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David Poland

By David Poland

Loving Brokeback Mountain

Someone in another post made a good point. There has been endless discussion about BBM’s box office grosses. But little talk deeper than “I loved it” about why BBM is loved by some.
So here is the thread. I request that people who don’t love the movie don’t post responses to people who love it. Show respect, please. Take this as an opportunity to hear what others feel, not to disagree.
I thought about starting a “Hating BBM” thread also, but honestly, I am afraid that some responses would be nasty and, indeed, homophobic. I also don’t like the idea of anyone trying to take the tempurature based on how many responses build up on the positive or negative. It really isn’t the point.
So let’s see how this goes and I will try to figure out a way to do a “People Who Disagree” thread in a day or two.
Love away…

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68 Responses to “Loving Brokeback Mountain”

  1. EDouglas says:

    Fine, I’ll go first…(and I’m putting an obligatory spoiler warning here)
    While I wouldn’t say I LOVE love BBM, I did like this enough to be verging on love. Of course, the first time I saw it, I didn’t understand what everyone was raving about and thought it was overrated, but when I watched it again, I was able to appreciate the sublime beauty of what was done by McMurtry, Osanna and most of all, Ang Lee, because they created this full story of a relationship shown over the course of years and ultimately, the movie worked because they SOLD this relationship. They made you believe that these two tough ranchhands could develop feelings and this long-term relationship. A lot of it comes from Ledger’s performance because over the course of the movie, he goes through a transformation, which culminates in the last act where he finally comes to terms with his feelings only after Jack’s gone. Knowing how things go, I can watch the movie again and again and each time, I see more of the subtleties that Ledger put into what seems like a pretty linear performance to show that change. (Jake Gyllenhaal, not so much.)
    I guess you have to be somewhat of a romantic to really love this one, and in that sense, I’m guilty as charged.

  2. hepwa says:

    During the weeks leading up to the release of Brokeback Mountain, I felt a need for this movie that I’d never experienced before and I see dozens of movies every year. The obvious reason was being a gay man and the anticipation of seeing a big Hollywood love story between two attractive men. That’s the way I’m wired, so of course it felt like a natural reaction. Also, as a man who was once married to a woman and raised on the prairies, there were a few more relatables.
    I’m not afraid to cry at a movie and fully expected to be moved, but was a bit surprised when I didn’t. Then, I got to my car after and the sadness of Ennis’ life hit me like a ton of bricks.
    I really don’t think of this as a gay movie as much as I think of it as a film about loneliness and regret that just happens to have two men at its center. The reason I think some gay men are reacting so strongly is because after a certain age it becomes very difficult to find someone to share your life with (the gay “community” remains very youth obsessed). I know this movie is getting a lot of repeat business. I, myself, have already seen it four times and the last time I went through something like this was when “Ordinary People” was released in 1980 (but for entirely different reasons).
    On the technical side, this is why I love “Brokeback Mountain”:
    1) the acting – I work with young actors every day as an instructor and Heath Ledger’s performance is a lesson in subtlety and commitment that left me breathless
    2) the economy of words – show don’t tell, the first rule of screenwriting and I can imagine Syd Field using this script as a case study
    3) the cinematography – I’m glad the budget for this was low — there is a look to this film that reminds me of the great works of the early 70’s (in particular “Paper Moon”). If it had been more “Days Of Heaven” I think it would have distracted too much — wonderful equilibrium
    4) the imagery – for instance, Ennis looking out Jack’s childhood window, Ennis putting the numbers on his (first?) home mailbox, and the view out the trailer window in the final scene juxtaposed against the postcard of Brokeback Mountain
    5) the score – by turns subtle and sweeping. It is one of the simplest but most memorable film scores I’ve heard in years
    People are passionate about Brokeback Mountain because it has themes that are common to any mature person who knows that life is difficult and love can be elusive. During a showing yesterday afternoon, a man started laughing loud and deliberately during the tire-iron bashing scene toward the end and yet the audience, so swept up, did not even react. I hope the fool felt shamed by the silence.
    It doesn’t have to reach you, it doesn’t have to touch you and it doesn’t even have to interest you, but I am so grateful to everyone involved for giving me the gift of this movie.
    And on a personal note to David Poland: the very first time I heard anyone talk about Brokeback Mountain in the media was during your appearance on Air America’s Morning Sedition. You weren’t unkind, but it was obvious you weren’t blown away. I was devestated, thinking it might be a critical failure, but that hasn’t happened.
    Thanks for the opportunity to express my opinion.

