I know some folks say it helped the cause, but I hate the movie Philadelphia. Every time it's on television, I end up watching it against my will and shouting at the screen “homophobic straight men were not the heroes of the AIDS epidemic.” I finally saw the antidote to Philadelphia; the new movie about ACT UP, United in Anger.Everyone should see this movie. It's an amazing story of how severely traumatized people, severely opppresed and vilified people stood up and demanded that their lives mattered. It's also a great example of letting people tell their own stories. The narrative arc of the movie was moved along by people talking about their own experiences rather than any outside narration. Much of the footage was from the ACT UP oral history project, and in this footage, you could actually see the oral history subjects thinking, considering as they spoke.
I was also touched and impressed that the film was able to vividly communicate how people banded together in refusal to be demonized/victimized without a fight, yet didn't neglect showing some of the more difficult scenes of complete tragedy.
I stood in line with some young people...young enough to have found out about the movie while looking through Next to see if any of the places that didn't check ID closely were having drink specials. While I was chatting with them, they kept the conversation going while at the same time texting, checking facebook statuses etc. When we got in, I went to sit with my friends, but the kids sat not too far away from me. I looked over at them about 15 minutes into the screening. They all sat completely still with their phones in their hands, eyes on the moviescreen, rather than their phone screen. NOT texting.