If you are looking to beat the heat this Pride weekend, I have good news for you: Channing Tatum's lantern jaw and muscled torso are in an air-conditioned theater near you. Personally, Channing Tatum is at the tank top of my list of guilty pleasures, and with White House Down dropping into theaters this weekend (and This Is the End continuing its run), I thought I would break down for you Channing Tatum's five gayest movie roles -- so far. And I say that because, as you'll see, they keep getting gayer and gayer. James Franco, beware! Tatum is catching up fast. And I couldn't be happier.
5. Magic Mike (2012)
Channing Tatum based this tale of male strippers heating up central Florida on his own experiences starting out. His character is clearly straight but also desperate to make his dreams come true. We only ever see ladies in the club and at the out calls the dancers do, but in real life, a man or two is going to work his way in there, and money is money. We've all seen a gay-for-pay stripper in our time. No shame in the game! That being said, this is Tatum's least gay role, but it's a gratuitously flesh-filled favorite nonetheless. Bonus points for openly gay Matt Bomer playing it straight and hunky Joe Manganiello ringing something up on a sewing machine.
Kinsey Scale: 1 (Totally straight, dude, but anything for a buck)
4. She's the Man (2006)
Recent tabloid punching bag lady Amanda Bynes stars as a girl who wants to play soccer, but only boys are allowed to blah, blah, blah. The real point of this movie is that nearly every scene in the film finds Amanda Bynes in male drag, trapped in a room with a nearly naked Channing Tatum. They are in dorm rooms and locker rooms, literally everywhere but the cafeteria. Tatum's character is straight but strangely drawn to a not-particularly-convincing male version of Amanda Bynes.
Kinsey Scale: 2 (for confused feelings)
3. The Eagle (2011)
Channing Tatum is a soldier with something to prove, and it ain't his heterosexuality. Things heat up when he is joined by slave boy Jamie Bell (little Billy Elliot all grown up and then some), and the film turns into a Middle Ages Thelma and Louise-style odyssey, but with a lot more sexual tension. For my money, the surgical scene alone has more chemistry than all of Dear John and The Vow put together. When my friend Mike and I walked out of the theater, we literally turned to each other and said, "Did we just see that?" If you are an old-school gay who loves a coded Celluloid Closet classic, The Eagle is for you.
Kinsey Scale: 3 (for smoldering male stares)
2. 21 Jump Street (2012)
This homage to the '80s TV classic was a surprisingly hilarious take that was both parody and loving tribute. Jonah Hill deserves much of the credit for this comedic slam dunk, but Channing Tatum proves himself a fearless comedian, up to the task of matching Hill, line for line, beat for beat. And that includes a lot of gay jokes. By the end, when Hill suggests that they make a baby together, every gay boy fantasy of falling for the high school jock feels justified.
Kinsey Scale 4 (for rampant leg-humping bromance fun)
1. This Is the End (2013)
If you want gay jokes that don't make fun of gay people, this riff on Hollywood celebrity, classic films and the apocalypse is a winner. For much of the film, the gay jokes land squarely where you'd most expect them to: on James Franco's adorable face (deftly delivered by the hilarious Danny McBride). Not to be outdone, Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill (again) get solidly into the act. Hill ups the ante so high that his brilliant recreation of scenes from Rosemary's Baby terrified the straight men in my theater into stunned, awkward silence. I howled. But Channing Tatum's cameo, teased early in the film, has Tatum outdoing them all. The former model has officially graduated from just another pretty face to versatile movie star, in every sense of the word.
Kinsey Scale: 6 (Bottoms up!)