  3. James Leer says:

    It IS a great script (taken from a great short story). If you think about even the minor characters (Linda Cardellini, Kate Mara, Randy Quaid, Anna Faris)…these are characters that may not have much more than five lines in the script, and yet they are so fully realized in every way. You recall them and they’re vivid, breathing creatures with lives that continue to exist beyond the borders of the film.
    I haven’t seen a more perfect melding of script, acting and direction all year.

  4. peteinportland says:

    You know, Mr. Poland, this is a nice gesture. I’m not one of those people who think that everyone must like the same movies I like. I respect the fact that you, and many others, may not like this film based on its artistic merits. After all, art of any kind, is a subjective thing.
    I’m going to cheat a little and post something I orginally posted on the net’s major BBM forum. It is as hyberbolic as it gets and not very specific, but it speaks to my heart:
    “You know folks, no artist involved with this work (Proulx, Lee, McMurtry, Ossana) set out to make a political statement or to help score a blow for gay rights or to advance the cause of gay marriage. I don’t think any of them were unaware that this might be a byproduct of their work; however, the main goal was to explore more universal issues common to literature and film: finding and expressing one’s identity within the confines of one’s society and place. It just so happened that the situation used to explore this theme (BTW, a theme which is prevalent in all four of these artist’s work) involved a same sex male relationship in the American West. The social significance is what gives the artistic work much of it’s power; however, the social issue only serves the main purpose of advancing the theme.
    Mcmurtry, Ossana, and Lee were all pretty clear that they wanted to film a love story. And Wayman is right: at its heart and core, this IS a simple love story, and it is what makes the movie so powerful for the average run-of-the-mill moviegoer. The love story is what haunts most people about this film. Of course, these are major artists, so nothing is simple, really. These artists use a canvas to paint a picture that is as complex and as rich as any art I have had the pleasure to absorb. For me, this is monumental art. Yet what makes it so beautiful, so painful, so wonderful to behold, is the universality of characters and story, that for most people in our society, have been anything but universal.
    So, while we may all chatter on about awards and box office and all the mundane hype and glory (and I, for one, will chatter, chatter, chatter, because I am an awards/Oscar junkie, and I have never had such a perfect movie to champion), I truly don’t think we have to worry about this work of art and its place in history. Long after the Oscar race of 2005 is forgotten, Brokeback Mountain will still be remembered as a monumental and landmark major work of American art. For me, it is the Mona Lisa of my lifetime, and I am oh-so-glad to be present to witness it, and in some small way to take part in its unveiling.”

  5. original jim says:

    I so agree with everything that

  6. James Leer says:

    Hathaway is reeeeally good in that scene on the phone. Even the places she takes breaths…that’s some good acting! I know some people have thought she was miscast, and maybe it’s because I never saw her in any other film, but I thought she was really skillful here.

  7. PetalumaFilms says:

    WHOA!! Not 20 minutes ago, over dinner, my wife asked me if I liked BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN because she didn’t see it on my top ten list. I said I really liked it and then simply could not think of why. But I do relate to what “hepwa” said about kind of….sitting through it and liking it well enough and then (just like him) as I started to drive away from the theater, it all hit me and hit me hard. I wonder why I didn’t fall in love with the film as it went on though. Maybe that’s some kind of problem with the film?
    I don’t think of BBM as a “gay cowboy movie” and I’m not really digging the ads and trailers that say the film is “changing the landscape of the genre” (or whatever). I just think it’s a really great story told really well. I also think Ledger might score an Oscar…his performance is so “every man” yet so deep, it really resonates AFTER the film. I definitely want to see it again and take a closer look, but I’ll likely wait until it hits DVD. Or VONGO 😉

  8. jeffmcm says:

    Hathaway’s cuuu-razy hair in the movie may be one reason why people think she’s miscast. It’s amazing! But I think Michelle Williams is better.

  9. waterbucket says:

    1. These cowboys look gooood in jeans!!!
    2. Heath and Jake have great natural chemistry together.
    3. Michelle and Anne make me feel for the wives.
    4. Heath Ledger saying goodbye after their first summer together. Did someone say perfect acting?
    5. Jake in the bar picking up a guy and then in Mexico. Poor Jack! Just heartbreaking.
    6. The reunion scene with Jack and Ennis unable to contain their excitement while Alma is shocked at the discovery.
    7. Those “fishing” scenes.
    8. Last scene of Ennis and Jack together. So much pain and regrets.
    9. The shirt.
    10. Jack, I swear…
    Actually, there are probably 100 things that I love about the movie, just that I don’t want to take over this board. hehe
    Brokeback got us good!

