Friday, December 09, 2005
Movies I Have No Intention Of Seeing, #23
starring Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway
directed by Ang Lee (The Hulk, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, The Ice Storm, Sense & Sensibility)
I know exactly what you're thinking. You're thinking "Oh God, I've never been so hungover in my life. I'm never drinking again. Where did all this blood come from?"
Don't panic. It's probably just from the dog.
What you're probably also thinking, more specifically relevant to this post, is "Oh man, here we go, Pops is going to talk about the gay cowboy movie. We're never going to get past the ass-sex are we?"
The answer to that question is: probably not.
I don't know what the juvenile giggly appeal of the phrase "ass-sex" is exactly, I just know it works. There are entire websites devoted solely to its utterance. Whole schools of philosophical homophobic thought are developed to the ins and outs of its practice.
I don't know much about it personally past the fact that you can't get away with it by claiming to have "bad aim".
It's the last of the socially acknowledged taboos, I suppose. There are much freakier things people are doing to each other right now, but those get no voice whatsoever. We leave those out on the fetish fringe and somehow they seem less deeply personal than ass sex. I don't know if it's just the mental image or the idea in general, but I know that even if we are relaxed enough to let the concept penetrate us, to really let it sink in, we're still slightly uncomfortable with it. Any conversation involving ass sex is going to touch on a lot of nerve endings we're not used to having stimulated.
Some slightly bad news, though: this pre-review is going to be less gleefully adolescent than it might have been. I've been reading a lot about this movie and I'm starting to think it might not be all that was promised us when the first trickles of hype starting leaking out lo these many months ago.
We were specifically promised a "gay cowboy movie". This is the film's unofficial title, "That Gay Cowboy Movie". As titles go, that's still (surprisingly) less gay-sounding than Brokeback Mountain, but it promises something that I now know it cannot deliver.
First of all, Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal aren't sent out on the lonely prairie with only each other for company while tending to a herd of cattle. They are sent out into the high country with just their horses, each other and a herd of... sheep.
That's right, I said sheep.
How can it be a gay cowboy movie when there are no cows? This is actually a gay shepherd movie, which is the most redundant redundancy in the history of redundantness. When you hear "man" and "sheep", don't you automatically think of buggery? I know I do. Sheep-herding is the gayest profession that doesn't include swatches. Hell, the most constant analogy for Catholic priests is the shepherd with his flock. Enough said on that score, I think.
Secondly, this movie covers a span of 20 years from 1963 to the early 1980s.
THERE WERE NO COWBOYS IN 1983!
When someone tells you "gay cowboy movie", you immediately think 1880s, dirt streets, little town, maybe a sheriff with a very dangerous mustache, whiskey, whores, gunfights and ass sex. That's a gay cowboy movie. A gay cowboy movie has a hero who wears a ten-gallon hat made out of silk. Maybe with a feather in it or some sequins to give it some sass. Ascot instead of a bandana. Tailored, carefully distressed cowboy duds coordinated as an ensemble and for the season. Assless chaps. Drinks his white wine spritzer from a dirty shot glass.
You know... this guy:
If we're going to break some serious cultural ground here by looking at some pop cultural icons in a different way, then lets do that. Let's have the rugged macho Civil War veteran guy out on the range under wide-open skies paired with a limp-wristed lisping sissy who rides side saddle. At first he despises him, but he comes to appreciate his partner's gentle, caretaker nature. By the time they reach the end of the Laramie trail, they're holding hands and skipping through fields of flowers, stopping only occasionally for rip-snorting sessions of cowboy ass sex.
Goddamn it, I want John Wayne cornholing Randolph Scott.
THAT is a "gay cowboy movie". This Brokeback Mountain is about two guys having gay sex in the 1960s and 1970s. Oooh, how transgressive.
This whole experience of examining this film is depressing, frankly. If you would have asked me before the reviews came out if I wanted to have ass sex with Jake Gyllenhaal and/or Heath Ledger, I know what my answer would have been. Now I'm just not sure.
I haven't been this confused since puberty.
For all these reasons, I must give Brokeback Mountain a sadly non-committal
One (out of 3) on the Hot Babysitter Scale.