Author Topic: "Why I won't be Watching Brokeback Mountain"  (Read 5570 times)

Offline brokebackmountain

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"Why I won't be Watching Brokeback Mountain"
« on: Dec 26, 2005, 02:26 AM »
http://polipundit.com/index.php?p=11641

This article came across while I was browsing. You be the judge. Thought I will present both sides of the story.

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Saturday, December 17th, 2005
Why I Won’t Be Watching “Brokeback Mountain”

The Liberal Glitterati, which is to say Hollywood, is all a-twitter over the Golden Globe nominations for the gay cowboy film “Brokeback Mountain”. And as required in Liberal World bylaws, anyone who is not automatically impressed with a gay film/artwork/business/whatever must ergo be a Neocon fascist. Whatever.

It is true that I have not seen “Brokeback Mountain”, nor do I plan to, but it’s not because the film is about two cowboys who happen to be homosexual. It’s because the film is presented as a gay experience, in essence. It is not so much a story told on-screen, but more a lecture on how we should appreciate gays, an agenda on film, which is to say the director and producer have no idea what the audience wants, or worse, they presume to demand that we abandon entertainment for the purpose of the lesson. I never saw “Showgirls” for the same reason I am giving “Brokeback Mountain” a miss – I want a movie, not an insult to my intelligence. I want a plot, some action, or at the very least a reason to think I will enjoy the film.

Remember Ellen Degeneres? Leave off some of her statements for a minute, and focus on two points, please. The “Ellen” show, her sit-com on television, was funny for a while, enjoyable. Then someone decided it was time for Ellen’s character to “come out” on her show, and suddenly, the show became a critique on the producer’s perception of normative American values. Leaving aside the gross inability of the writers to understand the complexities inherent in a cosmopolitan nation of over three hundred million people, the show stopped being funny. And guess what? When a comedy stops being funny, people stop watching. After “Ellen” became ‘Gay Ellen’, it tanked, and naturally the producers blamed conservatives and closed-minded Americans. It never once occurred to them, that we don’t watch sitcoms for social commentary or to be told what to think, we watch sitcoms to laugh. I don’t want to hear a comedian lecture me as if I were uneducated or intolerant, any more than I want that from my deli counter guy when I order a sandwich, or my mechanic when I need to get the brakes fixed. Just do your job, OK?

Well, when I go to the movies, I generally don’t care about politics or the moral outrage of this actor or that director. I want to see romance, comedy, action, whatever I feel is worth my money. I don’t agree much with Ellen Degeneres’ lifestyle choices, but you know what? I liked the job she did in “Finding Nemo”. George Clooney is a raving moron when he tries to lecture people on things he obviously knows nothing about, but I will admit he’s OK in some of his films. I have made an exception for Sean Penn – he’s a great actor, but he’s become so totally demented that I cannot in good conscience spend money which might encourage the man. So no, thank you, I do not feel the need to pay the money I worked for, just to be lectured instead of entertained. The only lectures I feel like paying for, come from academic professionals who really know what they’re talking about, and sorry Mr. McMurtry, you do not meet that standard. I will be happy to pay for a movie which actually offers me an intriguing plot and characters which act more in composition with each other, and who do not seem to be trying to insult the audience. But “Brokeback Mountain” does not meet that standard, and I do not owe you a penny of my money or a moment of my time for something you have not begun to earn."

« Last Edit: Dec 26, 2005, 02:28 AM by brokebackmountain »
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Offline ennisandjack

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Re: "Why I won't be Watching Brokeback Mountain"
« Reply #1 on: Dec 26, 2005, 12:00 PM »
First problem with this 'review' is that he hasn't seen the film and therefore makes assumptions without experience/evidence to back it up. He cannot know this is a 'preachy' film without watching it first. If he feels strongly enough about the issue to write an article he should atleast do his homework first.

Second problem is that his argument that he doesn't want to be lectured to by a film or watch something that presents an agenda is flawed because embedded in most if not all films/art/media are messages that get internalized without conscious awareness of what is good and bad, normal or not. He just doesn't realize it because the mainstream point of view has been normalized to such an extent that it appears to represent reality. Only when something differs from his personal philosophy does he have a problem with it.

