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Offline CellarDweller115

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Topic of The Week - Prior Subjects - Read only
« on: September 12, 2009, 12:18:49 PM »
Hello Members!

I've received some PMs regarding our Topic Of The Week subject, and what questions have and have not been discussed.

If you want to know if something has been discussed, simply scan down and see what topics have been posted.

Please note, this thread is "read only".  If you have a topic that you would like to see discussed, and it's not already on this list, simply send a PM to TellYouWhat (Ellen), Nax (Neil) or myself (Chuck).

Thanks for your participation!

Offline CellarDweller115

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Re: Topic of The Week - Prior Subjects - Read only
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2009, 12:21:47 PM »
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1
In the movie's "Siesta Motel" scene, Jack is talking to Ennis, and he tells Ennis that "I went back up to Brokeback, talked to Aguirre about a job, he told me you hadn't been back."  Jack never mentions to Ennis how Aguirre had said "I've got no work for you", "stem the rose" or "get the hell out of my trailer."   Did Jack know this would play into Ennis' fears, even though they hadn't had the "some sweet life" conversation yet? Or do you think Jack 'edits' what happens so he doesn't have to deal with the truth of his own sexuality? And what do you think Ennis' reaction would have been if he had known?
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2
Once in a while ever four fuckin years?"   "No," said Ennis, forbearing to ask whose fault that was.   Well, whose fault was it? Why did Jack stay away so long; and then, why did he change his mind and 'come thru' Riverton? Why did Ennis blame Jack for the four years' separation? Does that say anything about Ennis?
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3
As you know, Jack's & Ennis' main communication when they were apart came through post cards.  Do you think that they both kept the postcards? Did only one of them keep them? If they didn't keep the postcards, would that be like their entire relationship never happened? How important were the postcards to their relationship?
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4
In the story, we never have a scene with any girl, Cassie or otherwise-- only Ennis's comment about putting the blocks to a waitress in Signal.  In both film and story, Jack responds that he's got something going with the ranch foreman's wife. Then Jack tells Ennis how much he misses him (he can "hardly stand it" in the film, he could "whip babies" in the short story) In the story, Annie Proulx refers back to this conversation as "their truths and lies."  Considering the short story:  -Do you think the waitress is an actual relationship for Ennis, or is it part of the sparks of lies and half-truths that AP mentions later in that scene?
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5
Ma and Pa Twist had very different reactions to Ennis appearing at their house after Jack's death.  Did Jack's parents know Jack was gay? Mrs. Twist invited Ennis upstairs, as well as for a return visit. Did that mean she had accepted Ennis as Jack's "somone special"? Based on his behavior, do you feel that Mr. Twist was a homophobe?"
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6
As you can tell by comments made in this forum, Brokeback Mountain hit the members hard. Yet, there are some people who have the opinion that "it was a good movie." and had little or no reaction to it.   Why do you think this is? What was it about Brokeback that hit you so hard? Why do you feel it affected you the way it did, yet your friends were not affected at all?
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7
There is no denying that Jack and Ennis were strong men, who could get very angry. Ennis and his fights, Jack and his argument with L.D., and their argument at the lake.  However, Jack & Ennis did show affection to each other, besides the "Second Night In Tent".  This week's question: What scenes in Brokeback to you think best show Jack's and Ennis' affection for each other? Why do they "stick out" to you?
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8
So, what "bookends" stand out for you in the movie? What do they represent to you?
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9
Throughout time, movies has come and gone. Some entertain, some make us think, some affect us greatly. Some simply fade from memory, or look dated after time. Do you believe that Brokeback Mountain and its message will stand the test of time? In 20 years from now, will it still be viewed as a masterpiece that moved audiences, and can still move an audience? Or will it seem dated as society changes and evolves?
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10
During the "blue parka" scene, Jack and Lureen discuss a few topics having to do with their life together.  What sense do you get of the relationship between Jack and Lureen?
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11
Why was Jack willing to confront L.D at the Thanksgiving dinner when he had not done so heretofore? Did Jack feel emasculated when L.D. said "the stud duck does the carving around here." ? The smile on Lureen's face indicates that she approves of Jack's defiance. Had she encouraged him to stand up to L.D. privately?
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12
let's discuss Ennis and Alma's relationship. Why did she stay married to Ennis after seeing the reunion kiss? Do you think she loved Ennis, or was just going through the motions after seeing that kiss? Why didn't she say something at the time of the divorce? Why did she hold it in for so long, finally revealing what she knew at Thanksgiving?
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13
End of the movie, Ennis adjusts the postcard by the shirts, and says "Jack, I Swear." In the short story, it's written that Jack isn't the 'swearing kind'. What is Ennis swearing to in this last scene? What does Ennis mean when he says that?
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14
So, consider this the "Did Jack Have To Die?" thread. Did Jack have to die? Would Jack have been able to quit Ennis? Would Ennis have been just as impacted if Jack had just quit and walked away, instead of dying?
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15
December 9th just passed, and it marks the 3rd anniversary of the release of Brokeback Mountain.  This topic is to discuss your first time seeing Brokeback Mountain.  Do you remember where and when you first saw BBM?  Were you familiar with Annie Proulx's short story before seeing the movie?  What were the circumstances of your first viewing?  (Were you alone?  With family?  With friends?)  What were your reactions?  Please keep in mind that this question is open to everyone, it doesn't matter if the first time you saw the movie was 3 years ago, or last week.
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16
Do you remember how you found this forum? Do you remember the day you joined? Did you immediately jump into conversations? Did you "lurk" for a while first, to see what people were saying? Did your particpation here change your life or behaviors in any way? Did you do new things for the first time that were related to the movie or this forum?  You may also use this thread to discuss your favorite memories here. You may talk about older posts, discussions, pictures, trips.
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17
Why did Ennis notify Jack about his divorce coming through? Clearly, Jack misinterpreted it as "Come on down, I'm free"; maybe Ennis meant "& now I can't quit my jobs cuz I have to pay child support for many years to come." Thus another question is: why did Jack not tell Ennis he was planning to drive down to see him after the divorce, rather than just pop in (& have to ask "10 people in Riverton" where he'd moved to)?
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18
In the movie, Cassie (with Carl) runs into Ennis at a diner, eating pie. She approaches him and mentions messages that she left Ennis, that went ignored. Why did Ennis ignore Cassie when he returned after his last trip with Jack? What had happened to cause him to do that, at that time?
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19
In the short story, why do you think there is such a vivid description of the last horseback ride with Jack and Ennis, in the Hail Strew Drainage? Why so much detail? Is AP telling us some things about the relationship? Some see it as a sort of metaphor for the journey between them....Where do you see it, if you do?
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20
How do you reconcile the physical differences between the written descriptions of Jack and Ennis and their appearances in the film, or do you manage to keep them separate in your mind? How differently are their characters portrayed in the book and the film?
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21
Do you think Ennis was ever attracted to other men? In the short story, he makes a point of telling Jack that he hasn't been--do you think he's telling the truth, or protesting too much?
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22
Ennis divorces Alma, and sends a postcard to Jack.  Jack comes running.  However, Jack never divorces Lureen.  What if Jack had left Lureen?  What would Ennis do then, especially if Jack moved back up to Wyoming?  How do you think their relationship be affected?
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23
At the end of the short story the author says: "There was some open space between what he knew and what he tried to believe.....".  What is it that Ennis knew and what is it that he tried to believe?
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24
Why does AP include the "toilet training" scene in the short story? Why does she think it is important for the reader to have this information about Jack and his Dad? What are your feelings about his scene?

Offline CellarDweller115

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Re: Topic of The Week - Prior Subjects - Read only
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2009, 12:22:30 PM »
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25
During the phone call, Lureen says to Ennis:"I would've let you know, but I wasn't sure about your name or address. Jack kept his friends' addresses in his head."  Why did Jack keep this information "in his head", hidden away from Lureen and her family, and his family? Do you think this is a hint that there were more "trysts" with other men than the story hints at?
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26
Discussions of homophobia in BBM tend to center around male characters, Ennis, Jack, Old Man Twist, Ennis' father, Lureen's father, as either exemplifying or perpetuating rural homophobia. Do the female characters, Alma, Lureen, Cassie, Jack's mother play a similar or a different role?
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27
The final shot in the film is composed of a juxtaposition of two images: Ennis’ shrine of the shirts/postcard juxtaposed with the trailer window framing the vast Wyoming plain. This is obviously meant to convey a message and/or conjure an emotion from the audience. What is the purpose and meaning of this final shot?
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28
Did Ennis really believe it when he said:  "When we split up after we got paid out I had gut cramps so bad I pulled over and tried to puke, thought I ate somethin bad at that place in Dubois."  Did Ennis believe it, was he lying to himself, or was he lying to Jack? Why do you think it was decided to leave this line out of the film?
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29
One use of a novel is for character development while a short story tends to focus tightly on an action. Do Jack and Ennis manifest much in the way of character development or emotional growth during the story of BBM?"
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30
Joe Aguirre, Ennis' dad and Jack's dad, each figure prominently in the story. What is their function and, in a broader sense, what does each represent?
Beyond boss, father and father, each man serves a specific function in the story and each represents something much more complex than simply boss, father and father. "
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31
In both SS and film, as Jack's frustration grows about the cancelled August 83 trip, Ennis throws out the line. "Try if I can get Don Wroe's cabin again. We had a good time that year."  What's the significance of the cabin? Who is Don Wroe? If they had such a good time, why did they only do it once? Why does Ennis offer it now?
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32
This question is about Aguirre's going to the mountain to tell Jack that his Mother had asked him to go tell Jack about his sick uncle. That level of communication all around doesn't seem compatible with the rest of the story. Is it just a plot device or is there more to it?"
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33
In both the book and movie, Ennis tells Jack that his "Cow and Calf sweet life" is not going to happen. Jack hangs in there, never giving up hope. Do you think there is any way that Ennis would've allowed the sweet life to happen? What could Jack have done differently? Would it have been possible for Ennis to change and take that chance on the sweet life?"
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34
He pressed his face into the fabric and breathed in slowly through his mouth and nose, hoping for the faintest smoke and mountain sage and salty sweet stink of Jack but there was no real scent, only the memory of it, the imagined power of Brokeback Mountain of which nothing was left but what he held in his hands."  Why do you think Annie calls it the IMAGINED power of Brokeback Mountain? And what IS the imagined power?
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35
FROM THE MOVIE, JACK: "We could a had a good life together, a fuckin real good life. But you didn't want it, Ennis. So what we got now is Brokeback Mountain. Everthing's built on that. And that's all we got, boy, fuckin' all, and you better know that if you don't never know the rest."  What does Jack want Ennis to "know"? What does Jack mean by "the rest"?
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36
In the movie at the Thanksgiving dinner at the Twist house, Jack explodes at L.D. When we see Lureen's reaction, she is smiling. it's obvious that she's glad Jack is standing up for himself against her father. That is different from the way she acts in regards to Jack in the movie. When two customers are talking in front of Lureen at her Dad's business, and refers to Jack as "the pissant who usd to ride the bulls" she doesn't defend him. Nor does she take up for Jack when her dad says Bobby is the "spitting image of his grandpa." instead of Jack.  Why do you think that Lureen never sticks up for or defends her husband?
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37
Jack Twist: My momma, she believes in the Pentecost.  Ennis Del Mar: What exactly is the Pentecost? I mean, my folks, they was Methodists.   Jack Twist: The Pentecost... I don't... I don't know what the pentacost is. I guess it means the world ends and guys like you and me march off to hell.   Ennis Del Mar: Speak for yourself. You may be a sinner, but I ain't yet had the opportunity.   "What's the significance of Jack's reference to the Pentecost to Ennis and Jack and their relationship?"
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38
Many facets of the Jack + Ennis relationship have been discussed. But what of the origin of it?  (The feelings that started it all, and the ones that kept them together despite the obstacles?)  What do you think the attraction was? Each of them had met and worked with many other people. Why was this different? What attracted Jack to Ennis? What attracted Ennis to Jack?
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39
One of the substantial differences between film and book was the inclusion of the "Second Night in the Tent" scene, wherein Ennis and Jack kiss. Some forum participants have argued that in the story they did not kiss until the Reunion. Careful reading seems to offer support for both 'Kissed' and 'Didn't Kiss' positions.  Focusing on the text, do you believe that Jack and Ennis kissed during their first summer on the mountain? Please describe your position and explain how you come to it.
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40
In the short story, Ennis has the two shirts hanging on a nail on a wall, just as he had found them, with his shirt hidden inside of Jack's. In the movie, Ennis has the two shirts hanging in a closet, with the shirts reversed from how he found them, with Jack's shirt inside of his own.  Of these two endings, which do you feel is the most in character for Ennis? Which is the one that most likely to have happened? Why?
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41
This question concerns the phone call between Ennis and Lureen. There have been various suggestions as to exactly when Lureen figured out who Ennis was, if she ever truly did. Some feel her face shows recognition as soon as she hears his name, but she still says "Who? Who is this?". Some feel that it's only after Ennis mentions Brokeback in 1963.  So, do you feel that Lureen truly understood who Ennis was to Jack, and when did that realization come to her?
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42
In the movie, Jack and Lureen sit at a table with Randall and LaShawn. Do you feel that there was a certian level of tension and/or flirtation between Jack and Randall? What about when they are out on the bench waiting for their wives? When Jack tells Ennis about the "foreman's wife", is he talking about Randall?
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43
In the movie, we see Ennis come home from work and go inside the ranch house where both kids are crying and Alma is busy scrubbing the wash at the sink.  When Alma asks him to wipe Junior's nose, he says "If I had 3 hands, I could."  What is the purpose of this scene?  Do you think it's supposed to show that Ennis doesn't care for domestic life?  Is he perhaps uncomfortable in the role of father of 2 young girls?  Or is it just a reflection of the economic reality of his life on a ranch?  Do you think Ennis regrets being a father?  After all, in the hotel scene he does refer to his family life as "being stuck with what I got" to Jack.
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44
'In the written story the motel scene after a four-year hiatus stood as central. During their few hours in the Motel Siesta, Jack's and Ennis's paths were irrevocably laid out. In the film that Ang Lee already shaped in his mind, the emotional surge contained in that scene would be better shifted to a later point and melded with the men's painful last meeting.'

