Free-Floating Hostility

Friday, February 10, 2006

It's a Gay Shepherd Movie, not a Gay Cowboy Movie

Brokeback Mountain is a perfectly good movie, although I'm in no position to comment on whether its eight Oscar nominations speaks to its quality or is really just a sign that everything else was total shit this year. Going in, I was leaning toward the latter option, if only because two of the top-billed stars were Anne Hathaway and Heath Ledger, not two people I associate with quality. I should also know better than to conflate Oscar nominations with good filmmaking. If our heroes had been attacked by CGI-crafted mutant sheep or something, the film would be a shoe-in for 11 or 12 nominations.

Ledger is actually the best part of the movie. Everyone else is good too and the script is well considered. The pacing is a little ponderous for my tastes, but there were a lot of nice pictures of mountains, bears, wolves and sheep, so it could have been worse. I walked out wondering what exactly about that movie was supposed to appeal to the "Heartland," as some thought it would. I don't believe the Heartland is all that different from the major urban centers (Heart-less land???), so I never really believed that a story about love would mean more in one place that the other. Admittedly, I've been reading too much Mickey Kaus, so my thinking may be a little tainted by his. Kaus believes that left-wing commentators are blowing the movie up into a culture-changing event, in which the red states learn how to stop worrying and love the hot man-on-man action. I refuse to read anything into the film's gross. Anyone who looks at any population and sees monolithic thinking is intellectually dishonest. There are a few people in Hobbs, N.M. who would be predisposed to like this movie and they'll go see it. And there are people who won't be and they won't. I found nothing universal about Brokeback Mountain, just a well-acted movie about conflicted characters. That's hard enough to do.

2 Comment(s):

  •   Posted by Blogger Alice at February 12, 2006 10:52 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • I'm not sure why Mickey Kaus is so obsessed with debunking the "Brokeback" red state success. Shouldn't he spend his time debunking the red state-blue state phenomenon so David Brooks can stop feeling so pleased with himself?

    While you were in Hobbs, did you ever get over to Clovis, NM (one of Kaus's targets for investigation)? I was stranded there for six hours once in the middle of an ice storm.

  •   Posted by Blogger Mike at February 13, 2006 11:56 AM | Permanent Link to this Comment
  • Never went to Clovis.

    Saw a lot of Roswell and Carlsbad though. Good times.

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