Its good to hear both sides of the story. However, like most criticisms of BBM that I've read, this article was poorly argued.
« Last Edit: Dec 26, 2005, 12:10 PM by ennisandjack »

Offline brokebackmountain

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Re: "Why I won't be Watching Brokeback Mountain"
« Reply #2 on: Dec 26, 2005, 12:21 PM »
First problem with this 'review' is that he hasn't seen the film and therefore makes assumptions without experience/evidence to back it up. He cannot know this is a 'preachy' film without watching it first. If he feels strongly enough about the issue to write an article he should atleast do his homework first.

Second problem is that his argument that he doesn't want to be lectured to by a film or watch something that presents an agenda is flawed because embedded in most if not all films/art/media are messages that get internalized without conscious awareness of what is good and bad, normal or not. He just doesn't realize it because the mainstream point of view has been normalized to such an extent that it appears to represent reality. Only when something differs from his personal philosophy does he have a problem with it.

Its good to hear both sides of the story. However, like most criticisms of BBM that I've read, this article was poorly argued.

ennisandjack, I agree with you.  ;) Well put. Many will not go to see the movie because of the subject which I think it is fine. It is a movie and everyone has a choice. But to the point of bashing the movie because of the subject (even without seeing this movie), one is probably going too far. In any case, Brokeback Mountain is here to stay and will be doing well for the work of the movie - not for the subject.
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Offline tpe

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Re: "Why I won't be Watching Brokeback Mountain"
« Reply #3 on: Jan 04, 2006, 09:25 AM »
It is this person's loss.

As Jack would have said in the Proulx story: 'Let be. Let be.'

Offline Krispera

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Re: "Why I won't be Watching Brokeback Mountain"
« Reply #4 on: Jan 04, 2006, 03:56 PM »
http://polipundit.com/index.php?p=11641

 I never saw “Showgirls” for the same reason I am giving “Brokeback Mountain” a miss – I want a movie, not an insult to my intelligence. I want a plot, some action, or at the very least a reason to think I will enjoy the film.



Wich intelligence? where is the intelligence?? He should not talk of intelligence if he doesn't have one  ::)

Offline *Froggy*

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Re: "Why I won't be Watching Brokeback Mountain"
« Reply #5 on: Jan 04, 2006, 04:02 PM »
http://polipundit.com/index.php?p=11641

 I never saw “Showgirls” for the same reason I am giving “Brokeback Mountain” a miss – I want a movie, not an insult to my intelligence. I want a plot, some action, or at the very least a reason to think I will enjoy the film.



Wich intelligence? where is the intelligence?? He should not talk of intelligence if he doesn't have one  ::)

HAHAHAhaha!

Thank you krispera x
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Offline ChefStevo

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Re: "Why I won't be Watching Brokeback Mountain"
« Reply #6 on: Jan 05, 2006, 02:11 AM »
Brokeback Mountain is here to STAY....and I know there are some people that want to see it FAIL....but toooooooo bad that is NOT going to happen....it is doing well here in Los Angles...and It will do well in other parts of the country!!!!! What I don't understand is people that HAVE not seen the movie...have SOOOOOOOOO much to say about it!!!!!! And want it to fail!!!!! That I will never understand......!I say it's a great movie....and lets keep going to see it...so it will become the movie of the year!!!!!!
Steven

Offline brokebackmountain

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Who's afraid of Riding "Brokeback"
« Reply #7 on: Jan 07, 2006, 05:38 AM »
It is long but very interesting.

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?category=SCANNERS

Who's Afraid of Riding 'Brokeback'?

January 5, 2006

That Western ev'rybody's been talkin' about: "Brokeback Mountain." "Whoa, Nelly!" It seems that "Brokeback Mountain" has set off a tizzy of squeamish homosexual panic that's rippling across the nation! From critics to pundits to stand-up comics making sophomoric puns -- everybody's cracking the same lame and uncomfortable "gay cowboy" jokes over and over, but for different reasons, and I'm trying to keep track of it all. Let's see, over here we have those (mostly straight male critics) who think it's "not gay enough" (whatever that means) and might alienate its "core audience." And over here are those (mostly gay activists) who resent that the leads are ostensibly straight actors instead of gay ones.

