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To top of this day's posts Tuesday, December 20, 2005

* TMAGC = The Movie About Gay Cowboys

Was I glad to have the good folks on TV tell me what I'd really be seeing before I went to see this movie! Without their investigative journalism, how would I know that its actual title was Brokeback Mountain, The Movie About Gay Cowboys? Calling it just Brokeback Mountain in the credits and the posters was of course a marketing ploy to draw in unsuspecting moviegoers wanting to see a sweeping, picturesque love story from the American West, where rugged sons of the frontier, like the Marlboro Man, once freely roamed. However, to be fair, even though they weren't regular cowboys, they smoked many a manly cigarette throughout the movie, so the advertising wasn't entirely false.

Come to think of it, the movie was a sweeping, picturesque love story from the American West. But, the cowboys weren't exactly roaming free. They worked for this guy, see, who put all sorts of rules on where they could go, and what they could do, and he decided whether and how much they'd get paid. As I said, they were not regular cowboys, no real sons of the frontier. So, anyways, well, there's now all this hype about this big Hollywood romantic epic. Not that I like these chick-flicks, but, if you gotta see one of those, there's no reason to pick one that's also tragic, now, is there?

You know what, though? I can't explain it, but the tragedy in this movie makes sense somehow. Maybe because it's not about regular cowboys. Hmmm...that Annie Proulx sure wrote a compelling story:

It is a story about two inarticulate, confused Wyoming ranch kids in 1963 who have left home and who find themselves in a personal sexual situation they did not expect, understand nor can manage. The only work they find is herding sheep for a summer ­ some cowboys! Yet both are beguiled by the cowboy myth, as are most people who live in the state, and Ennis tries to be one but never gets beyond ranch hand work; Jack settles on rodeo as an expression of the Western ideal. It more or less works for him until he becomes a tractor salesman. Their relationship endures for 20 years, never resolved, never faced up to, always haunted by fear and confusion.

I'll never think of cowboys in the same way again -- maybe I will, but that's beside the point. Ang Lee has indeed made "a great American love story" that deserves a place among the best Hollywood romances. You can take my word for it, because my senses had to labor to accomodate this movie, just like they usually do when in the midst of a Hollywood movie experience. It's duly impeccable and heartfelt, with superlative performances...speaking of which, it was Heath Ledger's excellent performance that sustained my senses through the two-plus hours of not-so-unearned emotion.

What can I say? This genre doesn't do much for me, but the movie stayed with me despite that. Honestly, I'm not sure if I wanted to run out of the theater because it was predictably depressing or depressingly predictable. So there you have it. This movie ain't bad, but I'm not sure I liked it.

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7:52:21 PM  To top of this post

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