Friday, February 03, 2006

Ride 'em cowboy

We saw "Brokeback Mountain" last night, which caused me to spend some time this morning reading past reviews and other information, even going so far as to call the New Yorker to see if I could get a free copy of Annie Proulx’s short story printed in 1997. And of course I have to add to the great pile of vegetable matter resulting from endless discussion of the movie. Yes, it is a gay love story, though it’s really more about repression (by oneself and society) than about love or homosexuality. Kind of like “Star Wars” looked like a sci-fi movie but was really a western. Second, it is not sexually explicit, so I don’t see what the conservative Christians are frothing at the mouth about. There are a couple of quick, distant shots of male backsides, and nothing frontal. You’ll see a lot more skin and simulated action in your average music video or episode of “The O.C.” Yes, there is hugging and kissing, but there are none of the usual trappings of romance movies, since it’s a) these are rough, inarticulate cowboys and not Cary Grant and b) it’s all about repression (see above). WWF fans should find it quite palatable, actually, since the embracing resembles nothing so much as a cross between a wrestling match and a roller derby. That’s so you know they’re not limp-wristed, breathy-voiced pansies, but real he-men who just happen to be gay, presumably to make their gayness more palatable to mainstream straight audiences who just aren’t ready for carryings-on like Leo and Kate in “Titanic.” It’s a good movie but we’re apparently still not at a point where we can have a mainstream, popular movie that tells a gay love story with real, modern characters who don’t die of AIDS, lynch mobs or some other tragedy.

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