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November 20, 2005

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John

very nice blog very personal spiritual meditation

CV

Brokeback Mountain certainly is pulling in the rave reviews (from the usual suspects, but I haven't read *any* negative reviews so far). The recent Newsweek story about it was basically a valentine to the movie. One blogger was apparently so powerfully moved after seeing it that he said something like, "I had been referring to this as the gay cowboy movie. I'll never do that again." Whatever that's supposed to mean.

The target audience, according to the producers, is supposedly gay men and straight women. They used great movie romance posters (ala Titanic) as the model for the Brokeback posters. Over and over again I keep reading about how it's really just an old-fashioned romance.

What I want to know is, will it be a date movie for straight couples? Somehow I'm doubting it.

(Fr) Septimus

Brokeback Mountain: Like the "gay marriage" issue, this sort of thing has a lot to do with self-esteem and "validation" -- which, when you think about it, is kind of an insulting posture. (Am I wrong, but a similar -- if not same -- posture is insisted-upon by the more shrill feminists toward women?)

Walk the Line: sounds good; I'll see it. Maybe I'm wrong, but Johnny Cash struck me as a basically decent person who lost, and later found, his way; and who tried and succeeded in doing some good in his life and work.

anonymous seminarian

My first memory of Johnny Cash is from when I was about eight or nine years old. We had just gotten out of services from the evangelical church my family attended in a town in Southeastern Oregon. As my family lived 25 miles from the church, we would always have brunch at a nearby cafe afterwards. On the way into the cafe I saw a poster with an imposing looking figure in a black trenchcoat. Above the picture was one word- CASH. The poster was an ad for a concert that would be happening at the local airbase (this was still a few years before his career would be reignited with American Recordings.) I asked my parents if we could go but to no avail. That was my first and only chance to see him in person and I have always regretted that it didn't work out. I was about 14 when his first record with American was released. I was immediatly hooked. Within a couple years I had nearly all his recordings. My senior project to graduate from high school was on the Sun recording artists- esp Cash and Carl Perkins. Every morning I would wake up my poor little sister with "Live at Folson Prison" blaring. So...yeah..I'm a Cash junkie. Given this obsession I was nervous about the upcoming movie. All my fears were unfounded. Pheonix seemed to work into the role slowly. In the begining of the film his acting was somewhat like the attempts of his character at singing- shakey and unsure. By the end of the movie he was completely convincing. There were times, esp on stage under the spotlight, that I had to remind myself I wasn't actually watching Johnny Cash perform (that isn't to say that Pheonix's vocals were perfect, but they were not bad enough to be distracting. What was convincing was his mannerisms and his stage presence) Reese Witherspoon nailed her part from the begining. She was wonderful. I have to disagree with Amy as to the middle section of the movie. I think what happened at Sun records was somewhat sudden and inexplicable- at least thats what former Sun recording artists have said (Carl Perkins' and Johnny Cash's autobiographies are helpful in this regard.) These guys went from total obscurity to driving around the country perfoming for sold out audiences, popping pills, and wrecking cadillacs in the blink of an eye. It tooks its toll on all of them- Cash, Orbison, and Perkins would be the only ones who came out of it all with relatively normal lives; and that usually after a couple decades. Anyway, this post is already too long. If you havn't seen the movie go see it.

Nance

I know this crowd is in the I-don't-THINK-so camp for the idea that two men might honestly love one another, as in "Brokeback Mountain," but I recommend the Annie Proulx novella, at least. Very powerful.

amy

Nance:

People's reactions are people's reactions. You have yours and others have theirs. Oh well.

amy

And Nance....I am fully open to what you say. However, this trailer was...amusing. The leads just don't seem to carry it off, even in this brief trailer. Remember, I was a 6FU fan, even though I could never buy that relationship either, mostly because I think the guy who played Keith was not a great actor. I have to honestly say that the sight of Heath Ledger (or whichever one it was) clutching a woman's shirt to his breast and weeping probably would have evoked snickers as well.

Nance

Huh. I watched the same trailer and had a different reaction. You really can't tell from a trailer, but it made me want to see the movie, at least. (Note: I'm predisposed to like Ang Lee films.) My friend the film critic reported that when he saw it in Toronto, grown men were sobbing in their seats when the lights came up. He said the film's real message is, no matter who you are, no matter where you hide, love can still find you. I really don't know why people get so bothered by such an idea, but there you are.

