The ‘Brokeback’ backlash from some theatre bravura
The Academy Award- nominated film “Brokeback Mountain” is now available on DVD. It was not among the gifts I received from my fiancé for my birthday on Wednesday.In the two years we’ve been together, my fiancé has never been quite as affectionate in public as he was when we went to see “Brokeback” in January. Actually, that’s not entirely true. He has no aversion to hand holding and quick kisses while others are around. His displays the night of the film outing were just a little more, well, desperately clingy. I’ve taken to calling his demonstration the Anti-Brokeback Bravura. It was after much discussion, whining and debate that we went to see it. My argument that watching dinosaurs battle giant cockroaches for three-plus excruciating hours in “King Kong,” four months of college football and the anticipation of baseball and college basketball seasons earned me the right to pick a movie. It proved to be a much more persuasive case than his, “But they’ll make fun of me at work” line of reasoning. Hence, the Anti-Brokeback Bravura. Apparently after a day receiving horrified reactions from his less-than- evolved male coworkers at the prospect of seeing the film, he felt a burning need to prove his heterosexuality by placing a death grip on his betrothed’s ass in case anyone saw him go into the theatre. Worried there might be more drama in the seat next to me in the theatre than on the screen, I decided it would be prudent to stuff him with a few cocktails prior to show time. We went to a bar, which, in hindsight, was a mistake. Upon overhearing our plans to see the movie, the bartender declared that if he could prevent a relative’s death by going to see “Brokeback Mountain,” he would bid his kin better luck in the afterworld. I made the executive decision to leave the bar and instead get a drink in the theatre lobby. As the pimply-faced high schooler behind the counter surely learned from example at that moment, nothing screams “I Like Chicks” quite like guzzling the king of beer with lips planted firmly on aluminum.But, to his credit, when the movie ended, he grudgingly conceded that it was, indeed, a good film (even though he did check his watch 22.3 times, or every six minutes). And at least he went to see it. “Seinfeld” co-creator and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star Larry David wrote an op/ed piece for the New York Times on why he didn’t see “Brokeback” saying that the only way he would have gone is if a cowboy lassoed him, dragged him into the theatre and tied him to the seat. Although he says he has gay friends and advocates equal rights for same sex couples, it seems that he draws the line at watching two straight men “fall in love … and whatnot.”Like Larry David, my fiancé harbors no prejudices toward homosexuals, cowboys or people from Texas or Wyoming. (Well, for the sake of absolute truthfulness, he occasionally discriminates against people from Texas.) But Larry David has plenty of other company in his “Brokeback” boycott. An entirely unscientific poll of my friends’ husbands, boyfriends, fathers and brothers found that many completely progressive, heterosexual, non-homophobic men refused to see the film hailed by scores of critics as the best of 2005. To be fair, all movie genres really aren’t suited for everyone, even if they’re cheered as cinematic masterpieces. My fiancé recently suggested we watch Steven Spielberg’s 1971 film, “Duel.” Had I known in advance the movie’s tagline – “When the headlights of a truck become the eyes of a psychopath” – I am certain I would have come up with hundreds, nay thousands, of better ways to spend the evening instead of watching an 18-wheeler chase a car resembling the General Lee for 90 seemingly endless minutes. I guess we’re even.Questions or comments may be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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