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Heart-Broke-back Mountain

I had the occasion to see the film "Brokeback Mountain," which, yesterday, received seven Golden Globe nominations. The Ang Lee-directed film, which has become known in certain circles as the "gay cowboy movie," stars Heath Ledger, who received a nomination for Best Actor in a Drama, and Jake Gyllenhaal, as well as the nominated Michelle Williams (of "Dawson's Creek" fame).

I don't like to say much about movies for fear of including too many spoilers, so I will just say this: The film is heartbreaking. It is a testament to the damage that is done to human lives by self-alienation, repression, and fear, internalized homophobia and the pressure to conform to certain "roles" in society. It can be tender, sad, and funny. The performances are superb; the cinematography is gorgeous; the minimalist score is effective; the nature-backdrop is awe-inspiring.

Right-wing scare mongers notwithstanding, the intimate scenes are not all that explicit (though the first sexually charged scene between the two main characters does have a Roarkian-Fountainhead quality about it... viewers will know what I mean when they see it). I suspect some people will always be upset at the thought of two guys kissing, or even touching. And still others will be upset because this film is not simply about two cowboys rolling in the hay, but two men who have a romantic-love connection.

I do wonder if the PR guys were scared for Ledger and Gyllenhaal, however; is it a coincidence that Ledger has a "Casanova" film coming out on Christmas day and that Gyllenhaal is featured in the recently released military-themed "Jarhead"? It's almost as if some "handlers" in the actors' camps said: "Let's make sure we get a few 'macho' flicks out there at the same time to counteract any misimpressions Americans might get about these two handsome gents."

In any event, the actors are both terrific in "Brokeback Mountain": I strongly recommend the film.

Comments welcome.

Comments

Glad you got to see it, Chris.

Now that I've seen your comments I look forward to seeing it this weekend even more.

Chris; I am unsure about Brokeback Mountain but your review may get me to see it. I agree about the publicity. The story in EW that emphasized Ledger's new child. Heath has been a very attractive actor but has not had great roles. I loved Jake Gyllenhaal since October Sky. The Colbert Report did a funny take on Brokeback that anyone who knew about the movie would find very funny.

Thanks for posting your impression, Chris S. I listened to the Annie Proulx's short story on CD (after trying unsuccessfully to get a copy of it from my local gay bookstore). I don't particularly like Proulx's style--certain aspects seem "gritty" for the sake of being it and not because of any characterization reason--but I think this is a story that needed to be told. Not to mention, a movie that needed to be made. It's definitely a sign of the times--in both a good and bad way. Good because there were people involved thinking the American movie-going public was ready for such a commerical venture; bad because of how the reactions mark how far we have to go in accepting true spiritual sexuality in general, between any two people.

Chip, Chris, Jason, thanks for your comments; I'll be interested to hear your feedback should you gents see the film.

A few additional points and links. I especially liked comments made by Roger Ebert about the film.

I was also especially tickled by a comment published today in the "Voice of the People" section of the New York Daily News. The "Thumbs Down" note comes from Mission Viejo, California by voicer Carl Baker:

Daily News movie critic Jack Mathews was correct about a red state backlash against "Brokeback Mountain" ("'Brokeback' enters Golden age," Dec. 14). Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" was blasted by critics and received barely any awards from Hollywood. Now we get this gay cowboy movie, and the critics are falling over themselves to praise it and give it awards. It's pretty obvious who runs the entertainment industry and what their agenda is. Count me among the "garden-variety homophobes" who are tired of having homosexuality thrown at me every time I turn around. I won't be spending a dime to see this one, and I predict a lot of other people won't either.

Good. It's always admirable to condemn a film without having seen it. So, don't see it, Carl. We live in a free country and you don't have to spend your dime seeing this or any of the other thousand or so gay romance films currently running across the land in multiplexes from the West coast to the East coast and everywhere in-between.

It must be awful to be subjected to all these Sodomites on the Silver Screen.

I remember when there was a similar wave of "mainstream" gay love stories hitting those multiplexes some years ago; the year was 1982, and people were screaming about, uh, two such films: "Making Love" and "Personal Best."

And that's been about it, except, perhaps, for the 1993 film "Philadelphia," which depicts gay men dying of AIDS, while never allowing lovers Tom Hanks and Antonio Banderas to share a simple kiss.

Yes, it must be so hard to deal with all this rampant homosexuality on screen.

Interestingly, Ang Lee himself recognizes that "Making Love" was indeed the last mainstream gay love story to hit American cinema. And that was nearly a quarter of a century ago.

So, despite the influence of the ever-powerful Hollywood Gay Mafia, I'd like to know where all these other mainstream gay films are, which have led this voicer to complain about "homosexuality [being] thrown at [him] every time [he] turn[s] around." PUH-LEASE.

Speaking of Hollywood: Money Talks. And because "Passion of the Christ" was a bona fide money maker, other religious-themed films and products are now in development. (See this PDF, which talks about the growing impact and influence of Christian fundamentalism on American culture and entertainment.)

And I'm the very last person to condemn "religious-themed movies," since "Ben-Hur" is my favorite movie of all time (see here). But, at least, I saw "Passion of the Christ" and thought it a good film, despite its sometimes over-the-top violence. I actually believe it is important to see a film before judging it.

I wish the Carl Bakers in this country were open to such a simple principle as that.

Chris; I would like to offer a candidate for one of the most homophobic films in recent years. JFK from Oliver Stone which has the chief plotter, Clay Shaw, being a closeted homosexual who has wild orgies invovling Lee Harvey Oswald. The film barely mentions that Shaw was found not guilty after the jury was out less than an hour. I must also I agree completely don't judge until you've actually seen the movie.

Hey, Chris, I remember the outcry among some in the gay community over those scenes (though I don't recall Oswald himself being part of the orgy, the Clay Shaw character was certainly portrayed the way you say).

Interestingly, Stone was also responsible for "Alexander," which, some have claimed, whitewashed the same-sex romances of Alexander the Great.

Not to imply any guilt by association, but it is not unheard of to see some left-wingers being very gay-unfriendly. One of Stone's pals, Fidel Castro, has set up a notoriously gay-unfriendly regime, after all.

I should add that homophobia is something that is deep-rooted in some left-wing circles; Marx and Engels weren't exactly cheerleaders for same-sex relationships, and a few Marxist-sympathizers have viewed homosexuality as a symptom of bourgeois decadence, a violation of the "union of opposites" so important to the Marxian "dialectic."

This is definitely an issue that transcends left and right; the "right-wing" religionists have the "name" but some of their "left-wing" counterparts play the game equally well.

Critics will love it for all the worng reasons, but it's cool to see films like 'Alexander' and this one crossing those fading lines -- BUT the hell coming from the conservatives if this gets any more attention from the award-givers will be intense. Expect demonstrations at the Oscars if this gets that far. And it's just like Hollywood today to push it that far...

Brokeback Mountain had a very limited release this past weekend but seems to have done well where it was shown. I did not see Alexander because of my anger over JFK so I have to take your word for it.

Hey Chris,

Enjoyed your reality-based response to Carl Baker's comments.

I saw the movie with a sold-out crowd in Seattle. People waited up to an hour in line in the freezing cold to get in. The audience seemed to love it.

My review of the movie is here.