Nance

I'm buying Heath Ledger in that part because, in the book at least, the character is almost pathologically taciturn, and he seems to have that part covered. The shirt scene comes at the very end of the story and is the only point at which his character, Ennis, is able to acknowlege strong feelings with any reaction other than a punch to the jaw or other violence. Just reading it made me cry, but what do I know?

Part of the story's power is the way it acknowledges how circumscribed these lives were. It takes place over a 20-year period beginning in 1964 in the most remote corner of a pretty remote state. The very idea of being homosexual -- or even admitting it to yourself -- in such an environment was simply anathema, and by the end of that period, it wasn't much easier, at least for the Ledger character.

People can snicker if they want, but I'm going to give it a chance.

CV

Nance,
I'm less bothered by the idea that two men could fall deeply in love (of course that can and does happen and will continue to happen) than by the consequences of physically expressing that love...which is of course the whole issue in a nutshell. And there are profound consequences...for individuals, for families, for the human race in general. It's the latter that "bothers" me, if you want to put it that way.

No question, it's a hard teaching (meaning the Church's position on homosexual behavior). No serious person would disagree that it is easy for anyone who experiences same-sex attraction to attempt live out that teaching, especially in today's culture. But that doesn't mean that it's not the truth.

In light of that, it's really a little simplistic to reduce objections to this film to some people getting "bothered" about seeing it depicted on film.

But of course, feel free to generalize about those who comment here as you generally do....

Tony A

I saw the trailer for Brokeback Mountain in Washington DC (Georgetown, to be exact) and I can assure you that there were no giggles from the peanut gallery. The movie might well be bad (it certainly doesn't get my interest) but what's the point in defending a bunch of homophobic jocks shouting around a movie theater?

Radactrice

CV et.al. Of course there are consequences to physically expressing homosexual love...and adulterous love...and premarital love. From the wee bit I've read and the trailer for Brokeback Mountain it doesn't appear that the very real consequences of destroyed lives, broken hearts, devastated families are ignored. And I agree that to just object to this film because a reality is shown is simplistic. It isn't one I'd have liked a young girl (or boy) to see the trailer for, but several films that have turned out to be classic could fall into that category. And it may be a simply wretched film.

pacatholic

Radatrice,
I agree, but I'd just point out that the overwhelming impression I'm taking away from reviews of Brokeback Mountain is the focus on the love story, not the impact on the families involved.

We'll hear lots more (especially at Oscar time) about grown men crying after seeing the film, and about how "validated" the story makes them feel. In the end, it's all about normalizing gay relationships, whether it's a wretched film or a brilliant film (artistically speaking).

Maureen

Why do you assume that the audience snickering was made up of "homophobic jocks"? I would assume a Johnny Cash movie would draw about equal parts men and women.

(I would also assume the vast majority of those watching a Johnny Cash movie wouldn't be even vaguely interested in Brokeback Mountain, so I'm a bit surprised the movie company even bothered running it.)

Nevertheless, I do expect Brokeback Mountain to do okay business, mostly because there's a lot of women and young girls who find two cute guys together to be titillating. (Hence the entire fanfic genre of slash. Hence the entire anime genre of yaoi, which basically amounts to prettier, happier, mushier versions of exploitation flicks that are written for Japanese girls.)

To me, Brokeback Mountain sounds like typical women's emoporn about gay guys, albeit directed by Ang Lee. Quite aside from any moral qualms, you couldn't make me go to a movie like that if you paid me. If I were a gay guy, I'd feel exploited.

Sandra Miesel

BROKEBACK MUNTAIN is exactly the sort of thing to take the Oscar if MUNICH falls short. I don't intend to see either one.

Fr. Totton

If one of the characters in that movie (the "gay cowboy movie") were to exchange his Stetson for a miter, you could subtitle it: the saga of Bishop Gene Robinson!

I am going to have to agree with CV's comments above. It would be irresponsible to reduce the content of the movie to a simple love story. It is quite clearly propoganda from the same folks who brought us the "Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence" ie. the gay rights movement. I would be curious to read what someone like David Morrison might contribute to this discussion. (David, if you are reading, please give your two cents)

Daniel Nichols

I wish the discussion of the Cash movie hadn't been sidetracked by the Gay Cowboy Movie. Gee, it was taken seriously in Georgetown?
I predict a box office flop.
About Cash: my earliest musical memory was hearing "Ring of Fire" and "Walk the Line"; my dad -who looked like Johnny Cash, actually, was a big fan.
Later, in the 60s, when my dad and I were on opposite ends of the cultural clash, Johnny Cash sang a song called "The Lonely Voice of Youth", which was sympathetic to Poor Lost Youth, and then recorded an album with Bob Dylan, which bewildered my dear dad and greatly pleased me.
I am, however, hesitant to see the film.
Mr. Cash was a complex fellow, and his love for Ms. Carter was adulterous, and I am not sure I want to confront the whole thing, let alone be manipulated into sympathy for sin...