Comparing these two scenes, which do you think works better? Annie's emotional surge at the Motel, or Ang's lakeside argument? Would the movie have 'worked' if they stayed true to Annie's version? Would the short story have been affected if it was more like the movie version?
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45
Do you think that sometimes we analyze the film too much? We see things that are not really of any significance and impose our views on them? Develope ideas what we would like things to mean and really there is no meaning to them?
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46
What do you think was the purpose of the role of Monroe in the film/book, was he just a convenient character used to emphasize Ennis's shortcomings or did he serve other purposes?
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47
In the movie, Alma Jr. meets Cassie. During that meeting, Cassie asks Alma Jr. if "Your daddy ever gonna see fit to settle down again?" Alma Jr.'s reply: "I don't know. Maybe he's not the marrying kind." Is that a simple statement, or is there something more there? One of the earlier questions discussed here was whether or not Ma & Pa Twist knew Jack was gay. Do you think that Alma Jr. had figured out Ennis was gay?
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48
In both the short story and film, Ennis calls Lureen after receiving the "deceased" post card. Lureen tells him of an accident that kills Jack. In Ennis' mind, he sees the tire iron.   Both the book and film are ambiguous as to which version is the truth.   Which version do you believe to be the truth?

Offline CellarDweller115

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Re: Topic of The Week - Prior Subjects - Read only
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2009, 12:24:24 PM »
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49
Why couldn't Jack come to terms with Ennis' limits on their relationship? He had found a soul-mate and they had found ways to spend high-quality time together, why could that not be enough to make him happy? Why was it enough for Ennis?"
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50
Brokeback is definitely a romantic drama.....however, there were humorous moments in the film.  What were some of your favorite humorous moments?  What lines or situations made you laugh?  Also, think of audience reactions when you saw the film, where there times there was laughter that you found strange or offputting?"
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51
"If you could assume the identities of Jack Twist and Ennis Del Mar, what do you think you would have done or felt differently had you been in their shoes?  Why?"
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52
2006 Oscars. Heath Ledger is nominated for Best Actor. Jake Gyllenhaal is nominated for Best Supporting Actor. Michelle Williams is nominated for Best Supporting Actress. Others in the cast of Brokeback Mountainn gave stellar performances.   In your opinion what are some of the best-acted scenes in the movie? What are your favorite scenes?"
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53
"In the movie Jack ALWAYS wears his wedding ring. It is especially prominent in the scene of the two men's last meeting. BBM is set in times when men often didn't wear their wedding bands. If I was having an affair I sure wouldn't have a reminder of my wife on my finger. Wouldn't you think he'd remove it when he goes up to see Ennis? I think it'd be a constant reminder of Lureen for both men. Do you think the moviemakers made Jack wear it so that the viewer would remember he was still married? Is Jack's always wearing his wedding band just something that I've noticed? "
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54
"As in movies of the past, do you think Ennis and Jack were given an appearance that was supposed to depict their personalities ?? Ennis ,the alledged virgin ("You might be a sinner Jack but I ain't yet had the opportunity") and then Jack,who is supposed to be a little more "shady" giving the impression he has had some sort of sexual encounter with a man before Ennis and his knowledge of "Mexico" ?? Hence Ennis light color hat and Jack the black hat (except for the reunion scene). This also applies to their clothes they wear. It can even work with their facial appearance. Light-haired clean shaven Ennis against dark-haired, mustachioed Jack. "
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55
After Old Man Twist's conversation to Ennis, Ma Twist touches Ennis' shoulder, and offers him to go upstairs and see Jack's room, where Ennis found the shirts. Do you believe that she knew the shirts were there? Did she know what they meant to Jack, and wanted Ennis to find them? She gives him a knowing smile when he walks into the kitchen holding them."
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56
How did you figure the film (and/or story) when you saw it? (read it) Did you feel it was up lifting or thought provoking or did it make you feel just down right miserable?
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57
Apart from the effects of the book/film (movie, whatever), what difference has the forum itself made to your life? Has it made you feel less alone/different? What aspects of it are most important to you, and which threads do you feel most at home in?
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58
In the short story, there is mention of a phone conversation between Jack and Ennis regarding Ennis' and Alma's divorce. In the movie we don't see the conversation. The only time Ennis uses the phone is to call Lureen to find out about Jack's death.  Why do you think there weren't more phone calls between Jack and Ennis? Why was this scene in the book, but not the movie?
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« Last Edit: November 08, 2009, 08:47:57 AM by CellarDweller115 »

Offline CellarDweller115

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Re: Topic of The Week - Prior Subjects - Read only
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2009, 08:56:21 AM »
59
In a past Topic, we discussed scenes that showed Ennis & Jack showing affection towards each other. Do you think more of these scenes should've been included? Would this have changed the story, or the characters, had they been more affectionate?
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60
In last week's topic, we touched on Randall, and I think we could have an interesting coversation about him. Did he serve any purpose in the movie, or was he a "throwaway" character? Do you like/dislike the character? Why? Do you believe other angles of the movie could've been further explored with the Randall character?
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61
How do you feel the women in Brokeack were protrayed, and how they related to the men in the film? Did you feel that they belittled the men in the film? Some examples of things that were done (or an absence of behavior) are:

Two customers calling Jack a "pissant", which Lureen overhears, but doesn't refute.
Cassie's jab at Ennis regarding Carl: "He even talks"
LaShawn's criticisms of Randall: Inability to fix their truck, and how little he earns.
Alma's comment to Ennis about his income: "I'd have 'em if you'd support 'em."
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62
what did they love about each other?

they didn't seem to know all that much about each other's lives, how could they, since they didn't see each other much. when i say that i love someone, it's because we think alike (to a degree), have the same likes/dislikes/values, have things in common, etc. but we don't know too much about the deep-seated love that they were supposed to have had. was it something as simple as the time they had shared on BBM? If you could ask jack what he loved about ennis, what do you think his answer would be? and the same with ennis - what on earth did he love about jack that made him stay around all those years?
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63
In the short-story, we can find the following passage:

"Without getting up he threw deadwood on the fire, the sparks flying up with their truths and lies, a few hot points of fire landing on their hands and faces, not for the first time, and they rolled down into the dirt."

What does this sentence tell us about Jack and Ennis? Does it influence our reading of what’s gone before?
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64
Many people on the forum have said that since seeing Brokeback Mountain, they view movies differently, hold them to a higher standard, or they haven't seen a movie as good as Brokeback.

Taking that into consideration, do you think that Brokeback is a movie that could be remade sometime in the future? Is it a film that should never be touched? If it were to be remade, what do you think could be improved upon?
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65
In the short-story, we can find the following passage:

"...the Big Horns, Medicine Bows, south end of the Gallatins, Absarokas, Granites, Owl Creeks, the Bridger-Teton Range, the Freezeouts and the Shirleys, Ferrises and the Rattlesnakes, Salt River Range, into the Wind Rivers over and again, the Sierra Madres, Gros Ventres, the Washakies, Laramies, but never returning to Brokeback."

Why didn't they ever go back?
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66
In the story Lureen says "He use to say he wanted to be cremated...". In the movie Lureen also uses the phrase "He used to say he wanted [his ashes scattered on Brokeback Mountain]."

Do you think that Jack had a Last Will & Testament?  Do you think he prepared one at such a young age?  Was cremation considered "strange" at that period of time?  Did Jack assume that Ennis would come to his parent's ranch to take his ashes to Brokeback for them?
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67
In the short-story, we can find the following passage:

"...Dad says, you got to take him unawares, don't say nothin to him, make him feel some pain, get out fast and keep doin it until he takes the message.  Nothin like hurtin somebody to make him hear good.  So I did.  I got him in the outhouse, jumped him on the stairs, come over to his pillow in the night while he was sleepin and pasted im damn good.  Took about two days.  Never had any trouble with K.E. since.  The lesson was, don't say nothin and get it over with quick."

What was the purpose of Annie Proulx had for putting this paragraph in the story?  What was she trying to convey to us with the last sentence in that paragraph?
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68
I'm curious about some of the things that Ang Lee had going on "in the background" during certain scenes of the movie, and if anyone had any suggestions as to what they mean.  The specific scenes I'm thinking of are:

1. When Ennis and Alma are at the drive through-why did Ang pick that movie and that scene? What did it mean?

2. When Ennis and Alma are watching TV with the girls, why did Ang pick that scene to show playing on the TV? And what did it mean?

3. When Ennis is getting ready to go fishing with Jack, he is packing his bag in his bedroom and there is, off camera, a man talking. He is describing someone, "construction worker...etc" What is that supposed to mean or symbolize?
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69
In the past, we've talked about the acting skills of the cast, or your favorite scenes from the movie.  I was wondering what your initial reactions were when the cast was announced.  Brokeback was a very "heavy" story being made into a film.  The cast included an Australian soap actor, an American actor known for a "cult fave" film and a "disaster movie", an actress who was a teen soap star, and an actress who was known as a "Disney actress".

When they were announced as the cast for Brokeback Mountain, did you think they'd be able to rise to the challenge?  Did you think the casting had the potential to be a huge let down? 
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70
The short story is only about 28 pages long.  In that 28 pages, Annie Proulx loaded the story with many references to death, dying, killing, etc.  Some examples are:

Ennis' parents dying
Jack's death
Jack's story about the lightning killing the sheep
Ennis shooting the coyote

Other examples, indirect or symbolic:

Jack was a "ministering angel"  (a heavenly creature)
Stoutamire was a hell-raiser


Why do you think Annie placed so many instances and references of death into her story?  Can you think of more examples?  Did you find the amount of times references to death showed up to be striking?
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« Last Edit: February 07, 2010, 08:42:56 AM by CellarDweller115 »

Offline CellarDweller115

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Re: Topic of The Week - Prior Subjects - Read only
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2010, 06:50:40 PM »
71
In the short story, there is the following passage:

"That spring, hungry for any job, each had signed up with Farm and Ranch Employment - they came together on paper as herder and camp tender for the same sheep operation north of Signal."

I've heard a few different interpretations of the line "....they came together on paper..." here are some of them:

It's a reference to the Ennis and Jack being hired by Aguirre.

