The Ultimate Brokeback Forum

Poll

Which do you rate as 'better'?

The Film
207 (44%)
The Book
45 (9.6%)
Equal
195 (41.5%)
Haven't seen/read both yet
23 (4.9%)

Total Members Voted: 432

Author Topic: Film vs. Book -- Which was better?  (Read 172232 times)

Offline Nado

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Re: Poll: Film or Book -- Which was better?
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2006, 11:12:03 AM »
I usually get a bigger rise in the pants with literary books than I do with their cinematographic counterparts but for BBM, the film was much more orgasmic:D

BBM was my opportunity to go to a real cineplex and not some cheesy gay-friendly arthouse  - and experience a really wonderful Hollywood, Oscar-contending gay drama on the big screen! How often do we gay men get to do that??? And its just incredibly exhilirating to be able to completely relate to an onscreen romance that isn't physically alien!
"It could be like this - just like this always." - Jack Twist

Offline Scott88

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Re: Poll: Film or Book -- Which was better?
« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2006, 11:44:57 AM »
I though the reunion scene was executed perfectly in the film.  The euphoria and passion Ennis felt for Jack was *abundantly* clear (I love how Heath literally beamed on the stairwell), and yet it would have struck a false note had Ennis started making out in the middle of the parking lot, for any and all neighbors to see.  No way, not with his paranoia and deep-seated fears. 

What Lee did was strike a perfect balance:  Have Ennis direct Jack to the doorway to prevent them being "outed" in public, but nonetheless having Ennis so carried away in the heat of the moment that he doesn't seem to consider at all how easily Alma could discover them. (I mean, all she did had to do was open the front door.  And that's exactly what happened.)

Plus, Ennis leading Jack around the corner only takes a second, and when you see Ennis literally shove him up against the wall -- well, it still manages to leave me breathless, lol.  Unquestionably the most passionate scene in the film.


Offline Dave Cullen

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Re: Poll: Film or Book -- Which was better?
« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2006, 12:11:16 PM »
Is Your intension that we should compare the whole film vs. the whole book?
or
are we supposed to discuss single scenes?

Either one. I'd start with them as a whole, but you don't have to.

And if you're really going to get into it, some scene-for-scene is prolly a great idea.

But you're way ahead of me.

Offline Carissa

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Re: Poll: Film or Book -- Which was better?
« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2006, 01:55:46 PM »
I voted for the film.  Although I loved the story, I loved the glances that Jack steals at Ennis, I loved seeing Ennis' reaction to Jack's advances, and whoa, that kiss after 4 years...I need a cold shower.  ;)  The story is amazing in conveying such broad and rich emotions into a story that is so sparse and simple.  But the way the movie shows those simple and sparse words coming to life is breathtaking.  I think that Larry and Dianna did such a phenomenal job adapting the story to the screenplay.  They truly did bring the story to life.
Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.
- Romeo and Juliet (Juliet at III, ii)

Offline mary

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Re: Poll: Film or Book -- Which was better?
« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2006, 03:34:48 PM »
The book by (a very small) nose.

Some of this may have to do with having read the book first. So my in initial emotional reaction was to the written word.
The other factor being I read a lot, and tend, in general, to prefer books to films

I will say that this film is the best adaptation of a book or story I have ever seen. (which given the fact that I don't see a lot of films may not be saying much)
It is the first film I've ever seen 5 times (and counting) in the theater.
(But I've read the story even more.)
« Last Edit: January 04, 2006, 07:34:29 PM by mary »
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kumari

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Re: Poll: Film or Book -- Which was better?
« Reply #20 on: January 04, 2006, 05:36:26 PM »
You get what you need by going back and forth between the two.
The story feeds you more specific "proof" about Ennis' passion for Jack. The film gives you the visual emotional payoff that you need to withstand the story's tragic moments. Watching Jack lean back into Ennis' embrace by the fire saying "Mmmm..." with his eyes closed and his mind at peace reminds us all that no drug, no sexual experience, and no amount of money can match that feeling, the feeling of loving and being loved in the same moment.That's why Jack craves it for the rest of his life.
I felt like the story does a better job of making me feel Ennis' devotion to Jack, while the film better depicts his sorrow.
Dammit, I still haven't answered the question!