Misty

Just so you know, only the very final trailer before the movie is attached to the movie. The rest of the trailers are up to the individual theaters to play or not play. I saw Walk the Line today and it did not show the Brokeback Mountain trailer--my husband works at the theater and knows what the procedure is. If your theater showed the trailer, it was because they thought it would be a good film for their location.

I really enjoyed the movie, though I thought it left the viewer with a bad impression of Cash, unredeemed by any possible later good works.

Richard the Adequate

Fr Totton writes:
"If one of the characters in that movie (the "gay cowboy movie") were to exchange his Stetson for a miter, you could subtitle it: the saga of Bishop Gene Robinson!"

...or the Saga of Anthony O'Connell, Rembert Weakland, Keith Symons, Joseph Hart, Tom Dupre, Daniel Ryan, Patrick Ziemann, Kendrick Williams, Robert Lynch, et al

The Episcopal Church has hardly cornered the market on bishops pursuing an 'alternative lifestyle'.

Frank Gibbons

Well, the "reigning protocols" will force most critics to give Brokeback Mountain rave reviews, whether it deserves it or not. The concept bores me (two good looking cowpokes pining for each other). I'll take "The Crying Game" for forbidden love and good film making. Here, while genuine affection exists between Jimmy/Fergus and Dil, the boundaries of physical expression are observed. The subject is treated with sympathy and humor but, in the end, things by necessity remain chaste. As the man says, "It's in [their} nature".

Radactrice

If this thread is moving off Johnny Cash to other movies, has anyone seen the newest Harry Potter?

Veronica

Radatrice: Oh, I have! 'HP and the Goblet of Fire' It's the best of the series so far, very entertaining and with impeccably wonderful special effects. I definitely would see it again!

Veronica

"Nevertheless, I do expect Brokeback Mountain to do okay business, mostly because there's a lot of women and young girls who find two cute guys together to be titillating. (Hence the entire fanfic genre of slash. Hence the entire anime genre of yaoi, which basically amounts to prettier, happier, mushier versions of exploitation flicks that are written for Japanese girls.)"

As an anime fan, I have always wondered why some females are attracted by yaoi stories. I find them absolutely repulsive, no matter how 'handsome' the guys are or how 'cute and sweet' their romance is supposed to be. It just leaves me confused, and I do wonder about the mental state of the girls who can find the idea of 2 guys together to be attractive. I guess I just can't get it.

I do agree though, that 'Brokeback Mountain' will do okay, thanks to women like these... sheesh.

JonathanR.

Yeah...the yaoi stuff certainly looked baseless when you look at the original series. However, the rabid insistence of many of these yaoi writers that their crap is in keeping with anime "canon", nearly ruined some fine anime work for me, most notably "Gundam Wing".

As for girls who find two guys attractive, I firmly believe they are dwarfed in number by guys with the opposite taste...they just tend to write in bulk. :P Of all my female friends, I know of only one who was marginally attracted to the concept. On the other hand...most of my male friends on the concept of two girls...oi.....

Humanity is wierd.

Veronica

"Yeah...the yaoi stuff certainly looked baseless when you look at the original series. However, the rabid insistence of many of these yaoi writers that their crap is in keeping with anime "canon", nearly ruined some fine anime work for me, most notably "Gundam Wing".

How absolutely true. Actually, the huge amount of yaoi fandom that series had, kept me from seeing this anime for a long time, thinking it was all about guys falling in love with one another. When I actually watched Gundam Wing, however, I was pleasantly surprised. There is simply NO homosexual implications there at all... in fact the implied romance between Heero and Relena was more than obvious. Like I said in my previous post, I do wonder about the mental state of the girls who like yaoi, and those who swear that the GW guys (and other characters from other series) are gay simply because they happen to talk to other guys sometimes. Are they dellusional, I wonder?

Some of them are downright sick... like those who pair off two guys even if they are brothers, like in FullMetal Alchemist. Some yaoi fans do need to see a psichologist, I think.


Anonymous

Sorry for the anon., but the subject is a bit too personal. I find most women who are into Yaoi or slash have been either abused or sometimes just in really bad relationships with men. They are not attracted to women, they still crave romance, but they don't want a situation where, even in their fantasies, it could possibly be /them/ involved.