It's a reference to the characters being created by Annie Proulx for the story.

It's a marriage reference, as if they both signed a marriage certificate.

Do you agree with any of these ideas? Do you have any of your own?

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72
When comparing "Short-story Ennis" to "Movie Ennis", there are some differences. The SS and movie both contain the "dozy embrace" and the "reunion kiss". However, in the SS, Ennis calls Jack "Little Darlin'", a term of affection. Also, when comparing the "Siesta", "Movie Ennis" really didn't say much. In the SS, Ennis talks about how good the sex with Jack is, and also admits to "wringing it out" to memories of sex with Jack.

Is SS Ennis more able to accept his homosexuality and relationship with Jack? Would you say that SS Ennis is affectionate with Jack?
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73
In the film during the first 4 years Jack and Ennis are apart, we see different events in their lives. One of the glimpses we see of Ennis and Alma is attending a 4th of July celebration. Instead of it being a happy time, it ends in violence between Ennis and the bikers, with Alma looking extremely upset/disturbed.

Why was this scene included in the film, and what do you think it's supposed to tell us?
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74
In the film during the bar scene where Jack and Ennis are getting to know each other, we learn that Ennis' parents died in a car crash. Before that, Jack asks him "Did your folks run you off?"

Do you find this question odd? In that time and place, was it common for parents to push their children from the house? Do you think that Jack had that experience, given what we get to learn about Old Man Twist and his relationship with Jack?
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75
In the story Jack had shot an eagle and kept a feather in his hat, which he shows Ennis. Years later Jack still has that hat and the eagle feather. What might be the significance of that? Shooting the eagle occurred the previous summer so why did he hang on to that keepsake? How does it relate to Ennis?
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76
When Ennis receives the postcard with the words "deceased" on it, we don't get to see any real emotion from Ennis. Also, when he talks on the phone to Lureen, his emotions seem under control. Do you think that Ang did this deliberately so that the shirt scenes would have more impact? Or are you thinking that it isn't in Ennis' character to show emotion even at this critical moment in his life?
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77
Ennis claims to be "putting the blocks to" a waitress. The dictionary definition of this is, "to copulate, a man with a woman." If in Ennis' case this is true, why is he doing it, what is he getting out of it? Is he just lying to impress Jack?

(Janjo says: "I know Cassie is in the film, but in the book? I have my doubts that she exists.")
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78
In the short story there is a prologue. In this prologue, a strong wind is shaking Ennis' trailer. We are then told that Ennis is filled with pleasure because Jack Twist was in his dream, and the wind strikes the trailer again, and then falls silent.

I've read theories that this is the day Ennis dies, in his trailer alone, the wind and the dream represent Jack coming for Ennis.

Can you see where this assumption could be made? Is this something that you would agree with?
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79
Jack wants to live with Ennis in a full-time, live-in situation; Ennis refuses. Much of his refusal is rooted in his own internalized homophobia; but there's nothing imaginary about his awareness that two men living together openly under those circumstances would be quite dangerous.

Would there have been any middle ground, any compromise? There's been discussion about Lightning Flat and whether that would have worked out; might there have been any kind of part-time arrangement, with Jack living closer to Ennis, and if so, would it have improved their lives?
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80
In the film, the final scene between Jack and Ennis plays out lakeside with a fair amount of character movement and strong body language. (Like Jack turning his back on Ennis at several key points.) In the short story, however, the argument takes place face to face and in close proximity, with Jack sitting in his truck and Ennis talking to him through the open window.

How does the difference between the film and the short story affect (or does it affect) the substance of the final argument?
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Offline CellarDweller115

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Re: Topic of The Week - Prior Subjects - Read only
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2010, 06:51:12 PM »
81
After Ennis & Jack come down from the mountain, they go their separate ways. However, it appears that they both are stalling. Trying to fix Jack's truck, the slow moving conversation, awkward silences. As they part, Jack watches Ennis in his mirror, and Ennis gets sick in the alley.

Why didn't they tell each other how they felt? Why did they let the opportunity slip away? Why do you think Ennis had the stronger reaction? (Jack drove off, but Ennis got sick in the alley).

*side note from mod - March of 2009, we discussed the topic of why Ennis didn't tell Jack about his getting sick in the movie like he did in the short story, but that can be considered part of this discussion so feel free to revisit that topic again.*
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82
Do you think that the storm that Aguirre said was brewing in the Pacific (worse than the last one) was real, or was it an excuse to get Ennis And Jack down off the mountain to be rid of them, because of what he saw (sex) and also because he could save two lots of pay for the last month ?
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83
My question is regarding Annie's short story. The three-paragraph Dozy Embrace contains a challenge that I have never resolved:

"Later, that dozy embrace solidified in his memory as the single moment of artless, charmed happiness in their separate and difficult lives. Nothing marred it, even the knowledge that Ennis would not then embrace him face to face because he did not want to see or feel that it was Jack he held."

But Ennis had to know it was Jack he held, didn't he? Is Jack's "knowledge" actually the result of Jack's dawning realization that he loves Ennis, but doesn't sense a similar love coming back... and then making up an explanation? But if you believe that, isn't the Dozy Embrace (which Ennis gave) itself an act of love?
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84
One of the differences between Jack and Ennis was Jack persued other men. After one of Jack's competitions, he attempts to buy Jimbo a beer. Jimbo leaves, and approaches other guys at a pool table.

Was Jack engaging in risky behavior? Do you think he had a "reputation" on the rodeo circuit? The bartender makes the comment: "You ever try calf ropin'?" Was this a slap at Jack's skill as a bullrider, or perhaps his masculinity?
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85
At the reunion scene in the SS, it says "Jack took the stairs two on two".

However, in the film it was Ennis who "ran down" the stairs to greet Jack. Why do you feel this was changed? Was this changed specifically to show Ennis eagerness to see Jack again being as it was Jack who initiated the reunion in the first place with the postcard? Or was it just not technically possible to the scene like the SS be because of the location building ie: the laundrette ?
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86
Jack and Ennis return from the motel, Alma is waiting in the kitchen. Ennis tells Alma they're going to the mountains for a few days. Alma looks out the window at Jack, who is waiting by his truck. Alma then tells Ennis that Jack can come up for coffee.

Why would Alma invite Jack into the apartment? She saw the reunion kiss, she knew what they were up to that night. She didn't confront Ennis until years later, do you think she would've confronted Jack then and there? If not, why else would she ask him up for "coffee"?
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87
I'm wondering why does Lureen's appearance change so much as the movie progresses? Her hair gets "bigger" and blonder as the movie goes along. In the short story, it is Jack's appearance that changes. Is Lureen's change merely a fashion statement regarding the times or does the lightening of her hair parallel something else, such as her personality? Anyone have any thoughts on this?
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88
I wanted to discuss any symbolism regarding Jack's and Ennis' hats. The styles they wore, the colors (Jack's almost always black, stereotypically used for a "bad" character), when and why they were removed (Why did Ennis remove his hat before entering the tent in the FNIT scene?) an any other aspects of their hats. Also, did it seem that as the movie progressed, Jack maintained a "cowboy" style to his hat, while Ennis' hat morphed into a different style, less of a cowboy?
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89
In the SS,the only words of endearment that Ennis ever used were "L'il darlin' ". We are told he used them to his daughters and his horses and even to Jack once. It would have been nice to have heard Ennis whisper them to Jack perhaps in the reunion scene. He never used them lightly so surely they were a big and important indication of how Ennis felt about Jack. Why do you think they were omitted from the films dialogue ??
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90
After Ennis & Jack part at the end of their stay on Brokeback, Ennis goes into the alleyway and gets sick. As he's getting sick, we hear a voice-over by the jolly minister:

"...and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us...lead us not into temptation, and deliver us from evil."

Did this succession of scenes "sit well" with you? How did you view it? Did you feel that you were being told they were going to tempt each other upon their reunion? They would be committing "evil"? When the film continued, did you view their relationship in any negative ways (such as they're cheating on their wives with each other) and think of this scene?
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91
For the time period of the film, the general belief was that men shouldn't be so emotional, and that men shouldn't cry.  However, both Jack and Ennis shed tears at different times in the film.  Jack cried driving towards Mexico.  Ennis let tears fall at different times, or teared up.

Did you feel this was "out of character" for the typical (stereotypical) view of men at that time?  What is your opinion of any of the emotional expressions by Jack & Ennis?

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92
I have a pretty big BBM poster on my office wall, and as I was passing it a few minutes ago and looking at Our Boys, it hit me how much of the day to day they each were living was full of lies.  When they were talking to anyone who thought they knew them, they were actually lying about who they were and what was important to them.  Looked at from that facet, the constant dishonesty required is breathtaking.

How did living with this chronic deception affect them in the long term?  How did it affect their sense of integrity?  What were they feeling toward the people who cared about them, whom they were deceiving?  Did they occasionally or even frequently consider coming clean with at least one person in their lives in Riverton or Childress?  How could they bear the loneliness of not really being known by anyone?

Is part of what draws us to them the fact that we feel like we know them better than anyone else in their lives ever did (other than each other)? 
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93
When Ennis & Jack come down from BBM and return to Signal, they part.  Jack drives away in his truck around Ennis (going in the same direction) looking back in the rearview mirror at him walking in the street and watching Jack drive away.

Is there something to the fact that Jack does not offer Ennis a lift, which guys usually do?  Does this signify their internal feelings & emotions or perhaps the feeling that they'd never see each other again?   
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94
In the short story, we can find the following passage:

Ennis said nothing, straightened up slowly, rubbed at his forehead; a horse stamped inside the trailer. He walked to his truck, put his hand on the trailer, said something that only the horses could hear, turned and walked back at a deliberate pace.

What do you think it was that Ennis said that only the horses could hear?  What is the purpose of that phrase?  It's been said here a few times that Annie Proulx wasted no words in the short story.  What do you think she trying to accomplish with this?
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95
I'd like to discuss the "punch scene" as Jack & Ennis are leaving Brokeback.  It starts off playful, with rough housing between the guys, but at one point it changes into something else.  Ennis ends up with a bloody nose, and Jack gets a punch to the face.

How did Ennis get the bloody nose?  Was that the point that the scene changed, or was it prior to that?  Did Ennis give Jack a "dirty punch" in return?  Later in the movie he mentions he thought Jack was "still sore from that punch", was that because he thought he hurt Jack's pride, or that the punch was a "dirty" or "sucker" punch, which angered Jack?
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96
When Ennis has the shirts in the paper bag, Old Man Twist tells him that they have a plot, and Jack is going in it.  Mrs. Twist then looks at Ennis and says:  "You come back and see us again."

Why do you think Mrs. Twist invited Ennis back?  Did she just want to get to know him better?  Did she understand that Ennis was someone special to Jack?  Do you think she was going to attempt to persuade John Twist to allow Ennis to take the ashes to BBM, having seen for herself just how heartbroken Ennis appeared to be?
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97
In the movie, we have "first night in tent".  In that scene, Jack grabs Ennis' hand and pulls it over onto himself.  If Jack had not made the move on Ennis that night in the pup tent, do you think Ennis would have made the first move? If not that night, at some point that summer?
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98
In the SS, Annie Proulx writes that Lureen tells Ennis about Jack's death.  Ennis thinks it was the tire iron.  In the movie, we see the tire iron scene.

If nothing had ever been mentioned in the SS or film about tire irons specifically, would it have occurred to you that Jack was murdered rather than killed in an accident as Lureen describes?  What do you think would've made you come to the conclusion that Jack had met a violent end?
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99
During the alley scene, why do you think they had that cowboy walk by Ennis while he was dry-heaving and sobbing - wasn't it poignant enough without its being interrupted like that?  Was it just simply a dramatic device?   Or do you think it was to reinforce the idea that someone was "always" watching, that even private moments were not "private", thus reinforcing Ennis' fears?
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100
As most are aware, The Second Night in Tent - or SNIT - was an addition that Ang Lee made to Annie Proulx's original story. Here are the reasons he gave for making this addition:

"Not only did I want to be loyal to her writing and I needed to do additional scenes to confirm her writing because we don't have internal depiction, which she did most brilliantly. We don't have that benefit. We are photography. So that tent scene, for example. I need to add another tent scene and I don't even know if she liked it. I always had this theory that she would hate it. To confirm that they commit to the love, so it's reasonable for the next 20 years they are going back. I think in movies, in cinema language, you have to see them committed. In a book, it's in the writing and you don't see it. I explained it to her in terms of hands-off. Once you make the movie, it's your work. I explained to her, that your writing is very hard to translate into cinema and she just smiled and said, 'That's your problem' (laughing)."