  10. original jim says:

    You know, jeffmcm, I agree with your comment about the hair after Hathaway goes completely blond. It’s really perfect for that time in Texas. (I know, I lived through it), but it drew attention away from her performance. I think that’s why I didn’t fully appreciate her the first time I saw the film. But each time I watch, I become more impressed with her. As James Leer mentioned, her breaths convey so much. There’s such a wealth of riches in this film, but she’s certainly a gem.

  11. mina says:

    As a straight woman in my mid-60s I was totally unprepared for the affect Brokeback Mountain had on me. The first time I saw the movie it was with a female friend and she and I have been unable to talk about anything else for weeks. We have both been back several times (but not together,) taking other friends and family members to see it. The reaction seems to come hours or even days later and is a powerfully emotional experience. No other film has affected me in this manner. I love everything about it… from the performances of those young men to the beauty of the area it was filmed in to the music. Everything about it is perfect.

  12. Joe Leydon says:

    I was fascinated by Anne Hathaway’s performance — by her character, really — and I’ve had several conversations with people (including a couple actually involved with the film) regarding the character. So I’ll ask you folks: How much do you think she knows about her husband? Does she care? Does she have another relationship going on to fill any gaps? Or is she one of those people who can cope with only just so much intimacy? That is, is she happy to have a husband who won’t “bother” her quite so much?

  13. waterbucket says:

    I think Lureen (Anne’s character) knows about her husband, at least toward the end of their marriage. In fact, I think even her parents have an idea that their son-in-law might not be so great. But she obviously doesn’t care too much about it. To her, having a family and running a successful business is probably more important and rather enough. I doubt that she has any other affair. In the end, she does show that she indeed cares for Jack after all with that phone conversation. I like Anne and I also like Lureen so I was a little disappointed that her character wasn’t as well-developed as other. But then it’s only a minor complain in an otherwise remarkable movie.

  14. Jim says:

    This is very nice of you, David. Thanks. I mentioned this in another thread, but:

    Overall, the theme and atmosphere of the film are what swept me away. It’s the first time in quite a few years I actually got swept up in a movie and forgot I was just watching fictional characters. The work from Michelle Williams is first-rate, and Ledger gives a bravura performance in what is an unplayable role.

    The movie isn’t perfect, but it’s one of the most affecting and haunting movies I’ve seen in some time.
    I would also recommend Maurice, or Until September. The latter is a romance with Karen Allen and Thierry Lermite. Cheesy, sure, but moving and ambiguous.

  15. James Leer says:

    I think Lureen eventually catches on but is determined to keep up appearances (and she wouldn’t give her father the satisfaction of divorcing Jack).
    There was a review I read that described Hathaway’s performance as a “time-lapse study of a woman who expected to be loved and wasn’t.” I think that’s it exactly…she limns the journey from vibrant to brittle in just a few scenes.

  16. Drew McWeeny says:

    I think you’re right, James. One of the things I love about Hathaway’s work is how hard and awful she looks towards the end of the film. Lipstick smeared on her teeth. Awful hair. She looks like one of those women who has long since given up on being touched or being touchable. It’s nice work by her, and even though everyone in the film is a little young for the stuff they play towards the end of the film, they all pull it off emotionally.

  17. Melquiades says:

    This film, more than any other in recent memory, really does hit you strongest after the fact. And I don’t think that’s a fault — on the contrary, I think it speaks to how subtle and non-manipulative it is.
    This is one of the saddest films I’ve seen, yet I find myself wanting to watch it again. It’s such a carefully drawn character study. The acting is superb by all involved, especially Ledger. He becomes this man, and without any trickery. It’s all in his eyes and voice and the way he carries himself.
    Finally, I think this film speaks to so many people because its theme is universal — regret. You needn’t identify because you’ve had a doomed romance (let alone a same-sex one)… you can identify if you’ve ever denied yourself something that deep down means everything to you.

  18. EDouglas says:

    “Hathaway is reeeeally good in that scene on the phone. Even the places she takes breaths…that’s some good acting! I know some people have thought she was miscast, and maybe it’s because I never saw her in any other film, but I thought she was really skillful here.”
    Totally agree with that…that’s an amazing moment and you can easily look past the fact that she doesn’t look the age that the character is supposed to be at that point in the story.

  19. Bruce says:

    I’ll have to take credit for this thread. Patting myself on the back…
    Liked Ledger’s performance. Going to be tough to top since they’ll want to reward this film in some way.

