Sunday, February 14, 2010

Are you an Enniss or a Jack?

(This is my version of a Valentines Day post.  Hope you enjoy it.)

Finally got around to seeing Brokeback Mountain.  (I know, I'm totally that person who sees Casino in 2007, and wants to finally talk about it then.)

The thing is, I knew Brokeback was going to be really depressing, which is why I didn't go see it when it was first released. But for some reason, watching a depressing movie alone in my apartment in Austin seemed like a good idea.

But I wasn't so much taken in by the beautiful scenery or music.  I wasn't particularly won over by the acting, which was also great.

I mostly felt incredibly annoyed.

For those of you who haven't seen it, it's the story of two gay cowboys who fall in love one ranching season, but then who go their separate ways.  Enniss marries Alma and works as a freelancer in Wyoming, Jack marries Lureen and helps run her father's business in Texas.  Eventually they come back into contact again and are still totally in love with each other, at which point they agree to hang out roughly once a year, on "fishing trips" on Brokeback Mountain.

At some point Alma finds out about Enniss and Jack, and she and Enniss get divorced.  Around this time, Jack suggests that he and Enniss really make a go of it -- buy a ranch up on Brokeback Mountain, move to Texas, move to Mexico, anything.

Every time, Enniss shoots him down.  And eventually, they grow apart, Jack is killed, and Enniss is left alone to sob in his trailer over his lost love's shirt.  At which point you're supposed to really get the tragedy of their thwarted relationship, only ... I still just felt bugged.

Because Enniss was the one who thwarted the relationship, at every turn.  So when he was miserable at the end, I felt badly, but wasn't sympathetic.

I relayed my frustration with the movie to my friendster Nelson, who was unimpressed with my analysis.  "Society wouldn't let them be together," he said.  "They were unhappy and died alone because of that."

"No," I replied, irritated.  "They were unhappy and died alone because Enniss wouldn't take a chance on Jack.  Jack was always willing to buck society's trends in order to find happiness, Enniss just left him hanging every time."

"No, they couldn't have been together," Nelson insisted.   "Remember what happened to the two gay guys in the story that Enniss told?  The ones who were murdered by Enniss' dad and his friends?"

"First of all, there's no reason to think that would have especially happened to them," I replied.  "I'm not saying it would have been easy, but they both ended up dead or miserable ANYWAY -- so even if they were murdered, they could have at least been HAPPY in the meantime."

This went on for some time.  When Nelson and I argue, we usually don't ever find any common ground, so we have to simply agree to disagree.  But Nelson did have to throw this out there -- "You know, you would take Jack's side," he teased, alluding to the fact that he thinks I'm overly optimistic.

"Enjoy your unhappy ending, Enniss," I said back (with only a hint of snottiness).

Anyone out there who disagrees?  I know people love Brokeback Mountain, but anyone else think the real tragedy was the fact that Enniss made himself--and by extension, everyone who loved him--unhappy through his inability to trust people?  Or are you guys on Nelson's side, who thinks that Enniss made the only rational decision he could, and the fact that it made him and Jack miserable was simply something out of his control?

Also -- what was up with Heath Ledger's MUMBLING???  I seriously couldn't understand him half the time.  Sorry Heath, if you're reading this up in heaven, but that was not your best work.


  1. LOL, I have also avoided thiw movie so thanks for the breakdown, well done. Who plays Ennis anyway? And why such a horrible name?! LOL! yeah that is what I first think, bad name dude.

    I agree with you. They could have given themselves a chance. Even if they didn't announce to the world we are a gay couple, they could have been together, so Ennis was an idiot. I am glad I didn't want to see it, it sounds depressing and I knew there was no way in heck it could have a happy ending but the dude dying and the lover smelling his not a me movie, and I love them ALL.

  2. Growing up I watched too many of my friends have to hide their sexuality because of society's attitude and the ramifications of coming out. And B.M. started in an earlier era than when I grew up which was even harsher - so yes I have to respectfully disagree.

    My friends [most of them] eventually came out [still have a few that keep it a secret for those same reasons]but overall I think it is up to the individual to make themself happy regardless of sexuality.

    [any of that make sense? :D]

  3. As on of those people who loves that movie, I agree that the real tragedy is much more Ennis' fear than society not letting them. It's all about them (mostly Ennis) trying to fight their feelings and happiness, but always being pulled back in - and thus being unable to commit to anything fully and be truly happy. I actually really appreciated that so much of the struggle was internal (although obviously informed by external realities and pressures) rather than just a basic isn't it horrible how society won't accept their love.

    Also - that last scene with Ennis holding Jack's shirt kills me every times. Because I have heart.

  4. I enjoyed the movie, but it depressed me incredibly! I was like, they're never going to end up together, no matter how much we want them to! Sigh.