Maureen

Clarification for non-anime fans: "yaoi" means manga or anime with gay guys (and implies a certain unrealism). There's another term, "yuri", which means anime about lesbians (ditto the unrealism). Neither genre is meant to appeal to persons actually suffering from SSA; they are purely "fan service" for those straight people who like that sort of thing.

Before there were yaoi anime series written to pander to yaoi fans' tastes, there were yaoi comic books by yaoi fans taking shows that way. Certainly the genre wouldn't have gotten onto TV if nobody was buying it.

But even now that there are actual shows dedicated to pretty guys with incredibly long hair who are gay and act more like women than gay guys... well, this still doesn't keep the yaoi fans from interpreting every other show as if any attractive male character was in fact a gay guy who happens to act like a woman. Many shows pander to this without actually going yaoi by providing ambiguous scenes or imagery. (A few US live action shows seem to play this game also, but they generally seem to be doing this either with female characters for the benefit of males, or with male characters for the benefit of male persons with SSA.)

I find the whole thing sad and disturbing. Women set themselves up in this imaginary world where gay men are better at all the womanly skills than they are, where dominance and submission are all (and determined by who's taller!), where young adults are routinely statutorily raped, and where it's logical for young girls to long for men who could never be even vaguely attracted to them. But as long as you wrap the whole thing up in emotion, pretty clothes, flower petals, and dramatic poses, some women will fall for it hook, line, and sinker. (They also think porn is feminist, as long as it's porn they like.)

The whole thing is a contamination of the imagination. Seeing how successful our society has been at fighting pornography for men (not), I suspect this will be equally hard to throw off.

Maureen

Anonymous said:
"I find most women who are into Yaoi or slash have been either abused or sometimes just in really bad relationships with men. They are not attracted to women, they still crave romance, but they don't want a situation where, even in their fantasies, it could possibly be /them/ involved."

Hm. This does sound about right for the older slash and yaoi fans I know. Not all of them, maybe, but a good percentage.

(Since I'm not in the slash or yaoi community, I don't really have a broad enough acquaintance to be accurate about this. I say this because I appreciate that mine is not an insider's viewpoint, and I've often seen fandoms I do know being badly mischaracterized by outsiders from one or two outlying examples.)

The traditional explanation for why young Japanese girls like yaoi is that they are afraid of relationships with men, because they lack this life experience. So they don't really want realistic men, gay or straight, in their fantasy world, and can't tell just how unrealistic things are. (This is also why the male characters in yaoi tend to act like high school girls, with the occasional bizarre shift to acting like abusive men or ideal dads.) I don't know whether this is true, since I don't know Japanese society firsthand.

The interesting thing is that almost all women do seem to crave romance, even if it's covering up or surrounded by all sorts of anti-romantic components to a situation. Even women who are not particularly interested in romantic or sexual relationships of any kind for themselves tend to be interested in them for other people or in fiction. Fantasy tends to blur people's perceptions of what is romantic and what is not. You have to kinda watch yourself, so you don't get sucked into considering fictional things as romantic that in real life would be very unpleasant and unhealthy.

Maureen

While we're at it, when did women become the sole target demographic for romance? Obviously, through most of history, a good chunk of the romantic stories and poems were written by men and directed towards both men and women. Romeo and Juliet was not written by a woman.

So what are the differences between a man's concept of romance and a woman's? Are they artificial differences imposed by our society, or real ones derived from our different forms and functions?

(Fr) Septimus

Maureen:

I'm truly puzzled. I'm familiar with anime, and knew there were variations -- but you mention "shows" -- you mean on TV? I thought the stuff you describe was found on the Internet, or in actual comic books. Is this what one finds on the Cartoon Network after hours or something? Sounds pretty dreadful.

chris K

Way back, at my Catholic university at the time, I remember being "ordered" to view "The Pawnbroker" for freshman English class by our young "Catholic" grad school teacher. At the time, it was rated C (condemned). His weak concern for any carry over Catholic training or obedience of his students was covered by referring them to the known liberal campus priest/chaplain who would give us permission and thus allay any fears of committing mortal sin. And then, here we are today. Any strong guidance out there? Talk about bare breasts...flick your remote today and there are "bowling balls" just about everywhere!! Inticements to artificial "love" is everywhere and no one mourns sufficiently the loss. Rather, it's remote tears that come so easily, after re-education camps such as Oprah, that are the evidence for substance. I have visions of backhoes in hell, dredging even deeper depths for those in authority and/or influence who know better but have joined the crowd munching on popcorn while casually accepting that it must be better to acquaint one's self with this current genre of culture in order to better counsel the confused than just to stay far away, admonishing others to do the same.

derringdo

Victor Morton, who posts in threads here sometimes, saw Brokeback, said so on his blog, and a). was pretty impressed and b). is not exactly the world's leading apologist for gay films.