"I wish I knew how to quit you."

;-)

James, I'll be watching the Oscars. :)

Chris, interestingly, as a pure cinematic experience, I have to say that I actually liked "J.F.K." Yes, it was propaganda of the highest order and the clever use of editing was just remarkable enough to piss anybody off. But I really thought it was a well-done movie, cinematically speaking. I'm also somewhat obsessed with the Kennedy assassination, having read many books and seen many documentaries on it.

But your points are well taken.

And Chip: thanks for the link! Well-written and with your typically fine points!

Cheers,
Chris

My daughter, a friend and I went to see Brokeback on Monday [we had to travel a ways to see it]. My background is horse oriented, and I've been married for 30 years. Most of my male friends [and hubby] would not want to see this movie. That's life. We all really enjoyed the movie. The point is it's a love story, period. In some ways it's like one of my all time favorite movies, The Crying Game. It's all about what do you do when you fall in love with the wrong person...

I felt that Ang Lee didn't make this movie pro or anti gay. It just is. You may draw your own conclusions about the choices made by the main characters. For me, that's a sign of a good movie; I'm still thinking about it days later.

I hope it gets the attention and awards it deserves. It's one of the best films I've seen in a long time. If the subject matter isn't to your liking, feel free to stay home.

Interestingly, the bisexual references are just about gone in Stone's "director's cut" of Alexander. But the bad bleach job of the lead is still there, alas!

Hey Chris,
I loved JFK, also. I thought it was just a really well-made, thrilling piece of fiction.

Great soundtrack, too.

And thanks for all the hits my review is getting from this post!
-Chip

I'll chime in here and say that my fiance Michael Russell(who turned me onto your blog) and I read the Annie Proulx story over Christmas weekend. Just the thing to get us into the holiday spirit! :-) We both came away with the same impression--the original story, though touching, felt rushed. She should have made a novella out of it, rather than a long short story (if that makes any sense(.

We plan to see the movie this weekend; perhaps it will be the first movie to actually improve upon the book.

From the "buzz" I'm willing to guess this movie will get some Oscar nods, and then...let the games begin! After watching the Blowhard O'Reilly whipping the sheep into a frenzy over the manufactured, so-called "War on Christmas" I KNOW we'll hear from the usual suspects.

I didn't bother with Stone's "Alexander" because I couldn't stand seeing Colin Farrell with bleached hair, or hearing Alexander the Great speak with an Irish brogue. It's almost as bad as having to listen to Judas Iscariot speaking with a Brooklyn accent--which, while extremely charming, is just a little jarring coming from someone who is supposed to be living in 1st Century Palestine, in Scorsese's "Last Temptation of Christ". ;-)

I had the opportunity to see Broke Back Mountain last evening and the movie had a profound affect on me. The story, the acting and the directing were all incredible. I am sure this film will go on and win many awards. Thank you Heath and Jake for making a really great movie.

Hi Peri,

So glad to see someone else has figured out that the "war on Christmas" is a bunch of BS.

The true axis of evil at work...

My husband and I saw the movie yesterday. We actually had to leave the theater and come back after buying tickets because the showtime we intended to see and the one before it were sold out. When we returned to see the movie at 4:00 it was sold out as well (good thing we got our tickets in advance). When we left the theater hours later the next show was also sold out.

My husband and I truly loved this movie. We have a great many friends in the gay community whom we love dearly. It hurt to see even a small portion of the day-to-day struggle they endure daily.

The heart wrenching struggle these two characters endured to hide a love and lifestyle that is not accepted by societal norms was devistating to watch.

Two thumbs up to both these young actors for taking a chance on making a movie that was poigent, heart warming, sad and thought provoking.

I just wanted to chime in and thank those who have continued to post their thoughts here on the film, "Brokeback Mountain." I hope that as the film becomes available in local markets, people will continue to post their thoughts to this thread. At some point, I may even see the film again, and return with a bit more reflection. For now, a couple of brief replies to those who have posted over the past week or so.

To Robin and SydneyAnn, thank you both for your thoughts upon seeing the film. Interestingly, Robin, I've never seen "The Crying Game." I know the "mystery" of that film, but I was told to still see it.

Mark: You're right about "Alexander"... :) (The only thing worse than the bleached hair, however, was hearing Angelina Jolie speak with a Dracula accent, far worse, Peri, I think, than having Judas speak with a Brooklyn accent... hehee)

Chip: Glad you're getting all the hits you deserve, and props to John Williams for that great JFK soundtrack you mention.

Peri: Thanks to your fiance Michael for turning you onto my blog! Glad you're a participant here. I just got a hold of the Annie Proulx story, and hope to read it for myself. I've heard the same thing though: that the film does, indeed, flesh-out the story much better.

But now I want to know what you think about the movie, since you'd planned to see it last weekend!

Anthony, thanks for your thoughts upon seeing the film. I agree with you in your overall comments.

Cheers,
Chris

The Screen Actors Guild nominations are out, and "Brokeback Mountain" leads the pack with 4 nominations, one for the ensemble cast, and one each for Ledger, Gyllenhaal, and Williams. I think it is kind of ridiculous to refer to Gyllenhaal's slot as a "supporting actor," but I don't know how the potential nominees are fielded by the nominating organization. It will be interesting to see how this is handled at Oscar time.

Anyway, read about the SAG nominations here.

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Jeremy, peddle your homophobic crap on another list. Your message has been deleted, and you have been banned from my site.

I saw brokeback mountain last night and I must say I was really disappointed. I found the screenplay week and shallow. I loved heath ledger's performance as well as the woman who plays his wife Elma but I thought Jake Gyllenhall looked very uncomfortable and out of his element. I didnt believe he was a rodeo cowboy at all--esp. since in the film he is never dirty, always cleancut with his shirt tucked in, etc....totally unbelievable as a ranch-hand...?
Im not sure why ang lee would overlook such obvious contradictions to the story....Ive worked alot in film and that is one thing that always irritates me if its overlooked....production design/stylists are key to a film like this and it seems like they werent even considered.
Very Cliche scenes (running around outside--topless and lasso-ing eachother--PLEASE!! How utterly CHEESY and Unrealistic!!!
I think i t is about time a gay love story is told on screen and for that I commend the cast and crew. But to stand alone as a film BBM doesnt hold up.

I've occasionally prided myself on being able to understand characters, their feelings and motivations; I become a part of the plot and relate viscerally to both good and bad characters, especially in well made and acted movies. To me, becoming that invested in a movie was a means of experiencing it more fully. It didn't matter whether the characters were hetero. My heart would still race and I'd hold my breath during a masterfully presented thriller; I could still feel the knot in my throat and cry over a touching love story.

I saw Brokeback Mountain on opening day here in Birmingham (1/6/06). It brought me to tears, and I'm not particularly softhearted. I cried myself to sleep that night and then some more the next day. I cried because I fear never experiencing a love like theirs, and because I related to their own internalized homophobia and the knowledge that I have made similar decisions in my life that have lead me to being alone. I thought of old lovers, some of whom have moved on in their lives and others who've died, and lamented not having done more for them.

