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Brokeback Mountain

2006-02-05 03:57:25.992193+00 by Dan Lyke 3 comments

Just got back from seeing Brokeback Mountain[Wiki]. We'd put off seeing it until we heard that it was a story that stood on its own merits, not just "the first mainstream gay love story". We were both very disappointed.

Both of us felt that the actors weren't up to the task. Some of the bit side parts went fairly well, but the primary roles, Heath and Jake, came off without subtlety, and neither of us was able to empathize with them. The direction depends too much on the grandeur of the background, but the music plays off it so directly that I could doze off (despite seeing it mid-day) and just wake up for the good nature shots. The dialog felt flat (especially since we'd just watched the pilot and first episodes of Firefly[Wiki] the night before, more rambling on that as Charlene and I get further into it), and in the end we're asked to feel sorry for one character who's never managed to accomplish anything in his life, and love is the least of those failures.

If you want a slow paced movie done right, rent Tender Mercies[Wiki]. If you want a cowboy movie, there are lots of cowboy movies. If you want a gay themed movie, we can start at But I'm A Cheerleader[Wiki] and work down. But this one didn't succeed for either of us at any level.

[ related topics: Photography Sexual Culture Movies Nature and environment ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2006-02-09 19:16:00.836987+00 by: Dan Lyke

Just so that I have it here, because I had a long spirited conversation with someone who loved Brokeback Mountain[Wiki] yesterday: My take is that if you took the same director and the same cast and re-shot Tender Mercies[Wiki], even if you used the same gorgeous backgrounds and settings of Brokeback Mountain[Wiki], the movie would be a dud. The only thing that makes this movie interesting is the gay aspect of it, and as such it isn't nearly the breakthrough movie that people think it is.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-02-09 20:20:44.428298+00 by: Dan Lyke

Brokeback to the Future! (thanks to Redeemable for Face Value).

#Comment Re: made: 2006-03-04 01:22:44.034525+00 by: Dan Lyke

John Scagliotti nails some of the disappointment:

I know Annie Proulx, the heterosexual on whose short story the film is based, thinks she has captured a reality in her heroes' doom, but what she has tapped more powerfully is straight women's fantasies of primal sexuality and impossible love: "O, Heathcliff! O, Cathy!" A real Ennis and Jack might have said screw this place and moved to the Castro, opening an antique shop, or taken any number of paths to an authentic life, like thousands of Western gay boys did in the seventies and eighties. But that would upend the romantic convention, so Proulx, and the screenwriters after her, relied on what has been a running joke in the gay community since Lillian Helman killed off Martha Dobie in The Children's Hour. Hey, I cried too, but I cry at commercials. How is it that killing a homosexual to solve a dramatic problem is again a sign of acceptance?