Do you think SNIT achieved what Ang Lee hoped it would - "that it confirm(s) that they commit to love, so it's reasonable for the next twenty years they are going back."? Also, do the distinctions he makes between story telling in movies and fiction ring true for you?

« Last Edit: December 26, 2010, 10:09:00 AM by CellarDweller115 »

Offline CellarDweller115

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Re: Topic of The Week - Prior Subjects - Read only
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2010, 10:20:03 AM »
101
During their last scene together, Ennis says this to Jack after Jack reveals he's been to Mexico:

"What I don't know, all them things that I don't know, could get you killed if I come to know them, I ain't foolin'!"

In the movie we've seen Ennis' violence, the bikers on 4th of July, threatening Alma on Thanksgiving and then the truck driver when he goes to a bar, and of course, the punch to Jack on Brokeback.

Do you think that comment about was something that was just said in the heat of anger, or do you believe that Ennis would've been able kill Jack?
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102
Ennis:  "You been ta Mexico Jack Twist?   'Cause I hear what they got in Mexico for boys like you!"

Jack:  "Hell yes I've been to Mexico, is that a fuckin' problem?"

"Do you consider Jack unfaithful to Ennis because of Mexico, and various other clues that he had sex with other men?  Does "fidelity" apply only to sex?" 
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103
I was just curious as to if everyone has a favorite shot from the movie.  I don't mean a favorite scene (ex:  The Reunion Kiss), but rather a specific shot that sticks in your memory as a favorite.  I'll give two of my favorites as examples:

Two of my favorite shots are of Jack:  The first is when he is dancing with Lureen, and we see his face over her shoulder, and all the conflicting emotions displayed all over his face.  The second is the expression on Jack's face as Ennis rides away  after the Dozy Embrace in the flashback. 
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104
Considering what we are told (in both the short story and movie) abut Jack's childhood, why did Jack (seem to) appreciate that his room in the Lightning Flat house was keep the way it was when he was a boy?  Do you (or don't you) think he'd rather escape those memories and that past?  Why would he want his room kept in a manner that may give him bad memories?
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105
In the scenes leading up to FNIT (First Night In Tent) Ennis does seem drunk, legless in fact!  He has difficulty getting up and he says he will sleep by the fire and get up at first light.  His speech pattern is slightly slurred.  However, Jack displays no signs of being drunk.  He's able to get up easily, walk to the tent and get Ennis a blanket.  He also is able to speak clearly to Ennis when trying to coax him to "come in the tent to sleep".  He neither stumbles or sways and is quite coherent.

Do you think that getting Ennis drunk that night was his intention all along ?
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106
At their reunion in the Motel Siesta section of the short story Jack and Ennis are in their early/mid twenties. When Jack suggests that, if they “had a little ranch together, little cow and calf operation, your horses, it’d be some sweet life,” Ennis responds: “It ain’t goin a be that way. We can’t. I’m stuck with what I got, caught  in my own loop.” He says “I don’t want a be like them guys you see around sometimes. And I don’t want a be dead.”

He then tells Jack about Earl and Rich, “two old guys who ranched together down home.” (i.e. around Sage.)
He says they “was a joke even though they was pretty tough old birds” and tells him how he was taken to see Earl’s body when he was nine years old.
A little later he adds “Two guys living together? No.”

• What connection is there between Ennis not wanting to be “like them guys you see around” and the two “pretty tough old birds?”
• Ennis twice refers to Earl and Rich as “old.” Do you think they were actually old?
• Why do you think only one of the two men was killed?
• What point/s, considering that he and Jack are young men, is Ennis making by talking about "old" Earl and Rich?
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107
In the movie and short story, the reunion kiss happens, and Alma is witness to it all.  What if Alma had not seen the kiss?  What if instead, Lureen was the wife who saw the kiss?  Lureen was a very different woman from Alma.  She was more liberated and financially stable, and it could've made the story very different.
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108
When Ennis gets home, Alma askes if he knows someone by the name of Jack, and tells him about the postcard.  As Ennis reads it, Alma asks if Jack was someone Ennis "cowboyed with."  Ennis replies that they were "fishing buddies."

Why would Ennis lie about how he knows Jack?  He could've said they worked together herding sheep on Brokeback, so why the line about "fishing buddies?"  What purpose do you think this serves?
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109
It's the end of Jack & Ennis' time on Brokeback.  In the movie, Jack ropes Ennis' feet, casuing him to trip, and a playful wrestling match ensues.  That wrestling match ends with a punch to Jack's face.

Yes, Jack bloodied Ennis' nose, but that was an accident.  Why does Ennis purposefully punch Jack?  Did you see it as a "sucker punch?"  Do you think Ennis felt badly or guilty about it?  He did mention to Jack when they reunited he thought Jack was "still sore from that punch".
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110
In the past we've done topics that had personal bent to then:  "When did you first see the movie?"  "How did you find the forum?"   I have some questions that is forum related that I think could be interesting. 

How did you choose the set up of your profile?  Does you Screen Name have any special meaning?  How did you choose your Custom Title?  Why do you have the avatar you have?  What does the text under your avatar represent?  Why did you decide on the signature line that you have?  How does it all express you?
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111
After Alma Jr. meets Cassie with Ennis, they have a conversation in his truck, where she tries to convince Ennis to let her live with him.  Was Alma Jr. serious about her mom and monroe being 'awfully strict' on her with the new baby coming, or did she just really want to live with ennis to keep an eye on him?  Do you believe that she would have asked him this at one point, or do you feel that the appearance of Cassie spurred her on, perhaps because she was a "threat" to Alma Jr. getting time with her dad, as his available time was limited already?
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112
In an interview, Annie Proulx made this statement about the characters of Jack & Ennis:

"The thing that happened while I was writing the story eight years ago is that from thinking so much about the characters and putting so much time into them, they became embedded in my consciousness. They became as real to me as real, walk-around, breathe-oxygen people. It took a long time to get these characters out of my head so I could get on with work."

Many of the members here had similar experiences, with Jack and Ennis seeming so real.  What is it about the characters that made them so real for so many?  What was it about Annie's writing and characterizations of them that fostered such a feeling of "realness" to them?  Has this ever happened to you with other characters from other books/movies?
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113
Ennis: "You ever get the feeling', I don't know, when you're in town, and someone looks at you, suspicious ... like he knows. And then you get out on the pavement, and everyone, lookin' at you, and maybe they all know too?"

After Ennis asks the question above, Jack makes his third (and last) proposal to Ennis, about leaving Wyoming to go somewhere else, which leads to an argument.

Should Jack have responded differently when Ennis asked him whether he worried about people on the pavement knowing?  What was Ennis's intention in this dialog?  When Ennis says 'like he knows' and 'they all know too' was that an admission that he was gay?  Why did Jack make a proposal just at this moment?  Had he been long waiting for an occasion?  Or did it just slip out?
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114
There are numerous times in the short story and movie where Ennis rejects people.  All through the story he shoots down Jack and his ideas of meeting, or having the "cow & calf" operation.

When Alma suggests going to the Knife & Fork, the church social, or a higher paying job at the electric company, he rejects her ideas.  In the short story he balks at vacations with Alma and the girls.

He shoots down Alma Jr. when she asks to move in with him.

He dumps Cassie without even telling her.

Why do you feel that Ennis is rejecting the people in his life so often?  Is he isolating himself?  What would be his reasons for behaving in this way?
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115
In the movie, it's obvious that Jack and his father don't get along.  Comments Jack has made ("never once came to see me ride") as well as comments Old Man Twist made ("thought he was too god damned special for the family plot") show this.  In Annie Proulx's short story, it is even more obvious.

That being said, why would Jack propose he and Ennis going to his parents' place to "whip it into shape?"  If Ennis had actually consented to the "sweet life" with Jack, why not start in a new place for them both?  Why put himself (as well as Ennis) into the view of a man that he didn't get along with?
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116
When Alma has her confrontation with Ennis, she says;  "Jack Twist....Jack Nasty!"   I've heard people question that line from Alma, or describe it as "cheesy", that if Alma really wanted to attack Ennis, there were a variety of words she could've picked from.

How did you view Alma's choice of words?  Was it "cheesy" or childish?  Did you think it was appropriate?
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117
In the past we had a discussion about what attracted Jack & Ennis to each other.  I'd like for us to discuss what you as the viewer felt about the characters.  What aspects of their personalities did you like?  What turned you off?  Was there one character that became a favorite for you?  Let's discuss any characteristics of both Jack & Ennis that you feel that should be mentioned.

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« Last Edit: January 02, 2011, 08:03:01 AM by CellarDweller115 »

Offline CellarDweller115

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Re: Topic of The Week - Prior Subjects - Read only
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2011, 10:15:17 AM »
118
Over the years we've all talked about our need to watch the movie over and over.  Then, Heath died.  Since then, I've noticed posts from people who can no longer watch the film because of the loss of Heath.  Meanwhile, others still have the need to watch the film.

Which "group" do you fall into?  Do you still watch the movie?  Are you unable to?  Why do you think that there were such different reactions to this matter?
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119
Many books/short stories get made into movies.  Sometimes they end up being very similar to each other, and other times they are vastly different.  With Brokeback Mountain, I feel there are similarities, and differences.  The differences can be small (in SS, Ennis doesn't wear socks, but in the movie we see him taking off socks) or large (in the SS, Ennis keeps the shirts on a nail, while in the movie they are on a hanger).

What differences stood out for you when you watched the movie, and compared it to the short story?  In your opinion, were they minor or major differences?  Do you wish those particular differences had not been made, and instead reflected what was written in the story?
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120
In a past Topic Of The Week, we discussed the Siesta Motel scene and how it's central to the short story.  This Topic is to discuss the two Siesta Motel scenes.....the SS version, and the movie version.  In the movie, Jack is the one who does most of the talking, and Ennis mumbles a few replies.  In the SS, Ennis is much more talkative, and admits some private things to Jack.  They also share a cigarette.

This week, we discuss the two motel scenes.  Which one do you prefer?  Why?  Would you have liked to see more of the elements in the SS version incorporated into the movie?
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121
Just before the Dozy Embrace, Jack & Ennis are having their argument.   The scene ends with Ennis sobbing and saying:  "I just can't stand this anymore, Jack!"

This line is not in the story, it's not in the screenplay.  Do you think Heath improvised this line?  If so, why?  Do you think anyone else knew he was going to say this?  What do you think this line meant?  What was Ennis trying to say he couldn't take any more?  The traveling?  The hiding?  The relationship?  The separations?
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122
Past questions have had members analyze Jack & Ennis.  This week, we focus on Alma & Lureen.  How realistic do you think the characters were?  They seemed to be direct opposites of each other:  Alma the housewife and mother, who worked out of the house only because she had to.  Lureen the rodeo star, with a college education and a head to run her father's business.  Do you think that either of them would have been considered "typical" women for the time period of the movie, as society's definition of what a woman's role should be?  Was Alma behind the times?  Was Lureen ahead of her time?
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123
From the website www.onlygoodmovies.com:

Movie posters, like trailers, are a key element when it comes to catching the interest of the customer and luring them into buying a ticket. And if that’s the case, movie posters are the ultimate salesmen (think the poster equivalent of Ricky Roma from Glengarry GlenRoss). Not only do movie posters give the viewer an idea of what the film is about, but they also present the information using bold colors and designs. Whether you’re an artist or just a movie fan, movie posters should serve as a visual treat.