And over here are some Kinsey 1-6 men and women wiping their eyes and noses on their sleeves. I don't think any of this other stuff would even be brought up now if "Brokeback Mountain" hadn't turned out to be such a darn good movie. And it's a Western, you know.

To me, what's been fascinating are the conflicted reactions of those who either do or do not want to see the movie in the first place: They're "afraid" to see it because of what it might reveal (to themselves or others) about their own sexuality; or they don't want to see it because they think it's a Hollywood plot to ram a "gay agenda" down America's collective throat; or they feel guilty about not wanting to see it because they're not homophobic, but they just don't want to watch two guys in love (even though they do like Westerns); or they want to go but they can't take a (female heterosexual) date (what would they talk about afterwards?) and they don't want to go by themselves or with another guy; or they want to wait until it's out on DVD because they don't want to see it, or be seen with it, in public....

Let's take a look at some examples of "Brokebackophilia" and "Brokebackophobia":

1) Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Heath?
Bill O'Reilly (who amazingly thinks that "Spin" and "Talking Points" are two different things) told Michael Medved and Jeannie Wolf that he wasn't going to see it because he was "afraid." Of what, he didn't say, but it was apparently supposed to be a joke about his wooziness when it comes to... what? Horsies? Marlboro Men? Sheep? I dunno. So, then Larry "Not That There's Anything Wrong With That" David wrote a satirical op-ed in the New York Times in which he made fun of people like Bill O'Reilly (and himself), trying to find excuses for why he said he didn't want to see the movie:
I'm for gay marriage, gay divorce, gay this and gay that. I just don't want to watch two straight men, alone on the prairie, fall in love and kiss and hug and hold hands and whatnot. That's all.

Is that so terrible? Does that mean I'm homophobic? And if I am, well, then that's too bad. Because you can call me any name you want, but I'm still not going to that movie.

To my surprise, I have some straight friends who've not only seen the movie but liked it. "One of the best love stories ever," one gushed. Another went on, "Oh, my God, you completely forget that it's two men...." [...]

If two cowboys, male icons who are 100 percent all-man, can succumb, what chance to do I have, half- to a quarter of a man, depending on whom I'm with at the time? I'm a very susceptible person, easily influenced, a natural-born follower with no sales-resistance.
Fox's John "War on Christmas" Gibson (the guy with the biggest, gayest neo-Liberace helmut-pompadour blonde dye job you've ever seen) has announced again and again that he isn't going to see "the gay cowboy movie" (ha ha!) either, and was glad that Larry David, uh, "rode to [his] rescue." Funny guy. Funny ha-ha, I mean.

To me, this is the funniest part of the whole homosexual-panic reaction to "Brokeback Mountain" -- not just that seeing it or not seeing it is seen as a kind of statement, but that it's necessary for people to make a statement about seeing it or not seeing it. Some people not only feel defensive about not wanting to see it, but feel compelled to come out and announce that they don't want to see it. Does that mean they're really homophobic, or latent queer, or right-wing fundamentalists or all of the above? I "came out" recently about my (initially) unconscious resistance to seeing "King Kong" (it has to do with the 3-hour running time and my fear of feeling bad when they kill the big, sweet, furry galoot -- I don't like to see even CGI animals get hurt), but since when do people have to feel so guilty or conflicted about not wanting to see a movie? As it happens, Larry David's straight friends are right: Part of what's so good about "Brokeback Mountain" is precisely that it's a great movie love story and that you don't even think about playing stupid, reductive identity politics with the characters' lives.

(Anybody who thinks that "straight" and "gay" are permanent or exclusive binary options, or comprehensive definitions of human sexuality, will probably be surprised or confused by the movie anyway, because it doesn't make an issue of "gay" or "straight" identity or behavior. It's just a movie about the lives of these two guys who meet and work together and develop a friendship with benefits at a crucial time in their lives -- and, as with a lot of male friendships, that early on-the-job bonding becomes a life-long relationship. And, every once in a while, Jack and Ennis have sex.)

My friend John, whom I've known (entirely platonically!) for almost 30 years and who now lives with his wife Mary in Los Angeles, told me recently about a male friend of his who wanted to go see "Brokeback Mountain" but didn't know how. He knew he couldn't take a date. He didn't want to go by himself -- or with another guy (how would that look? he obsessed). So, John came up with the perfect solution: He invited his friend to accompany him and Mary.