I guess I was mistaken about relating well to characters in other movies, because but no love story I've seen has ever produced a reaction in me like this one did. 'Tis doubtful that my comments will ever make it to their ears, so saying this here is the highest compliment I know how to give, not just to writer, the director and the actors, but to everyone involved in creating Brokeback: you truly moved me and I am and will be a better man for it. Thank you. James

Nina,

You've made some interesting comments about the movie. However I must disagree about the cleanliness of cowboys.

I have a horse background and have been a part of the rodeo world for many years. Most cowboys [both pro/am] are freaks about their clothing. My ex brother-in-law would not wear a pair of jeans that didn't have a razor crease in front. Strange huh? Their shirts are always tucked in, even after a bull-dogging event [expensive western wear has extra long shirt tails]. There are women that I have competed against that wear white [I'm not one of them LOL!] that look fresh at the end of the day. Anyway, in the real modern cowboy world, it would be possible to see a well turned out rider, even after competition.

I did see some inaccuracies in the style of hats [the ones worn in the movie had bull-rider brims that weren't in use in the 60's], the saddles/pads were too modern and so were the bits used. In the scene were the buckskin horse is trying to dump Jack, the bit used is no older than 10 years.

Usually the inaccurate horse/riding related stuff really bothers me in a movie centered around ranching/rodeo, but this moving story was so good that I forgot to pick apart.

Well, BrokeBack Mountain was definitely life altering for me....as a young man who loves men. The portrayal of internalized homophobia, fear, and self alienation was potent. Jake and Heath to me were allowing themselves as humans through art to channel and express male to male love. Thankfully so. ang lee cast and crew major props for a job well done and and for a job that needed to be done. Also thanks chris for the site.

I had the chance to see the film on opening night in LA. The theatre was filled to capcity. During the movie there was absolute silence among the audience & I must say, the audience seemed to be heterosexual couples with several single men. When the movie was over, it was intersting to see majority of the audience remained seated and watched all of the credits. What one heard upon exiting was "Terrific", "Unbelievable", "Wonderful film". The movie is a must in our times, to show how and why homosexuality is part of our society--it has been since recorded history. Remember, no one choses to be homosexual. The filming was excelent, the scenery breathtaking--I have spent many years in the Rockies, Grand Tetons, & Absorkie Mountains. I also knew many REAL cowboys, both in the Rodeo and as Ranch Hands. I also have taken pack trips with them into the mountains, and I must say, that because of the lack of female companions, several paired off with each other. Not all of them, but a good number of them. I felt that the movie captured that element of cow boy life. It was tastefully done. And of course, the sad outcome drove home the point to take advantage of the moment so their will be no regrets in the future.
We all have experienced the addage-- 'why didn't I do it when I had the opportunity'. See the movie with an open mind and remember 'Beware to judge, unless ye be judged'. Is LOVE wrong?

What was with the blood or whatever the stain was on Jack's shirt sleeve - that was sort of hidden in his boyhood room closet? This scene was toward the end of the movie

robin,

The scene near the end where Ennis [Ledger] found the bloody shirt refers to the first fight in the mountains between Ennis and Jack. It was a rememberance of the first time they were together. Ennis comments to Jack as they are riding out of the mountains that he can't believe he left his shirt behind...

I'm really delighted with the continued discussion of "Brokeback Mountain" here at Notablog, and I suspect it will continue for quite a while as people see the film, which goes into more general distribution. I'll be very interested to see how it is received at the Golden Globes this evening, as well.

I'm also very happy that there is some dissent here on the film; I have no objection whatsoever to those who have a different, even negative, view of the film. My objection is only to those who seek to use this forum to spew their hatred. Not here. Not in my house. Ever.

Nina, I'm not sure we have yet reached "cinematic maturity" in the depiction of a gay love story. But I do think these things happen in stages. I think "Brokeback," for example, is a long way from "Making Love," even though, when that film came out, most of us thought it was a breakthrough---however, "Hollywood-like" its treatment was.

James, Jose, and Ray: Thank you so much for your comments here; they were all very touching.

And Robin and Robin Wood: Thanks so much for your continued contributions.

I thought Brokeback Mountain was was of the best I've ever seen and I've been seeing films since about 1936! This was beautiful, honest, romantic and real. Thanks to all who had a hand in making this terrific movie and I'd love to see them again together in another film. The scenery in this one is breathtaking enough to make the whole thing worthwhile but it's not the only good thing. Thanks to all.

Just a follow-up on the Golden Globes for those who haven't been kept up to speed on award season: "Brokeback" took home four Golden Globe awards (dramatic film; director; screenplay; song). See here.

It remains to be seen if this translates into Oscar nominations and wins.

Michael and I saw "Brokeback Mountain" last weekend, after a couple of weeks of its being released in San Diego. It was first booked at the multiplex art house in our city's "gay" neighborhood, but the demand to see it was such that its release was quickly expanded to the three other art houses in town, including the one remaining "single screen" theater in town, which is where we saw it.

We bought tickets on its first showing on a Saturday afternoon (my fiance even sacrificed watching the Seahawks playoff game to see it, hee hee). I was encouraged to see a line at the theater that included lots of other straight couples of all ages, including moms and dads with teenagers.

The movie was...well, heartbreaking. As I suspected it would be, this was one movie that was actually BETTER than the book. The original story was the skeleton (vivid imagery aside); this movie fleshed out the characters.

Days later, it haunts me, and I can't get the score out of my mind. I want to drag everyone I know to see it; it was that wonderful.

Peri

Peri,

I was listening to the radio station KMTT in Seattle yesterday as they discussed Brokeback Mountain. I was surprised at the amount of families that have viewed the movie together. One gentleman called to say he went with his wife and 15 year old daughter. They loved the movie. When asked about how his daughter reacted, he said "she cried buckets".

I too am haunted [still] by the movie. I would love to see it again. I'm waiting until it goes into wider release. However, I wouldn't sacrifice a Seahawks playoff game to go;)!

Chris - I was shocked while watching the Golden Globes that Heath Ledger didn't win for Best Actor. While I'm sure Philip Seymore Hoffman is deserving of this award, "Brokeback" was on a roll and I figured it would be a sweep. We shall see what happens at Oscar time...

Broke Back Mountain broke my heart. Long after the movie,the memory of it still lingers. It was truly refreshing to see the genuine protrayal of two manly men in love and not to have the scenes of that love compromised. I probably could have written it, with the exception of the ending. I wouldn't have written that ending. I believe we deserve a story with a more happy ending, even if there was some suspense thrown in, but I guess this type of situation is more in sync with reality. It's also probably what is needed to get more people thinking about how we as human beings torture each other. Just to think there is so much about our vulnerability as human animals that we cannot help,it's sad that we don't try to change the things that we do have control of. Like allowing people to be true to themselves and to have some peace in this world.

Robin,
We saw "Capote" about a month ago, and I must say that Phillip Seymour Hoffman did a hell of a job. He WAS Capote. I don't know the tricks the cameramen used to film the actor--who in reality is a big, lumbering, sprawling sort--to make him look like the small, dapper Truman Capote--but the actor, his mannerisms, the way he carried himself-- certainly convinced us of that reality as well. It was not simply a mimicry (I'm thinking of Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles here); he simply was Capote, and I was pleased his work was recognized.

On the other hand, Heath Ledger was a revelation as Ennis Del Mar.

Too bad there couldn't have been a tie!