  20. Wayman_Wong says:

    Thanks, David, for setting up this thread. It’s a very classy thing for you to do. I hope it shows others that ”Brokeback” has touched others – straight and gay – in many ways. Some respond to the beautiful love story; some respond to the poignant performances; some respond to a tale of unrealized dreams and desires. Many have identified with its lead characters, and recognized themselves in them. Sure, part of its appeal is that it’s a serious gay love story, but there have been other gay love stories on film, but not one quite like ”Brokeback.” Its drawing power isn’t just due to ”a homosexual agenda.”
    For those who are genuinely interested, visit the official site, and you’ll find people from all the world who have shared their stories on what this movie means to them. There’s also a ”Brokeback” fan site at, where there’s a thread called: ”How ‘Brokeback’ affected me.” There, folks have been sharing their heartfelt and haunting stories of their own lives, and how they’ve dealt with love and longing and loss.
    There’s been a fair amount of dispute over ”Brokeback’s” box office numbers on this site, but ultimately that’s beside the point for those who really love the movie. Even if the film never makes another dime, it’s already done its magic for those who are willing to give into it.

  21. cjnol says:

    Possible spoilers:
    I loved the movie and without giving away anything too specific in the movie for people that have not seen it yet and who want to read this, those of us who have seen the movie will know what I

  22. eddiejay says:

    Dave–thanks for the thread here–very classy.
    I could say much about this movie that has alredy been said above. No need.
    I have shyed away from movies for a long time. I got tired of formulated drivel, cell phones and people who mistaked a theater for their living room— and stayed away. I was interested in Brokeback Mountain because I am a fan of the writer and the story. So I swallowed up my recent dislike of movies and went. Not only do I love this film, I have seen six other movies since I saw it.
    This movie got me interested in films again–I am the age and the demographic that Hollywood is chasing and, according to box office trends-LOSING!
    Well, I’m back. And it’s because this film showed me something I liked again in movie making. It touched me and stayed with me for weeks after I saw it…I was pulled in, entertained and intrigued. What better testament to a movie is there?

  23. Josh says:

    I loved the anal penetration scenes. HOT!
    Seriously though the women are actually really good. Hathaway. Williams. Who knew they could act?

  24. etslee says:

    I just wanted to add my voice to support this incredible film. Ang Lee’s direction is meticulous in how it draws you in without huge dramatics and violins. It reminded me of his best work in Ice Storm and Eat Drink Man Woman. I saw this film at it’s premiere in SF, and was struck by one of Ang Lee’s comments prior to the screening. He described the strengths of being an “outsider” in making his diverse palate of films. I always thought it would take a gay filmaker to do justice to the short story. But I am happily wrong. Who knows what Gus Van Sant could have done?

  25. palmtree says:

    Actually, this film reminds me a lot of “Hud,” which was based on a McMurty novel. It features a strong central performance by Paul Newman, the theme of the west losing its innocence with modernity, and a simple guitar score by Elmer Bernstein. Though actually quite dark in its subject matter, Hud is an interesting counterpoint to Brokeback that I would recommend.
    What I like with Brokeback is that Ang Lee is great at capturing the anxieties of women (Eat Drink Man Woman, Sense and Sensibility, Crouching Tiger). You really sense that in Brokeback even though the story is about the men of course. But I totally fell in love with these women who were involved with emotionally distant men. I mean, Anna Faris, Anne Hathaway, Michelle Williams, Linda Cardellini, and Roberta Maxwell. One of the most devastating scenes (SPOILER)…
    When Michelle Williams asks Heath if he forgot something, he grabs something off the table without kissing her goodbye. Subtle and heartbreaking.

  26. Ron says:

    I’ve now seen the movie twice. As stated above, during the movie I didn’t get emotional but for days after I felt as if I had been in a fight.
    One thing I noticed the second time was the shirts. Jack’s on top at his parents house then on the bottom at Ennis’. It was as if Jack was embracing Ennis and then Ennis returning the affection. Oh Yes, the last line “Jack, I swear…” has haunted me for weeks.

  27. joefitz84 says:

    Better to read thru this all-out fawning, garbage than to read about how successful it’s doing at the box office, thats for sure.

  28. jeffmcm says:

    Well, it took less than 24 hours for something like that to happen. All things considered, a pretty good stint.

  29. BJ says:

    Like many of you, I think all of the performances in the film are great (although I don’t feel Hathaway’s is as compelling as the other women in the film), but what I find interesting is that no one, including the critics, is recognizing what a difficult role Jack is and how well Jake Gyllenhaal plays it. Heath is sublime, but Jake is superb. It is harder for a straight man to play a romantic, demonstrative gay man than it is to play a repressed stoic. Athough Jake is hampered by inexcusibly bad aging make-up, he still manages to flash every emotion across his beautiful face.