"Great!" said the friend. "But if Mary cancels, I'm not going."

John, who's in the music industry, said: "This is the perfect DVD movie. It could be huge."

2) "Not gay enough" or "too gay"?
"Brokeback Mountain" -- like "Munich," another one of 2005's best movies -- does not paint its characters in solid black-and-white. But that's exactly what worries some, who have been trying to predict whether (supposedly straight, "mainstream") audiences will find it "too gay" and be turned off, or whether (supposedly gay, activist) audiences will find it "not gay enough" (in a political sense) and be turned off.

In his "Straight dudes' guide to 'Brokeback,' " David White at MSNBC offers some advice to those who are worried about the "too gay" part:
It’s about 130 minutes long and 129 of them are about Men Not Having Sex.

And:

You kind of have no idea how important it is for you to shut up. But it’s crucial. I was recently at a press screening for another movie and I overheard four guys in the theater lobby talking about “Brokeback.” They were resolute in their refusal to go see it and they couldn’t stop loudly one-upping each other about how they had no interest, were not “curious,” and were, in the words of the loudest guy in the group, “straight as that wall over there.” Oh, the wall with poster for the Big Gay Cowboy Movie on it? That straight wall? Well here’s something that everyone else now knows but that guy: he’s probably gay. Being silent marks you as too cool to care about how other men see you. It means you’re comfortable and not freaked by your own naked shadow. Did Steve McQueen go around squawking about how straight-as-a-wall he was? No, he didn’t. He was too busy being stoic and manly.

And besides:

Dude, it's a western.... And the script was adapted by none other than Total Dude Larry McMurtry. That guy is the coolest western writer in the country. He wrote “Lonesome Dove.” You love “Lonesome Dove.” In fact, the only problem with remembering that it’s a western is having to ignore the fact that most westerns are about 1000 percent gay. If you think I’m making that up, just go watch “Red River” again.
I would add that "Brokeback Mountain" isn't even 10 percent as gay as "Top Gun" or "Jarhead," and that the man-on-man contact in both those films is much heavier and more explicit than any "stemming the rose" in "Brokeback."

3) Is it PC enough?
Back in September, David Poland, over at The Hot Button, made a prediction after seeing "Brokeback Mountain" in the mountains of Colorado at the Telluride Film Festival:
I still think that there could be some backlash against the film since it depicts gay men (presumably, though one of the two men is clearly a happily active bi-sexual and the other seems okay with married life though obsessed with the other man, though not men in general) as unable to move forward, suppressed by society and the threat of anti-gay rage rearing its head. It's hard to imagine Larry Kramer or Andrew Sullivan going for the politics of this film.

On the flip side, I didn't find a gay man at Telluride who saw the film and was not a fan, including some very, very smart, fully out, sharp-tongued guys. [...]

In so many ways, "Brokeback Mountain" is not inherently political. It is a very old-fashioned romance....

More recently, in the Village Voice year-end movie poll, critic Steve Erickson said:
It's no surprise that a "Brokeback" backlash is coming, but the form it's taking is odd: straight male critics complaining it's not gay enough. They think a gay film has to prove — or at least aspire to — its outlaw authenticity. "Brokeback" is not just another story of tragic, helpless victims. Repression, especially the internalized variety, is the clear villain here. It comes in many forms: Straight people claiming the authority to determine queer legitimacy and then fetishizing it is one.

... while another critic, Nathan Lee, wrote:
If I hear one more straight critic complain that "Brokeback Mountain" isn't particularly gay, I'm gonna spit on my hand, lube up my ----, and ---- him in the ----. I'm only kissing if he looks like Heath Ledger, though.

Only Lee didn't use all those little dashes.

So, you may be shocked to learn that, despite what you may have been led to believe, "Brokeback Mountain" is not, in fact, all things to all people. I know, it's a wild concept. The movie tells a small-scale, narrowly delineated story, specific to these individual characters in their time and place, that makes no overt political claims -- except, natch, that it's part of a Hollywood conspiracy to promote a "pro-gay" agenda. It's also not particularly gay, although there's some of that in it.