I went to see Broke Back yesterday and was very disappointed, I was expecting to see a romantic movie but instead saw two people thrown together by some force "lust" perhaps but definitely not love, and acting what acting no drama and no comedy either this was truly sad and a waste of time. I'll take your word that the film is better than the book and skip on that. In my opinion this is no "Making Love" by any stretch of the imagination. I thoroughly enjoyed that one!

I thought maybe I should start a new thread, but I think this one will do just fine for the additional comments I wish to make on "Brokeback" and in reply to the additional points made by others.

First, I'm really glad to read your feedback on the film, Peri. And I'm glad to hear about the diverse demographics at the showing you attended.
Like Robin, I'm pleasantly surprised by the families that are apparently viewing the film. And I too am hoping to see it again to catch what I missed the first time. (And, yes, Robin, congrats on the Seahawks. :) )

It remains to be seen about the Oscars, but I have heard that Philip Seymour Hoffman is quite superb as Capote.

Stephen, thank you too for your thoughts on the film. It's interesting that you should say "we deserve a story with a more happy ending..."

Indeed. While it's not unusual to see tragic love stories depicted on screen, it would, of course, be unusual to see mainstream dramatic films depict successful gay relationships.

I would not be surprised, however, if such tragedies continue to be produced for the silver screen. Ironically, just yesterday I read an article (not online, unfortunately) by Michael O'Keefe in the New York Daily News. O'Keefe cites comments by Outsports.com columnist Jim Buzinski, who writes here:

We have come a long way in the acceptance of gays in society, but sports still remain the final closet and the door is still firmly shut. As I watched "Brokeback Mountain," much of the time with a lump in my throat, I flashed to contemporary sports and wondered how many closeted jocks were living their own version of Ennis and Jack. It is still an amazing statistic -- There has never been a male athlete from a major pro team sport (NFL, NBA, NHL or Major League Baseball) who has come out while playing. The same is true of elite jocks at major college programs. We know they're out there (no one disputes this), but they remain as closeted as Ennis.

In the Daily News article, O'Keefe argues that "Brokeback" may pave the way for other films that deal specifically with gays and sports. Just as "Brokeback" queers the "Western," future films might very well drag other traditionally "macho" genres into engagement with gay themes.

Author Patricia Nell Warren, a gay activist and one of the first female marathoners, says there's renewed interest in bringing her 1974 novel The Front Runner to the big screen.

I read that book years and years ago, and loved it.

O'Keefe continues:

Paul Newman held the option on the book -- the story of a promising Olympian who falls in love with his track coach -- in the 1970s. But Newman dropped the project because he couldn't get a screenplay that satisfied his vision of the film. "The country was not in a place where people were thinking about a film like this in 1974," Warren says. "But because of 'Brokeback Mountain' and its box office success (the $14 million film has already grossed $33 million), people are willing to spend the money required for talent and production values. I think people are watching 'Brokeback Mountain' very closely."

I'd be very encouraged by a fine film adaptation of The Front Runner.

Finally, thanks Belinda for sharing with us your disappointment with "Brokeback." I do think that "lust" is portrayed in the film, but I also believe that the men clearly do love each other, and are tortured to tears because they can't spiritually consummate the relationship while having internalized all the poisons of homophobia.

BTW, I did enjoy "Making Love" when I first saw it (though back then, so many critics commented that the film had a "Hollywood" ending). And the title song is sure to make my "Song of the Day" in the coming months. But I tend to think that the depiction of the "love that dare not speak its name" into mainstream film is a kind of "social process," and it's going to take time to reach full maturation in that process.

In my view, "Brokeback" is a sign of progress in that evolution.

I saw Brokeback Mountain about a month ago here in Los Angeles and loved it. (I just discovered this thread today.)

What particularly moved me, as it moved others, was the film's portrayal of the genuine, romantic love between the two men. It seemed absolutely real to me. I think it's rare to see this kind of love portrayed so finely in ~any~ romantic movie.

The only difference of reaction I had to others who loved the movie is that I somehow did not experience it, ultimately, as saddening.

Certainly I cried tears, but as I walked out of the movie, after staying through the music of the credits for the sake of a smoother emotional landing, I felt inspired, and that sense of inspiration has stayed with me.

Perhaps this is because I am at a place in my life where I am just starting to re-open the door to love in my own life; for, though I understand the film was in fact a tragedy, what I personally experienced was that in the face of many obstacles, including psychological ones, these men knew love, and expressed and enjoyed that love passionately in their time together, and that love was wondrous, and I had the privilege to witness it.

The movie isn't playing in all of europe yet, expected half of february but it is on the news special for it is one of the first movies to be shown at the Rotterdam Filmfestival. Rumour has it that George C will be there also, I was touched by all the personal stories which can be red on the website of the movie. Makes you realise how well we are off in a country like Holland, where we have also a "biblebelt" but they seem to accept it for some sort of reason.

can someone please tell me the dialogue of the last line. I liked the film a lot.. but man, I could hardly understand Heaths performance!!! I imagine that the last line was important.. but after rewinding it 19 times, I gave up!!!

I believe the last line was: "Jack, I swear..."

But maybe I'm remembering that line from the book. :-)

Someone commented on the lack of gay love stories with a happy ending. I submit another Ang Lee directed movie, "The Wedding Banquet." I saw it years ago, and it portrayed the gay couple with humor and dignity, and it had a happy ending!

I believe the last line was: "Jack, I swear..."

But maybe I'm remembering that line from the book. :-)

Someone commented on the lack of gay love stories with a happy ending. I submit another Ang Lee directed movie, "The Wedding Banquet." I saw it years ago, and it portrayed the gay couple with humor and dignity, and it had a happy ending!

I saw the movie last weekend after learned that it won the Golden Globe and was directed by one of my favorite directors. I was dissappointed. I'd recommend a much much better film on the similar subject: Maurice (See IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093512/).

I saw Brokeback this past weekend. It has not been out of my thoughts at all during the past week. I have always liked Heath and Jake but they totally surpassed themselves. The Screen Actors Guild has their awards this weekend Jan 29th. That should be a very good clue to the Oscars. Actors have the largest branch in the Motion Picture Academy. Two actors competing against each other for the same award frequently lose. So it is better that Heath be nominated for actor and Jake for supporting actor.

Brokeback Mountain sucks. Oops, sorry about that guys.

Andrew, thanks for those thoughts. Indeed, our response to art is so deeply personal insofar as any work of art, be it a film, novel, or musical composition, engages our very personal context.

Interesting about Holland, Ronald. And thanks for letting us know what you thought, Chris G. The film certainly seems to be having that effect on a lot of people.

Glad Peri gave you that last line, Gina.

With regard to other films portraying gay relationships in a positive light: My point was not that these films don't exist. It is that there are very few mainstream commercial films doing so. There are plenty of "independent" films (and even TV series) that have been produced, however, which show a wide spectrum of gay and lesbian relationships. (And I loved "Maurice," Hong!)

Now, Jeb, I chuckled at your quip, but, honestly: Did you see the film? Because I'd be curious to know why you thought it sucked.

