Monday, January 15, 2007

Brokeback Mountain Out of a Brokeback Molehill

Finally saw Brokeback Mountain this weekend. And I’m a little surprised to say this: but it didn’t turn me gay. There were tense moments, sure, but when the credits rolled, Paul was still batting right-handed if you know what I mean.

Consciously chose not to see it in the theaters when it came out--when the movie came out—er, when the movie was released. Figuring if the movie was good enough to make me suddenly gay, then it’d be easier to explain in the privacy of my own home than in a theater full of strangers. And that’s why DVDs are so popular.

The movie itself is pretty good. Not as good as Children of Men, but it’s got a solid plot and is exclusively character driven. Long story short: white trash cowboys fall in love; it’s unacceptable; tragedy unfolds. Credits roll as you dry your eyes.

Just like any classic love story the most important thing is the obstacle. Which in this case is just not society’s intolerant rednecks, but the little intolerant redneck that lives deep inside all of us—even if we’re having gay sex at the time.

Three things I noticed:

1) Saw a bunch of class concerns in there: Paying the bills, living in trailers, broken down trucks, that kind of thing. Thought the actors did have some pretty good drawls and it totally brought back memories of growing up trashy--hats off to their voice coaches! One of the plot points I suppose was that things would be all dandy for Jack and Ennis if their circumstances were different. I'm pretty sure gay money managers at Merrill Lynch don’t have the same problems they had.

2) The main relationship is a classic introvert-extrovert pairing. Ennis is the man of few words; Jack the outgoing goofball. Why introverts and extroverts are inexplicably drawn to each other is something of a mystery, but it happens all the time in real life.

3) The scenery was so darn beautiful. It was pretty much the 3rd most important character.

First Ang Lee film I saw was The Ice Storm back in college. Is good. He’s a hard director to get a bead on since he’s all over the map. Ice Storm was a dysfunctional suburb drama that’s black in tone as opposed to the melancholy of Brokeback. He’s done several Chinese language films and an English period drama. And then he did The Hulk where Hulk smash. Smash good! So in conclusion Lee is a schizophrenic who somebody gave a camera to.

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