Four years ago, after watching Stephen Spielberg‘s movie Artificial Intelligence: AI with my friend Elaine, I didn’t want to leave the theater. I was blown away by the flick and thought it was much shorter than its over two-hour running time. Bored by the same flick that “got” me, Elaine thought it was much longer. Still, given my own experience, I was certain it would do gangbusters business at the box office. I was wrong. Most moviegoers reacted to the film as did Elaine. The movie had a steep second week drop off and was considered a box office disappointment, one of the few Spielberg movies to gross under $100 million (at the domestic box office).
In loving a film that was not well loved by American audiences, I realized (yet again) how one movie (just like a book or other work of art) could move some people while leaving others cold. It seems I’m experiencing the opposite with Brokeback Mountain. While I was disappointed by the flick, nearly all my gay friends have been “blown away” by this story of unrealized love. And it’s not just my gay friends. My friend Tracy was stunned that the movie did not affect me as it had affected her. She was certain that a scene at the end would have moved me to tears as it did her. I acknowledge that such scenes would normally move me, but for some reason, that one left me cold.
Another man with whom I always agree on movies thought it was one of the best movies of the year. When I was up in San Francisco, I met a reader (and fan) of this blog who had already seen it twice, noting how the film, in some ways, paralleled his own coming out, portraying an experience for which he lacked language. He too was “blown away” by the flick. While not blown away, Malcontent “related to it strongly because it reminded me of growing up and struggling with my sexuality in a stoic, repressed ranching town.”
Because so many people I respect enjoyed the movie far more than I, I’m beginning to wonder if I missed something. Perhaps, it was just that I saw it on a hectic day — and was seeing it more because readers were curious to learn what I thought about it. Or maybe it was the hype. Or, for whatever reason, the movie just didn’t hit home for me. As I wrote a few weeks ago, I recognize “certain movies move some of us to tears while leaving others cold.”
Because the movie did not blow me away as it did many of you, I invite you, our readers, to comment and share how the movie affected you — and why you think it blew you away (or why it left you cold). If you would rather share your thoughts in an e-mail, please drop me a note and let me know if I may post them. In closing, I will say that the movie did stir some things up for me and I may blog on that later. But now I want to hear your thoughts. Let me know if it stirred things up for you or if there were scenes which really hit home for you. And if you like, let me know if you think I should give the movie a second chance — and see it again.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com
In the Addendum after the (more…), I have included the complete text of Malcontent‘s remarks excerpted in the post and may add on other comments as I see fit.
ADDENDUM: Malcontent‘s comment:
Even though Brokeback Mountain and Signal, Wyo., are not actual places, I grew up in a town in Wyoming that was only a few miles from many of the real places mentioned in the short story and movie, such as Riverton and Worland. A lot of gay bloggers and others seem intent on “claiming” the movie as their own, and while there were many universal themes, I related to it strongly because it reminded me of growing up and struggling with my sexuality in a stoic, repressed ranching town. I didn’t know for a fact that any of the people where I grew up were gay, let alone seeing such a realistic portrayal of gay love and the barriers we face to true happiness. “Brokeback” brought back a lot of that past to me with performances and settings that were genuine and heart-breaking.