Cheers,
Chris

Oh, I just want to clarify: I have nothing against the acting, directing, cinematography, etc., all the technical aspects of the movie. I wouldn't even mind the ending. It is the story that lacks...spirit. There is basically no awakening, no realization, and no progress in the characters. Yes, there is love and passion, at an almost animalistic level. I was utterly unsatisfied. Besides, there is not nearly enough nude scenes for an "R" rated movie! ;-)

Hi Hong,

If you're willing to consider a different perspective: I experienced much awakenening and progress in the characters, and this is what inspired me personally in the film.

Both characters went from being in denial about their homosexuality at the beginning of the story, to being conscious of it and able to express it in a meaningful and passionate way as the story progressed.

Both characters went from being unconscious of their capacity to love at the beginning of the film, to being awakened to love as the film progressed. (And I found their love far from merely animalistic; to me the men truly were in love with each other as full human beings.)

Ennis did ~not~ awaken to the possibility of living a life in full integrity with his homosexuality -- but Jack ~did~ awaken to such a possibility, even if he was, tragically, unable to achieve such a life, given his attachment to Ennis.

For sure, the characters didn't make it all the way to heaven, but at least they advanced from the hell of full repression to the purgatory of expressing their love in hiding.

There's still a lot of pain in purgatory, I know, but I see heroism in the advance from hell, and to me it's progress.

best,
Andrew

I saw Brokeback last weekend. I haven't been able to get out of my mind. I plan to see it again.

Hong: Regarding your disappoitment with the dearth of nude scenes in Brokeback--when I hear the Idiot Gibson (John), fret about the so-called "ick" factor in a movie he hasn't even bothered to see--well, heck! There really wasn't that much sex to see! There are more sex scenes in any number of "straight" love stories, no? This right-wing hue and cry over the "sex scenes" in Brokeback is clearly ridiculous and uninformed.

I do take issue with your contention that the characters did not grow. Andrew said it much more eloquently than I can, so, I'll let what he said stand without any further comments from me.

Oh, and Robin, if you are out there, congrats on your Seahawks! Good luck at the Big Party.

My partner Peri and I saw Brokeback Mountain two weeks ago. She has posted her thoughts numerous times on this thread and now it's my turn.

Yes, the movie is heartbreaking, yet I found it ultimately uplifting. The growth in the character of Ennis is remarkable. His visit with Jack's parents is evidence of Ennis's acceptance of his own sexuality and an understanding of his deep love for Jack.

The Director's Guild award was won by Ang Lee for Brokback. The Screen Actors are tonight on TNT. The Oscar nominations come out tomorrow or Tuesday. If Ledger and Williams get nominated will they be first husband and wife nominated in the same year.

The cast of Brokeback did not win any awards at the SAG awards. If I were asked to guess a reason it would be the youth of the cast.

***HELP??? Great movie. I did not take the time to read all the blogs above but did anyone notice in the movie the ligends on actors Ledger's hand when he hugged partner in the last scene together at Broke Back Mountain??? Was that to imply that he had contracted aids from his long time promiscuous partner? Please let me know if you noticed this subtle detail in the movie.

Regards to all.

Chris S. & Peri - Thanks for the well wishes regarding the Seahawks. After 3 decades of being a fan, it's a wonderful feeling to know I won't be watching the big game just to see the commercials!

I watched part of the SAG awards last night and it appears that Phillip Seymour Hoffman may take home all the best actor awards for Capote. It least it is well deserved.

One other note: After 30 years the great state of Washington passed a gay civil rights bill involving protection for employment, housing and insurance. There was the usual hue and cry about this bill instituting gay marrage...
While I don't believe that Brokeback had a direct effect on the vote, I do believe in a collective consciousness and I wonder if the movie had an indirect effect.

Perhaps, I did somewhat lost my perspective regarding this movie. We need to consider those two cowboys' background, the time they lived in, and the social environment, etc. But they did not and could not rise above their surroundings. They were completely helpless in the wake of their "awakening", and could do little about their love and passion. Their short annual meetings over the 20 years time struck me as rather pathetic. They lived a brutally repressed life.

I was disappointed perhaps because I had expected too much.

I'll have additional comments shortly on the additional posts here; for now, FYI... "Brokeback Mountain" leads the pack with 8 Oscar nominations.

See the full list of nominations at the Oscar site.

And, as predicted, Jake Gyllenhaal got a "Supporting Actor" nomination... like he did for SAG. I'm still astonished that, as a co-star with Ledger, he qualifies as a "Supporting Actor," but... the studios sometimes do this, as Chris G. suggests, so that it maximizes the potential of each actor to win an award.

More soon...

Chris; You stole my thunder. Brokeback did very well. I repeat my question; does anyone know if any other couple have been nominated in the same year and for the same movie. I have doubts that any of the acting nominess will win because of their youth. It still may win the most Oscars.

I am so looking forward to seeing this movie. However, I guess I will be going without my husband. He said he would watch it at home but not at the theatre. My sister saw it and tells me it is a beautiful love story. How could it not be? Look at the 2 gorgeous actors chosen for this story. What good comes from hate and homophobia. Only through love and acceptance can we truly change the world. I believe that is the one true message. If this movie comes home to roost then so be it.

Let me answer my own question. Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor were nominated for Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe. Taylor won.

I just recently saw Brokeback mountain and I have to say I think it was one of the best movie's that I have ever seen. I never wanted it to end. After watching this film I was filled with so many emotions. I find that I can't stop talking about it either. To me it was a great love story, sad if you really think about it, but wonderful all in the same. My only complaint is that I felt Heath mumbled alot and was very hard to understand. I am still trying to figure out what he say in the last scene of the movie before the credits come up. But other then that anyone who loves a love story should go and see this movie.

I'm really enjoying the posts here. Thanks especially to Hong, Andrew, Robin, Peri, Rhonda, and Chris G (and yesss!!!, knew the answer to that "Virginia Woolf" question). Marlo, check out Peri's post on January 26, 2006 at 10:21 AM, for those last lines of the film.

As for the other Chris---I don't recall any lesions at all on Ledger's hand, and don't recall any AIDS subtext at all.

For those who don't think the film uplifting enough: Let me go the academic route, and suggest that you get your hands on Kirsti Minsaas's JARS article, "The Role of Tragedy in Ayn Rand's Fiction," not because it focuses on Rand's work, per se, but because it focuses on the cathartic significance of portraying tragedy.

More soon enough...

"North Break Mountain" is a genuine MASTERPIECE? It tells a story of Love and Friendship / Lust and Deceipt? I think if anyone cannot identify with the human condition/subject contained therein - then they are Not Human

Many years ago I read The Frontrunner. I loved and read it several times that year. Sometime I attended a gay literary discussion where I was the only person who liked it. I later discovered the book The Catchtrap by Marion Zimmer Bradley. This is the story of two trapzee artists who are "gay". I always thought that was the better story. Has anyone else read The Catchtrap? What do you think.

Chris G: Never read the Catchtrap, but I read "Fag Hag" by Robert Rodi years ago, and it featured the wonderful character Lloyd, a gay libertarian Rand admirer as the antagonist (the protagonist/title character was not admirable; she was a pathetic, manipulative, crazy person). It wasn't a particularly deep read, but it amused me; it portrayed Lloyd in a positive light and piqued my interest in Objectivism. It had cinematic elements. Maybe a little to sitcomesque, though.

Now I've really strayed off topic.

