many bells down

What’s the big deal?
April 6, 2006, 4:38 am
Filed under: Movies

I finally saw Brokeback Mountain last night. After all the hemming and hawing about what an incredible film it was – how, according to the commercial they air every five seconds, it "changes the way we think about film" – and how it should have won the Best Picture Oscar over Crash, I have to say I was somewhat disappointed by all the hype.  Sure, Health Ledger and Jake Gyllenhall turned in great performances.  Anne Hathaway and Michelle Williams were pretty good too, and the cinematography was beautiful.  In the end, however, it was just a love story – a love story about gay guys, but who cares?  I guess because of where I grew up this wasn't a big deal to me.

When comparing the two, it seems to me that Crash was the more powerful film and deserved to win Best Picture.  Brokeback may have changed the way we think about film (a claim I really doubt, but there it is), but in my opinion, Crash changed the way we think about and look at ourselves – and the people around us.  It forced us to face the ugly realities of our lives head on; it made us awknowledge that for all our claims of enlightenment, prejudice still exists, and each and every one of us is guilty of it.  And that, to me, makes it more relevant than Brokeback Mountain.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on this!  Leave me comments, let me know!


8 Comments so far
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See I didn’t like Crash too much. It did have a great story though. I just couldn’t really get into it. I would really like to see BBM soon though.

Comment by emmadonovan

i have absolutely no desire to see BBM. not because im homophobic (which im not) but because the storyline just doesnt interest me. i mean, is it supposed to be interesting because they are gay? bc i know that i wouldnt even want to see a movie about cowboy/cowgirl love. maybe im cowperson-phobic.
i thought crash was great. intense, but great. it really did move me, and really did change the way that i think on an everyday basis.
u guss i shouldnt judge until i SEE BBM, which i can safely say will never happen. i shouldnt even be writing thes, then.
well, was my super-intelligent ramble for the night.

Comment by Jess Ross

I completely agree. I have just watched BBM myself last Monday, and I’m going to admit I’d been pretty excited about it, with all the buzz about Oscar and such. It was okay in the beginning, as you said, great cinematography and also gave us some time to the two characters. But after that, when the story got a little bit intricated with social issues, it just turned Boring. I wished it ended. Quickly. Not that I’m anti-gay cowboys or anything. I have a gay friend myself.

To look at it from social perspective, between the two, imo Crash is a more complex issue movie and has all the rights to take home the Best Picture award. BBM does deliver a message about gay relationship etc., but honestly, which one strikes more resemblance to the world we’re living right now? Are there still any incident of townpeople killing cowboys just because they’re gays? I’m not saying that BBM doesn’t change the way people think of gays (not movies), it’s still a significant movie. Crash, on the other hand, carries the same significance, only told in a better, not as seriously and tiresomely as BBM.

Personally if somebody asks me to watch Crash again, I’d take the offer (have seen it twice since last year), but if the same offer applies to BBM, I’d say no, thanks.

Comment by orange

hey– I got a job. Finally. What’s your news? Did you hear back from the mags yet? This week was crazy. so many mags closed .. so many people out of jobs. shudder.
are u coming to nyc anytime soon?

Comment by Jinal Shah

“Are there still any incident of townpeople killing cowboys just because they’re gays?”

It may not be townspeople killing cowboys…but it’s certainly people killing/hurting other people because they are gay.

Just tonight, a friend of mine came into my dressing room, upset because her doctor decided it was her business to lecture and harass her on her lifestyle and how it’s wrong to be gay.

I don’t know, I think that, since we’ve been fighting racism for so long, the fact that people acknowledge that it still exists is shocking and frustrating for all of us. But I feel like the struggle for tolerance of sexuality has only just begun.

“not because im homophobic (which im not)”
“Not that I’m anti-gay cowboys or anything. I have a gay friend myself.”

I found it incredibly interesting that everyone HAD to say that when talking about BBM, but no one felt the need to mention that they weren’t racist in regards to Crash.

Like I said, I think that because, as a nation, we’ve been struggling against racism for so long, it’s painful for people to acknowledge that it still exists. But the fight for gay rights and tolerance and equality is still fresh and apparent. So Crash hit people a little harder. I guess I can see where you’re coming from, though, as far as saying that it was a little more relevant since it took place in present day, but I actually think it’s easy to relate the descriptions and images they gave of the beatings of the gay cowboys with instances such as the Matthew Shepard beating, which was only eight years ago now.

Am I overanalyzing? Probably…

Comment by Jo

“I found it incredibly interesting that everyone HAD to say that when talking about BBM, but no one felt the need to mention that they weren’t racist in regards to Crash”

That is interesting, but I just want to say that the reason I said that is because in the past, when I would tell people that I didnt ever want to see BBM, the next thing out of peoples mouths was “oh you dont like gay people?” or “oh because youre religious?” or “yeah i dont want to see boys make out either” or something to that effect. I just wanted to point out that I wasnt one of those people who were uncomfortable with the premis of the film because of the sexual orientation of the main characters. I completely agree that we are a society in which gays do not have rights yet and that is something that needs to change. I havent seen BBM, but I understand the point that it makes. I just cant really relate to it, because i dont have a problem with gay people and while its sad what is happening, I dont feel like I am a part of it. I just dont feel that connection.

The reason I liked crash so much was because it is addressing something that people want to refuse is still existing. Something that we are all guilty of and a problem that we all contribute to. Even as a biracial girl,(who could pass for spanish) I cant go in to most suburban diners without getting different treatment. BUT if I ever told someone that my treatment was based on my skin color, they are very skeptical and think i am making a big deal out of nothing. Even though I have been a victim of racism first hand, watching this movie made me realize that I, too, contribute to the problem! The movie stunned me, shook me up and spit me out.

I really doubt that BBM would have the same effect on me. But i cant really say for sure, until Ive seen it.

Holy Moly ive said too much. 😉

Comment by Jess Ross

I don’t take issue with the fact that, for American cinema, this film was a big deal. I have never seen a film that features a gay romance – disregarding, of course, porn and “hot lesbian” films. So it is groundbreaking in that regard. But I don’t think it “changed the way we think about film,” and I don’t think it deserved to win Best Picture. I wrote this mainly because the people who made Brokeback – and the woman who wrote the short story – were so mad that it didn’t win, and I didn’t find that the film impacted me at all like Crash did. Brokeback did deal a little with prejudice, but it was mostly a love story. Afterwards, it didn’t make me think about anything. Crash did make me think, long and hard.

I’m not homophobic. Most of the people I know aren’t homophobic. But most people I know (myself included) will make a joke that could be considered racist and not think it’s a big deal because, hey, it’s just a joke. Most people I know also ascribe to stereotypes about races and don’t think that’s a big deal either. I also think that’s why no one felt the need to say they weren’t racist when talking about Crash. They can also admit that when watching the film, they saw parts of themselves on the screen. They identified with that, because everyone is racist at one time or another, even if it is only in the little ways. I can recognize that in myself, and I think that’s why Crash was a more important film for me.

Also, I felt the story was better written and enunciated overall. There’s only so much of Heath Ledger’s incoherent mumbling I can take! ; )

Comment by Erin

Yeah, well, I never said the acting was good…hahaha.

Anyway, I guess I agree with you all that Crash was something almost everybody can relate to. I probably relate more to BBM than most people would, so it felt a little stronger…but, yeah, Heath Ledger could have at least enunciated while he acted. A closed-up character doesn’t need to have closed-up speech, necessarily.

Was that coherent?

Comment by Jo

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