The cocktail parties in this town are all atwitter with talk of Brokeback Mountain, the rapturously named tale of two cowboys who find splendour in the grasslands. In Austin, the release of this film is somewhat (forgive me) anti-climactic as we had much foretelling of this particular battle in the culture wars via the Saint Andrew's Episcopal School brouhaha.
that? Ah, yes, the odor of shallow trendiness, mixed with ol' fashioned
Hollywood Hypocrisy, just in time for the holidays, and incidentally,
the awards nominations for 2005. You get a really good snoot-full
in the interlinear notes and the parentheticals of the PR
blurbs. "Heath Ledger's fiancée plays his
beard wife in the movie" "Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger, two straight actors, play homosexual cowboys who fall in love."
So where are the picket lines? You know, the ones that form when a Caucasian plays an Asian/Hispanic/Black role? Am I really supposed to believe that there aren't any/enough gay actors in Hollywood that Brokeback couldn't have been cast with actual gay actors? I mean, if we are all so moved by the plight of these fellows and the double lives they had to lead and really, the whole goal of this story is to promote tolerance and acceptance and the normality of homosexual tendencies, then why, why oh why, are straight actors playing gay guys?
Because: the calculation here is that the prospect of Major Awards (all but guaranteed given the subject matter and the prestige of the director), plus the added padding of the prominently placed fiancée, will cushion Heath and Jake from typecasting and they can go back to real man roles with a nice little "critically acclaimed" in their curricula vitae. And aren't they courageous! Nevertheless, expect Heath's next project to look like a Mel Gibson film on steroids.
I've got bad news for Jake, though. I don't think he's ever going to shake the swish from his type. He will be the heartthrob of teeny bops who swan for those eyes and don't know any better, but for those of us who think Orlando Bloom is a girl (and we are legion), Mr. Gyllenhaal is one "Y" chromosome short of a coed picnic.
Relevant aside: I wait with baited breath for Garrison Keillor, that Liberal paragon and NPR stalwart to do a "Dusty and Lefty" bit that has them revealing their true feelings for one another.
Yet another relevant aside: I understand that PETA offered the producers an endorsement of Brokeback Mountain. Something along these lines: "Finally, the cowboys are doing with each other and leaving the doggies alone ."