I've never read "Claptrap," but loved "The Front Runner." As for "Fag Hag": I read it in preparation for my essay, "The Illustrated Rand" and also my monograph Ayn Rand, Homosexuality, and Human Liberation. Quite an interesting read, indeed!

Meanwhile, I have yet to read Annie Proulx "Brokeback" short story; I now have it, and hope to get to it in the coming weeks.

It's Catch Trap not Clap trap. Please it deserves better. I love this tread, thank you!

ROFL LOL ... forgive me. I meant "Catch Trap."

Oh this gave me a much-needed laugh on a morning dominated by news shows. LOL

I saw it over the weekend--finally. I had read the story a couple of times... and listened to the audiobook (I'm a huge Proulx fan) and was pleasantly surprised that the movie was fairly faithful to the author's intent. Any embellishments (of which I thought there were few) just made the story a bit more user friendly for folks not used to the sparse subtlety of Proulx's writing.

I have been quite interested in people's negative comments on the movie. One such comment was that the character of Jack Twist was a seducer who ruined Ennis's life. You definitely would not get that impression from Proulx's story, to the contrary, it was a story about two men who were very much life partners and who loved each other deeply. I did not get that impression of Jack as a "seducer" from the film, but my perceptions may have been skewed by my familiarity with the original story.

The more frequent negative that I hear is that the movie is about "lust" not "love." That one gives me a good chuckle because, realistically, I think that ALL romance stories are primarily about lust, if you want to look at it objectively. (Think Romeo & Juliet, Lancelot & Guinevere, etc.) Brokeback Mountain, in which the lovers endure for two decades despite societal, familial and psychological pressures is much more of a "love" story than most.

I have not seen the movie myself (ironically, though gay, I have little interest in gay themed movies and books). But I find it amusing to hear criticisms of the movie because its "cowboys" are not of the John Wayne/Gary Cooper archetype. John Wayne certainly would not have been tolerant of gay cowboys. And this movie is not set in the present day wear homosexuality is much more tolerated. Back then, one could be killed for being queer.
The situation is much better today, but we still have our incidents of people being attacked and murdered for being gay. We are still dealing with the transition from the idea of homosexuality as moral depravity to mental illness ( and it was Thomas Szasz who lobbied to have homosexuality removed as a mental illness from the DSM.)
Not only was there the threat of physical violence, but more powerful was the acceptance of the unearned guilt, as Lindsay Perigo so eloquently put it in Chris Sciabarra's powerful monograph on Objectivism and Homosexuality. Remember, the characters in the movie are NOT Objectivists, they are more likely to be of the Christian redneck variety than the John Galt type. Growing up with the stigma of steers vs. queers and the immorality of such a lifestyle, not to mention the stereotype of the limpwristed fag, many men of stronger stature have repressed their sexuality, or even killed themselves. And as Chris documents, the situation is no better among the "enlightened" of the followers of a selfish philosophy such as Objectivism, given that ARI still follows the mental illness view of homosexuality.
Having been in the transition stage myself of dealing with my own sexuality through the lense of Christianity and Objectivism, and finding my nature at odds with my accepted morality, I'd prefer to see the movie, from what I've heard about it, through the tragic lense used in WE THE LIVING: the fact that some men accept their sexuality successfully is an exception similar to Kira's escape from Soviet Russia, where the moral system denies men access to their true natures through intimidation, electroshock therapy, ostracism, and death.

Thanks for the additional contributions from Valda and Joe.

I should note that "Brokeback" has brought a lot of comedians some great opportunities for joke-telling (though the Vice Presidential gun accident might give "Brokeback" a run for its money in the joke department). Some comic take-offs have been too predictable; others have been a bit more creative. If you haven't seen any of the spoofs on the film, take a look here (this one links to a "Top Gun" take-off; others are listed on the side bar to the right). Hat tip to Chip!

I understand from friends that recently attended the redneck comedian Larry the Cable Guy concert, that he has devoted a whole section of his routine to Brokeback. Whether it's funny or not remains to be seen.

I'd have to agree that the Dick Cheney gun incidence should provide comic relief in the face of the ever increasing scandals that plague the White House. I await Jon Stewart's take on the gun toting VP.

My new favorite bumper sticker: Cheney/Satan '08...

Brokeback Mountain is not in the first place a movie about gays. It is a monumental film in all of its aspects (one that will most certainly join the league of the greatest movies ever made) to say the least. For me Brokeback Mountain is really about the hopeless struggle of people trying (needing) to break taboes and who are consequently crushed by a society that is too fearful to even beginning to understand what the taboe breakers motivates. We all remember the plight of king Oedipus who broke two taboes at the same time and was punished in a predictable way. I truly enjoyed the film and it touched a raw nerve. After leaving the theatre it took me a while before I could even talk about it. This movie has the potential to catalyse a societal change. Let's hope it does.

Saw the movie out of curiosity, went to the men's room after it was over and vomited. The idea of this being a good movie sickens me, of course I'm straight and that may be one reason. Forever more will I look at "Cowboys" in a new light..when John Wayne says he was in the saddle to long maybe he was talking about something other than a saddle, or when the bad guy says up with your hands or I'll plug you, he dosent mean with a bullet. A story like this makes most Americans sick, let the fringe groups and the deviats enjoy it for what it is, a gay love affair by two degenerate men, but please, it's not a film to please most people. I wonder what Hoppy would say or maybe Roy Rodgers..who knows, maybe Dale Evans was a drag queen..Ya Hoo!

I have to say I was very disappointed in the film myself. I know Chris will want to know why. So I will try to post a longer message as to why that is in the next few days. I want to think about it carefully as I write it as I don't want to ruin anything for those who have not yet seen the film and wish to do so. One problem in expressing this disappointment is that it is mostly about the plot itself and that makes it difficult to discuss without spoiling it for some.

I just saw Brokeback for the 3rd time. This film requires multiple viewing to fully appreciate the nuance of the performances/story/filming. I fully agree with other comments regarding Maurice, the Merchant/Ivory film with Hugh Grant and James Wilby. Wonderful character study. Both films, in my opinion, must be viewed with the time and place in mind. I thought Brokeback conveyed the loneliness often felt in gay relationships due to social pressure to conform. It never has been easy for any of the community to be accepted simply as human beings. We are most often considered with the "gay/lesbian, etc." adjective preceding the notion of person, not simply as a person. These films help to convey the difficulties faced. All exposure in the artistic media helps to this end.
Tim

I saw this film last night and cannot get it out of my mind. I felt so sad to think of the lives which were destroyed because of society's intolerence. Jack and Enis did have 100% enjoyment of their times together tho. But did Jack's wife have anything to do with Jack's death. Did she have him killed because of his relationship with her friend's husband?

Getting back into the swing of things, let me first offer my condolences to Robin and all the other Seahawks fans. (And, yes, Robin, that Cheney incident has certainly had "legs" for many comedians!)

Patrick, I don't know if "Brokeback" qualifies as one of the greatest films ever made—having seen the film only once, it is difficult for me to assess it with that broad scope in mind. (In fact, I'm impressed with Tim's comments precisely because he has seen the film three times now; I agree completely that thought-provoking films are best viewed multiple times, because each time one views such a film, different layers of appreciation and meaning may emerge.)

And there is no doubt that "Brokeback" is one of the most provocative films ever made, as this very thread suggests. And I do agree that film, and art in general, can be very culturally and, perhaps, politically influential, in the long run.

