Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Why exactly is it considered "Groundbreaking?"

Apparently a new movie is coming out called "Brokeback Mountain" that tells the story of two gay cowboy lovers and the discrimination they experienced back in the 60s and 70s. Now I must confess that I have not seen the movie, nor do I have the desire. In order to see it would require I travel down into the West Los Angeles area to one of those creepy independent owned movie houses where it is playing in limited release. All of my understanding of the story is from second hand media reviews. I could opine about what I have heard about the film, particularly the positive portrayal of homoerotic perversion and the fact the two lead characters destroy their marriages and their own families to pursue inordinate affections. That, however, is not why I am even commenting about the movie with this post.

What I find amusing is the excessive adulation the film is receiving from the art house crowd. I guess I should expect that response from them with these kind of movies, but the film has practically been given the Academy Award for best picture 4 months in advance.

I was driving in town the other day when my eye caught a bus stop kiosk with a poster of Brokeback Mountain and at the top was a critic review stating: Groundbreaking...
I thought, "ground breaking? What's so ground breaking about another gay themed movie?" Ground breaking is a word we use for something that has not been done before that sets a standard. Disney's Steamboat Willie is ground breaking. Star Wars, for example, was a ground breaking film with its special effects, and Jurassic Park was ground breaking for the CGI technology. However, the umpteenth gay themed film is not ground breaking.

What would be a ground breaking film for today is a story about a guy heavily involved in the San Francisco homosexual bath house culture who gets saved, becomes a Christian, renounces his homosexual lifestyle as a perversion against God, marries a nice Christian girl, raises a family and then experiences persecution from his former "gay" friends when he starts a San Francisco mission designed to evangelize gays and lesbians. That would certainly be "ground breaking." Something tells me, though, that it would not be considered for the Academy Award.


Blogger Daniel said...


What else can I say - you really nailed it.

11:01 AM, December 16, 2005  
Blogger i am tyler said...

How can you make such bold comments about a film that you haven't seen? Yes, there are certain assumptions that you can make, but you honestly cannot claim that the film is not groundbreaking without seeing it.

Without seeing it, you don't know why it is allegedly groundbreaking. Contrary to your assumption, the film is not being critically praised for its homosexual plotline. It's because of the filmmaking.

Without seeing "Star Wars" or "Jurassic Park," how would you have known that about its groundbreaking special effects? Without seeing "On the Waterfront," how would you know about its groundbreaking script and acting? Without seeing "Citizen Kane," how would you know about its groundbreaking shots and angles? (If your assumptions were more widely applied, "Star Wars" wouldn't have been groundbreaking because it was just another sci-fi movie.)

I'm not saying that you should see "Brokeback Mountain," and I'm certainly not defending it's morality. You just need to be careful with the assumptions that you make. Don't over simplify. There's more to a film than its one-sentence synopsis.

2:35 PM, February 22, 2006  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Tyler commented: Without seeing it, you don't know why it is allegedly groundbreaking. Contrary to your assumption, the film is not being critically praised for its homosexual plotline. It's because of the filmmaking.

Fred Responds Well, Tyler, with all due respect, I believe the critical praise for this film does go beyond the "film making" to being the gay themes presented in the film. I am not sure where you may live in the US, but here is LA, during the weeks leading up to the Academy Awards, movie studios flood the radio and TV stations with ads promoting which ever film of theirs is nominated for an award. The ads for Brokeback Mountain are nearly ubiquitous. At least every commercial break of the talk station I listen to, there is an ad promoting the film as the one the members of the academy need to vote for best picture. The announcer uses such words as "All American Love Story" and "Timeless Romance" to describe this movie about two men who destroy their lives and the lives of their families because of their pursuit of a homosexual affair. Of course it is about the homosexuality.

If the movie were genuinely about the film making, then Ang Lee is way behind on his ability to make a well made film in the west. Dances With Wolves accomplished this 15 years ago or so. And Lawerence of Arabia another 30 years or more before that.


1:28 PM, February 24, 2006  

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