Which brings me to my favorite "review" of "Brokeback Mountain" over at Red State Update. In a variation on SCTV's "Farm Film Report" with Billy Sol Hurok (Joe Flaherty) and Big Jim McBob (John Candy), Jackie Brole and Dunlap (played by Nashville comics Travis and Jonathan) discuss that new "King Kong" movie everybody's been talkin' about (the new one, not the old black-and-white one), and how it's nice to enjoy a good Western. What I think is particularly great about this hilariously inarticulate discussion -- which is sort of the whole "Brokeback" tizzy in a nutsack -- is that it's not just another stupid "gay cowboy" joke, but is more about the preconceptions and perceptions of moviegoers than it is about the movie itself. (Thanks to readers who sent in this link.)

4) "Is it breakthrough enough"?
Finally, and perhaps most curious of all, is a commentary by my former Los Angeles Film Critics Association colleague David Ehrenstein, who points out that "Brokeback Mountain" is not a gay breakthrough like some are saying because it was preceded by many much gayer movies, and that those who say it's some kind of "gay breakthrough" are wrong because the movie is not what they say it is -- i.e., a "gay breakthrough" movie. Then he kind of bashes the movie for not being the very thing that he says it isn't:

Heath Ledger’s faithful Ennis Del Mar waits for Jake Gyllenhaal’s straying Jack Twist and his “fishing trip” invites just as Irene Dunne pined away for a “drop-in” from her married lover, John Boles, in 1932’s "Back Street." But we’re not supposed to speak of such things, living as we do in what Gore Vidal calls “The United States of Amnesia.” We’re instead encouraged to ignore the precedents shattered by three decades of truly groundbreaking queer films — with "Sunday Bloody Sunday" (1971) leading a pack that also includes "My Beautiful Laundrette" (1985), "Parting Glances" (1986), Todd Haynes’ "Poison" (1991) and "Velvet Goldmine" (1998), Gus Van Sant’s "Mala Noche" (1985) and "My Own Private Idaho" (1991), "Savage Nights" (1992), "The Long Day Closes" (1992), "Wild Reeds" (1994), "Urbania" (2000), "Les Passagers" (1999), Patrice Chereau’s "L’Homme Blesse" (1983) and "Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train" (1998), "Kinsey" (2004), and, just this year, "Tropical Malady" and "Mysterious Skin." No, what’s really supposed to be important is the saddle-packing same-sex equivalent of "Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner."

Newsweek’s Smith is simply agog at how “Gyllenhaal and Ledger don’t dodge it. The kissing and the sex scenes are fierce and full-blooded. But if the actors were taking a risk, they sure don’t seem to think so.” Goodness, you’d swear the thing starred Tom Cruise and Kevin Spacey.

And what about gay actors playing gay roles? Is it beyond their ken? Would they be open to accusations of “simply being themselves” rather than “really acting”? In a marvelously irreverent article published in The Guardian called “Gay for Today,” writer Philip Hensher put it best: “There are no gay actors — or at least, there weren’t until Nathan Lane, to everyone’s utter incredulity, came out. Of course, there were gay actors in America’s past — James Dean, Cary Grant, Dirk Bogarde, Rock Hudson, Danny Kaye. Plenty of them, in fact. But, for whatever reason, there’s hardly a single gay actor of recognizable stature working in Hollywood. An incredible fact.”
Maybe I missed the part where "Brokeback Mountain" announced it was a "gay breakthrough." (Oh, the marketers are also being criticized for downplaying the gayness -- even though there may not be enough -- in trying to reach a "mainstream" audience.) I agree with David that all the swoony talk about how "brave" this solidly classical movie is -- or the actors are -- is sheer sheep dung. But "Brokeback Mountain" is no pedantic liberal thesis movie like "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." And it's not the movie's fault that some ignorami are writing about it as if it were. (David: Think "All That Heaven Allows" or "Ali -- Fear Eats the Soul," in the guise of a traditional, sexually and emotionally repressed Western. Is there any other kind -- "Johnny Guitar" excepted? I mean, while we're citing Todd Haynes and Gus van Sant, shouldn't we mention Douglas Sirk and R.W. Fassbinder and Howard Hawks and John Ford -- "Two Rode Together," indeed! -- too?)

As for the "gay actor" question, I look at it this way: We all know there are a lot more gay actors playing straight parts than straight actors playing gay parts. The big difference is that the gay actors pretend that not all of what they do is acting.

