Just because I like to write about pop culture, doesn’t mean that I’m on top of everything that is going on right as it is happening. I recently finally saw Brokeback Mountain. After all the hype and hub-bub over this flick, I had pretty high expectations, and I have to say I was slightly disappointed.
It was neither shocking enough to be noteworthy or emotionally gripping enough to move me. I’m can’t understand why people were crying and sobbing over the movie. Its not so much that you can’t sense the emotional bond between Jack and Ennis, its that it comes too late in the film. They start off their romantic entanglement after one relatively short conversation where Ennis admits that’s the most he’s ever spoken. Then one cold night they kiss and have sex. Am I to understand that gay relationships and/or love spawns out of being cold, lonely and the only other option is the sheep?
While on the topic of that initial "love scene" can I just say that I was slightly disturbed by the aggressiveness of it? Apparently foreplay for Jack and Ennis was beating the crap out of each other. That’s far kinkier than the anal probing that follows (I know Jack may love Ennis, but you know he much have been wishing for some KY).
Before this goes into an even darker place, let me get back to the emotional part of the movie: there’s very little dialog and very little in the first half of the film that made me feel that Jack actually loved Ennis and/or vice-versa. Because of that, when they can’t be together at the end, I wasn’t deeply moved. The moment where I really questioned whether Jack loved Ennis or just liked the sex was after they can’t be together since Ennis’ children are around, so Jack drives to Mexico to pick up a little Mexican boy-ass. Yeah, since I know that the first thing I do when I can’t be with someone I love is to go pick up a prostitute in another country. That’s love right there, you betcha.
Further frustrating the situation was the lack of social context: since it is set in the timeless outdoors and cowboys have always dressed the way that Jack and Ennis do in the film, right up to today, there’s no sense of the chronological setting of the film. The time and place overlays through the film help to tell you the year the movie is set in, but after a while you forget that they can’t just pack their bags and go somewhere to get married as they could now.
Perhaps the film’s lack of wider context makes it tough for us to not only understand that they can’t run off to Massachusetts and get married, but I think your own personal perspective will affect the viewing of this film. One of my best friends is gay and I live in the liberal northeast. I see these two and wonder why they don’t deal with the fact that they are gay and get together. Others may view it differently – they look at it and feel saddened or angry for a variety of reasons. How you view the film – cynically with that thought or with it being a love story – probably affects your overall opinion of the film.
However, in the end, the most lasting impression on pop culture will probably be the line "I wish I knew how to quit you." It has definitely entered the popular lexicon, since a quick Google search for the term turns up plenty of search results and some other blog entries and this great article on how it has already reached the tipping point.