  30. joefitz84 says:

    I can’t like the discussion here about it, jeffmcm? When God died did he appoint you his chief?

  31. eddiejay says:

    Please re-read the guidelines Dave laid out—you’ll get your time. Here DAVE is god and HE sets the rules—

  32. JJTO says:

    I’m not certain what to say about this movie. I went expecting a good movie, the reviews were already in. I had also seen some caps from the movie and was expecting a bit of skin, and some nice scenery. I went with a friend of mine who’s usually pretty cool about things and doesn’t get too emotional.
    When the movie ended I found I couldn’t speak, I could hardly move. My buddy said, in a croaking voice.. this is one of times you wish they gave you some time at the end before turning up the lights.. his eyes were wet and red with tears.
    It’s been a week since we saw it, I haven’t stopped thinking about it all week. I have never had this reaction to any film, or theatre in my life. I’ve ordered the book, the soundtrack, I’ve downloaded clips, screen savers, wallpapers. I’d kill for a movie poster right now. We’re all going again this weekend. I’ve told everyone I know to be sure to not miss it.
    The acting is superb, the direction is sparse, subtle and to the point, the script doesn’t waste words. The subtlety of the acting demands another view.
    However, it’s the story that moves me the most, and haunts me almost every minute of the day. I HURT for Ennis and Jack, I want them to be together again. I feel like I’ve lost a good friend or close family member. The pain they feel fairly explodes off the screen, but is never overdone. In the days of effects laden action flicks, the sparseness and pace of this film is refreshing.
    Watch it with an open mind, and an open heart and you too will see what a majorly powerful epic this is. I’m sure it’s not for everyone, but I think the story is universal, the lessons are there, the characters are powerful, the images strong, and the acting is outstanding.

  33. tapley says:

    My reasoning for really connecting to the film has always been how utterly raw its emotion is. It’s a cliche to say it at this point, but the film goes beyond gender and into thin-line-between-love-and-hate territory that is rarely approached, and never this successfully. A bit from my review really sums up my feelings:
    “What struck this viewer most is that Lee reveals the thin line between love and hate with absolute expertise. Pain is a natural byproduct of intense passion. When Ennis punches the wooden walls of a fa

  34. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Haven’t seen the film – out here in exactly 21 days!!! But, I wanted to mention that Ann Hathaway’s character is very barely in the short story, which may constitute as to her lesser-developed nature.
    Oh, and Josh – if you’d seen movies like The Station Agent or even the series finale of Dawson’s Creek (yes, i am serious) you’d know Michelle Williams could act. Glad she’s gonna start getting bigger roles now hopefully.
    Oh, and yes, let’s give a great big shoutout to Joefitz for being the only person on here to do what he did. Even the other haters didn’t bother. That was classy Joe. so very classy.

  35. James Leer says:

    Joe wants that shout-out. Just ignore him.

  36. medicalStudent22 says:

    The power of this film comes precisely because its impact is more formidable hours and days after the actual experience. Initially I thought it was a great movie, when i got in my car to drive home i realized it was a masterpiece. Heath Ledger becomes a prime example of the gargantuan effect of economy of words. Unlike the dresses we’ll see in the red carpet, in this movie, less is more. Far more. The mountain, perhaps metaphoric for the everlasting and unyielding power of true love, became an arena where the dynamics of all human relationships come to coalesce; because it is perhaps that we all live in a Brokeback mountain. That which we are, and that which we want to be are separated by the barriers we impose on our behavior. The film is beautiful, absorbing, and ultimately quietly magnificent.

  37. jesse says:

    Brokeback isn’t my single favorite movie of the year, but it’s solidly in my top ten, mostly for the many well-articulated reasons mentioned above. BJ, I agree that Jake Gyllenhaal is getting unfairly overlooked — sometimes even maligned! — in the rush to praise Ledger. They’re both terrific here, and they’ve both been having a great year. Gyllenhaal gave three of his best performances in Brokeback, Jarhead, and Proof. Ledger had a great supporting turn in Lords of Dogtown and was fine in Brothers Grimm, too. A year ago, I couldn’t’ve conceived getting excited about a movie because it had Heath Ledger, but he’s really turned it way the hell around this year.
    I also second (or third or fourth) the comments about the women being especially good, even though none of them have all that much screen time. Not just Michelle Williams, but Anne Hathaway (and not just because she shows her breasts), and Anna Faris in that one scene-stealing bit, and Linda Cardelinni… what a beautifully cast movie — Randy Quaid is very good too, also in a smallish part. I can’t help but feel enormous affection when every part in a movie is cast so perfectly and acted so well.
    Also, Kamikaze Camel, another fine Michelle Williams performance, no joke: her work in The Baxter, earlier this year. She’s very funny and sweet, and a particular farce-heavy scene with her is the best part of the movie.