Hensher's catty comments are so disingenuous he reminds me of Austin Powers: "Yeah, and I can't believe Liberace was gay. I mean, women loved him! I didn't see that one coming." Surely there's no doubt that are at least as many high-profile gay (or Kinsey 1+) actors working in Hollywood as there've ever been. And just like those Hensher mentions from the past, most of them -- with the notable exception of "Lord of the Rings"/"X-Men" icon, Sir Ian McKellen -- are not "out" to the general public. But everybody in the movie biz seems to know who they are. Or, at least, they've heard some pretty good rumors.

Whether these actors want to officially come out on the job or not is up to them. I'd like to think it wouldn't hurt their careers at all, but I'm not going to blame them for shutting up if they think it would. Or if they just don't want to deal with the particular kind of media attention they'd be inviting. And, again, that's hardly the fault of "Brokeback Mountain" or Ang Lee or Heath Ledger or Jake Gyllenhaal. Don't hate them because they're pretty!

So, there you go. It's completely up to you if you want to see or skip the first sort-of gay but maybe not gay enough cowboy love story Western picture show. Just don't assume it's what anybody else tells you it is. Or isn't. You know what "assume" does...
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Offline brokebackmountain

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NYT - Cowboys are my weakness
« Reply #8 on: Jan 07, 2006, 05:41 AM »
Cowboys Are My Weakness
By LARRY DAVID
Published: January 1, 2006

SOMEBODY had to write this, and it might as well be me. I haven't seen "Brokeback Mountain," nor do I have any intention of seeing it. In fact, cowboys would have to lasso me, drag me into the theater and tie me to the seat, and even then I would make every effort to close my eyes and cover my ears.

And I love gay people. Hey, I've got gay acquaintances. Good acquaintances, who know they can call me anytime if they had my phone number. I'm for gay marriage, gay divorce, gay this and gay that. I just don't want to watch two straight men, alone on the prairie, fall in love and kiss and hug and hold hands and whatnot. That's all.

Is that so terrible? Does that mean I'm homophobic? And if I am, well, then that's too bad. Because you can call me any name you want, but I'm still not going to that movie.

To my surprise, I have some straight friends who've not only seen the movie but liked it. "One of the best love stories ever," one gushed. Another went on, "Oh, my God, you completely forget that it's two men. You in particular will love it."

"Why me?"

"You just will, trust me."

But I don't trust him. If two cowboys, male icons who are 100 percent all-man, can succumb, what chance to do I have, half- to a quarter of a man, depending on whom I'm with at the time? I'm a very susceptible person, easily influenced, a natural-born follower with no sales-resistance. When I walk into a store, clerks wrestle one another trying to get to me first. My wife won't let me watch infomercials because of all the junk I've ordered that's now piled up in the garage. My medicine cabinet is filled with vitamins and bald cures.

So who's to say I won't become enamored with the whole gay business? Let's face it, there is some appeal there. I know I've always gotten along great with men. I never once paced in my room rehearsing what to say before asking a guy if he wanted to go to the movies. And I generally don't pay for men, which of course is their most appealing attribute.

And gay guys always seem like they're having a great time. At the Christmas party I went to, they were the only ones who sang. Boy that looked like fun. I would love to sing, but this weighty, self-conscious heterosexuality I'm saddled with won't permit it.

I just know if I saw that movie, the voice inside my head that delights in torturing me would have a field day. "You like those cowboys, don't you? They're kind of cute. Go ahead, admit it, they're cute. You can't fool me, gay man. Go ahead, stop fighting it. You're gay! You're gay!"

Not that there's anything wrong with it.

Larry David appears in the HBO series "Curb Your Enthusiasm."


http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/01/opinion/01david.html?incamp=article_popular_3
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Offline Apollonos

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Re: "Why I won't be Watching Brokeback Mountain"
« Reply #9 on: Jan 07, 2006, 05:52 AM »
Quote
I say it's a great movie....and lets keep going to see it...so it will become the movie of the year!!!!!!

It looks like it's already moving in that direction in spite of the best efforts of people like that Miller clown in Utah who pulled BBM from his theater. People like that want it to fail because it threatens their values and beliefs, but it's already doing well in some of the red states, and it's just getting started! I'm looking forward to going again this weekend, doing my part to keep BBM successful.

