Monday, November 28, 2005

Cowboy Fever

Take a good long look at Montgomery Clift in Howard Hawk's Red River chewing on that straw.

Sure is purty...

See, Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal aren't the first gay cowboys and they won't be the last. I offer up Clift for your viewing pleasure for a sort of heat up / cold shower effect. I worry about people's perceptions of Brokeback Mountain.

I worry that gay viewers will expect or need this to be a hotter Marlboro Man fantasy. That's not what it is. Though Jake and Heath are, like Mr Clift, very easy on the eyes. So, if you're expectations are verging on the obsessive, deep breaths please. All is well but stay calm. You need to be calm to fully appreciate.

I worry that straight viewers will stay away due to the 'gay cowboy' tag --they shouldn't be nervous. Should people actually give this film its due (which is always a question mark with delicate controversial material) it's a surefire Oscar contender and I think the reaction will be pretty universal that it's a moving and successfully intimate epic.

Just about the only common complaint will be that it's slow but this film was directed by Ang Lee. So, well... duh. Do with that what you will. He always takes his time. Brokeback Mountain is a movie that commands your full attention and respect. It's serious and respectful. I hope audiences show the same maturity.

21 comments:

adam k. said...

One word: YES.

Now I only hope Nathaniel isn't somehow biased toward this film.

And yes, Monty is mighty fine lookin'. Mmm, Montgomery Clift...

David Shultz said...

Yaaaaaaay! *tosses confetti*

NATHANIEL R said...

well of course i'm biased towards this film.

a) i love ang lee (have at least liked of all of them and love most of them usually in the B+ and above range...)
b) i love that there's a big movie about a gay romance that's not mired in boring stereotypes or silly flightiness -i mean we just don't get movies like this.
c) i am partial to filmmakers who do their thing scary control and confidence (see also Cronenberg's A History of Violence)

but again, i don't believe criticism can ever be without personal bias so I just admit mine straight up. ;)

nick said...

so..you saw it, Nat? Or you're seeing it tomorrow? Tell more! :-)

adam k. said...

Point taken. I mean, I am biased towards it as well. And I generally love the same films you do. But I just want it to be universally regarded as great is all.

damian b. said...

how was the acting nat? i'm curious to see how your predictions will alter now?

NATHANIEL R said...

the acting: A all the way. even Anne Hathaway. everyone is so subtle which is a word that can also be pronounced as "ang lee". Everyone is so ang lee in this.

However this does not mean I'm sure about Oscar nominations. There's a difference between being subtle and nabbing Oscar nominations. Maybe you've heard...

adam k. said...

Even Anne Hathaway? Wow.

I think the surprise factor may help the actors with nominations here. Who'd expect this from teenybopper Ledger or Dawson girl Williams?

Also, I think the gay content may help the film with nominations at this point. It's going to be the type of film the academy will feel bad not nominating. If it's really this good, there will be an outcry if it's not nommed, and I don't think they want to be accused of homophobia this year. Even those who merely "respect" it will likely put it on the ballot just to cover themselves.

But wins are a different story.

Kamikaze Camel said...

So we actually have a race for the FilmBitch awards! Mountain and Violence. So happy it got an A.

Man, so excited about this.

-Glenn

adam k. said...

Oh, I think I know which one will win at the Film Bitch awards.

But there are still more films that might get A's! The New World and Munich come to mind. The Family Stone looks promising also, but maybe not promising enough for an "A."

Kamikaze Camel said...

Family Stone doesn't look A worthy. It looks really good, but not A worthy. But then, I didn't expect Birth to be A worthy, but what'dya know...

-Glenn

JavierAG said...

"History" and "Brokeback" for the big ones it is! I couldn't be more excited! Here's hoping our third (or fourth, if you count "Grizzly Man") masterwork of the year comes from the hand of Terrence Malick.

Anonymous said...

Yeah-If Nathaniel says it's good, that's the best critical news I've heard regarding the film. Yippee!

And hot damn, that picture of Montgomery Clift is sexy.

Ali said...

When I saw this in Toronto, the audience snickered/giggled/gasped every time something intimate or sexual took place. And having seen the movie Nathaniel, you know that the scenes are hardly explicit (perhaps with one exception). I'm scared to see this again in the theatre. My point is that despite being confident with its Oscar chances/critical reception, I fear how it will be mocked in general for being the "gay cowboy" movie.

darkcypherlad said...

Hmmm...my alarm bells always ring a ding after hearing the words "serious" and "respect(ful)". I kinda share Pauline Kael's belief that serious and respectful usually spell dull and ponderous. There is such a thing as being TOO sensitive and thoughtful (ex. Lee's Austen film). We'll see...

Also, what's with the surprise regarding the female stars? Michelle Williams was absolutely fabulous in a small film called "Me Without You" and Anne Hathaway has shown talent in her commercial work (even if those films were utterly horrible). Give the gals a break... ;)

Jason

JavierAG said...

glad to know someone else thinks pauline kael rocks (hehe or at least i'm assuming you do). that said, she and i disagree a lot, but what can you do....

NATHANIEL R said...

dark cypher lad -well, what i'm telling people excited to see it is that it's very ang lee. If you generally respond to him you will probably love this. If not, you will be bored. He hasn't changed his stripes.

and i don't have much faith in general audiences making it through anything gay. i've had horror stories even in NYC --which is like 25% gay-- about audience reaction.

thank god i saw this at a critics screening where you could hear a pin drop for the whole film.

NATHANIEL R said...

oh also -agreed on michelle williams. I wasn't surprised. linda cardellini and her are both always good. the surprise for me was anne hathaway even though she has very little to do. anna faris plays anna faris in a western but she's still fun.

John Beene said...

My experience mirrors that of the viewer from Toronto. I saw the film at the Denver International Film Fest. The place was sold out, 2,200 people and packed with queens. One of the pivotal scenes in the story is when, after four years apart, Jack and Ennis meet again and kiss passionately; Ennis temporarily forgetting that it is in full view of his wife, Alma. When we saw the shocked look on Alma’s face, much of the audience broke out in “Oooooooo!”s and “Ohhhhhhh-ho-ho-ho!”s, just as if they were watching a rerun of Dawson’s Creek, licking their lips thinking they had just been let in on the dish. With Annie Proulx, Larry McMurtry, Diana Ossana and Ang Lee there I wanted to crawl under my seat. I'm just glad that Jake and Heath weren't there. Gay men are so pathetic sometimes.

I also heard about the reaction of at least one straight woman from her friend at work. This woman apparently had no clue what the film was about and was shocked by what she saw. Not appalled shocked but still shocked.

I think I'm going to wait at least a week after opening day before seeing the film again. The film was incredible and I don't want it ruined.

JavierAG said...

see? this is the kind of comment that makes me happy because um... I don't get it.

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