That being said, this is what has been said about the poster for Brokeback Mountain:


When it came time to design the poster for the film, [co-president of Focus Features and frequent Lee collaborator James] Schamus didn't research posters of famous Westerns for ideas. He looked at the posters of the 50 most romantic movies ever made. "If you look at our poster," he says, "you can see traces of our inspiration, 'Titanic'."

http://defamer.gawker.com/#!137271/jake-and-heath-their-love-will-go-on



Do you think this was a wise idea?  Do you feel that it accurately depicted the movie? 
Did the poster catch your eye?  Would you have liked to see something different on the poster?
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124
When you think about Ennis and Jack and their relationship, would you consider them "lucky?"  They did find love, and had a passion that lasted for 20 years.  The other side of it is that they spent most of their time apart, and when they were together, they were hidden away from everyone.  They had more stress than most couples do.

What is your opinion?  Were they fortunate that they found each other and had happy times, or were they unfortunate given the circumstances of their relationships?
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125
Past topics have focused on Ennis' and his internal struggle dealing with who he was, and speculation that it was his upbringing and childhood that form Ennis early on.

Jack Twist had a similiar upbringing, yet he didn't seem to have the "hang-ups" that Ennis did regarding his sexuality.  Jack would take chances to meet other guys for sex, he let himself be open to a relationship with Ennis, he may have had a relationship with Randall.

Why was Jack different?  How did he get past the issues that Ennis seemed stuck with?  How did he rise above the abuse and neglect of his childhood, and all the negative perceptions of a gay person, to get to where he was comfortable meeting men and setting up a "cow and calf" operation with Ennis?
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126
Jack receives word regarding Ennis' divorce, and drives out to Riverton to be with him.  He even states this fact when Ennis question why he's there.  Ennis turns Jack away, and Jack leaves, going to Mexico instead of home.

What do you think was Jack's reason for going to Mexico?  What it a "need" he had?  He makes that statement in their argument about needing something he don't hardly never get.  Or, was it about revenge?  Ennis wasn't willing to be with him, so he went and found someone who would be.

What do you think?  Need, revenge, or something else?
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127
The topic of religion gets mentioned in the movie numerous times.  Jack sings "Water Walking Jesus", Jack & Ennis discuss their religious upbringings, the Lord's Prayer is used, Ennis comments on the "Hellfire and Brimstone" crowd, the cross on the wall in the Twist house.

There are other ways that people have "seen" religion in the film as well.  Some members have mentioned the black and white cowboy hats as the yin - yang symbol, I've even seen someone state that they felt the name "Jack Fuckin Twist" was very similiar to the swear "Jesus Fuckin' Christ", which is not religious, but could be a link to Jesus' name.

How do you feel about the way religion was used in the movie?  Are there any other examples that you feel should be mentioned?  What examples stood out to you?
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Offline CellarDweller115

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Re: Topic of The Week - Prior Subjects - Read only
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2011, 09:28:21 AM »
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Most viewers of Brokeback admit that the dialog is sometimes hard to hear, and as a result there has been debate of things said in the movie. Most often debated is the scene refered to as "SNIT" (second night in tent) where some people say they can hear Jack & Ennis saying to each other "I'm sorry." & "s'alright." Later at the end of the movie, as Ennis is holding the shirts, some people hear him just inhale. However, some others have said they are hearing Ennis say "I Love You" to Jack.

Which "camp" do you fall into? Have you heard the "sorry", "alright" and "I love you?" Have you not? Why do you feel one way or the other?
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My question is more of a personal one than a technical one that is film or story based. I would like to hear from the members about how the film affected them on an emotional level? Were you shocked? Drained? Sobbing? How did you deal with the emotional reaction? Did you express them, suppress them, deny them?
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Cassie runs into Ennis when she is with Carl. She tells him she "doesn't get him" and Ennis replies that he wasn't much fun. Cassie, before leaving, says "Ennis, girls don't fall in love with fun."

What was it that made Cassie fall for Ennis in the first place? Cassie was young, pretty, had steady employment, liked to dance and have fun. Ennis was older, inattentive, poor, quiet, and not a good conversationalist. What did Cassie see in him that made her think he was a great boyfriend, and someone that she could fall in love with?
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"There's a nagging question always in the back of my mind: Are the 'Ennises' of the world truly empathetic people..? here, recalling the tears that he shed at the hearing, the tears he shed as he collapsed at the final meeting by the lake, the tears that welled up at the bus station, etc. It's pretty much a given that any man feels his OWN pain, but I wonder, how many of those tears that men shed are about feeling the pain of OTHERS, the people he's hurt, i.e., about empathy?"
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In a recent Sunday Times London story by Ryan Gilbey (I can't link, it's by subscription only) he interviews Michelle Williams. In the article, Ryan says:

"Her insistence on eye contact also gives the lie to the idea that she's a shrinking violet. And it's precisely this ability to suggest the delicate and the robust that lies at the heart of her finest work. Think of Brokeback Mountain where her mutely panicked reaction shot on witnessing her husband's infidelity with another man provided that movie with its heftiest emotional wallop."

Do you believe this statement to be correct? Is this scene the "heftiest" one emotionally? If not, which one is, in your opinion? Also, if you would like, which scene would you describe as the most emotional for each of the characters?
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We're focusing on the scene outside Aguirre's trailer. Ennis is waiting, and Jack pulls up. While they wait for Joe Aguirre to show up, a lot of silent conversation is going on. What is your opinion on the scenes we're shown? Is it curiosity? Is it flirtation? Fear? Intimidation?
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In the past, we've discussed certain phrases said by various characters. Today, we're talking about two specific phrases that Jack says in the movie.

Near the beginning of the film, when Ennis and Jack are drinking in the bar, Jack uses the phrase "thought I'd asphyxiate from the smell." Later in the film, he uses the phrase "Goddamn bitch of an unsatisfactory situation"

Do you think there was a specific reason that Jack used these "big" words on those two occasions? Attempts to impress or throw a curve ball at Ennis? Given Jack's rural background, do you think those words would've been in Jack's vocabulary in the first place?
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I wonder if anyone thinks that the birth order of Jack and Ennis may have affected their relationship with each other? Ennis is the 2nd or 3rd child (he has an older brother, and a sister, who may be older or younger), while Jack is the only child. Do you see any behaviors between Jack and Ennis that suggest they are reflective of their birth order, and status in their families?
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In a past topic, we discussed whether or not there was enough affection shown in the movie between Jack & Ennis. There is one scene that I want to discuss regarding this:

It's the scene where we are watching Jack & Ennis on the mountain, from a distance. They are both shirtless, and begin to wrestle. Then we see Aguirre watching with his binoculars.

In this scene, why does Ennis cover his and Jack's faces while kissing? Was it the director's effort not to push his luck too much, by showing another moment of physical intimacy? Or did he want to point out Ennis' reservations regarding making out in broad daylight? Remember, in the o.s we are told that they did have sex during the day too.
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Does anyone feel that Alma remarried rather quickly after her divorce from Ennis? Perhaps too quickly? And why Monroe?
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So many people make contact with the forum, seemingly with needs that we all understand and with much to contribute. There have been members who have been here since the forum opened, and yet others stay for only a couple of posts. Why do you think this is? Why have you joined and stayed? If you are a "lurker", why do you opt to lurk? Is there anything that could be done to encourage new members to continue to stay active?
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In the short story, the night before the final confrontation between Jack and Ennis, the two of them have a conversation about their kids while their actions are undoing buttons (Ennis), stoking the fire for more warmth (Jack) all in preparation for a sexual encounter. But they don't talk about the sex -- they talk about their kids. Ennis says he "used a want a boy for a kid." Jack says he never wanted "none a either kind. But fuck-all has worked the way I wanted. Nothin' never come to my hand the right way."

What do you think of Jack's statement about his life?
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Want a cup of coffee, doncha? Piece of cherry cake? This week we'll discuss food & drink and symbolism in the short story and movie. You can discuss any food/drink scene, and any symbolism or questions that you have regarding them. "Texans don't drink coffee?" The liquor/bar scenes? Why do people laugh at the electric knife at Thanksgiving?
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This week's topic is for the readers. "Brokeback Mountain" was based on Annie Proulx's short story. Of other short stories that she has written, do you feel any of these others have the potential to be made into a movie, or that you would like to see as a movie? Which one?
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There is an expression that states: Life Imitates Art. A number of people had said that they felt they watched scenes of their own lives being told on the movie screen while watching Brokekback Mountain. Certain scenes resonated with certian people.

What scenes from the movie did you feel had actually happened in your own life?
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Offline CellarDweller115

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Re: Topic of The Week - Prior Subjects - Read only
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2011, 08:55:53 AM »
143
"I can't believe I left my damn shirt up there." says Ennis.  It wasn't until the end of the movie that he would realize that Jack had taken the shirt.

What do you think Jack's reasons were for taking the shirt in the first place?  Why did he keep it after he and Ennis continued to see each other?  What do you think went through Ennis' mind when he found it again? 
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144
To quote pop star Janet Jackson:  " 'Cause it's all about control, and I've got lots of it."

Everyone says that relationships are supposed to be 50/50, a partnership, but I think that occasionally we can see that one partner has a more dominant perosnality.  I've heard people make comments about who they believe was the most dominant in Jack's & Ennis' relationship.

Who do you feel was the more dominant of the two, or the more "in control" of things?  Do you think that maybe neither of them were "in control?"
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Sometimes in relationships we see that economics can cause stress in a relationship.  We've seen that this was also an issue for Jack & Ennis.  When they are about to leave Brokeback and Jack offers to loan Ennis some money, Ennis replies; "I don't need your money, ya know I ain't in the poorhouse!"  In a deleted scene, Jack gives Ennis an expensive gift that gets a negative reaction from Ennis.  During their last scene together, Ennis says to Jack;  "You forget what it's like being broke all the time."

Do you believe that the difference in economic status between Jack & Ennis was a major issue for them?  Do you think that Jack flaunted his status?  Was Ennis jealous of this?  Do you think there would ever be a circumstance that Ennis would have accepted financial help from Jack?
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When Brokeback Mountain was first released, many thought that it would need help to gather attention and earn profits.  Instead, it turned out to be a large success and (in the opinions of many) was robbed of Best Picture on Oscar night.  Thinking then changed that BBM would be a movie that would be seen as an element of change, affecting the portrayals of gay characters in the media, with more gay themed movies being made, and that it would help society's view on gay people to change.

Do you feel that any of this has happened?  How so?  Do you feel that any other 'gay movies' that were released carried on the momentum started by Brokeback?  Do you think that perhaps little to no change has happened?
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This was a topic that I had seen discussed on IMDB and on BetterMost, so I thought I would bring it here.

According to the timeline of the movie, we have the Independence Day scene, which occurs July 4th in 1966.  The next scene is Jack meeting Lureen at the rodeo, was (on assumption) August of 1966.  Jack & Lureen had sex in her dad's car.  If Lureen got pregnant that night and gave birth 9 months later, that brings us to May of 1967.  The reunion scene happens in September of 1967, which is 4 months later.  However, Jack states that "I got a boy, 8 months old, smiles a lot."

Do you think this was a mistake on the part of the screenwriters?  Is it possible that Jack didn't know the age of his son?  Or, do you think that it was possible that Lureen was pregnant when she met Jack?  Maybe she had sex with him and then "announced" her pregnancy to him in an effort to get married, and not have the stigma of being an unwed mother?
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"If you can't fix it, ya gotta stand it."  That line from both the short story and movie has resonated with the members here.  Everyone seems to feel that the lesson of Brokeback is not to "stand it", but to "fix it", if possible.

What if that wasn't the lesson of the movie?  What if the lesson was that you need to learn to "stand it?"  What if Jack accepted that he and Ennis wouldn't be together and focused on Lureen and Bobby?  What if Ennis didn't quit jobs to be with Jack, and focused his attention on Alma, Alma Jr. and Jenny?   Do you think there is any "merit" to "standing it?"  Was there any way to have a balance between the two options? 
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Since the release of Brokeback Mountain, we had the movie Shelter, which was called "Brokeback for surfers."  Later we had Undertow, which had been called "Brokeback Peru."   Have you seen these movies, and do you think that the comparisons to Brokeback were deserved?  Did they really only have one thing in common, which was a gay storyline?   

When Brokeback was released, it was often compared to Same Time, Next Year.  Do you see any other films that may have influenced the Brokeback movie?
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150
Before Ennis' & Jack's argument by the lake, they are both sitting by the fire, discussing Ennis being single.  Jack admits to an affair with a girlfriend, and Ennis laughs.  Later, when Jack admits to going to Mexico, Ennis gets angry (jealous?) and threatens Jack.

