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 bought myself a new camera. It’s a Samsung ST200F. It’s a hideous purple colour, (because they were out of stock of the black ones.) It’s got a 16 megapixel resolution, which is a lot because one mega of anything is a lot, so 16 must be an awful lot. It’s got a memory card in it that allows me to store 3,403 pictures on it, if I take them all at the camera’s maximum resolution, or 97,346 if I take them at its minimum. I doubt if I’ve taken more than 5,000 photos in my entire life, which means if I continue to take photos at the same rate in future, I could use the same memory card to store all the photos I take between now and when I’m 954 years old. I can’t help thinking that even if I live that long, both the camera and the memory card will have stopped functioning by then. Or to put it another way, I’d have to take 16-17 photos an hour for a whole year (assuming I had eight hours sleep a night) to fill the memory card in that time. I’m not sure even my lounge is worthy of that much study. Anyway, this is the first ‘bit of technology’ I’ve bought for a couple of years, so it’s all very exciting; and when I work out why I might want to take advantage of one of its functions and upload my photos into a cloud, I’ll let you know. It also has a setting called Beauty Shot, which apparently improves the appearance of someone by automatically removing blemishes from them. I don’t know why it doesn’t just go the whole way and simply provide you with a picture of a professional model, superimposed on a background of your choice. Still, I can’t wait to test this function’s capabilities on myself, that’ll give it a real workout; I hope it doesn’t break it. It sounds a lot cheaper and a lot less hassle than conventional plastic surgery. I ought to point out that I’ve only bought this camera as I broke my old one when I dropped it on the ground and a tiny bit of plastic snapped off it. I did this the same day I was walking backwards in front of a load of people and fell over a huge boulder that had been pulled out of a river and left there. It’s quite hard to appear nonchalant and casual when you’ve just been dumped on your ass like that in front of 30 people, but I think I got away with it…. Like my life, this film features a plot with a technological edge to it too.
1999 – Certificate: 12 – USA
So, at long last, here’s a romantic comedy that ‘real men’ can watch, because it’s really a tough, no-nonsense science fiction movie. Well, sort of. It hasn’t got any aliens in it, or spaceships, but it does have a couple of big explosions and a dodgy CGI aeroplane. I’ve always like Alicia Silverstone too, because she’s a great actress, honestly. It has nothing to do with what she looked like in her Batgirl costume two years before. No, really it doesn’t. I do have to admit that I did kind of enjoy this film. To be sure, it’s entirely unrealistic, stupid and unbelievable, but it is quite funny in places and the background to the entirely predictable plot is really quite fun and certainly different. The supporting cast does a great job as well. They could have done a lot more with the interesting ‘trapped underground for 35 years’ scenario, but I guess that’s what happens when you let romance get in the way of a perfectly good sci-fi story. However, it’s all very watchable, easy on the brain and well made too. An effortless way to spend 99 minutes.
Recommended for fans of extreme cinema who want to push the boundaries of romantic comedy to its limits. Or maybe not.
No cats, decapitations or chainsaws.
Top badass moment? As a bit of a dance-floor diva myself, (honestly, please don’t assume I’m lying), Adam’s dancing in the nightclub deserves some respect. Being able to do that after living your whole life in a hole in the ground with just your parents for company, has to be badass. In fact being able to do almost anything after growing up in those circumstances is probably badass.
Each summer in the UK an ever-increasing number of music festivals seem to be organised. Every year we hold Wimbledon on almost all open courts. We insist on trying to have barbeques. We invented a sport, cricket, which relies on almost totally dry conditions for it to take place. And this year we have the Olympics too. Why is anyone the least bit surprised that the weather is being especially wet at present? (June was the wettest on record and half the country seems to be under threat of being flooded as I write this.) We should be proud that the British weather has raised it game to give us the sort of summer that befits the Olympics. Floods, lack of sunshine, torrential rain. I’m just worried that by the time the Olympics start, we’ll find that the weather has ‘gone too early’ (like a 1,500m runner starting his ‘run for home’ at the wrong time) and it might end up being a bit nicer next month. I want all the millions of visitors that are coming to the UK to enjoy the full range of experiences our special weather can offer them. We don’t need the drama of hurricanes, tornadoes or years of drought, our naturally understated thunderstorms, grey, drizzly weekends and ‘unseasonally cool for the time of year’ days is what they’re really coming for; I don’t want anyone to go home disappointed. Yeh! Yeh! Jet Stream go! You rule! The idea that we might actually get what we technically refer to as ‘nice weather’ anytime soon, is frankly absurd; a little like this film really.
1983 – Certificate: PG – USA
This ‘historical’ drama would be so easy to ridicule and quite frankly it deserves to be. For a start, it has a pretty ludicrous plot. It conveniently ‘ignores’ loads of issues that would have made things a whole lot harder than they actually appear to be, (money anyone)? It majors on continually reinforcing the notion that men and women have to stick to a strict code of social behaviours and expectations (that would give even a Thomas Hardy novel a run for its money); but then when they’re ignored it doesn’t seem to produce any consequences. It has a 40-year-old woman trying to play the part of a young woman passing herself off as a teenage boy, (her ‘disguise’ is even less convincing than Batman’s), who frequently bursts into song; (yes, it’s a musical too). After about 20 minutes I was ready to give up watching it. I was asking myself, why on earth had I bought this film? I don’t really like ‘period pieces’; (grown-up’s translation = historical dramas). I don’t especially enjoy musicals either. But then something really weird happened; it actually got, well, interesting. As soon as it started up with the pseudo-cross-dressing-gay-lesbian stuff, things improved loads! Well okay it’s a PG film, so don’t expect anything very explicit, but for a movie that’s basically ridiculous on nearly every level, it actually manages to feel quite realistic and touching. It also builds a decent amount of tension around the idea that her true identify as a woman might be discovered at any moment; I was sitting there getting agitated thinking, when are one of these stupid people going to realise she’s actually a woman; it’s like so totally obvious)? I have to say that Babs (that’s what Barbra Streisand’s fans seem to call her) does look rather fetching in it too. So yes, in the end I did quite enjoy it and consequently have to now file it away under lock and key as a guilty pleasure.
Recommended for Avril Lavigne fans who want a new kind of idol.
No cats and no decapitations.
Top badass moment? Barbra Streisand’s character Yentl/Anshel sticking it to ‘The Man’. At a time and place when women weren’t allowed to go to school but basically had to just hang around at home making dinner and babies, Babs most defiantly gives the finger to all and sundry. That’s badass!