ALLIGATORS IN A HELICOPTER

a pro script reader ponders movies, reading, writing and the occasional personal flashback

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

So I Finally Saw Brokeback Mountain...

And it may well be the best movie of the year.

And this has nothing to do with the fact that it is a gay cowboy movie. Of course, it is a gay cowboy movie, and if this subject matter makes your brain shiver, it undoubtedly won't be the best movie of the year for you.

But it's a great movie (even to a straight guy like me) because it's the kind of character drama that we so rarely see any more. A movie that takes its time exploring its characters and the situation they find themselves in, and how it winds up affecting the rest of their lives. That hits each dramatic beat along the way perfectly, with some beautiful midwest vistas thrown in.

The movie is long, and it's slow in spots, but it works, because the characters are very well-rendered and extremely well-acted; who knew that Heath Ledger had this in him? Screenwriters Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana do an extremely good job exploring the main characters and the relationships with the others in their lives, and though the tale unfolds over a 20-year period, it is involving throughout.

(And, for you unrepentant heterosexual males, I can report that Michelle Williams and Anne Hathaway show more skin than Heath or Jake do).

Give this movie a chance. I no longer think this will make $90 million; it's too small and long to achieve that. But it should make over $50 million (it has already made $15 million, and hasn't fully expanded yet).

There have been comments on past posts by people who say they don't want to see this movie because they can't identify with the main characters. But these characters are human beings, just like you and me, wrestling with conflicts in their lives. If you can't open yourself up to stories of the kind of people you are likely to encounter in your life, then you have blinders on.

13 Comments:

At 5:25 PM, Blogger Jodi Davis said...

Who knew about Heath Ledger - ME! I been telling you!

Bastard.

 
At 9:11 PM, Blogger Julie O. said...

I had little interest in the film until I read the short story. Now I'm looking forward to it.

It's not about gay cowboys so much as a desire for something that goes much deeper than simply "forbidden." There's just something kind of beautiful about heartrending longing.

 
At 9:13 PM, Blogger Grubber said...

My wife and I remember watching him on that show ROAR from the nineties. Back then he stood out in that, as having that something different, so we weren't surprised when he started doing well.

Just want to know why Aussie (and NZ :) ) actors are acting like idiots in public lately.

 
At 10:14 PM, Blogger Patrick J. Rodio said...

Already planned on seeing it, so I'm looking forward to it.

If it grabs some Oscars it might hit 90.

 
At 11:30 PM, Blogger mernitman said...

Amen, Scott. And for further hetero enticement:

There's a quick and hot love-in-the-back-seat scene with Hathaway here, and Linda Cardinelli (undeniably cute doc on ER) is also something to see, plus you can watch young Kate Mara (from TV's short-lived "Jack and Bobby") playing Ledger's daughter and nabbing a The Camera Likes Me Award for Ingenues, 2006.

So like later you'll go, "Oh, right, there were some guys in this thing, too.."

 
At 3:19 AM, Anonymous chris soth said...

I'm just afraid. I'll go. Of course I'll go. But I'm afraid I'll hate it and be again considered insensitive and heartless. It's not that I don't like gay people. Or Cowboys.

I'm mortally afraid of being bored, and reaching that "life's too short" moment. Am I the only one, or are there others like me who find:

"...long, and it's slow in spots..."

And "good" mutually exclusive? Was American Beauty slow in spots? Not to me, and I think if I said it was...I wouldn't think it was good.

Still ROOTING for it to be GREAT, as I do with every movie ticket I buy.

chris
milliondollarscreenwriting.com

 
At 8:21 AM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

See it. It's worth it. And then if you don't like it, at least you'll be speaking as someone who actually bothered to see it.

The one unfortunate thing about the movie is that it is going to give male fishing trips a were-really-going-off-to-have-gay-sex connotation forever.

 
At 8:07 PM, Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...

Don Assmussen has your "Brokeback Mountain"

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2005/12/28/DDASMUSSENBR.DTL

 
At 8:28 PM, Blogger ScriptWeaver said...

I thought it was awesome.

This is simply a great love story. Doesn't matter if they're both men. Think of them as Romeo & Juliet. Think of them as Molly Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy. Two people in love but can't be together because of society's standards.

Oh - and don't forget Anna Faris being in the flick. Ever wonder if she can pull off her "schtick" in a gay cowboy movie? She does.

 
At 12:57 AM, Blogger Lab Lemming said...

Are the characters appealing?

I really disliked American Beauty, Lost in Translation, and Sideways. The reason is not that they were slow, character-driven stories (I loved Amelie and Elizabeth, for instance). Rather, it is that the particular characters being dramatized in LiT, Sidwats, and Am.Bt. were not interesting or attractive enough for me to want to know their story. They were unlikable and uninteresting (Unlikeable characters can be interesting and compelling- QUILLS is a classic example of this). So my question is, are these characters the sort of people I'd like to spend a couple of hours with in a dark, soundproof room? ;)

 
At 10:27 AM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

Absolutely. There isn't a character in the movie who I wouldn't happily have a beer with.

 
At 3:48 AM, Anonymous christopher said...

i'd love to sit down with jake's character for a beer. but i wouldn't bother with heath's. my girlfriend and i saw this last night at the btl screening. and we felt about it much as we have many other films this year: really well made (acting, directing, etc.), heartfelt and passionate filmmaking, but ultimately we weren't very interested.

unfortunately this film feels like a short story streched into two hours. and the characters, especially heath's, are so laconic we never get much from them. longing, sure - but that just wasn't enough for us. no one in this film ever really talks about anything, and i think ultimately that limits the amount you can identify with and care about them.

 
At 7:14 PM, Anonymous Chris Soth said...

Yes I'm going...and boy-boy fishing trips have been spoiled ever since Deliverance, right?

 

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