* 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?
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.