Offline jack

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Re: Poll: Film or Book -- Which was better?
« Reply #21 on: January 04, 2006, 06:05:31 PM »
i knew this would come up sooner or later...

i voted equal, which is unheard of for me.

i normally much prefer the written work, although rarely, jaws for example, a really crappy book becomes a knockout movie.

in this case, the story, to me, is flawless.  it is the single best piece of short fiction i have ever read, perhaps even the best of all formats, and, believe me, i have been reading since i was 4.  i have read me some BOOKS.  every word, every description, every motivation, every evocation, even the dialect writing (and i hate dialect, can't enjoy huck finn because of it), it all rings crystal true.

there are more flaws in the movie, some jangle, others minor irritations; but, the quality of the screenplay, the casting, the acting, the cinematography, the score, the set dressing, the costuming, and the guiding hand of a genius director add up to something the like of which i have never seen before, and don't expect to see again soon.  and i never even got to the subject matter, can you believe that?!

a masterpiece in both vernaculars!

jack
« Last Edit: January 04, 2006, 06:12:46 PM by jack »
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Offline Pierre

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Re: Poll: Film or Book -- Which was better?
« Reply #22 on: January 04, 2006, 07:09:20 PM »
Ok i'm torn...
I read the story after the film and adore them both.

I love the book, because it gives more of a narration behind so much of the unspoken aspects. Though minor very helpful. I'ts essential in trying to figure out some of the unanswered thought in your mind.

I love the film, becuase it allows me to see these characters along with all their minor nuances you can't capture in a short story. As well as the visuals which i wouldn't be able to paint, not being from the midwest. Also i was allowed to feel so much, in glances and breathes.

Rarely do these 2 formats compliment eachother so well , but it definitely worked in this instance.


lynn

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Re: Poll: Film or Book -- Which was better?
« Reply #23 on: January 04, 2006, 07:23:33 PM »
The "language" of the film was easier for me to read: the visual image, the soundtrack, the overall "feel". The story was difficult -- I had to read passages over and over again to undertand and see what Annie was saying. But still, the emotional impact came through clearly.

I can't think of a movie adaptation as faithful to the orignal story. They are intertwined, and one enhances the other. I recuse myself!

Offline andyincolorado

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Re: Poll: Film or Book -- Which was better?
« Reply #24 on: January 04, 2006, 08:35:31 PM »
I find it interesting that BOTH short story AND the film screenplay use the same 'description' for when Ennis and Jack begin to kiss after reuniting 4 years later:

"Then, as easily as the right key turns the lock tumblers, their mouths came together.'

I think Larry and Diana thought that description too good in the story to not include in their screenplay even though it wasn't dialogue.
"Truth is....sometimes I miss you so much I can hardly stand it."

kumari

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Re: Poll: Film or Book -- Which was better?
« Reply #25 on: January 04, 2006, 09:38:13 PM »
Yes, I also noticed that there was much of Proulx's original language in the script.
I imagined the actors reading the screenplay and paying attention to the tone of the story.
I think including so much of the original wording was respectful, wise, and it paid off.

TulseyJoe

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Re: Poll: Film or Book -- Which was better?
« Reply #26 on: January 05, 2006, 08:06:20 AM »
I find it interesting that BOTH short story AND the film screenplay use the same 'description' for when Ennis and Jack begin to kiss after reuniting 4 years later:

"Then, as easily as the right key turns the lock tumblers, their mouths came together.'

I think Larry and Diana thought that description too good in the story to not include in their screenplay even though it wasn't dialogue.


I will be seeing the movie tomorrow at Tulsa's Southroads 20 theater. I haven't seen it done with a movie before; but, I think that subtitles as a narrative with a DVD version would be interesting. One could watch it with out the subtitles first and then read the subtitles the 2nd time around. The subtitles based on the short story narrative would not have the spoken dialog in it. It could be like a closed caption thing with the narrative, when it was a particular character thinking, showing up close to the one who had the thoughts.

