if the industry will have a claim to fame eventually or a signature of some kind, I SURELY don't want it to be macho dancer films. Why not? It promotes Filipinos as cheap commodities willing to sell their principles, dignity, and, yes, their bodies for the Almighty Dollar. Transleyshun: Ayokong magmukhang cheap ang Pinoy na madali lang bilhin ng pera. (O 'di ba, may translation pa! LOL) If these films promote the Filipino image as such, it's not only irresponsible, it's dangerous considering there are a lot of OFWs abroad who are exposed to foreigners whose image of the Filipino is either wala or limited to what they see in, yup, the media. Whether Westerns and samurai films elevate American and Japanese cinema, respectively, we only have to look at classics like "Rashomon" and, yes, both "Seven Samurai" and its American film remake "The Magnificent Seven" to know that despite the hundreds of shitty Westerns and samurai films out there, there are great examples which improve the images of the respective national cinema they belong to. Sa 'tin "Macho Dancer" lang ang closest, arguable pa kung maganda nga 'to."

Anonymous said...

Love ko yung dance ni Leonardo Litton sa Burlesk King.. Sobrang intimate.. Nakatingin talaga sya sa camera.. Parang nang-hi-hypnotize.. haha..

Anonymous said...

Ngayon ko lang narinig ang ibang macho dancer movies like HADA, MAPANUKSO and most of the "Almost Made The List" di ko man lang narinig.. hehe

Robin said...

Really is there too much hatred for macho dancers. Then also you are writing on it. But Why?