Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Bareback Mountin'

Two very different takes on "the gay cowboy movie".

From Vern, the Great and Terrible:

I'm man enough not to squirm during a gay love scene but I'm sissy enough that it sometimes makes me uncomfortable. That said, this is one of the least gay gay love stories you're gonna see... I am one straight man that had no problem watching these dudes fall in love. Is this some kind of gay issue movie? Kind of, kind of not. I mean obviously the issues here are specific to being gay and in the closet. The tragedy is not just that these guys can't be together.

But of course you don't have to be gay to be interested in this story...How many fuckin hitmen do you know, man? How many undercover cops? How many ninjas, or vampires? I mean jesus, I think it would be okay to every once in a while have a movie about gay people. There's gotta be way more gay people in this country then there are sheep herders, but I don't hear your bitch ass complaining about the sheep herding.


From Rod Dreher:

What's interesting to me is that there really is an appetite, however limited, for non-erotic male homosexuality (e.g., Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, The Birdcage), and there is an appetite for lesbian eroticism in mainstream film. But not frank male-on-male eroticism. I can't begin to explain the discrepancy--I mean, why so many people find male-on-male eroticism distasteful, when they tolerate the same from female-to-female--but it's real. Anyway, Brokeback Mountain might actually be a great movie, but I work such long hours and have so many responsibilities around the house that on the rare occasion when I have an opportunity to see a film, I can't work up much enthusiasm for spending that time and money watching two dudes betray their wives and children cowpokin' each other.

You know, it's not only liberal cultural politics that separate most critics from the mass audience, but something harder to pin down. It has to do with experience. Critics live in such a rarefied and aestheticized world, seeing five to 10 movies a week, that they quickly grow bored with the sameness of movies. Without quite realizing it--this happened to me as a conservative--critics become suckers for novelty, especially of the transgressive sort.

Rod's got a good point here. Film critic's do tend to fall in love with films that are different from the average Hollywood fare, and that tends to be because they see so many movies.

I'm not sure why a film reviewer's politics matter. I don't care whether a critic is hard-right or far-left, as long as they do their job - which is to tell me whether the movie is worth seeing. On the rare occasions when political thought seeps into film reviews, it's usually an extension of the film's subject matter (for instance, the police tactics of "Minority Report," or the overtly political "The Power of Nightmare").

Both takes are worth looking at, if only to appreciate the power of art and the way it engages us in real, heartfelt discourse.

2 Comments:

At 6:08 PM, Blogger Jabawacefti said...

I wish I knew how to quit you!!!

 
At 2:12 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

Ahhh...that line is going to be comedy gold for a long time. Or, at least until I see the film and hate myself for making fun of it ;)

 

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