Why is it when Jack's having an affair with a woman, it's not a problem, but when he admits to sex with men, it becomes an issue?  Why doesn't Jack have the same reaction when Ennis mentions that he's "putting the blocks to a waitress" (Cassie)?
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There has been much speculation on the SS & movie, some ideas generate a lot of conversation, while others.......leave us scratching our heads and thinking, "Huh?"

This week's question:    In your opinion, what was the most outlandish, bizarre, odd explanation or story that you heard during Brokeback Mountain discussions?

Just keep in mind that while you can discuss what you found "outlandish", that there may be people who believe what it is that you are saying is outlandish.  Please do not attack someone for what they believe.
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win·dow   Noun/ˈwindō/

1. An opening in the wall or roof of a building or vehicle that is fitted with glass in a frame to admit light or air and allow people to see out.

The use of metaphors in literary or film works is a common occurance.  Prof. Dr. H. J. Krysmanski wrote about this experience regarding the use of windows as metaphors.  He opens this writing with this:

"The window metaphor has a long career in the history of art, and in fact, in the evolvment of the human perspective in general."

You can read his full work here:

http://www.uni-muenster.de/PeaCon/psr/pn/05-krys-windows.pdf

In Brokeback Mountain, there are multiple scenes involving windows or openings being looked through.  Was this something that you were struck by?  Do you think that the use of windows in the film was effective?  What scenes stand out to you regarding the use of windows?
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Forest Service got designated campsites on the allotments.  Them camps can be a couple of miles from where we pasture the sheep.  Bad predator loss, nobody near lookin' after 'em at night."

That quote is from the short story, and in the movie Aguirre also addresses predator loss.  Of course, we have the famous quote from Gene Shalit where he discusses the character of Jack Twist as a "sexual predator,"  which made me wonder if anyone else here saw other human predators in the story of Brokeback.  If so, which characters, and where?
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I attended a personal appearance of James Schamus & Ang Lee when they were promoting "Taking Woodstock", and Ang Lee was tellling everyone that his kids were trying to convince he that he should smoke some pot, in order to understand what it was like at Woodstock.  Ang's reply:

"I told my family, I didn't need to sleep with a man to direct Brokeback Mountain, I don't need to try pot for "Taking Woodstock."

In an interview, Annie Proulx was quoted saying:

“What I find to be very bad advice is the snappy little sentence, 'Write what you know.' It is the most tiresome and stupid advice that could possibly be given. If we write simply about what we know we never grow. We don't develop any facility for languages, or an interest in others, or a desire to travel and explore and face experience head-on. We just coil tighter and tighter into our boring little selves. What one should write about is what interests one.”

Annie Proulx, Larry McMurtry, Diana Osanna, Ang Lee, all straight, yet gave us one of the most successful and emotional love stories between two men.

How do you think they did this?  Were you impressed with the fact that they go so much "right?"  Was there anything that you think they fell short on?   What would you like to think they learned from their work on the SS and movie?
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The most difficult scene was the paragraph where, on the mountain, Ennis holds Jack and rocks back and forth, humming, the moment mixed with childhood loss and his refusal to admit he was holding a man.  This paragraph took forever to get right, and I played Charlie Hayden's and Pat Methany's 'Spiritual', from their album 'Beyond the Missouri Sky(Short Stories)' uncountable times, trying to get the words.  I was trying to write the inchoate feelings of Jack and Ennis, the sad impossibility of their liason, which for me was expressed in that music.  To this day, I cannot hear that track without Jack and Ennis appearing before me." -Annie Proulx

Music can obviously inspire, and evoke memories and emotions.

This week's topic, let's discuss music and what songs will bring back memories or images of Brokeback to you.  You can discuss the music used in the film, the soundtrack, any form of music not connected to the movie that somehow evokes Brokeback for you.  You may also discuss the "Meet Me On The Mountain" CD as well.
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Relationships are hard to maintain.  When you add distance to the equation, it's even more difficult.  With approximately 900 miles (one way) between Childress, Tx.  and Riverton, Wy.  it's safe to say that Jack and Ennis had a long-distance relationship.  Obviously they couldn't see each other often, but they made it last 20 years.

Do you think such a relationship is actually possible?  Are there any "pluses" to this type of relationship?  Do you think these relationships can be "one-sided" (such as with Jack doing all the travel)?

Please feel free to bring any personal experiences you may have had to this discussion.
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"Measure the fuckin short leash you keep me on, then ask me about Mexico and then tell me you'll kill me for needin it and not hardly never gettin it. You got no fuckin idea how bad it gets. I'm not you."

In prior discussions, we debated whether or not Jack's and Ennis' fathers were homophobes.  If they were indeed homophobes, why did it turn out that Ennis was so deep in the closet, yet Jack was more comfortable with his sexuality?  Why did Ennis have no other experiences with men, while Jack sought it out?  What do you think happened that made Jack accept who he was?

Also......at the last fight when Jack says he "needs it" and hardly ever gets it...that Ennis has "no idea how bad it gets" and that Jack is not like Ennis.

Does that statement show that Jack knows he's different from Ennis?  Do you think that Jack was truly gay, but Ennis is not?  Ennis doesn't need it, doesn't seek out other men, doesn't suffer from the infrequent high-altitude fucks, has no idea how bad it is for Jack.  Jack, however, makes trips to Mexico, has an (assumed) affair with Randall, tries to pick up Jimbo, so he's been with men other than Ennis.
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October 13th, 1997.  On that date 14 years ago, The New Yorker published their issue with Annie Proulx's "Brokeback Mountain" in it.  In a personal appearance, Diana Osanna spoke of writing a letter to Annie to get the rights to turn the short story into a movie.  After some time, Diana got a reply from Annie which read (paraphrasing):  "Well, I don't see a movie here....but have at it."

For those of you who read the short story first, when you heard it was going to be turned into a movie, did you think that it was possible?  What were your feelings on the matter?  For those who read the short story after seeing the movie, what were your reactions knowing that this was the basis of the movie?  Were you surprised that enough was "found" there to be made into the movie?
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One month ago today (9/23), DCF & BetterMost member OregonDoggie was at the Portland's Arts & Lectures event, where Annie Proulx was speaking.  During the Q&A period, OregonDoggie posed the following question to Annie Proulx:


"Ms. Proulx," I said, "The Laramie Project, the play based on the murder of Matthew Shepard, has become a formidable vehicle against Gay bashing and hatred. I know you have said, unlike Charles Dickens, story telling trumps social issues, but given that Brokeback Mountain changed many lives, brought resolution to long lost love, would you bless a stage version that could be performed in rural colleges and by local theater groups? If not, why not?"

With a big smile, she said at the moment no one except some Finns are interested.
She looked at me. "If you are in theater, perhaps you can take on Brokeback Mountain!"


Do you believe that the successful short story and movie could be a successful stage vehicle as well?  Do you think
it could have the same effect on society that the movie did?  Could it have he same effect that "The Laramie Project did?"
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Here is an excerpt from an interview Annie Proulx did with the Associated Press in December of 2005:



AP: Would you characterize the story as groundbreaking?

Proulx: I hope that it is going to start conversations and discussions, that it's going to awaken in people an empathy for diversity, for each other and the larger world. I'm really hoping that the idea of tolerance will come through discussions about the film. People tend to walk out of the theater with a sense of compassion, which I think is very fine. It is a love story. It has been called both universal and specific, and I think that's true. It's an old, old story. We've heard this story a million times; we just haven't heard it quite with this cast.

AP: Have you gotten any response from gay organizations?

Proulx: No. When the story was first published eight years ago, I did expect that. But there was a deafening silence. What I had instead were letters from individuals, gay people, some of them absolutely heartbreaking. And over the years, those letters have continued and certainly are continuing now. Some of them are extremely fine, people who write and say, "This is my story. This is why I left Idaho, Wyoming, Iowa." Perhaps the most touching ones are from fathers, who say, "Now I understand the kind of hell my son went through." It's enormously wonderful to know that you've touched people, that you've truly moved them.


*******


Given that we've seen members here discuss the impact the story and movie has had on them, we can understand the content of the letters Annie received.  Why do you think that gay organizations were not quick to use the SS or movie Brokeback in any ways?  Were you suprised by this?  Can you think of any 'missed opportunities?  If you were an active member of a gay organization, what would you have suggested?  If you are a member, did you make a suggestion that wasn't used?
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« Last Edit: November 06, 2011, 09:14:40 AM by CellarDweller115 »

Offline CellarDweller115

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Re: Topic of The Week - Prior Subjects - Read only
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2012, 10:27:40 AM »
161
In past Topics, we've discussed the 4 main characters, Ennis, Jack, Alma and Lureen.  We've also discussed the actors that portrayed those roles.

This week, we'll focus on the "supporting" cast of the movie.  Feel free to discuss the charactres of Alma Jr., Randall, Cassie, Monroe, Aguirre, Ma & Pa Twist, LaShawn, as well as the actors/actresses that played those roles.  What did you think of those performances?  What scenes that they were in stick out in your mind?  Do you think they added to the movie?  Were there any characters that you felt didn't need to be in the movie?  Why not?
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Ennis:  "You wanna watch it there. That horse has a low startle point."

Jack:  "Doubt there's a filly that could throw me."

This scene plays out with Jack trying to control the horse.  We see later in the movie Jack trying to control the horse before riding off, and looking at Ennis....Ennis later leans back and watches Jack ride off.

Do you think that Jack specifically picked the horse that was harder to control, as a way to impress Ennis?  Do you think this reflected Jack's way of life in picking difficult situations?  Would you say that Ennis also had a low startle point, and Jack was attracted to this? 
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In August Ennis spent a whole night with Jack in the main camp and in a blowy hailstorm the sheep took off west and got among of herd in another allotment.  There was a damn miserable time for five days, Ennis and a Chilean herder with no English trying to sort them out, the task almost impossible as the paint brands were worn and faint this late season.  Even when the numbers were right Ennis knew the sheep were mixed.  In a disquieting way everything seemed mixed.

<snip>

Joe Aguirre paid them, said little.  He had looked at the milling ship with a sour expression, said, "Some a these never went up there with you."  The count was not what he had hoped for either.  Ranch stiffs never did much of a job.

If Ennis felt that "everything" was mixed, what are some of the other things he felt were mixed?  If the count was right, why was Aguirre unhappy with it? 

While the quote above is from the short story, please feel free to discuss the movie scenes for this topic, or compare/contrast the movie & SS.
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During an interview that Heath had while discussing Brokeback and deleted scenes, he said this:

"I feel that what he has left out should stay out, and I don't think he left out much."

Heath then goes on to discuss the "hippie scene" and how he (and pretty much everyone) felt it didn't fit within the film.  We also know of other scenes that were cut:  Jack giving Ennis an expensive rifle, Ennis working on the ranch, Ennis at the Twist family plot.

Are there any scenes that are in the short story that you would have liked to see in the movie?  Are there any scenes from the movie that you feel don't work, and should've been removed?  Are there any deleted scenes we know about that you would've liked to have seen remain in the movie?
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Annie Proulx wrote an article regarding the contrast between historical cowboys, and the myths about cowboy life that exist in popular culture.  It begins with this paragraph:


The heroic myth of the American west is much more powerful than its historical past. To this day, the great false beliefs about cowboys prevail: that they were - and are - brave, generous, unselfish men; that the west was "won" by noble white American pioneers and staunch American soldiers fighting the red Indian foe; that frontier justice was rough but fair; and that everything in the natural world from the west bank of the Missouri to the Pacific Ocean was there to be used by human beings to further their wealth. These absurd but solidly rooted fantasies cannot be pulled up. People believe in and identify themselves with these myths and will scratch and kick to maintain their western self-image. The rest of the country and the world believes in the heroic myth because the tourism bureaux will never let anyone forget it.


Brokeback Mountain met resistance and criticism because of the "love" of the cowboy stereotypes.  Do you think that if the general public was familiar with "cowboy facts" the resistance would have been lessened in any way?  When studying the characters of Jack & Ennis, do you see any of the "idealized" images and beliefs there, or are they more rooted in the facts of what ranch/cowboy life was about? 
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In various topics here, we've discussed Destructive Rural Homophobia (DHR), as that was a term that Annie Proulx used to describe what Brokeback Mountain was about. 