  38. DannyBoy says:

    I agree with many of the comments here that Brokeback isn

  39. scottp says:

    after wathcing the movie, i found myself shivering in my bed as i reflected on the broken hearts i had caused to the women and men in my life. . .yes i identified with ennis. my inability to understand my emotions and express my love and caring for them cost me and hurt them. thankfully, i have somewhat learned from those mistakes.
    but, as i read what i just wrote, i’m surprised by what secrets this movie has drawn out of me. i have a hunch that this sort of thing is happening to many, many people out there. i imagine that the stature of this movie will only increase over the years.

  40. Tcolors says:

    I haven’t seen the movie yet. But I’m going as soon as it opens here in Canton, Ohio. If it doesn’t come to Canton, then I’ll drive to Cleveland where it is showing. One of my reasons for seeing it is I want to know why Mr.Poland has nothing good to say about it. It seems to have taken more awards and nominations than any other film so far. It’s just weird. But as Mr.Poland said in an earlier post of his, “So saddle up, slow it down and try to avoid telling anyone that a vote against Brokeback is a vote for homophobia and hate. Love your movie and act accordingly

  41. jeffmcm says:

    To be fair, Tcolors, Dave likes about half of the movie. He thinks it’s mediocre, not bad.

  42. indyfilmfest says:

    I saw the film after months of hype, and listening jealously to my friends who got tickets to it in Toronto.
    When the new Landmark hosted a screening as part of their opening night party here in Indianapolis, I was thrilled to see it.
    Admittedly, when it ended, I first thought: “It was good, really good in fact. But I don’t understand all the hype.”
    ***I suppose this can be construed as a spoiler***
    Then, I got into my car to drive home, and all of the sudden the film hit me like a whallop. I couldn’t get the image of the shirts hanging on the closet door out of my head. To be honest, thinking about it now as I type, I am moved.
    ***Okay that sorta-spoiler is over***
    It is a rare film that takes its time. It asks you to invest in it. Instead of immediate gratification, it lingers with you. Admittedly, it made my days a little sadder after watching it, but it stuck with me in ways only a few other films this year have.

  43. jrfh50 says:

    This is a comment for DannyBoy. I have read around, on-line and in print, many comments about Brokeback Mountain. I want to say that yours holds about as much balanced truth value as any I’ve read yet…you have nailed the crux: the movie does indeed touch, for the open and sensitive part available to be touched, what the “greatest sorrows in life” are all about–as you say, the “failure to make that great courageous leap”…You remind me again of why the movie haunts me so—the word courage comes from the word heart, and it may be that the heart is a slow learner, in the sense that it has to live on to know what it knows, and what one doesn’t have but was close to having is what breaks the heart, and this breaking, over time, like with the lovers in the movie, is a long slow break back in time. Thanks for saying it the way you did. It’s too sad, and it’s life.

  44. Beijing says:

    I don’t remember the last time a movie has affected me this way before. It was not just the possibility of two men falling in love and having a real relationship. To me, it was about missed opportunities, regrets, hopes… Can’t believe a movie can be so powerful.

  45. DannyBoy says:

    Thanks, jrfhf50. I appreciate the compliment.

  46. moviebuff33 says:

    Great site and the comments are awesome.
    I’ve never been so moved by a movie before in my life. It’s heart wrenching.
    Two lines stick with me:
    1. Jake’s line: “I wish I knew how to quit you”
    2. Ennis’ line: “Jack, I swear”
    It’s so refreshing to see a film where two men fall in love and don’t have to live up to the gay stereotype. I could see this film over and over.

  47. Tcolors says:

    I hate to quote a Cartoon but, “I haven’t felt this much love in a room since Narcissus found himself.” Sorry everyone just had to joke a little.

  48. ShaneATL says:

    (spoiler warning)
    I hesitate to enter my opinion to this string only because I am not sure that I will do my feelings justice. I am not a big movie buff and I don

  49. Hank says:

    I’ve seen the film 4 times so far and intend on seeing again. I agree with everything that’s been posted. It really was a wonderful film filled with great performances. I enjoy Heath’s performance and thought Jake was remarkable as well. I thought the ending was so sad because you just knew Ennis would be alone with his memories for the rest of his life. But what would have happened to the two of them had Jack lived. Remember, Jack was seeing another man and was gonna move to his folks place with him. Where would that had left Ennis? If this film didn’t do anything else for me, it made me realize how short life is and how precious it is to be loved and to love. What a film!

