The Ranting Wren The Wren Forum Banner
The Glorious Wren The Movie Wren The Photo Wren Old Man Wren

Exit ArchiveArchive for January 14th, 2006

Here is one of the most surprising, fascinating reviews of Brokeback Mountain I have yet seen:

http://www.decentfilms.com/sections/reviews/2645

Decentfilms.com says it is “a site of film appreciation, information, and criticism informed by Christian faith.” You’d think the movie would bash Brokeback Mountain. And, indeed, at first glance the reviewer gives the movie an “F” for “overall recommendability.”

Yet …

Read the review.

Go ahead. Read it now. Seriously. Then come back to this.

I mean it:

http://www.decentfilms.com/sections/reviews/2645

OK.

Now that you’re back, is it not possible that this shows, in some ways, that at least some conservatives might be coming around to the idea that love is good, even if you don’t understand it? Keep in mind, most of his objections revolve not around the idea of a gay romance, but of marital infidelity.

In some ways, this review has left me reeling.

It’s one of those afternoons in which the sky has been threatening to open up all day but has yet to actually do so. I spent the day driving to the new house (which is 30 miles from the current one) to meet a contractor to talk about building a fence. What I hoped would be a project of $1,000 or so to build a fence in the yard to give the dogs an area to romp has turned into a $4,000 “event” — at a house we will rent. As my boss says, though, if we are doing this for the dogs, we just have to remember that we wouldn’t bat an eye if one of them got hurt and we had to pay the vet $4,000.

Still, I’m learning that renting a house is far different than renting an apartment! I’m not sure we’re quite ready to live in a place that’s 2,800 square feet!

To Steve’s previous mention of Brokeback Mountain, let me clarify: I did not dislike it. But I did find myself curously unmoved, admiring the scenery, the performances and the machinations of the plot more than finding myself engage by them. I wondered to myself whether Ang Lee, if he ever were to hear of my reaction, would not be unsurprised. He seemed, to me at least, to bring a sense of detachment to the story, almost as if he were as detached from the emotional side of the love affair as Ennis and Jack had to make themselves in order to survive. Just as he did in The Wedding Banquet and Hulk (two of the only movies of his I’ve seen — and I was one of the few who thought Crouching Tiger was terribly overrated), Lee seemed to bring an almost clinical perspective to the story of Brokeback even while keeping it absolutely, stunningly beautiful; it was if the characters most certainly felt their emotions, but that Lee was only observing them, rather than commenting on them.

My reaction is no way intended as criticism. I will not be disappointed if Brokeback wins, on a completely “industry” level; I wll be very happy if it does from the perspective of a gay man (one who, sadly, did indeed involve himself in an affair with a straight man a number of years ago — two, actually; both of them are now married, to the best of my knowledge). Nonetheless, I believe Good Night, and Good Luck. is the movie most deserving of the Best Picture Oscar this year. It’s made with a truly artistic flair, tells a “socially important” story with incredible skill, and delivers an amazing “punch” right at the end that suddenly makes the story’s relevance to today’s society all too clear. It has great performances and, most of all, is entertaining and not filled with faux intellectualism. (That is not, by any means, a glancing reference to Brokeback, but to another movie that happens to star George Clooney that I found intolerable.)

Although Steve wasn’t he, a friend of mine asked me the other day what my five choices for best movie of the year are. No, Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith is not among them. But, for arguments’ sake, here they are:

1) Good Night, and Good Luck.
2) In Her Shoes*
3) The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
4) Brokeback Mountain (which should settle any claims that I dislike it)
5) The Weather Man*

* I missed these two in theaters, having been misinterpreted a lack of financial success to mean a lack of quality. I caught up with both of them on DVD, thanks to a friend in the Academy. Both are stunning. In Her Shoes deserves serious consideration as Best Picture. The Weather Man won’t be for everyone, but those who can identify with a feeling of being incomplete despite outward signs to the contrary — as well as those who like strangely depressing comedies — may like it as much as I did.