East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Friday, January 27, 2006

Brokeback Mountain: My heart will go on, and on, and on [movie note]

Starring Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal
Adapted by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, from the story by Annie Proulx
Directed by Ang Lee

Good movie: Gyllenhaal doesn't overplay, Ledger miraculously doesn't underplay, and Michelle Williams's eye movements are heartbreaking. (Ledger should get the Oscar for being able to act like he's not in love with Williams. Anne Hathaway is in over her head, though.) Ennis and Jack are contrasted rather garishly (it's much easier to show the damned extremes than the happy median) but it lets Lee hit his usual shots at social straitjacketing. The more serious problem is that it's too slow and too long. I suggest the screenplay be abridged to the following:

ACT I: In which Ennis and Jack meet and fall into passionate love.
Jack: I'm Jack Twist. Don't be shamed of yer name, cain't be any more damn literary than mine.
Ennis: nnph.
Jack: Yer name's Ennis Del Mar? Okay, I was wrong. Anyways, I am sick of these beans.
Ennis: bah.
Jack: A bear? Where?
Ennis: uh.
Jack: Well there ain't nobody out here but us and the sheep, so, top or bottom?
Ennis: mmn.
Jack: Oh very funny.
[They go for brokeback. It's the only scene of the movie that's over too soon.]
Jack: Hey, a dead sheep. Think it could be an omen, or maybe a shitty piece of symbolism?
Ennis: duh.

ACT II: In which Ennis and Jack sneak out for weekend fuckathons.
Jack: I must say Ennis, yer gettin' a lot more conversational.
Ennis: yep.
Jack: I got a boy. Eight months old. Smiles a lot.
Ennis: fucken harmonica.
Jack: You seem to be a lot more worried about life than I am.
Ennis: dead in a irrigation ditch.

ACT III: In which Jack is discouraged at Ennis's lack of overt affection.
Jack: Sometimes I miss ya so much I kin hardly stan' it.
Ennis: cain't fix it gotta stanit. cain't change ride it out.
Jack: We coulda had a good life together! Now all we got is Brokeback Mountain! You've no idea how bad it gets! Sonnuvabitch! God...
Whole audience: I wish I knew how to quit you!
Ennis: well why doncha! fuck! shit! fuck!

ACT IV: In which we bathe in the sterilising aftermath of tragedy.
Charlie: Well I must say, Ang, you did manage make the loss feel like more than the plot convenience it is.
Ang: Yep.
Charlie: So is it over now?
Ang: No, still gotta visit his beloved's family.
Charlie: Well is it over now?
Ang: Nope, still gotta show he's learned to love his own family.
Charlie: Well is it over now?
Ang: Nope, still gotta show he really did love the guy.
Charlie: Like we didn't know. OK, now it's over.
Ang: But there's the guitar music with strings over the credits!
Charlie: Jesus, give me Celine Dion already.

Final score: homo sex scenes 2, hetero sex scenes 3.

"It was a friendship that became a secret..."


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