When it comes to hype, I’m the turd in the punch bowl. I admit it. Whenever hordes of people proclaim something “the next big thing,” I make it a point to be the contrarian. Sorry, it’s my nature. So, when everyone in Hollywood was lavishing praise on a tale of two ranchers who contend with the trials of a homosexual relationship in 1960's Wyoming, I thought I’d see it for myself. After all, no college humor column has done more to raise awareness of other lifestyles than Casual Misanthropy. I’m like Eminem crossed with Jesus.
On to the review.
Now, since I’m not about to spend $8.50 to tell a 15-year-old usher I’d like to know where the gay cowboy movie is playing, I did what any good American does: download it off the internet. If any industry lawyers are reading this, “download off the internet” is actually Rhode Island slang for “paid the appropriate ticket cost to watch this in theaters.”
“When something is so boring you have guys like me hoping to watch anal intercourse as soon as possible, you’re not exactly remaking The Godfather.”
But even though I loathe down home country love stories, and even though I consider Heath Ledger the worst actor of this generation (and yes, I’m aware this generation includes Paul Walker and Matthew Lillard), and even though the thought of two dudes porking each other for 130 minutes isn’t exactly appetizing, I figured I’d at least give it a shot, the way you sometimes put your hand over a lit candle just to see if it really hurts as bad as you think.
So, having seen the film nominated for eight Academy Awards, I can give you my review in one line:
“Brokeback Mountain is the gayest movie of the year!”
-JD Rebello, Points in Case
Okay, sorry. I tried. Let me try again: “Brokeback Mountain sucked dick!” Excellent. And appropriate. Listen, I went into this with the best intentions. I wanted to be wrong about it. I wanted it to be the inspirational and heartbreaking story everyone claims it is.
In fact, it was the most overrated pile of horseshit since Napoleon Dynamite. Let’s be honest, if the same movie had been made about a man and a woman sharing an unrequited but forbidden love, and they used most of the same dialogue and acting and plot structure, well, people would be reaming this film. It would be Tristan & Isolde. And how many Oscars is that up for? Hey, you know it’s true. Solely because Brokeback is tackling a current issue that’s very divisive, I’m supposed to believe this film is better than it is. That might work for the sheep who get all their news from the top right corner of Yahoo and made Chronicles of Narnia a $100 million success, but it doesn’t work for me.
Jake Gyllenhal and Heath Ledger play a pair of ranchers hired by Randy Fuckin’ Quaid to go to a mountain (yes, of the Brokeback variety) and do stuff with sheep. They’re names are Jack and Ennis. Okay, let’s start with that. Ennis? For a solid hour, I thought his name was Dennis. But Ennis? Even worse, it sounds like “Anus.” Great, now we’ve got a gay love story about two guys named Jack and Anus. Who wrote this screenplay? Beavis?
Furthermore, I spent much of the first act wondering if Heath Ledger really was playing a guy named Anus. And I’ll tell you why I was thinking about that: because the first half-hour of this movie is painstakingly boring. Seriously, for thirty minutes, Jack and Anus eat beans, chase sheep, and spout clichés at one another. This is one of the movies you should show up late for. This is one of those movies you should take a good long nap before. This is one of those movies you should chase a Red Bull with an eight ball before viewing. Translation: this movie is so fucking boring, I thought about what an over/under would be on how many pubic hairs I have.
How boring is this first act? I actually found myself thinking, “Damn, will they just hurry up and have sex with each other?” That’s right kids, I was actively rooting for gay sex to show up. When something is so boring you have guys like me hoping to watch anal intercourse as soon as possible, you’re not exactly remaking The Godfather my friends.
So anyway, a few years pass and Heath marries some woman named Alma, and Jake marries the girl from The Princess Diaries. I won’t reveal much of the plot, but allow me to dispel some of the popular rumors circulating about this movie.
Rumor: Heath Ledger gives one of the year’s best performances.
Truth: As always, Ledger gives an abysmal performance.
In fact, only in a year in which Carrot Top played every single character in every single movie could Ledger even be considered giving one of the year’s best performances. Honestly, all he does for two hours is stare at the ground and mutter incoherent Southern jibberish. And when he actually does have to act, he does so with all the range and charisma of Thomas the Tank Engine. And while we’re here, a few words on the other actors:
Jake Gyllenhaal: Sucked, and I’m fairly certain he was just doing a Kevin Millar impression half the time.
Michelle Williams: Very good, actually. In fact, she’s the bright spot of the movie, and even as I’m typing this I can feel Hell getting a little colder. Dude, trust me, when I heard Jen from Dawson’s Creek was up for a statue, I hadn’t been that shocked since my testes dropped. But she’s very good here, and is instrumental in the lone compelling chapter of this movie, after she discovers her husband’s secret. Naturally she divorces him a few scenes later and the movie forgets about her. Just as well I guess, we needed fourteen more scenes of Jack and Anus staring at a sunset and talking about buying a ranch together.