Go, Brokeback, GO!

Offline brokebackmountain

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Why BBM is so frightening
« Reply #10 on: Jan 08, 2006, 05:48 AM »
Good analysis from Salt Lake Tribute

Why 'Brokeback Mountain' is so frightening
Leonard Pitts 


http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/ci_3381236
 
I went to see ''Brokeback Mountain'' last week, mainly to prove to myself that I could.

This was after reading a New York Times piece by Larry David of ''Seinfeld'' and ''Curb Your Enthusiasm'' fame in which he wrote that, though he loves gay people and supports both gay marriage and gay divorce, he does not plan to see this critically praised movie about gay cowboys. David said he's discomfited by the idea of watching two men fall in love and fears it might make him gay by osmosis.

''Not,'' he added, ''that there's anything wrong with that.''

It strikes me that David's essay amounted to the smiley-face liberal version of what is being said more bluntly in conservative circles. ''Gay love story carries a high 'ick' factor'' reads the headline of a story on the American Family Association Web site. It quotes a prediction that people will leave the theater vomiting.
   
How asinine, I think. Yeah, says a little voice in my head, but if that's how you feel, why haven't you been to ''Brokeback Mountain''?

Now look, I say, and suddenly there's this wheedling tone to my voice, some of my best friends are gay. Heck, my own brother's gay. But you know, we are talking about a love story between two guys, and they might be kissing and, you know, touching and . . . stuff.

The little voice falls silent. It is a put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is silence. So I went to see ''Brokeback.'' And I can report that it was as shattering and powerful as advertised. People were moved. Nobody threw up. Which brings me back to that ick factor.

I find myself wondering if this primeval revulsion doesn't speak less to our antipathy toward homosexuality than to our fears about masculinity. I mean, while a movie about two women in love would surely be controversial, I doubt it would present the visceral threat ''Brokeback Mountain'' does for some of us. I doubt Larry David would be scared to see it.
   
Indeed, the idea of women who can't keep their hands off each other is a staple of  so-called men's entertainment. Visit a magazine stand if you don't believe me.
   
Point being, when it's women, we - meaning straight men - tend to find it titillating, exotic, arousing in its very forbiddance. When it's men, we - meaning straight men and women - tend to react as if somebody dropped a snake in the bed. Small wonder the FBI reports that while 902 men were reported victims of sexual orientation hate crimes in 2004, only 212 women were.
   
We seem prone to find male homosexuality the more clear and present danger, the more urgent betrayal of some fundamental . . . something. Some will say it's - and I will finesse this for a general audience - the nature of man-to-man sex some of us find off-putting. I think it's more basic than that. I think gay men threaten our very conception of masculinity.
   
The amazing thing about ''Brokeback Mountain'' is its willingness to make that threat, directly and overtly. These are not cute gays, funny gays, ''Queer Eye for the Straight Guy'' gays. These are ''cowboys,'' and there is no figure in American lore more iconically male. Think Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, the Marlboro Man. The cowboy is our very embodiment of male virtues.
   
In offering us cowboys who are gay, then, ''Brokeback Mountain'' commits heresy, but it is knowing heresy, matter-of-fact heresy. Nor is it the sex (what little there is) that makes it heretical. Rather, it's the emotion, the fact that the movie dares you to deny these men their humanity. Or their love.
   
Ultimately, I think, that's what the Larry Davids among us sense. And why for them, ''Brokeback Mountain'' might be the most frightening movie ever made. 
Born from their love..forever bound by ours.

Offline Apollonos

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The latest news from Utah
« Reply #11 on: Jan 10, 2006, 04:07 AM »
Great news from Utah! Love is a force of Nature, and Larry Miller can't stop it. He's only succeeded in making himself look like a provincial, small-minded bigot.

http://www.boxofficemojo.com/news/?id=1979&p=.htm

Utah Theater Snub Can't Bridle 'Brokeback Mountain'
by Brandon Gray
January 9, 2006

 Last week, distributor Focus Featur s set up 484 theaters fo Brokeback Mountain's expansion, but on Friday that figure was revised to 483. The difference was one theater in Utah.

