Friday, December 16

"It's Not a Gay Film"

Brokeback Mountain opens today in DC, but it hit the WaPo earlier this week. There, Style section staffer Jose Vargas argued that despite the giddiness displayed by most homos about the movie's arrival in local theaters -- "like a gay church praying at the altar" -- the movie isn't really all that gay.

This is not a film about gay men and AIDS, a la "Philadelphia," which won Tom Hanks an Oscar, or "Love! Valour! Compassion!," the film version of the Terrence McNally play. It's neither comedic nor campy, nothing like "In & Out" or "The Birdcage." It's no "Kiss Me, Guido" or "Trick" or "The Broken Hearts Club," all set in big cities, with stereotypical gay characters trapped in flamboyantly worn-out narratives.

No, I guess it's just about guys who do each other -- oh, and fall in love. I don't think it's a spoiler to say that things don't end so happily. According to the definitive buzz, this is a heavy, emotional movie about longing and loss, brilliantly depicted.

Given the tormented love affair at the heart of the movie, I have to wonder about "that herd mentality business," as Vargas puts it. "The pressure, the expectations, the lobbying, the near-bullying, 'be-there-or-be-a-bad-gay' attitude of it all," exemplified by Scott Shumaker, who tells the Post he organized a viewing tonight with "40 to 45 of his friends," who will hit Halo afterward for a "post-movie wrap-up."

You'd think such a wrenching love story is more of a date movie, but I guess going in gaggles is really the gayest part of Brokeback after all.

P.S. Dave White wrote a great piece for MSNBC about why every straight dude should see it.