Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Ten Years of Brokeback

Today's the 10th anniversary of the release of Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain. Turning this event inward (Ennis would understand), I can probably credit this movie and this movie alone with this here blog -- my obsession over it in the months leading up to its release and through the awards season (boo Crash) is probably where I most found my voice. (My spazzy, gay voice.) And we've been running on fumes ever since! 

Seriously though I adore this movie, which is why it surprises me to realize I haven't sat down and watched it in many years -- in fact I'm sure I haven't watched it since Heath Ledger died in 2008. I meant to in the lead up to this anniversary but...

... well, the movie intimidates me now. As lame as this sounds I'm scared to re-watch it - it's probably partially that I'm nervous it hasn't aged well but also mostly I am just afraid that it will just make me very, very sad. So I haven't been able to bring myself back.

That doesn't mean I don't still know the movie like the back of my spit-lubed hand -- I could probably act out the entire thing, scene by scene, right this minute if prompted. (Go on -- prompt me! Jack Nasty!) But I really do need to give it, start to finish, another go. To be strong for my boys Jack and Ennis! Have any of you watched it recently? How did it hold up for you?


Anonymous said...

Yes, I've watched it recently and felt it held up very well. The only thing that grated on me was the same thing that grated when I first saw it - Jack's make-up when he's older just... isn't quite right. Otherwise, yes it's still just as gorgeously filmed and well acted as it ever was. The score still breaks my heart with merely a few notes. And it still hits so close to home for this once closeted country boy as to scare the bejeezus out of me for how my life might have been.

retropian said...

I know where you are coming from. When it was out in the theaters I must have seen it a dozen times, even if I didn't really feel up for it, I felt, since it would be out of the theaters soon enough, I should add my ticket to it's box-office. And who knows when I'd see it on the big screen again? It is a masterpiece, replete with hidden meanings and symbolism, but I have little desire to watch it again. I have to admit also that while I have not and do not become a "fan" of any particular actor, Heath was one exception. His portrayal of Ennis, and his balls out performance of The Joker made me realize he was an actor of deep talent, a once in a generation, if that, acting genius. His death really affected me in a way that quite surprised me. Maybe I'll watch it again on it's 20th anniversary.

Remington said...

I hated "Brokeback Mountain". I honestly didn't get its appeal beyond two hot guys, two on-the-rise actors, kissing. To me, there was absolutely no chemistry between Heath and Jake, except for maybe their first reunited kiss that Michelle's character sees. Other than that, there was nothing. And Heath's character was so awful, Jake's character would never have fallen for him. And it's not because Heath's character is simply representing how men his age were in that time period, because Jake's character is in that same time period and he isn't anywhere near as grumpy and dull and mean as Heath. The only thing worth seeing the movie for is all the ladies in it. Michelle Williams just about breaks your heart, especially during that confrontation scene where she reveals that she left him notes on his fishing hooks that she knows he never read. Anne Hathaway doesn't have much to do but she's still solid in it. You, at the very least, get her character's appeal. Linda Cardellini is great, as always. And Anna freaking Faris completely steals the movie for me and she only has like, two scenes. Her Texas accent slays me every time, haha. Again, it's all about chemistry for me and Heath and Jake just did not have it, not with these characters anyway. Maybe if they played gay lovers in a movie set in present day, I would have believed them. If you want a movie with some hot and sweet chemistry between its two male leads, watch "I Love You, Phillip Morris" with Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor. It shouldn't work, I'm aware, but it totally fucking does. :)

Chip Chandler said...

I haven't watched it since I saw it in theaters. The DVD is sitting unopened on my shelf. It came out at a time I was in a dysfunctional relationship with a sexually confused guy who's still the love of my life, and I wept harder than I ever have at any movie. I was wiped out for days. I bought the DVD immediately, and I figured I'd get around to watching it again at some point. But I still can't bring myself to, perhaps especially since Ledger's death.

Drew said...

I'm in the same boat you are. It's one of my favorite movies and I have seen it countless times, but I haven't watched it since Heath Ledger's passing. I've thought about it many times now, but I can't bring myself to do it, even though I have no problem watching other Heath Ledger movies. This one is different.

Rob K. said...

This movie (and most especially Heath Ledger as Ennis) just broke my heart. I loved it. The final moments are probably the greatest evocation of pure LOSS and unrealized dreams that I've ever seen on the big screen. I watched it a couple years ago and it's still wonderful.

Anonymous said...

The dichotomies made this queer movie a successful crossover.
The working poor is authentic, from wardrobe to "gritty" acting style. He's repped by a straight-acting top, whose inner journey is developed in full, from a stoic rock to ~transcendental devastation.
The leisure class is a Sirk knock-off, the screamingly absurd, elegant camp of Lureen/Jack isn't accident. He's a social-climbing, rabid gay stereotype of "fantasy twink" given to soap-like melodramatic outbursts (tho natural, spontaneous enough to warrant the enduring obsession with its actor.)
Had Jeff Nichols' Loving been made 30 years ago, this forbidden romance is comparable to such miscegenation tale, that he'd be the black woman of earthy, fiery tits and ass ready to be plundered 24/7. And Always Stands by Her (White, macho, Real) Man - even if her black hussy can't resist finding white "replacements" inbetween the fishing trips.
Alas, it's Ha Knight whose inner conflicts, confusion, giving in to forbidden temptation echoing the twisted knot in his "nature" (made mythical and grandiose by the geo backdrop), that the straight white majority identify with most closely.

Anonymous said...

P.S. When Ang Lee's father was alive, he seemed to identify with the aspirant yuppies in Wedding Banquet. The Taiwanese/NYC gay couple are cosmo, sensible, fallible but redeemable. It's the mainland Chinese, spunky woman who is brash, fertile (literally, story-wise bridges generations of straight dad & gay son) Hepburn-ish slapstick heroine.
Wealth, as part of social legitimacy (even if only closeted from parents) doesn't make a fool of anyone.

Brokeback was made after Lee lost his dad. And there seems to be a return to, and yearning for "nature". A rootedness of an universal level that contrasts with what's "disposable" in the movie. Whether by coincidence or design: material wealth is disposable, unconventional masculinity per traditional American values is also disposable.
Unlike, say Ennis' denim-clad body framed against the night sky of fireworks. His heart is weary but his body is kept safe ~"away from hate crime", by all those American symbols.)