The Megaplex 17 at Jordan Commons in the Salt Lake City suburb of Sandy decided to pull director Ang Lee's cowboy love story at the last minute on Thursday night, despite having agreed to play the picture. The theater is owned by Larry H. Miller, who also owns the Utah Jazz, a National Basketball Association team.

"It's the most despicable practice that any exhibitor can do," Focus' head of distribution, Jack Foley, told Box Office Mojo. "It was a flagrant dismissal of a commitment, and without even a phone call. So I'm not in business with him anymore. It's a breach of contract. It's unethical. We can sue him."

Calls to the Megaplex 17 resulted in "no comments" in regards to why Brokeback Mountain was yanked. "You're not going to get any comment from us on that," said Dale Harvey, General Manager for Megaplex Theatres.


As of Sunday, Megaplex Theatres' Web site had Transamerica, a comedy-drama about a transsexual parent, listed for Jan. 20 in their "Coming Soon" section, but the movie has since vanished from their schedule.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe has been the Megaplex 17's top draw in recent weeks, grossing over $27,000 this past weekend. "It's a family show, and we generally do well with those," Harvey noted.

The Megaplex 17 is showing Hostel as well. Though No. 1 nationwide, the sex-and-gore saturated horror picture ranked fourth at the theater with $10,700.

Moviegoers in the Salt Lake City area still have a chance to see Brokeback Mountain as the picture is playing at three other theaters: the Broadway Center Cinemas in Salt Lake City, the Century 16 in South Salt Lake and the Cinemark 24 at Jordan Landing.

On the four-day New Year's frame, Brokeback Mountain earned $46,300 at the Broadway, landing among the top nationwide per-screen averages that weekend. For the weekend ending Jan. 8, the movie took in $18,823 there, still No. 1 in the complex, after Focus added the Century 16 and Cinemark 24 on Friday.

At the Century 16, Brokeback Mountain was also No. 1 with $12,741. Harvey pointed out, though, that the picture was No. 6 at the Cinemark 24, where it made $7,056.


Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain
Brokeback Mountain is one of the most talked about movies in theaters now, and the Megaplex 17's dismissal of the picture garnered them publicity, including a headline on the Drudge Report.

Despite the Utah slight, Brokeback Mountain rode into about 80 more markets over the weekend and roped $5.7 million. At 483 theaters, the movie averaged a bustling $11,856 per site, and the total sits at $22.4 million after 31 days of limited release. Its production budget was $14 million.

"We no longer have to worry about breaking down the homophobic barriers, and [Brokeback Mountain's] now breaking into the more mainstream boomer market," said Foley. Foley will accelerate the movie's expansion again, reaching over 700 theaters on Friday.

With a raft of rave reviews, awards and media hype, including frequent jokes on late night talk shows, Brokeback Mountain has spun its negative perception of being "that gay cowboy movie" into a positive—the label put the picture on the map and then marketing savvy and word-of-mouth took over.

"To me, on a personal basis, that [gay cowboy label] annoyed me, but it was a liability and an asset," Foley said. "It certainly identified it. The good news is that the gay community and the art house audience saw it, and, now, the suburbs are just as solid. In most of the new theaters, the film ranks No. 1, and these are commercial houses."

Elsewhere, Brokeback Mountain's lead actor, Heath Ledger, went from repressed homosexual to legendary womanizer with his other movie in release, Casanova. The Lasse Hallstrom-directed period comedy wooed $4 million from its nationwide expansion to 1,004 theaters. The picture has captured a soft $5 million in 15 days.

Among Brokeback Mountain's presumed Oscar competitors, Universal's Munich went wide as well, grossing $7.6 million at 1,485 locations—up 953 from last week. With $25.4 million in 17 days, Steven Spielberg's $70 million action drama about Israel's response to the Palestinian terrorist attack at the 1972 Munich Olympics is on track to be the director's lowest grossing picture since Amistad in 1997.

On the other hand, Match Point is on course to be Woody Allen's highest-grossing movie in years, although the bar is a tiny fraction of Mr. Spielberg's. The DreamWorks-distributed thriller scored $2.7 million in its expansion to 304 venues for $3.6 million in 12 days, and a nationwide release to over 700 sites is scheduled for Jan. 20.