Anne Hathaway: I guess she was okay. I honestly couldn’t tell though because I was distracted by her hairdos. She seriously has a different hairdo in every scene she’s in. It’s hilarious. And they all look terrible. One minute she looks like Zsa Zsa Gabor, the next Bea Arthur. Can someone remind Ang Lee that Anne Hathaway is hot and we don’t need to see her looking like crap all the time? And how come she has grey hair one scene, then four years later her hair is brown again? She’s like the Dennis Rodman of gay cowboy movies.
Rumor: Halfway through the movie, you forget it’s about two guys.
Truth: Again, horseshit.
You never forget it’s about two guys because the movie keeps reminding us, and their relationship never develops and you never even know why one would like the other. It’s true, Luke Wilson’s relationship with that ugly chick in Old School had more depth.
Why do they love one another and risk death? Does Heath Ledger own October Sky on DVD? Does Jake Gyllenhaal think it’s rational for Julia Stiles to mack it with a 32-year-old Australian prick who can’t act and looks like Fabio after a spin-dry? Why do these guys want each other? The only explanation given early is that they become drunk and lonely on the mountain. Hey, great. Also, not insulting to the gay community in the slightest.
Rumor: It will make you cry your eyes out.
Truth: I assume they mean the ending.
Don’t worry, I won’t give away the details, except to say you can see it coming from a mile away. Think about it, they’re gay and living in 1960s Wyoming and everyone tells you it’s sad. Gee, something tells you, “You had me at hello” isn’t making an appearance.
As for that ending, like the rest of the movie, it’s contrived and half-baked. It gives us the old “here’s what everyone thinks happened, here’s what he thinks happened.” You know, one of those endings where we’re supposed to guess for ourselves.
Even worse, it’s not even all that sad provided you’re a) not a complete jackass and can grasp blatant foreshadowing, and b) believe in the “show, don’t tell” method of filmmaking. Nothing pisses me off like a movie telling me something happened. Show it to me. That’s why I paid the eight bucks, or in this case, downloaded Bearshare. How much would Jaws have sucked if the movie stopped two-thirds of the way and showed Mrs. Brody on the phone with the mayor saying: “Oh yeah, Quint got eaten, but my husband blew the shark up.” Wouldn’t that suck? Of course it would.
Rumor: It’s a revolutionary film.
Truth: No, it’s not.
You know what I learned from Brokeback Mountain? In 1960s Wyoming, homosexuality was frowned upon. Gee, thanks a lot Captain Obvious. Hey Ang Lee, what’s your next film about, Jews living in Poland in the forties having a tough time getting a table? Give me a break. This movie is not revolutionary. If the movie had been set today and was an indictment on our times, maybe. But the sixties? It’s not like people are going to see this movie and go, “Hey wait a minute, that’s boys kissing. I didn’t know they could do that!” All right, maybe in Kentucky.
Rumor: It’s an agenda film, and that’s why Hollywood is overrating it.
Truth: This is the conservative Fox News angle and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but they hit the nail on the head.
Listen, I hate those Catholic Republican pricks who think it’s cool to down somebody’s lifestyle, but they’re on to something here. This movie is a piece of shit and the only reason it’s getting press is because it tackles a popular liberal issue.
Take Million Dollar Baby, for example, which dealt with the practice of euthanasia. If that angle had been taken out, and Hilary Swank had won a few championships, then got hit by a bus, no way does it win any Oscars. Same goes for Brokeback. Just because a movie deals with an issue doesn’t mean it’s a good movie. Shit, Enough dealt with an issue. So did “Life of David Gale.”
Granted, part of me wants it to win Best Picture, just to piss off all the conservatives who believe an Oscar-winner about homosexuality is dangerous. Hey, did Silence of the Lambs turn people into cannibals? Nope. Calm down.
Brokeback Mountain is a steaming pile of shit. If you say you don’t want to see it, fine. Don’t let your womany friends on the Michael Moore mailing list tell you you’re ignorant for not wanting to see it. It’s boring and contrived and is about 1/100th what the movie Broken Arrow was. And Broken Arrow was a lot better because it actually dealt with the issue in a thorough manner. A nuke in the mountains. I took it seriously. Brokeback Mountain made me want to remove my dingleberries with a cheese grater.
Okay, you’re waiting for me to give my obligatory, “Okay, so I haven’t actually seen this movie, but you get the idea” joke. Keep waiting. I actually saw this. I swear. Fine, don’t believe me.