...Not the kind of wheel you fall asleep at...

Brokeback Mountain

So despite some sarcastic comments I've seen making fun of the upcoming Brokeback Mountain, I am looking forward to seeing this movie quite a bit. (You can check out the previews HERE.) In it, Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger play two gay lovers. The premise is such (stolen off of yahoo movies):

"Set in Texas and Wyoming, this is the romantic tale of two male cowboys from very different backgrounds who meet and fall in love while working together as sheep ranch hands near Wyoming's Brokeback Mountain the summer of 1961. Their lives take different courses, however, with Jack Twist (Gyllenhaal) becoming a rodeo cowboy while Ennis Del Mar (Ledger) remains a ranch hand, and the film follows their lives as they see each other again over the next 20 years. Their relationship is rocky, however, as they must deal with the challenges posed as the intolerance of pre-(and post)-Stonewall rural America rears its ugly, violent head against the two lovers. (Williams plays Ledger's wife; Hathaway plays Gyllenhaal's wife; Quaid plays a ranch foreman.)"

Interestingly, many of the movie descriptions I've read only allude to the fact that the main characters in the movie are two men who fall in love with one another (yahoo's description is thankfully more bold), and I wonder if the television previews will be the same--tiptoeing around the topic of homosexuality enough that they can get mainstream audiences in to see it. For once, I might support this trickery. *IF* the movie and its portrayal of two gay lovers is a good one.

Now why am I gung-ho about this film without having even seen it yet? Well, here is a mainstream film where gay men aren't going to be portrayed as big flaming 'mo's and aren't simply just there to be the butt of the joke in some craptastic comedy. Is that not enough? I mean, tell me the last mainstream movie you saw where a) it focused on the love story of two gay folks instead of yet *another* lame-ass pair of nauseatingly sweet straight folks, and/or b) there were gay characters in it that were in fact fully-developed characters who weren't completely flat stereotypes of what mainstream America apparently perceives gay men to be like?

Yeah, good luck with that.

Maybe Brokeback Mountain looks a bit hokey--maybe if it were the same story but with a male and female lead instead of two males, most of us film geeks would roll our eyes and turn up our noses and vomit in our mouths a little--but you know what, even if it IS a slightly syrupy love-story in the end, IT'S A MOTHERFUCKING LOVE STORY ABOUT TWO GAY MEN THAT'S BEING MARKETED TOWARDS MAINSTREAM AMERICA and that's enough for me.

I mean, it's nice to see a movie that doesn't get all uncomfortable about the topic of gay love. It's also nice to see two good actors not "afraid" to step up to the roles (and man, those boys are foxy--I should leave my personal yammerings out of it, but all Gyllenhaal has to do is give those sad puppy-dog eyes and I'm mush). And it's DAMN nice to see a movie that (even if it fails to bring straight Christian America into the theaters but at least inundates them with the sight of unstereotypical gay love in television previews alone) breaks down our damnable media stereotypes of the gay male.

Granted, there are big flaming 'mo's out there in the world and there are gay boys who deserve to be the butt of a joke or two. And there is, of course, absolutely nothing wrong with these kindsa gay boys--it's just that they're not the only TYPE of gay men in existence, so they shouldn't be the only way gay men are represented in mainstream media. So it makes me ever so happy to see a movie that's attempting to do damage to these silly stereotypes and remind us that there ARE different types of gay men just like there are different types of straight men.

It's about time we see two gay men placed in a hyperly masculine setting instead of flouncing around in drag or moing it up with hyper-effeminacy (my complaints are with the stereotypical portrayals of ALL gay men as such, not with the 'mo's and flouncers themselves, I again point out, lest I wrongly offend)--Texas/Wyoming cowboys, I mean, you can't get any more "Masculine American Male" than that. And perhaps this may be the source of skepticism from some (the idea of a movie about two gay cowboys, of all things) but at least it's offering up an alternative for these stupid little pigeonholes that we've been jamming gay men into for so long in the media. (Ha ha ha--no pun intended)

The fact that this movie appears to be directed at mainstream America (if I remember correctly, my sister saw the previews for it at a non-artsy-cinema place) also makes me a bit afraid for it though. This means a lot more pressure is going to be placed on it in how it portrays gay men--both good and bad pressure--and I hope that it comes out on the other side relatively unscathed. But I fear fear fear that the movie will somehow fuck something up, and as it IS sort of a momentous occasion (a mainstream film dealing with homosexuality without fluff stereotypes and whatnot) it scares me that it might. I mean, one tiny wrong turn, and it could find itself reinforcing all of the stupid straight white Christian boys of America's views about homosexuality. Or one wrong turn and you've got all of straight white Christian America (or at least those who go not realizing what the movie is about) beating everyone down with their typical anti-gay, anti-morality bullshit. Or throw in enough shlock, and the momentousness and major topic of the movie gets lost among triteness, and a huge opportunity results in a flop. Any which way, that is a scary responsibility.

Promising is the fact that Gus Van Sant was attached to the project for quite some time, and (given the topics of previous films) I doubt he would've eagerly attached his name to it if it was COMPLETE stereotypical gay drivel. Promising also is the fact that Focus Features puts out damn good movies (and yes, this is a Focus Film)--think Eternal Sunshine and Punch-Drunk Love among others.

So dammit, I can't wait til it comes out in December. It's gotten me excited. I don't care whether it sucks or not, I think the cause is a noble one. It's about damn time.



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