Day 37 – Brokeback Mountain / Pop Chart Lab Scratch #3

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Movie Title: Brokeback Mountain

First Watch / Repeat Viewing

Running Time: 2 hr. and 14 min.

Rated: R

Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo

Where did I watch it?: Home

Review:

In 2005, when Brokeback Mountain was released, it gained notoriety for featuring a gay sex scene and the rather campy line of dialogue “I wish I knew how to quit you.” The movie spawned many jokes and parodies. After watching the first thirty minutes, I thought some of those jokes had a point. The star of the first thirty minutes is the landscape, while some of the acting by leading men Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal was exceedingly dramatic. However, the movie becomes powerful when they leave the titular mountain exploring what it means to be gay in rural America.

The star early on is the isolation. Wyoming is a beautiful place, but it is also incredibly isolated. The towns of Wyoming are functional while the landscape is rugged and beautiful. I went there last year and it really is like entering a different country. Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal) are charged with minding a heard of sheep for the summer. The heard was culled the year before by wolves. Nearly one third of the sheep died and their owner had no interest in a repeat. The men bond over their shared loneliness and the dysfunction in their personal lives. Twist with a hateful father and Del Mar an orphan left to raise himself. Their initial sexual encounter, the only one shown on screen, is violent and borders on rape. The pair are recalled in the late fall and it is clear that the owner of the sheep knows about their relationship. He treats them with contempt and thinly veiled violence.

The two separate, marry, and have children. Their lives go on until they become reacquainted. This begins a long running relationship that is profiled for the rest of the movie. After leaving the mountain, Ledger and Gyllenhaal put in excellent performances. They make the characters feel human right down to the awkward family holidays. It feels genuine and continues a slow build to a dramatic finale that leaves you to question what really happened.

Verdict:

Brokeback Mountain is a non-traditional love story with violence lurking around its edges though rarely appearing. Anne Hathaway, Randy Quaid, and David Harbour all have minor roles that help the movie dramatically. The movie turns into a real tearjerker during the resolution. See it.

Pop Chart Lab: Third Scratch

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Before and after.

I watched Brokeback Mountain tonight and I thought it was great. I have seen the three previous movies City of God, Spirited Away, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The problem is I don’t remember a lot about any of them except that I liked them. I watched all of them well over a decade and a half ago while I was counter jockeying. I may try and watch them again some time later this year. We’ll see.

Tomorrow’s Movie: Call Me by Your Name (2017)

Today’s Run:

Time: 13:16

Distance: 1 mile

I felt good again today. I trimmed some time off yesterday. If I can work a run into the morning tomorrow I will, but otherwise there may be no run tomorrow because of the weather.

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