  50. DannyBoy says:

    Dave, Dave, Dave…. I just read your latest attack on “Brokeback Mountain” (“Why Don’t Message Movies Say Very Much Anymore?”), and I think I’ve figured out your problem. You’re expecting BM to be a “message movie”. Well, it’s not. If it was it would be mediocre, since “message movies” are, constitutionally, mediocre (“if you want to send a message, use Western Union”). “Brokeback Mountain” is a romantic tragedy about the toll of personal repression and the forces that encourage it. In this way you’d be more on target comparing it to “Remains of the Day” than “Look Who’s Coming to Dinner.”
    Lord help us: “message movies.” I’d rather watch “Sin City” or

  51. jeffmcm says:

    If Dave P’s new reason for not liking Brokeback Mountain is because it won’t win Act Up’s movie of the year award – because it’s insufficiently queer – I find that a little dubious. I don’t recall his reviews of Breakfast on Pluto (except his tiny tidbit in that Hot Button) or Bear Cub or any other gay movies released recently.
    I agree with him that the movie is kind of mainstream/middle-brow and I was annoyed that a film about gay men would have more female nudity than male, but ultimately it’s a film about loneliness more than it is about gayness.

  52. DannyBoy says:

    One of the most tone-deaf moments in Dave’s Year-of-the-Queer flounderings was when he told us, me particularly, that the gay community should be celebrating our “Richard Pryors”, not our “Jimmy (J.J.) Walkers”, suggesting that “Brokeback was the latter. Every gay person I know thinks that the main character in “Breakfast at Pluto” was the gay J.J. of the year. The kind of queer the mainstream is comfortable with: dumb, cross-dressing, moving from bad lounge acts to hair salons, etc. Message to Dave: the truly regressive image of gay people, as far as most of us are concerned is one of simple minded cross dressers, not tragic, conflicted characters like Ennis Del Mar. Films like Breakfast at Pluto create the comforting image that queers are queers becasue we’re just too dumb to know that men are supposed to dress like men and have sex with women.

  53. Yodas Nut Sac says:

    Good message in Brokeback.
    Don’t fall in love on the range and marry someone you don’t love.
    It doesn’t work in the long run.

  54. James Leer says:

    Jeff, DP did write a full-fledged review of Breakfast on Pluto during the Toronto Film Festival.

  55. jeffmcm says:

    Did he? I stand corrected.
    It’s because I barely ever read anything he writes from film festivals, because 80% of the movies never get released anyway, and if they do, it’s months later.

  56. DannyBoy says:

    Ironically, Dave

  57. Joe Leydon says:

    OK: According to Box Office Mojo, “Brokeback Mountain” has earned, as of Tuesday, $67.4 million domestic gross. Whether you love it, or hate it, here’s the question: How much do you think it will have earned by March 4, the day before the Oscarcast? Could it possibly make another $13 million in two weeks? More? Less?

  58. jeffmcm says:

    I think it’ll be somewhere between $75-80, and certainly over $80 after the Oscars.

  59. palmtree says:

    It may only be about 2 weeks time-wise, but that includes 3 weekends…so yeah, it could do another $13 million. Say it does $3 million per weekend. And then on the weekdays it does an additional $2 million per week. That’s pretty much $13 million…maybe a little less. In any case, even if it drops off, it’ll hit $80 million in the week or so afterwards when it wins…

  60. DannyBoy says:

    Ever since the Golden Globe nominations came out, I’ve been predicting a final tally of 75-90 (gratuitous pat on the back here) with the possibility of closer to 100 if it absolutely swept the Oscars, which I

  61. animalfamily says:

    i have sustained something akin to an affliction after watching this movie. from a deep forgotten place, it has stirred a furious yearning for something now irretrievably lost.
    i love the movie and then i hate it. it leaves you broken and doesn’t tell you how to fix it.

  62. waterbucket says:

    Brokeback got me thinking about my future as a gay man. Hopefully by age 40, I won’t be sad and alone like Ennis. But who knows? This is America and my soul mate might be locked in some closet somewhere.
    Your cats are very adorable.

  63. Tcolors says:

    I put together a little video of pics from the net set to a really cool song. I think BBM and this song belong together. Did I mention I’m melodramatic? Here’s the link;
    I hope you all like it enough!