I don't have any strenuous interest in seeing it myself, but Ang Lee is fully capable of portraying the broader circle of fallout from a forbidden passion, and the mainstream critics are fully capable of ignoring it when he does. See Crouching Tiger, where seemingly every stupidhead with a column in an entertainment magazine bowed down and worshipped Zhang Ziyi's character as some kind of ideal woman even though her adolescent desires and muddled agenda cause all kinds of death and destruction including to characters Lee clearly finds as sympathetic as her, if not moreso.

James Kabala

Incidentally, June Carter's uncle and aunt, A.P. and Sara Carter (two thirds, with Maybelle, of the original Carter Family) were divorced in 1939, leading to the breakup of the original Family. (Maybelle and her daughters performed as Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters until A.P.'s death in 1960, after which they assumed the Carter Family name.) So, the "divorce is an abomination" speech from the mouth of an ardent Carter fan seems implausible.

Sandra Miesel

The brilliant film critic of AMERICA, Moira Walsh, gave THE PAWNBROKER a glowing review when it was released but she correctly predicted that its dramatically justified use of nudity would open the floodgates to erotic exploitation in movies, just as we see.
But don't take Legionary of Decency standards--which changed drastically in the late 50s--as the eternal yardstick of "Catholic values."

chris K

But don't take Legionary of Decency standards--which changed drastically in the late 50s--as the eternal yardstick of "Catholic values."

Not an assumption to be made by my comment. I was referring to some of the origins of the "slippery slope" with conveniently placed "absolvers" to gradually cause the easing of the conscience...all the way to our present situation...which has become a wasteland of values.

Julia

I had no idea the Pawnbroker was condemned. Why? My very visceral memory of the movie is the scene where the pawnbroker does you know what to his hand. That was incredibly shocking to me. I don't recall any nudes.

But then, as big sister, I was given the job of taking 3 of my younger siblings to the movies one Saturday aftertoon many, many years ago. We saw a double feature that included a documentary on some African tribe that didn't wear clothes, which was distracting, but the shocking thing to us was their piercing of their cow's neck to drink the blood in a land without much water. I later found out it was condemned and couldn't figure out whether it was the naked you-know-whats bouncing around when they danced or the blood stuff.

Merle Haggard fan here. My favorite song of his is "Momma Tried" which also refers to Folsom Prison. In Merle's case he actually did spend time in a penitentiary. Half the guys I hear on country radio today seem like they're aping either Merle or Johnny Cash. I'll bet they went through training to lower their voices just like Joaquien (sp?) did. Lucky me I went to the Grand Old Opry once and Merle showed up as a surprise guest. He's woefully under-rated. I think Cash has always gotten more attention because of the June Carter thing.

Craig Finelli

Um, let me get this straight: the snicker of some homophobic asshole sitting behind you in a movie theater in the middle of red state America matters? Fuck you, Amy.

Kevin

Regarding Brokeback Mountain. I have sat through several times when the trailer was shown. Once there were some snickers, but frankly, by a small number. Another time, there was a few whispered comments, but again, the majority of the audience listened quietly. The last time I saw the trailer (the movie was Capote)there were no snickers, no comments (and the theatre was pretty full - particularly with older people - I live in Florida).
Who will see this movie? Gay people, women and from my observation, people who enjoy good film (male and female). I predict that momentum will pick up with this film - particularly when the word of mouth gets out. Frankly, I don't think anyone would expect the vast majority of people who read this blog to attend.
Thanks Nance for your share. I can't say it any better. There is a lot of interest about this movie and many I think will see it out of curiosity. I am encouraging straight and gay people to see it.

Kevin

I wanted to add one more thing. I can't (and won't) apologize for anyone's share. But I am sorry that Craig stated what he said.

I am an ex-Catholic and I read this blog because I want to know what other people are saying and thinking. (I read Andrew Sullivan and he recommended this site). And the sad thing is that the snickers do matter. Unfortunately.

James Kabala

By the way, doesn't the word "Brokeback" sound disturbingly like "bareback?" I wonder if that has occurred to Sullivan.

Maureen

Re: yaoi shows

I don't think I've heard about any actual yaoi shows airing in the US, though there are a few in Japan. I believe that Anime Network has the broadcast rights to one called Gravitation (pretty much a boy band in love with each other), but I haven't heard about it actually coming to air. But I don't get Anime Network on my cable, so I don't really follow what goes on there. But there is plenty of manga and anime on yaoi subjects available in the US, and a great deal more that can be imported or downloaded.

I'm actually more concerned about the girls show Maria-sama ga miteru, which is a very popular story set at a Catholic girl's school and is a sort of hearts and flowers story of girls' "friendship" (that's more romantic than friendly). I find the concept deeply creepy, especially since the Virgin Mary keeps getting dragged into it. But sanity or fear appears to have prevailed, since the thing is still unlicensed in the US after two seasons on the air in Japan. Every time I see anything related to it, though, I feel the sudden urge to join the Catholic League....

Basically, though, there is very little you can possibly imagine that hasn't been made into an anime (at least a straight-to-video one) or a manga. For good or for evil, that's Japan for you. (I have a Joan of Arc manga that's very good, for instance. I also liked the anime of Agatha Christie's Master Detectives Poirot and Marple, and the painfully well-researched Victorian Romance Emma.)

Huge amounts of Stuff are coming over, and you can't just assume it's all age-appropriate or in keeping with your beliefs. This is why parents and fans have to be very picky, and read the reviews and labels carefully.

sj

I've liked "Mama Tried" ever since the Dead did it on their "Skull and Roses" live album. Eventually, I went out and bought Merle's "20 Greatest Hits" album so I could hear the original.

pacatholic

Thanks for the primer on anime and manga, Maureen.

My eyes glaze over when it comes to Japanese animation (I had trouble feigning interest during my five-year-old's obsession with Yu-Gi-Oh last year, but I had no idea how wide ranging and creepy the whole genre(s?) can be.

If that girls show you mentioned ever makes it on to the air here, I may feel compelled to join the Catholic League too!

Fr. Totton

Richard the adequate appended my comment:

"...or the Saga of Anthony O'Connell, Rembert Weakland, Keith Symons, Joseph Hart, Tom Dupre, Daniel Ryan, Patrick Ziemann, Kendrick Williams, Robert Lynch, et al

The Episcopal Church has hardly cornered the market on bishops pursuing an 'alternative lifestyle'."

I am duly rebuked. The presence of active homosexuality among Catholic clergy, even our bishops, is disturbing and inappropriate (to say the least!). However, I might make the observation that while such cases have existed (and the ones listed by "the adequate" have been exposed for thier double lives) among Catholic clergy, it is a far cry from celebrating sodomy as did the ECUSA when they confirmed Bp. Robinson as "the first openly-gay bishop in the Episcopal Church."

Before you attack back, let me be clear that such behavior is utterly unacceptable with or without the pretense that one is living a life of chaste celibacy, but what the Catholic church rightly condemns as mortal sin, the ECUSA celebrates as an "alternative lifestyle." Just something to consider.

Nerina

Well, Craig. Perhaps someone snickered because they were uncomfortable. While seeing a male gay relationship might not affect you, clearly others are bothered. But thanks for showing YOUR tolerance with the F-U to Amy. I reread her comment and I don't think she was making a judgment in any way. Try reading much more of her commentary and you'll see for yourself that you owe her an apology.

Donald R. McClarey

Using obscene insults instead of reasoned argument is a real loser on Open Book, although in flame wars on other sites it might be considered the very essence of intelligent discourse. Perhaps Craig might consider restricting his observations to those venues?

derringdo

pcacatholic: It's not really a genre, in Japan, just a way of producing tv shows, movies and "direct to video stories" (I'm slurring over some complications of the direct-to-video market here) in a variety of genres less expensively than making them live action would be. Most are targetted to the under-thirty demographics in one form or another, but not all. There are educational anime for expecting mothers, supposedly.

The main problem is that the Japanese simply don't have a Christian or even post-Christian set of social mores, and taboos: the Christian horror at sharing your body with a spirit beside your soul, for instance, which our society still largely retains courtesy of the Exorcist, is largely absent in their fantasy/horror work. Broadly speaking, any anime that airs on American tv and targetted to kids (not teenagers) has probably been sanitized to the point where it's no more objectionable than its American counterparts (FWIW). Or was not that objectionable to begin with.

Gene Branaman

"If this thread is moving off Johnny Cash to other movies, has anyone seen the newest Harry Potter?"

