From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ang Lee comes an epic American love story, “Brokeback Mountain”. Set against the sweeping vistas of Wyoming and Texas, the film tells the story of two young men – a ranch-hand and a rodeo cowboy – who meet in the summer of 1963, and unexpectedly forge a lifelong connection, one whose complications, joys, and tragedies provide a testament to the endurance and power of love.
2005 – Certificate: 15 – American Film
Rating Details: Strong language, moderate sex and violence
8.0 out of 10
I had a very disappointing day today. I went to a meeting in a place called Lymington. It’s about as far south-west as I can go and still remain in ‘my patch’ at work. If I’d gone much furthered I’d have entered the “South West” and risked immediate kidnap, assassination, or worse, from my colleagues in that part of the country. Although we’re officially “One Team” these days, at a local level there’re still some patches of tribalism, although it’s nothing that a forty-foot high electric fence topped with razor wire wouldn’t cure. Anyway, Lymington is on the edge of the New Forest National Park. But what a swizz it all is! I drove right across it and all I saw were loads and loads of old trees, some of which actually looked dead and had ‘things’ like birds, bats and bugs living in them. There were hardly any young ones at all. How ‘they’ get away with such a bare-faced lie I’ve no idea; surely there must be some sort of advertising standards law they’re breaking? It’s a terrible reflection on us all that these days unless something’s labelled new or improved, no one’s interested in it; indeed, I seem to suffer from this problem myself. Washing powder and smartphone manufactures have a lot to answer for. “A mosaic of ancient and ornamental woodland, open heather-covered heaths, rivers and valley mires, a coastline of mudflats and salt-marshes and pretty, historic villages; the largest area of lowland heath left in southern England.” Who’s going to be interested in that when they could go and play Laser Quest and then get pissed in the pub afterwards? Like the New Forest, this film also grossly misrepresents itself, as it fails to provide any sort of back injury whatsoever, not even a pulled muscle.
I’m not a big fan of westerns. I also imagine Hell to have a soundtrack that features country music on heavy rotation. Characters engaged in herding animals about and shooting others, have to work hard to overcome their inherent, non-vegan nature and don’t tend to attract my sympathy either. It’s been a while since I was a cowboy too, so I’m probably a bit out of touch with what’s hot and what’s not in lasso-land; in fact the last time it happened I was very young and had been given a cowboy outfit for my birthday; I didn’t even know which way around to hold the gun and consequently went about shooting myself rather than the hordes of evil Indians that I imagined were busy invading our flat in central London. I guess what I’m trying to say is that this film was not one that on the surface I was likely to enjoy and up until now, unlike every other human being on the planet, I’d never watched it. Fortunately, I quickly realised what it’s really about and it suddenly made a lot more sense to me. “Brokeback Mountain” is basically a reimagining of a number of Thomas Hardy’s novels, where the dictates of society prevent two people from being together. “People go on marrying because they can’t resist natural forces, although many of them may know perfectly well that they are possibly buying a month’s pleasure with a life’s discomfort.” (Jude the Obscure). It’s a film that, like many Hardy novels, involves a lot of rural landscapes, shepherds, folk music and drinking in bars. I was just waiting for all the sheep to find a cliff somewhere to throw themselves over. Like Hardy, “Brokeback Mountain” demonstrates the futility of life and the inevitability of being disappointed, let down and kept apart from those you hold most dear. At the very least, the credits should have said something to the effect that it was inspired by the poems and novels of Thomas Hardy. “Brokeback Mountain” is a bleak and touching film, with the last half hour providing a powerful bit of cinema. The admission that your feelings for someone have effectively fucked up everyones’ lives; priceless wisdom. This is also a lovely looking film (and I’m not just talking about Michelle Williams, who looks very cute in it), with lots of great views of the countryside.
Country and western music, noooooooooooo..!!! I’m just a woman and my man beats me up and shot my dog for fun and had an affair with my sister and hates me but he’s still my man so I’ve got to love him…. The rest of the soundtrack isn’t bad and it does have ‘that’ bit of music, “The Wings” by Gustavo Santaolalla.
Recommended for fans of good movie making. Not recommended for anyone that thinks gay people are an abomination or mentally ill; for you I recommend you go fuck yourselves instead, which if you’re a guy is actually a pretty gay thing to do when you think about it; but you probably won’t want to think about it.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? It takes him long enough, but Jack finally giving Lureen’s father the bollocking he deserves. I despise people like that who’re so full of themselves; what a bullying, arrogant prick he was.
I’ve always considered myself a bit of a jet-setting, international playboy, (just without the “international”, “playboy” and “jet-setting” bits). The fact that I’m a friendless, social recluse who never goes anywhere (other than gigs) probably also mitigates against this, but honestly, I do try! And I’m pretty sure Peter Stringfellow has me on speed-dial too, just in case he needs some advice at any point. However, next week I find myself needing to go to King’s Cross (London), Alton (Hampshire), Chipping Norton (Oxfordshire), Norwich (Norfolk) and Leeds (West Yorkshire). It’s true, these aren’t exactly “international”, but Leeds isn’t that far from Scotland and London probably has more foreigners in it from more countries than their own countries have of their own populations in them. It’s also not very “jet-setting”, but I will be travelling by train a lot and some of them go over 100mph, so that’s nearly as fast as a jet (probably). (A lot faster in fact, if you take into account Manchester Airport’s little embarrassment last week, when it ran out of aviation fuel.) As to the “playboy” bit, well I don’t want to push my luck, two out of three isn’t bad.
1980 – Certificate: 15 – USA
Rating Details: Language: some, strong. Sex/Nudity: none. Violence: once, moderate. Other: suicide theme
It may have won four Oscars, but “Ordinary People” hasn’t aged well. It’s still an engaging and generally bleak film, but it also looks and sounds ‘really old’. Everything from the cars, through to the hairdos and clothes, shout out “ancient history”. Released three years after “Star Wars” and “Anarchy in the UK”, it’s set in an America that belongs in some long-forgotten, day-time soap from the 80s. In fact, I couldn’t quite work out why I owned a copy of this film at first, but then, as it gradually revealed its generally depressing and miserable narrative, I come to realise that this was why I bought it. It’s another film about a dysfunctional family who have everything yet nothing. It’s slow, it’s out of date, it’s very American and the picture and sound quality of my copy didn’t exactly endear me to it either, yet the story and the acting is top draw stuff and manage to (almost) overcome its modern shortfalls. Worth watching if you’ve had an overly good day and feel guilty about it, so you can go to bed depressed. I found it a bit creepy seeing Donald Sutherland with a lot of hair and playing a decent character too; for some reason in my mind he always plays bad guys. I really felt sorry for him in the end; poor guy. All a bit tragic really.
Recommended for gloomy people in general and anyone who can listen to a mono soundtrack without their skin crawling.
No cats and no decapitations.
Top badass moment? In a depressing film about depressing things, what could be more badass than a scene where the most depressing (and best) book in the world is discussed? Thomas Hardy’s “Jude of Obscure”. Thomas Hardy, the original emo; (and incidentally the best author in the history of the universe, ever). It’s simply badass.