  64. waterbucket says:

    That is a great song, for a more modern and less country BBM.

  65. Jake says:

    I struggled for a long time to see this movie. I ended up seeing it the day before the Oscars because I wanted to see the performances.
    I am 33 years old and have a significant other who is 29, and also a guy. We both have wives. We have been together for 8 years now. Neither one of us has ever been with a guy outside of each other. We are soulmates.
    With that said, you can understand why it was tough for me to go see that movie. We get together a few times a year for “Vegas trips” or “Road Trips” and that’s the time we get to spend with each other. You can imagine what i must have been feeling as i sat there watching many facets of my life playing out on screen.
    So i wanted to take this opportunity to make 3 points that come to mind for somebody in my situation who saw this film:
    First of all – this movie is about a tragedy. Everyone loses. I heard a woman at work make a comment that her heart went out to the women – that they were innocent victims and didn’t deserve any of that. That’s where people who can’t identify with this situation lose perspective. EVERYONE in this story is a victim! The men had to lead lives that society designed for them, they couldn’t lead a life based on their heart and soul. Hence, my situation. And let me tell you all that i love my wife, and i know those characters loved their wives – but the tragedy is they couldn’t be with the person they ultimately loved, and in the end, everybody lost. These characters never stood a chance. That’s the tragedy.
    Secondly, this definitely wasn’t a ‘gay cowboy’ film. I’m not gonna sit here and try to defend or explain my sexuality, but i met a guy years ago and fell in love with him. Do I have interest in other guys? No. Am I gay? We’ll i guess that’s for you to decide because everyone has an opinion and everyone is always right. It’s funny if a girl says that she messed around with another girl at some point in her life then she was experimenting, but if a guy says that he messed around with another guy then he’s automatically gay. The point I’m trying to make is that if my guy fell off the face of the earth i’d be devastated for the rest of my life, but i wouldn’t go on seeking another guy to fill his shoes. And that was what this movie was about. It was about two people who fell in love with each other, both happened to be men, and both had to figure out how to struggle with this tragic situation that began in 1963 and continued through some very taboo years when it came to a subject like homosexuality. Ironically it was not so much a ‘gay’ film as it was a film like ‘Crash’ – people having to deal with narrow minded ignorant people in their every day lives.
    3. Ok, we can come up with a million adjectives to describe Heath’s performance. Brilliant, amazing, etc. etc. etc. But did everyone miss Jake’s performance? Heath nails his character right on the head from the get-go, and that’s who he is throughout the entire film. Undeniably amazing. But it is in fact Jake’s character that takes the arch. He is passive and somewhat silent in the beginning of the film. Heath gets to kinda bounce of his character and shine. And then all of a sudden from the moment Jake’s character yell’s at his father-in-law, his character blasts off full speed ahead. I personally think those are the types of performances worthy of oscars. He finally takes charge of his life, he finally decides he’s not going to waste the rest of his years for a few weekend retreats, and he finally asserts himself with Heath’s character. He starts out one way in the film and completely becomes somebody else in the end. I think he was brilliant and totally overlooked from an acting perspective. I think many people missed the incredible arch his character took.
    Because of my situation this movie really made me think about my life. It sucks i have to live this way. And as tragic as it may be, for the record, i still feel like the luckiest guy around…..

  66. Kalyndrah says:

    My brother is gay. Two of my best friends are gay. The scene, where it’s only flashes, of what REALLY happened to Jack while Ennis and Hathaway’s character talked about his death, I have been crying for about a half hour straight, thanking God that we live in slightly more enlightened times and I don’t have to worry about them so much because everyone one of them is far enough away I can’t keep an eye on them and play “mama bear” like they’ve always accused me of being.
    But the loneliness is what finally pushed me over. Everyone seems alone in this movie, and going through a divorce with one of my best friends in Quebec (I’m in Virginia), and one in London, I can identify.
    Very moving. Glad I saw it.

  67. momma says:

    Does anyone else find your life after BBM to include a deeper sense of love for your husband??? I cant keep my hands off of him. I find extreme sensuality around his face with my face…. I think this movie was HOT and it stired something inside me that was almost lost.

  68. Tcolors says:

    Mtv awards! Jake wins best performance! Also the guys won for Best Kiss!
    I still think the Oscars should try having a phone-in vote from viewers. Just to compare what the academy thinks and what the world thinks. I don’t believe they have the balls though. The Oscars are for the Academy not the viewers, and that’s fine. I just think it would boost ratings and make for an interesting evening!?!?!

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon