April 13, 2006

Great News! Gays Are Boring, Too!

Courtesy of Netflix (the one luxury I can provide myself these days), I finally saw Brokeback Mountain. I'd had it for several days, and kept postponing watching it. Given some of what I'd read and heard about it, I didn't expect to like it much.

I'll be writing more about the film as part of a new (short) series of essays I'm working on; I hope to post the first of them in the next few days. (I'm also working on another, much more complicated new series, that I plan to start posting in the next day or two. I'm trying to get back into the regular habit of writing, after the last very slow and difficult month.)

For the moment, I'll simply say this about Brokeback Mountain: I honestly don't know how I survived this many years without realizing that gays can have lives that are just as dreary and boring as those of you straights. I can't say that I find this supposedly illuminating piece of information especially inspiring, or even useful. Even the sex scenes were boring. That's an accomplishment of sorts, I suppose, although the nature of the accomplishment is somewhat questionable in my mind. At least the straight sex scenes were just as dull. That isn't exactly the kind of equality I'd had in mind. It's one of the most relentlessly joyless movies I've ever seen.

Give me the nasty, bitchy queens in The Boys in the Band any day. At least, they were clever, funny and entertaining! (I know, I know: you're thinking that, since I'm originally from New York, worked in the theater and lived at the Metropolitan Opera, those bitchy queens are my kind of people. And you would be entirely correct. See? I saved you the awkwardness of having to say it yourself. I'm a considerate bitchy queen. We aim to please. Meanwhile, can someone please see to it that Boys in the Band is released on DVD pronto? Thanks a bunch.)

And as for all the ponderous, pretentious talk about how "groundbreaking" and "brave" the film is...please. I'll discuss that in more detail in the longer essay. If anything, the movie together with its accompanying PR is several large steps backward. And while watching the bonus features accompanying the film, I thought that if I heard Ang Lee or some of the actors say one more time that, "Oh, it's not really a gay movie! It's a love story! It's universal!," I'd throw something through my teevee set.

At least, the movie confirms all the conservative tripe about how "Hollywood liberals hate America." It's bad enough that Brokeback tries to drive a stake through the enduring John Wayne-Gary Cooper Western male myth: I mean, how on earth will we survive as a country without that myth to sustain us? But while these moviemakers are destroying one of the central fables on which our national sense of identity is founded, they filmed their movie about the American West -- in Canada!

Some people truly have no shame. Beautiful scenery, though. :>))