Do you feel that the story would've been different if Jack & Ennis lived in more urban areas?  Today city areas are viewed as more "cosmopolitan" and "open-minded", but could the same be said of cities in the timeframe that the story is set?  Do you think that Jack & Ennis would still be subjected to homophobia in a city setting?  Would this type of situation (Jack & Ennis living in cities but still being ranchers) even be believeable?
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Let's talk about "stereotypical" behaviors.  Throughout the years on this forum, there was talk that one of the reasons Brokeback was different was the fact that Jack & Ennis didn't have any "stereotypical gay" behaviors.  That being said, do you think that perhaps the movie went out of its way to give Jack and/or Ennis some behaviors that were "stereotypical straight male" behaviors?  Were there any scenes that you felt suggested perhaps some "stereotypical gay" behaviors?
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In past weeks, we've talked about Annie Proulx and her comments about Destructive Rural Homophobia.  Is there a difference between AP's destructive rural homophobia and destructive metropolitan homophobia or homophobia in general? Is there such a thing as CONstructive homophobia? Is adding any adjective to "homophobia" simply redundant like "yellow jaundice?"
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169
In the short story, Annie writes about Jack's memory of the dozy embrace as:  the “single moment of artless, charmed happiness in their separate and difficult lives”  it was the time that Ennis comes up behind Jack, pulls him close, and holds him, “the silent embrace satisfying some shared and sexless hunger”.  What is this hunger?  If it is sexless, why is neither man successful in satisfying this hunger in any other relationship?
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Once Ennis and Jack meet again, four years after their time on Brokeback Mountain, what expectations does each man have of the relationslhip?  What does Jack want?  What does Ennis offer?  Was there any way to compromise between the differences of what they thought was possible?  Which man do you think is the more courageous, the more honest, the more realistic, or the more committed?
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171
During the movie, Jack speaks of his family more often than Ennis.  Jack mentions his father's rodeo competitions, where they lived in Lightning Flat, the family ranch, how his mother believes in The Pentecost.   He even goes on to talk about how he and his father don't get along, wouldn't share rodeo secrets, things of that nature.  Ennis mentions his family very briefly, that his parents ran themselves off and he was raised by his brother and sister, and then later how his dad took he and his brother to see Earl.  Other than the "run themselves off" comment, he never mentions his mother. 

Why do you think Jack was more open to discuss family matters than Ennis?  When Ennis says there was "no room for me" in the movie after his sister got married, do you think that was an idea he got on his own, or was he asked to leave?  In a past discussion we talked about Old Man Twist and Old Man Del Mar being homophobic, is it possible Ennis' entire family was?

*Side note - even though the relationships with the fathers was discussed in a past TOTW, since this discussion focuses on the family, feel free to revisit that topic as well.  Also, any scenes/themes in the short story that pertain to this topic (such as the violence between KE and Ennis) may be discussed as well.*
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172
When Ennis and Jack first start to herd the sheep up the mountain on horseback Jack was holding a baby lamb in his arms. Ennis wrapped up his lamb in a blanket and it rode on the side of the horse. We also see Jack tending to a sheep, and later sleeping with a dog nearby.  Do you think this was used as a way to show that Jack wore his emotions out in the open and was more willing to express them, while Ennis buried them inside?  Do you think there was a difference between SS Ennis and movie Ennis in this respect? 
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173
In past topics we've discussed the women of Brokeack, in very specific ways.  This week's discussion, let's be a little more general.  Did you find the female characters in the move behaved in stereotypical ways, given the time frame of the movie?  Do you feel that perhaps the women were more "advanced" in their behaviors?  Did the older women (Ma Twist, Fayette Newsome) seem more stereotypical than the younger set (Lureen, Alma, Cassie)?  Did any of the behaviors that you witnessed seem "out of time" or "out of place" for the setting of the movie?
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I found this paragraph online:

Ennis and Jack are complementary: Ennis the taciturn loner, Jack the performer who needs an audience; Ennis the hand-to-mouth earner, Jack the man who has married into money; Ennis the stoic who grits his teeth and bears his life, Jack the proponent of change. Yet for all his bravado and planning, Jack never seems to get what he wants. His father shrugs that most of his son’s ideas “never come to pass,” and Jack himself says, “Nothin never come to my hand the right way.” When he tells Ennis his plan for them to run a ranch together, it doesn’t occur to him how detached from reality his fantasy truly is, how impossible or ill-advised it would be to implement it. This divide between fantasy and reality drives the two men apart over the years, and Jack ultimately pays a steep price for his dreams.

Do you think that Jack can actually be called a "proponent of change" if he wasn't able to change anything in the story?  He couldn't get Ennis to commit to a "sweet life", he couldn't get his father's attitude about sharing his bull-riding secrets to change, nothing came to him the right way, his ideas never came to pass.  Is there any way that Jack could be seen as a "proponent of change" if his attempts constantly failed?

Do you agree with the last sentence in the statement above?  Was it Jack's inability to see "reality" what drove he and Ennis apart?  Or do you think that it was Jack's hope in his "fantasy" as what helped him to stay with Ennis for so long?
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I found this quote in the same website from last week's question:

Indeed, the main tension of “Brokeback Mountain” derives from the pull of external, contextual forces on the two main characters, who are trapped in their circumstances like flies in a spider web. In another time, in another place, perhaps, Jack and Ennis could be happy together—but not in 1963 Wyoming.

Do you believe that in another time or place that Jack & Ennis could be happy?  Do you believe if the characters were unchanged, would Jack have been able to convice Ennis on the "sweet life" if it was a different year?  Do you think with Ennis' mental make-up, he still would not have been able to be with Jack?
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"You been to Mexico Jack Twist?  'Cause I heard what they got in Mexico for boys like you."

How did Ennis know what was going on in Mexico?  If he worked on isolated ranches in Wyoming, how did he hear about gay men going to Mexico?  Is it possible that Ennis began to "explore" and see what options there were out there?  Is it  possible that Ennis knew other gay men who told him, or perhaps he overheard?
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The poster from Brokeback bears the tagline "Love Is a Force of Nature."  On the website where I've found some Brokeback discussion I found this comment:

"The idea of two male ranch hands falling in love in conservative 1960s Wyoming epitomizes the suggestion that love, a natural force, persists against all odds."

http://www.sparknotes.com/short-stories/brokeback-mountain/themes.html

Does their love persist against all odds?  Is it realistic to say that Jack & Ennis loved each other?  While their relationship lasted twenty years, it wasn't 20 years of togetherness, they spent much of their time apart, waiting to be together again for very brief periods.  Do you find it interesting that the only time "love" comes up in discussion is between Ennis & Alma Jr. at the end of the movie when Ennis asks her if Kurt loves her?
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Why did Jack send that first card to Ennis, and why did he wait 4 years to send it?  Do you think the responsibility of being a husband and father weighed on him, and was the spark that caused him to send it?  Ennis' reply was a simple "You Bet", following the pattern of "not saying much."  Given Ennis reluctance to communicate, why did he send Jack the postcard about the divorce?  Was Jack's response (driving out to the ranch) over the top?  Do you think that Jack always misread Ennis' communications and behaviors?  Do you think that Ennis mislead Jack at times?
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Throughout the movie we see Ennis acting in what could be considered stereotypically masculine ways.  He's quicker to raise is voice to argue, quicker to result to violence, will make threats.  He also appears to drink more than Jack.

Do you feel this was a result of how he was raised, or do you think on some level that he understands that he is different, and then tries to compensate for this by lashing out?

Jack doesn't seem to have these same behaviors, do you feel that Jack has a bigger level of acceptance of who he is?
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This is an excerpt taken from an interview that Annie Proulx gave to the Jackson Hole Weekly:

"How different readers take the story is a reflection of their own personal values, attitudes, hang-ups.
It is my feeling that a story is not finished until it is read, and that the reader finishes it through his or her
life experience, prejudices, world view and thoughts."


Do you agree with this statement?  If so, do you recall how you "finished" Brokeback Mountain?  Looking back on how the story/movie affected you, can you clearly see how your own views or thoughts may have affected your understanding of the short story and/or movie?  In times that you've re-read the story or subsequent viewings of the movie, has your view changed in any way?  If you had shared the story with someone, or saw the movie with another person, was their viewpoint different from yours and did that surprise you?
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Is it possible that the homophobia had an positive aspects on Jack & Ennis?  Did homophobia strengthen Ennis and Jack's relationship in any ways?  Did they put up with things in their relationship because they may have seen themselves as two together against a World filled with homophobia?
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Homosexuality in "Brokeback Mountain" is always associated with a river: It's a great torrent of nature, which cannot be controlled and which provides sustenance, nurture, satisfaction, joy. The happiest image in the film, and the most poignant, is Ennis and Jack, off by their lonesome, pulling off their clothes and leaping off a cliff into the placid, welcoming waters below. Realistically, it's a river; metaphorically, it's the great river of homosexuality, and safe and free immersion in it is utterly joyful to them. Indeed, most of the two men's squabbling and (mostly off-camera) lovemaking takes place next to a river. It's glimpsed in many of the backgrounds, usually a turmoil of frothing white water to signify the rush and power of their love and lust for each other. Sometimes it's calming, it's always there for them, and they suffer at their imposed distance from it.

*******

The above quote comes from a Washington Post review of 2006 (link to follow).  To you agree with the journalist that this is the happiest image in the film?  The most poignant?  If not, what scenes do you think qualify?  In past topics we've mentioned other descriptions or nature themes in the story, but I don't recall discussing rivers.  Did anyone else notice the frequency of the appearance of rivers?  Did you believe they represented the "great river of homosexuality" as the journalist describes?
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From Dec 2005 through April 2012 we've been heaping praise & love on what we've come to call "our film".  That being said, there have been times we've discussed negative things said/written about Brokeback.

Today I've found a review that says some negative things about Brokeback.  Read them with an open mind, and express your opinions on this assessment.  Do you feel the comments are completely off base?  Is there some validity to what is being said?  Do you completely disagree?   Remember to keep your emotions/passions in check, and give a reasonable response. 

*please note, the article does say positive things about Brokeback as a film as well, for the purpose of this discussion, I've omitted them.  I will provide a link to the complete review so you can read it for yourself.*


"Brokeback Mountain" sets out to be an epic love story, but the romance is weighed down by the burden of covering a twenty-year time span. It's a heavy task for any filmmaker: to cover so much story, the necessary marriages, births, and necessary heartrending death, all the while asking your stars to age on screen. Appropriate make-up is applied, hair thinned and turned gray, slim bodies made to appear paunchy. The effect, unfortunately, is one hundred percent false. Gyllenhaal simply is not convincing as a middle-aged, hen-pecked cowboy. He acts so hard, he practically screams: I am playing a challenging part. Ledger, who talks less throughout the film, makes out better.

Like the lovers, the film never regains the heart and simplicity of young Jack and Ennis on their mountain. Once they come down, their real (meaning straight) lives begin. Ennis marries his childhood sweetheart Alma (Michelle Williams, who is wasted in the role of the suffering wife.) Jack marries a sexy young rodeo girl (Anne Hathaway, who has her own problems, including big blond hair.) Because both husbands are closeted gay men, neither marriage works. They go through the motions of a heterosexual lifestyle, raising children and working jobs they do not care for. The subject is certainly moving enough; their plight is sympathetic, but unfortunately, the love story is not. The men meet for intermittent fishing trips over the years. For the most part, the audience is subject to petty and not so petty fighting: between the married spouses and also between Jack and Ennis. "Brokeback Mountain" becomes tedious and trying. The wives want escape, the husbands desperately yearn for it, and after one hundred and thirty four minutes of poetic beauty and longing, so did I.
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When Brokeback was first released, there were a lot of varied reactions to it.  There was praise, criticism, and emotional responses to the film.  There were also times the film was accused of being "Homosexual Propaganda" for the gay rights movement.  I've found online two articles with opposing viewpoints, one that strongly accuses the film of the propaganda slant, and a second that appears to take the opposite view point.  Here are excerpts, with links to the articles below them.