Watcher, I will be very interested to hear why you were disappointed in the film. I don't think it "out of bounds" to be disappointed, given all the hype and the fact that the film runs at a deliberately slower speed than most. But if your disappointment relates to plot, simply warn us, prior to posting, with the label: "SPOILER ALERT." I think enough people have now seen the film to want to share in their assessments of it.

SPOILER ALERT FOR THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPHS: Irene, as to your questions, I read an interview with the screenwriters who both suggested that they left the ending of the film a bit ambiguous. In the February 28th issue of THE ADVOCATE, Larry McMurty and Diana Ossana (the screenwriters) have some very interesting things to say. You can read that interview here. Here's the relevant excerpt:

Ennis is convinced that Jack was murdered with a tire iron. I don’t necessarily believe it.
McMurtry: It’s what Ennis is feeling at the moment. But Lureen’s explanation is just as good. A lot of tires blow up and kill people.
Do people hope Jack wasn’t murdered? What do they believe?
Ossana: We’ve been asked that [in every interview]. You can’t believe the things we’ve heard—for example, did Lureen’s father have him killed? A reporter walked up to me and said, "What really happened? I need to know." I said, "What do you think?" He told me, and I said, "Well, if that works for you, then good."
Oh, that’s the most hateful writer answer.
Ossana: But even Annie will tell you it’s ambiguous to her. When you see that [flash] on the screen, we tell people that [we don’t know] what actually happened to Jack. But it’s what Ennis thinks, and he’s been set up to think that by his entire past. This was his biggest fear, that something would happen. And the tragedy is multilayered. If Jack was killed that way, the guilt that Ennis must feel—maybe if he’d taken him up on it, this wouldn’t have happened. But also the fact that he’s not sure. What is more tragic than not knowing how your loved one has died?
There’s "don’t ask, don’t tell" for you.
Ossana: So when he goes to Jack’s parents’—
McMurtry: It’s when Ennis goes there that it becomes a great movie, that it becomes a tragedy.
Ossana: The father’s talking about Jack—"Ennis Del Mar, he used to say." The camera turns to Ennis and you see this little faint smile on his face, ’cause Jack was talking about him. Then the father says, "And then Jack was gonna bring another fellow up here." And you go back to Ennis and his smile is gone. That’s when he realizes there was somebody else. That hurts too. But he knows in his innards that it’s his own fault. He can’t blame Jack for that anymore. And then he goes up to Jack’s room and he finds his old shirt hanging tucked inside Jack’s, and he realizes how much that man loved him—how deeply he loved him from the get-go.

Read the whole interview; it's worth the time.

END SPOILER ALERT

BTW, for those who did not know, the film earned the top prize at the BAFTA awards (the British Oscars, as they are called). See here. It was a very entertaining show; it was shown stateside on "BBC America." Check your local listings in case they decide to repeat it.

Finally, let me address Keith. I deleted some comments above by a gent named Jeffrey because they were extremely offensive. I don't think your comments are offensive, per se; they seem to be an expression of your genuine disgust with the film and its subject matter.

But it leaves me very perplexed. Gay people have been seeing men and women do it on screen for eons; I don't recall a single gay man or gay woman ever telling me that they have had to vomit after watching straight love scenes. I really don't understand that phenomenon among some straight men—many of whom would find woman-on-woman love scenes to be a turn on, btw. So it's not the phenomenon of same-sex affection that causes this reaction. (And in any event, I think "reactions" per se are not "caused" necessarily by anything on screen; they are deeply personal and a reflection of many internal dynamics, including values, sense of life, and even one's mood.)

I don't think, however, that one can root your reaction in your comment: "of course I'm straight and that may be one reason." Clearly, many straight women and straight men have seen this film (some of them have even written about it here at Notablog) and they have not had the same reaction. And with the film now generating box office receipts of $72+ million, it is exceedingly difficult to chalk up all of those receipts to "degenerates" flocking to the theaters.

I'm not looking to psychoanalyze you, but I just don't think the reaction you describe is determined by your sexual orientation. Aesthetic reaction is, as I suggest, much more complex than that.

I also don't believe that a single film depicting two "gay cowboys" should, could, or would have any effect whatsoever on our views of other "cowboys" or "cowboy movies."

In any event, if you are so inclined to address these issues respectfully, I'm sure Notablog readers would find the discussion enlightening.

Thanks again to all the posters.

This morning I was listening to a caller on my favorite Seattle radio station. She asked if the DJ's knew where to get the Willie Nelson song that played on the Brokeback sound track. The station played a portion of the song [as it is only available at i-tunes]. I only vaguely remember the song as I was too caught up in the visuals. After hearing the song again [Willie only performs this song in concert] I did remember the melody was similar to Mama's Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be Cowboys and did remember the word "queer" in the lyrics. In fact, the lyrics go something like, "the cowboys that brag the most about the women they sleep with, are the ones that are most queer". This song was written long before the movie came out.

To get to my point in a very round about way, the the song reminded me of the post by Ray here regarding male ranch hands pairing up on a regular basis. Hmmm, this was a well kept secret. Perhaps this is what really hits a nerve with the moral police; that not all cowboys were of the Hollywood sterotype variety [of course this was at a time when the "indians" were played by white actors]. My hope is that we can learn to live and let live.

To Chris S. - Thanks for the condolences! As longtime fans of the Hawks, we are still hurting over the unfairness of it all. [And bless Steve Young for lambasting the NFL on ESPN].

Tim mentioned the movie "Maurice" again, which made me thinking...Brokeback Mountain is like "Maurice" with two Clives and without an Alec, and with James Wilby (Maurice) turning into a Clive instead of an Alec. How dreadful would that be for "Maurice"?!

I have just been through a divorce. Man and wife, hetrosexual 20 yr marriage. Horror ending. There was so much in that movie that I felt that I had lived. The gender of the two main characters is irellevant. The emotion, the pain , the conflict are all real regardless of sex. Obviously the era and the homosexuality played a part in the story line. but the pain, the awful need to give up a memory or experience that you know is controlling your life. But the intense pleasure that memory gives you. It can happen to anybody.

A fantastic film.

I believe the last line was "dear god I swear".

I believe a promise to full fill Jacks wish.

We are a week away from the Oscars. My issue of EW with predictions is out. The predict Picture,Director, and Screenplay being won by Brokback. That is my sense. The actors are all young.

DELETED

Ah, so, we have another homophobic asshole posting to Notablog.

John, your post has been deleted, and you have been banned from my site.

Go off into the sunset and leave my blog alone.

Chris

I have observed an interesting phomoenhon about Brokeback. I have talked to two young men who have told me they don't intend to see Brokeback becauses relatives of theirs were cowboys. I am courios to know if anyone else has run into this problem. The comments on Brokeback are really enjoyable and thank you again for them. This last to Chris S.

Deepwoods:
What promise to Jack did Ennis fulfill? Jack's parents wouldn't give Jack's cremains to Ennis to throw to the winds of Brokeback mountain. I can only assume they buried the cremains in the family plot, as they had planned. Poor Ennis was too frightened to commit to Jack while Jack lived...sadly, the only "promise" was in the past...like the final sentences of the "Great Gatsby"--I'll have to paraphrase because I'm too lazy and time constrained to look them up--we are boats against the tide, aiming ceaselessly towards the past.

