Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Gay day.

Today Nicole and I watched about four hours of What Not To Wear. Then we went to see Brokeback Mountain with Kristin.

The movie was okay. It was definitely better than the short story, which sums up a pretty complex story that spans twenty years in just twenty pages. I reread it over break (I read it the first time for my creative writing class at JMU), and I thought to myself, "If I turned something like this in, my classmates would HATE it." It's not a very dense short story. Seriously, it could have been a whole novel.

Anyway, the movie was pretty to watch. Also, the acting was spectacular. But as a film... ehh. I think it's just been over-hyped as the first mainstream movie to feature a romance between two men, but it really wasn't that shocking and edgy. I mean, I realize that it was probably much more marketable to have the sexuality handled "tastefully" and with subtly, but seriously, if you're trying to make a statement, just do it.

I was also really more interested in the main characters' wives. I understand that they were in sort of a weird situation, but it was still pretty shitty that they just cheated on their wives for a long period. I guess Michelle Williams's character gets more sympathy since she's much more developed than Anne Hathaway's (even though I really found how her hair became bigger with time to be very entertaining).

Finally, I had some beef with the completely cliched symbolism of the shirts at the ending (which I won't explain further because I don't want to give anything away for those who haven't seen the movie).

(In response to the anonymous comment about my criticism of the film):
I found
this on Salon.com and this quote from Stephanie Zacharek's review of the film puts into words what I was trying to inarticulately say:
"After those first risky mountainside idylls, the relationship between Jack and Ennis supposedly grows and deepens, through long separations and marriage to other people... But we're never allowed to see how Jack and Ennis navigate those changes. One minute they're kissing hungrily and furtively, reunited after spending many years apart; the next they're cuddling on a motel bed, sharing whispered hopes and fears about their future, or lack thereof. Lee and his actors give us the occasional snapshot of intimacy, but that's not the same as wrapping us in its glow, or making us feel the danger of it in our bones. This is an unconventional love story that's carefully calibrated to offend no one... [and] risks so much less than its characters do -- it's a closeted movie."
Zacharek also mentions the very ambiguous conversation between Heath Ledger and Anne Hathaway's characters at the end of the film, which also confused me quite a bit, but it is the only instance in the film that is up for interpretation. Overall, I agree with her review of the movie except that I found that all of the actors did remarkable jobs.

We also went to Improv Olympic to see Improv Match Game for the first time since October. The theater was packed, which surprised us because it was always empty when we went before. Plus, it was a fantastic show. Rich Prouty poured beer on a "celebrity" panelist's head! Comic gold! Plus, as usual, Rich picked two people from our group to give prizes to. He's picked Janna, Kristin, and me at least three times each. I'm not complaining; one time I got Frango mints!

Tomorrow I have to get up early and go with Nicole to O'Hare. Then I get to make calls to temp agencies - how exciting!


Anonymous said...

you said, "if you're trying to make a statement, just do it. "

what statement would that be? i find that the understated mundanity of it all is the statement. what would you have liked to have seen? gratuitous sex scenes? what about the themes of repression and enforced circumspection? isn't that the point?

Tyler said...

I realized that after I wrote this entry it seemed that I was making an open call for more cowboy-on-cowboy love scenes.

That's not really what I was saying.

I guess my problem is the way the movie is marketed. I read an interview with the producer, James Schamus, and he made this statement that was like, "We're going to show this in blue states and red states," in this big, bold fashion. Well, maybe it was just me, but this movie didn't really make a bold statement about homosexuality. Nor did I feel like it even tried to portray it as a normal, mainstream thing. I understand that you can take the film as an understated comment on homosexuality (and its treatment of it is appropriate, I assume, considering the film's setting), but I think it didn't really give any new ideas about the subject. You can say that the two men had this firey love that couldn't be denied, but others can argue that it was still immoral (considering the men's infidelity and Jack Twist's promiscuity). I'm not suggesting that, I'm just playing devil's advocate.

I guess I can see that the film is positive in its portrayal of gay men who aren't dying of AIDS or overly-stereotypical queens, but ever since its release the film has had this air about it that made it seem like it would be subverting this great American film genre (the Western - which it didn't, by the way; it just happened to take place in Wyoming and is NOT a western) or making bold statements about equality or something. I'm just saying that I was disappointed that I didn't find such bold statements in the film.