Yeah. Liked it, too, Radactrice. Very well-made film. Not a bad performance & the script is tight (maybe too tight in places) & economical. The stakes have been raised very high for the characters & the intensity is carried throughout. There's an wonderful theme of loyalty, bravery, & doing what's right v. what's easy - as in the book - - but the film never descends into having a Big Message(TM), even though there is one. It's my favorite of the series so far. Far more subtle than the others (even Azkaban) & the most overtly British, which I quite enjoyed. Not for the kiddies, though! Way too intense.

As for Brokeback . . . I respect Ang Lee too much to put down his effort here. Ice Storm was a searing inditement(SP?) of the *free sex* culture. A very moral film. I have no intention of seeing Brokeback - didn't EM Forster already write this one? (Maurice) - I'm very sure those of us who don't find it our cuppa will be persecuted & ridiculed for our personal opinions/tastes.

Oh, wait! We already have. (Thanks, Craig!)

(Fr) Septimus

Is it too late to say anything about "Walk the Line"? I saw it today.

I agree it could have said more about Cash's faith; and I think its use of music wasn't as powerful or effective as in "Ray"; but I cared more about Johnny Cash. The relationship with June Carter was handled pretty well. The movie actually seemed to care about fidelity, where a more contemporary (read: degenerate) mentality would consider that quaint.

I was curious to see if the "Brokeback" preview would make an appearance. Unless it preceded my arrival, I believe it wasn't used.

However, I did notice this: in my opinion, all the previews were pitched primarily to women. That struck me as curious: I hadn't thought of "Walk the Line" as a chick- or drag-your-boyfriend-to-it- flick.

Jenn

Fr. Septimus, if Joaquin Phoenix is in it, it's a chick flick! I have zero interest in Johnny Cash, but I'll be seeing the movie because of Phoenix. He's dreamy :)

Victor Morton

As derringdo said, I think BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN is a very good film and I don't say that because I'm a priori impressed with gay subject matter. What does impress me is the elegiac, ambivalent, bittersweet, low-key tragedy involving people who choose something else, like (as here) family, over eros (other examples: THE END OF THE AFFAIR, THE AGE OF INNOCENCE, BRIEF ENCOUNTER). And choose from a mix of motives, not excluding shame. To acknowledge that such choices have costs that we might not prefer at certain moments is simple truth-telling. Lee has made movies before in this vein about willful characters and their destructive effects on the social and themselves -- CROUCHING TIGER, as noted above, and the contrast between the two sisters in SENSE AND SENSIBILITY (remember Kate Winslet sobbing on the bed).

BROKEBACK is not gay propaganda, though it is certainly consumable as validation by gay-lifestyle propagandists. This will be the dominant reaction from all the usual suspects, just as the even better VERA DRAKE was equally pushed into service as pro-abortion propaganda, in blunt oversimplication of its rich subtleties. I see several gay propaganda movies a year and BROKEBACK ain't one, though I acknowledge my meter is not St. Blogs' most sensitive on such matters (perhaps precisely because I see several such movies a year). The film certainly doesn't portray the affair as viable as an alternative lifestyle, though each man thinks it might may be, for a time. The relationship only "works" when it's set apart from the social world -- the construction of homosexuality as outlawry. Like any movie, though, BROKEBACK does require at least some provisional acceptance of the moral universe in which it is set. Homosexuality as a public issue doesn't appear in the movie at all, and homosexuality as a moral issue hardly does, though adultery and infidelity as moral issues very definitely do, though. So thus there's not much to "get wrong" or caricature (think the priest in MILLION DOLLAR BABY). The thing that you simply have to accept provisionally is that some people have an erotic desire for the same sex, and that this might not be the most important thing to say about their sexual behavior or their moral character.

That said, I don't think BROKEBACK will be that popular commercially -- a respectable middle-grossing film, though it's right in the Academy's sweet spot and it'll do very VERY well. But this sort of story has not been very popular recently (again, look at THE AGE OF INNOCENCE or THE END OF THE AFFAIR, which both flamed out). The gay box office isn't that large. Fans of HULK and CROUCHING TIGER (Ang Lee's two major hits) will not get the ass-kicking fix they seek. Neither Jake Gyllenhall nor Heath Ledger have much marquee power. And ... how can I put this delicately ... women looking for a double-dose of Harlequin Romance cover material will not find what they're looking for. Considering the subject matter and contemporary standards, this is a pretty chaste film.