I have directed a "theatre of the mind" production where there was no action; but, it was sort of like being in a radio studio where actors were just reading a script. It was interesting how 4 teenagers, having speaking parts (with an adult doing the narrative), could make one think that there was a large crowd of people sometimes making noises in the background.

Offline Zudos

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Re: Poll: Film or Book -- Which was better?
« Reply #27 on: January 05, 2006, 11:26:08 AM »
It really has to be equal...

Rarely will a film live up to the book - Take for instance The Shipping News (Also by Proulx) - I read this book whilst on holiday in Fuerte Ventura, and found it amazing, haunting, developmental and tragic all at the same time - rushed home and purchased the DVD - to be greatly disappointed...

This film however, captures the essence of the books themes of missed opprtunities and fear of 'anti establishment' perfectly... The only addition is the scene with the daughter asking Ennis to give her away... Everything else is perfectly captured, especially the reunion scene and the electricity of that kiss... Also Ennis' instant vivid thoughts that Jack was killed when this was not necessarily so...

A great effort, and well deserving of multiple Oscars - Thought that JG is as deserving if not more so than HL...   
 

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Offline Cambridge

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Both perfect
« Reply #28 on: January 06, 2006, 08:57:54 AM »
There's the old joke about the Polish starlet who went to Hollywood and knew she'd have to sleep around to get good roles. So she slept with the writers.

They get the least respect in la-la land; at first because the moguls couldn't read (Sam Goldwyn could hardly talk, for that matter. Louis B. Mayer had been a scrap metal dealer. Harry Cohn was a thug. Irving Thalberg - who could read - died young) and now because the suits don't care: whatever makes money gets made and what makes money, by and large, is pitched to 15 year old boys. Subtlety, restraint, reflection and nuance are not markedly apparent in the 15 year olds I know. And they wonder why nobody goes to the movies anymore.

The story and the film are both flawless. Tribute, I'd say, to three great writers. If - God forbid - any of them, or Ang Lee, should die tomorrow, I suspect this would be considered their masterpiece. 

This in no way diminishes anyone else's work. Ang Lee's vision and - it seems - everything anyone else contributed to the final film was done with skill and sensitivity for the material. But they had a superb foundation on which to build. Without one you can make something beautiful, but it won't last. I suspect Brokeback will be with us for a long, long, time.

There's an economy of dialogue that allows the reader/viewer to get inside the scenes in a way that fuller descriptions would inhibit. That's Proulx's gift and she was fortunate the story was first found - and then written for the screen - by Dianna Ossana and Larry McMurty who believed in it so much as to buy the rights with their own money. And whose perfect read on what she was saying allowed them the confidence to open up the story which in turn makes the movie the damn near perfect film I think it to be.

The absence of scenes and characters from the story found in the film - but not in the original story - does not diminish its impact but rather intensifies it. I'm happy to have the source material and have re-read the complete short story three times (this week) since seeing the film. Each time has revealed something new to me, or caused me to re-think a previous conclusion.

It's more than mere good writing, or only a great movie: Brokeback transcends those categories. It's art.

Offline larry67

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Re: Poll: Film or Book -- Which was better?
« Reply #29 on: January 06, 2006, 01:59:00 PM »
I voted for the film.

I will repeat again that this film unfolds just like Ozu's "Tokyo story".  Both films tell a seemingly simple story (but lots of people can relate to), both films get better and better with repeated viewings. Even the heartbreaking ending is kind of similar: "Life is disappointing, isn't it?"  In both cases, the movies delivered a strong, universal messege: to know how to love (your SO/parents/people) and to be tolerant and let people be what they want to be.

And kudos to Ang and his cast in paying special attention to those little details that make the movie so powerful.  The one that really got me badly was the last scene where we saw Ennis's shirt over Jack's jacket.  The order was reversed in the previous shirt scene during Ennis's visit to Jack's parents.  An essay can be written just for that little detail. And how about that glance of Jack over Ennis's campfire early in the film?

In all, Ang and his crew turned a beautiful short story into a masterpiece.  As such, I voted for the movie.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2006, 02:06:06 PM by larry67 »