Chris G -
As I've mentioned before, I've spent a fair amount of time around the modern day cowboy. Being that most are from conservative backgrounds, I can't imagine any of them going to see this movie.

As far as the young men you spoke with about seeing Brokeback, I'm guessing that they have a romanticized idea of the cowboys that were in the family. Heaven knows we wouldn't want to think that old uncle Harry might not have been Gary Cooper come to life.

Even though we've come a long way in my 49 years, we have a long way to go. Many people STILL think that somehow gay is contagious...

Most schools would be proud to have a former student go on to achieve success. Not so with Santa Fe Christian School in Solana Beach, California. Here's what Santa Fe Christian headmaster Jim Hopson (as quoted in the San Diego Union-Tribune March 1, 2006) had to say about former Santa Fe Christian student Michelle Williams

“Michelle doesn't represent the values of this institution. We would not approve of her movies and TV shows (including the teen drama “Dawson's Creek”). We'd not like to be tied to 'Brokeback Mountain.'

“I hope we offered her something in life. But she made the kinds of choices of which we wouldn't approve. 'Brokeback Mountain' basically promotes a lifestyle we don't promote. It's not the word of God.”

How nice :(

Chris G., thanks for your observations. I wasn't aware of that phenomenon of which you speak. Thanks to both Peri and Robin, for these additional comments as well. And, I'm sorry to say, Mick... nothing in that quote surprises me.

Chris

The Oscars are tomorrow(March 5). Brokeback is strong for picture,director, and adapted screenplay. One of supporting acting awards is given early and if it is actor and Jake should win I think it will be a sweep. If it is actress and Michelle wins it will be a good night for Brokeback. Whatever happens try and find the tackiest gown. Maybe Richard Gere will try and do a mind meld with PRC's leader.

hi i just want to say to all the straight people that hate gay people. Im a tax paying hard working person just like the rest of u straight males. Im glad that for once that the gay life style is being shown. Not every gay person is about drugs partying and doing any one we can. My family has totally stopped speaking to me since coming out in 2002. I lost everything to be who i am and most of the time thats being alone. But living a lie kills u slowy day by day. This movie shows that because love is love and sometimes u can not help who u fall in love with. I hope that this movie will help my family see that im a person with feelings and hopes and dreams just like them. I was so afraid that the movie would not be allowed in Oklahoma. But when i saw that it was playing i had to see it. I cried all the way home and all the next day because before i came out i was enis and now i no longer want to be someone whom im not. I do not in any way try to make straight people uncomfortable and i do not try to hit on every straight man i see. Sorry guys but we are not trying to convert u. just wanted to say please be kind to others because u do not know what they have been through to come out. Ive lost my family the only people ive ever cared about because of hate.

Brian, hopefully your family will come around one day. Just keep living life. I wish you well :-)

I'm disappointed with Brokeback's failure to win Best Picture. I have not seen Crash so I won't comment on it. I must say I didn't see any tacky gowns. Richard Gere wasn't a presenter. I don't expect that the radio stations I listen will play the winning song. I thought John Stewart was enjoyable.

Well...that "Pimp" song was terrible. It wasn't even good rap. Was it intended as satire? I sincerely hope so, although watching that group Mafia 6 or whoever they were, collect their award, I'm not so sure.

Except for that quixotic song choice, the Academy played it safe again.

Just thought I would express that I feel that Brokeback was not so much rated on the picture itself but because of all the talk about it being a gay movie that it did not get judged fairly and I belive that is why it did not win. How would all the homophobes be able to work today knowing that a love story that just happen to have 2 men possibly win. Well it didnt and it might not deserved to have won but I just think that because of all the talk about it some of which I think came from people who didnt even see it ruined it. My hat goes off anyway to all involved. I felt so much for the movie and each time I see it I feel a different emotion.

I am gay. Where's the reality? Love in the gay community? You're kidding... Gays in the real Brokeback world would cruise until they meet, clandestinely, inside the local public outhouse, or a barn. At first they'd do show-and-tell and then, weeks later, maybe there'd a full gay fledged romp. After a while, each party would move on. At best, if they stuck together, they form and OPEN relationship, a staple in my world. Gay fantasy is all this movie is about.
Personally, I wish the characters were straight because it's more realistic. Just tellin' the truth

I have mixed emotions about BB not winning the best picture Oscar. First of all, I am happy that the movie has achieved the success it has based on its merits as a movie, a work of art. Take Maurice, the Merchant/Ivory film, a brilliant masterpiece and work of art about a failed relationship. This film won best actor awards in Vienna for Hugh Grant and James Wilby, and best director for James Ivory. But in America at the time (1980s) the film was only nominated for best costume design, a travesty. So, in essence, the nation has come a long way recognizing a quality film about a subject that many cannot accept. Therefore, there has been progress.
However, on a recent trip back to the US (I live abroad) I couldn't help but notice the amount of BB jokes, parodies, etc., soley because it is a "gay" love story. In essence, it is a story about two star-crossed lovers, whose relationship was doomed due to social and personal circumstances. Isn't this the same theme as Romeo and Juliet (brilliant Franco Zeffirelli film of the '80s)? So, American society still can't see gay folk simply as people, which is the main reason I believe Hollywood chickened out with the best picture oscar going to Crash. America just can't handle the fact that people are people, period.

The spammers are having fun posting to this thread, and if that continues, I'll be forced to shut this thread down. Before doing that, I'd like to post a few thoughts in response to all those who have posted since March 4th.

Brian: Your comments were a painful reminder of how difficult it still is for people of a different sexual orientation to gain acceptance even among their loved ones. With Mick, I too wish you well in your own family situation.

As for the Oscars: I only saw "Brokeback," "Crash," and "Capote." I did not see the other nominated films, so I don't think it would be fair of me to declare that "Brokeback" was the best picture of the five nominations. (I do believe that Hoffman earned his Oscar for a terrific performance as "Capote.") I thought "Crash" was very thought-provoking, though I thought it was, in some ways, a retread of the path traveled by the film, "Traffic." Different subject matter, but similar style. Among the films I saw, I think "Brokeback" made the deepest impact on me, and I would have been inclined to vote for it. On that subject, let me recommend a very fine and thought-provoking essay by David Mayer: "A Tale of Two Movies." Again, I have no way to comment on "Munich," but David's points about "Brokeback" are well taken (and not only because he cites me!).

Like Marlo, I do wonder if "Brokeback" was 'done in' by the hype. And, Tim, thanks also for your very interesting comments on the film.

Finally, as for your very interesting comments, John: I'm certainly aware of the reality you describe as a very visible segment of the "gay community." But I don't think "Brokeback" soft-soaked "gay life." In fact, the character Jack cruises for other guys in Mexico, as I recall. But in "Brokeback," the reality being addressed was not so much the cruising and polyamorous connections of gay men. The film explored, instead, the tragedy of the closet, of living one's life without authenticity, thereby damaging one's self and everybody else in the process. That is a reality which needed to be addressed, and I think "Brokeback" did it very well.

The spammers won't let go of this ... so I'm going to close this thread.

We'll have the occasion to revisit these themes again soon... so stay tuned to Notablog!