Ronnie

i just don't understand how people can be so narrow-minded about the whole gay issue. True love and happiness are so hard to find these days, anyone capable of doing so should have the right to without being judged and sneered at by others.

and what is up with the church's whole GAY MARRIAGE IS WRONG stance. sanctity of conventional marriage is suuuuuuuuch a logical defense, what with domestic abuse and infidelity and divorce so uncommon these days.

i'm going to enjoy brokeback mountain : )

Ronnie

i just don't understand how people can be so narrow-minded about the whole gay issue. True love and happiness are so hard to find these days, anyone capable of doing so should have the right to without being judged and sneered at by others.

and what is up with the church's whole GAY MARRIAGE IS WRONG stance. sanctity of conventional marriage is suuuuuuuuch a logical defense, what with domestic abuse and infidelity and divorce so uncommon these days.

i'm going to enjoy brokeback mountain : )

Richard the Adequate

Fr Totton responds:
"...but what the Catholic church rightly condemns as mortal sin, the ECUSA celebrates as an "alternative lifestyle." Just something to consider."

Fair enough... well worth my consideration, and, I would hope, by some others as well.

You make a good point.

-Richard

Joshua Conkel

Well, I'm not entirely certain how I found this blog but I will say I've found it, er... interesting. Frankly, some of the things written about gays and lesbians herein were shocking to me.

For those of you who would rail against the "homosexual lifestyle": get with the progam. You are most assuredly on the wrong side of history- like segregationists in the fifties. Yes, I'm comparing you to the KKK.

When gay and lesbian people are full citizens with the rights of others you will truly look the fool.

Oh, and "Brokeback Mountain" is stunning. I went to the premiere.

derringdo

Thanks, Victor. Sorry to drag you into this, but I kept visiting this thread thinking, among other things, "gee wonder when Victor'll show up-he had an interesting take on Brokeback Mt., IIRC" and finally broke down and quoted you.

What fascinates me about Ang Lee is that he's possibly the one current filmmaker who has true stereoscopic vision when it comes to "Sense and Sensibility" in all its manifestations: to him, duty truly is exactly as "sexy" in the loose sense as passion, while you can almost hear some other auteurs straining to see around their own prejudices to see duty as admirable (or, in more rare cases, passion as admirable).

As for Johnny Cash, like the songs I've heard by him, might see the movie, don't know enough about him to really have a dog in the larger fight.

To Goblet of Fire I go tomorrow or the day after.

Victor Morton

And see ... Joshua's reaction is exactly what I fear (actually more than just "fear') will be BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN's reception, particularly in critical/industry circles -- "I'm here. I'm queer, it was fabulous." The film deserves better than to be reduced to an exercise in gay-lifestyle validation.

I had dinner at David Morrison's house last month. His roommate "Dan" had read the Annie Proulx short story, but not seen the film. I had done the reverse. So Dan and I have this odd conversation, trying to figure out between ourselves what the adaptation was like, while trying to be spoiler-vague in front of David, who had neither seen nor read it. Dan was fairly emphatic that the short story didn't make the affair attractive, but rather was portrayed as a destructive force of nature. David was listening to us and (metaphorically) threw up his hands in frustration, saying something like "you guys are kidding yourselves. You both know perfectly well how this film will be spun. 'How awful is it that the homophobic society and the constraints of the nuclear family got in the way of the happiness of these two nice well-meaning gay men by repressing their natural desires to marry each other.' It'll be taken as a commercial for gay marriage and that's what all the Oscar night speeches will be about." And I had to admit that the film doesn't exclude that "read," though I insisted (and insist) that this reduces and flattens the film and rides roughshod over some of its psychology.

Art Deco

Nance says:

... grown men were sobbing in their seats when the lights came up. He said the film's real message is, no matter who you are, no matter where you hide, love can still find you. I really don't know why people get so bothered by such an idea...

I will take the bait. I am bothered because:

'Grown men' should have the self control not to be blubbering in a public place over a piece of fiction;

people settled into middle age should have only the most laconic interest in romantic fantasy;

people should not think in puerile cliches ("love will find you..."); and

an authentic committment of one man to the welfare of another is disfigured by the addition of an erotic componenet thereto.

Aaron

To all the people saying "this movie wont do well commercially" and "its gonna be a flop" I've got news for you. This film has ALREADY broken even even before its release. All money it takes in from this point on is pure profit. Hell, it only cost $11m to make. And beyond, why should a movie be judged by its box-office profits?

Charming Billy

Hey, to return to the original topic: If anyone's still interested in how JC's music developed, I read somewhere or another (I'm sure you can find it on google) that JC's trademark variation on the classic "boom-chicka" theme came about during JC's spell as a telegraph operator in the service. JC claimed that he developed his style by trying to reproduce the "clickety clickety" of a telegraph machine on top of a Carter style shuffle. Sounds right to me. But I guess that's hard to dramatize.

soosfan

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