Indeed nature is beautiful, and its grandeur is depicted with majesty and uplifting music, great sweeping vistas instill a sense of awe and splendor. It is of course in this setting that the "homosexual romance" blossoms. But even more significant, this is where the men discuss the deeper things of life, theology, meaning, etc.
 
Contrast this with the scenes of marriage. Every time marriage is depicted in the film, it is shot in a tiny dark squalid hovel, with screaming children and absolute pandemonium. The house is a mess, the wife never communicates on any kind of meaningful level. Wives in fact, are portrayed as a constant annoyance, and more irritating than understanding. But children receive the worst treatment in this slanted rant against family. They are usually crying, often two at a time, or smashing things, the general feeling the film presents, is that these joyless hellions are an intrusion into life, an encumbrance and a terrible burden.

Brokeback Mountain - Understanding Propaganda

Some have found it easy to quickly dismiss the movie, crying foul over anti-family values and homosexual agendas. And many will simply not see it at all, regardless of the press it’s received, both good and bad. At this point it has won four Golden Globe awards—a fact that, to me at least, says the film is at least worth taking a look at.

I did see the movie. I come from a perspective of believing that God shows up in the most extraordinary places, and I believe he’s shown up in this movie. I will say, however, that the film did make me feel uncomfortable at times, as it does deal with controversial subjects. It is a period piece that deals with extremely contemporary issues.

Finding God On Brokeback Mountain

Were you surprised an the accusation of Brokeback being a propaganda film?  Did you feel at any time that Brokeback tried to push a "gay agenda" at anyone at all?  Were you ever confronted by someone who put that idea to you?  Do you believe that God can be found on Brokeback?  Do you think there was any positive experiences regarding religion in Brokeback?
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Stanley Fish is an American literary theorist and legal scholar, and the author of 12 books.

In Stanley Fish's "How To Write a Sentence," he says this of first sentences: "First sentences know all about the sentences that will follow them and are in a sense last sentences." "There can be no formula for writing a first sentence, for the promise it holds out is unique to the imagined world it introduces, and of imagined worlds there is no end."

The first sentence of Brokeback Mountain is:  "Ennis Del Mar wakes before five, wind rocking the trailer, hissing in around the aluminum door and window frames." 

Do you think this works as an opening sentence?  Does it "hook" you and make you want to read the story?  Do you think other sentences (last sentence) are just as important?  How do you feel about the story's ending?  "There was some open space between what he knew and what he tried to believe,  but nothing could be done about it, and if you can't fix it, you've got to stand it."   How do you feel that compares to the movie's last line, "Jack I swear."?
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Offline CellarDweller115

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Re: Topic of The Week - Prior Subjects - Read only
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2012, 09:09:52 AM »
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On various websites, we've seen Brokeback Mountain described as a "Western" movie.  In fact, the information below is taken from Box Office Mojo.

Domestic Total Gross: $83,043,761  -  Distributor: Focus Features  -  Release Date: December 9, 2005
Genre: Western - Runtime: 2 hrs. 15 min.  - MPAA Rating: R - Production Budget: $14 million

The below question was posed on another website/forum, and I'm using it as our TOTW:

Is any film that has horses, cowboy hats, and is set in a state like Wyoming automatically a western? Was Dances with Wolves a western? Sure, it was set in the Great Plains in the Civil War era and it has horses, bison, and Native Americans. But wasn't it more of a (male) melodrama than a western?

I guess the question is: Is iconography everything? By this I mean: are the visual elements (props, character types, locations, etc.) the only, or even dominant, elements that define a genre? Don't issues of subject matter, theme, narrative and more enter into the discussion? If we agree that they do, then to what extent?

Aren't westerns as much if not more about struggles like order vs. chaos, civilization vs. wilderness, law vs. justice, and man vs. nature than they are about the type of hats the characters wear and the animals they ride while wearing them?
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We're going to "piggyback" on last week's question on the definition of Brokeback as a western.  At an interview with Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry, Annie Proulx was asked a question and she gave this answer:

Howie Movshovitz:  “What makes the West so powerfully cinematic?"

Annie Proulx:  “This is one of the most powerful landscapes on earth and everybody who roams it knows it. There’s a visceral, unexplainable, indecipherable force that binds people to this place. I’ve known people from here who’ve gone east and they become just heartsick to be back here again." She also explained that the “central mythology of this country is about the West. It’s the most perfect setting for everything. It’s got balls."

Do you feel that the "force" Proulx describes was present in her story and in the movie?  Do you feel that the West does have a certian "mythology" about it, and that may be one of the reasons that Brokeback had such an effect on us?  Do you feel that the film-makers had to work harder to bring that image to life, given that they filmed in Canada, far from the "true" American West?
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In the past we've talked about how Brokeback was discussed as "the gay cowboy movie" or how others would say it was "a universal love story".  After finding a review online and reading through the comments, I found this reply:


By Danny Camacho, 12-05-05

This is a movie about two men in love, they have sex, they like it. Don't take that away from us. The Diary Of Ann Frank may have universal themes but to say that it's not really about Jews but about oppresion that we all suffer is a disrespect to all those Jews who personally experienced the Holocaust. Don't take this away from us, it's a story about to men in love, sex and all. If you want to come along for the ride fine but don't appropiate this story for just yourself, I'll share, but it's my story first and don't make it something it's not.


Do you agree with the statement above?  If we remove the "gay aspect" of the movie, does it lose its power or meaning for us?  If we do view it as a gay movie, why did it appeal to so many straight viewers?  For the gay members of the forum, if you see Brokeback described as "universal love story", do you feel like Danny Camacho, that the film/story is being "taken" from you?  For the straight members of the forum, if you see Brokeback described as a "gay love story", do you feel left out, or that it's harder for you to connect to it in some way?

*side note:  While the term "gay" is being used in the question, this is not a discussion on whether or not Jack & Ennis are gay.  If you want to discuss that, you can do so here:
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When Ennis was with Alma and his daughters, he had access to a TV.  Jack had much longer access to one through his marriage to Lureen.  Jack's trucks had radios, Ennis' may have had one as well.  What messages about homosexuality were they exposed to?  Some TV shows in the late 70s were having storylines that dealt with homosexuality.  Do you think they only heard negative things?  Do you think they may have heard/seen anything that could've been positive, or struck a chord with them?
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“All the travelin I ever done is goin' around the coffeepot lookin for the handle,” Ennis says to Jack.  Why do you think that Ennis stayed close to home, while Jack left home?  Ennis would always stay close to home, while Jack always seemed to leave.  He was the one who traveled to Ennis.  He was the one who traveled to Mexico.  Jack went so far as to say he wanted his ashes spread on Brokeback, and not be in the family plot. 

Why was Ennis content to stay home, while Jack went traveling?
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(At a personal appearance) “Ossana explained that the only aspect of the story that the film could not capture was the “beauty of the prose. The dialogue is very spare. These men are from a non-verbal culture, so in the screenplay, I wanted to have the quality of [Proulx’s] prose, to direct the actors in the stage directions, which is rarely done."

Do you think the film was successful in this matter?  Were they able to translate the sparseness of the dialog to the movie?  What moments of "non-verbal" communication stood out to you?  Were those moments successful?  In your opinion, did you prefer the the verbal communication between Jack & Ennis, or the non-verbal communication?
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In the Story To Screenplay book, Annie Proulx talks about some of her doubts regarding having Brokeback turned into a movie.  Some of what she's said we covered in past topics, however, she begins her quote with this:

I simply did not think this story could be a film: it was too sexually explicit for presumed mainstream tastes....

Was your impression of the short story that it would be "too sexually explicit" to be made into a movie?  Did you feel that the movie was sexually explicit?  While watching the movie, did you compare the sex scenes with Jack & Ennis to the scenes with their wives later on, and did you find them to be more explicit than the Jack & Ennis scenes?
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In the Story To Screenplay book, Annie Proulx makes the following statement:

High lonesome situation, a couple of guys - expediency sometimes rules and nobody needs to talk about it and that's how it is.  One old sheep rancher, dead now, used to say he always sent two men to tend sheep "so's if they get lonesome they can poke each other."

Not long after Brokeback, Willie Nelson released the song "Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly Fond of Each Other."

Do you think these types of statements reveal that there is at least a knowledge of "assumed" homosexuality between guys in the West when put into situations that can encourage this type of behavior?  If that is true, why is rural homophobia so "strong" in the West?  Why did people in the West react so strongly to Brokeback, to the point of banning it from theaters? 

Is it the fact that it wasn't sex, but two men in love that people were so put off by?
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In the Story To Screenplay book, Annie Proulx makes the following statement:

Many gay men marry and have children and are good fathers.  Because this is a rural story, family and children are important.  Most stories (and many films) I have seen about gay relationships take place in urban settings and never have children in them.  The rural gay men I know like kids, and if they don't have any of their own, they usually have nephews and nieces who claim a big place in their hearts.

Did you feel that the children played an important part of the SS or movie?  If they were as important as Annie says, don't you think they would've had bigger parts of her story?  The movie included scenes between Alma Jr and Ennis which aren't in the SS, do you think the movie considered the roles of the children more important than SS did?  Did you feel the children were important at all, or were they just a product of Ennis & Jack trying to fit into what the "norms" of society were?
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In South Pacific, the character Bloody Mary tries to entice Joseph Cable to the mysterious island Bali Ha'i by singing to him.  What he doesn't know is that she's hoping he will go to Bali Ha'i and fall in love with her daughter, Liat.

Was Brokeback Mountain Jack Twist's "Bali Ha'i"?  Do you think Jack used the locale to his advantage at times, in order to get Ennis closer to him emotionally?  In "South Pacific" the location of "Bali Ha'i" was considered off limits to most people, except officers.  Do you think that in some ways "Brokeback" was a "forbidden" place as well?  Was it essential to the story that there be a locale like Brokeback in it?
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In January 2006 Annie Proulx gave an interview in which she said (in reference to Jack and Ennis):

"The thing that happened while I was writing the story eight years ago is that from thinking so much about the characters and putting
so much time into them,  they became embedded in my consciousness. They became as real to me as real, walk-around, breathe-oxygen people...”

     a) As Jack and Ennis are entirely the instruments of their creator how do you think she meant her description to be taken?
     
     b) Real people could be considered to be responsible for their own lives. To what degree do you think this could be said of Jack and Ennis?

     c) For instance, do they demonstrate free will regarding their actions and the choices they made?
           If so, in what ways is this evident in the story?  If not, why do you think this is so?
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- Were J&E lucky to have had their "Camelot" moment? (which are always fleeting, almost by definition)
- What exactly are the factors that make a person someone's soul-mate?  Do you think that Jack & Ennis would fit into the defintion of soul-mates?  Is it likely that a person will find more than 1 soul-mate in a lifetime?  Do you think it would be possible for Ennis or Jack (had he survived) to move on to new partners?

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The impact of Annie Proulx’s short story depends at times upon the withholding of information for dramatic purposes, which is then presented
to the reader in the form of a character’s recollection of an event which occurred years before.

It may be a direct first-hand memory of an event, or an indirect second-hand recollection of information received about an event at which the recipient wasn’t present.

     • To what degree do you consider this to be a reliable method of information-delivery?
     • Would you expect such memories of long-ago events to be presented as accurately as the story suggests?
     • What credence would you give them in real life situations?
     • In what ways does Proulx indicate that her characters’ recollections are trustworthy?
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At what point in their relationship do you think that Ennis realized that he loved Jack?  Do you think he ever realized that he loved Jack?  If he did realize it, do you think he acknowledged this, or did he never admit to loving Jack?
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In the movie, we get the two thanksgiving scenes back to back so I'm assuming they are from the same year? Since E & J both have cathartic explosions (J much more than Ennis of course) I'm wondering if there was something cut from the film or in an earlier script draft that had the men meet shortly before this and something didn't go well--the fear of Ennis for intimacy and becoming a couple, for example.  It might explain why both men sem to have barely controlled rage issues that come out at the holiday, when both are with family and probably not with whom they'd like. 

Another question:  what about birthdays and Christmas?  You think E & J exchanged cards?  I can see Jack doing so, especially after Ennis' divorce.  Holidays are always hard when you're forced by convention to be with people you may not want to be with.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2012, 08:37:17 AM by CellarDweller115 »