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the love that dare not speak its name


movie revieww::brokeback mountain

much like the world of military films (see my review of jarhead), the world of cowboy movies has always been lost on me. being a city girl through and through, looking in on a world that lacks restaurants and toilets that flush holds little appeal. on the other hand, the notion of using one of the most traditionally masculine and conservative settings- the american midwest (played with striking beauty in this film by alberta)- for a gay romance is a perversion of the natural order i simply can’t resist.

this was a film no one wanted to make. jake gyllenhall, one of the leads, was tapped for his role eight years ago, when he was sixteen, at which point he wanted nothing to do with the project. over the years and with the eventual handing off of the film to director ang lee, gyllenhall and others came around. smart move for jake, who, between this performance and his equally excellent turn in jarhead, has established himself as the first standout actor of his generation.

in fact, the only thing that equals gyllenhall’s heartbreaking performance is that of his leading man heath ledger. i’ve no familiarity with ledger, really. the only film i saw him in was mel gibson’s awful “the patriot”, which i have been endeavouring to forget about ever since. here, given more screen time and more depth than his co-star, he rises to the occasion. there isn’t one frame of the film where you doubt him, or where you become aware that he is an actor. compared to gyllenhall’s romantic idealism, he is the realist, completely in love with another man, but aware that the only life he knows how to lead require him to be dishonest.

the film follows the twenty year relationship between the two men, conducted secretly, but not invisibly, as they go through the motions of a normal life, both failing in their own ways. the story carries an emotional impact of considerable force, remarkable since lee relies on the unspoken to carry much of the action. these characters don’t talk much about what they are going through, because they are unable to understand it. they have no vocabulary for what they are feeling. time and again, they rely on physical actions, loving and violent, to say what they cannot express.

the pressure of living their lives in deceipt manifests itself in different ways. ledger struggles to be a good father when he cannot be a good husband. gyllenhall trades emasculation at the hands of his controlling father in law for the willingness of his family to look the other way. both michelle williams (ledger’s real-life girlfriend) and anne hathaway are excellent in the roles of the desperate housewives, each dealing with what they know but cannot express in their own ways.

the film’s pacing, slow and graceful, does try one’s patience (particularly if you’re in an uncomfortable seat). lee is in no rush to bring events to their conclusion. however, while it is easy to say you’d like things to move faster, i cannot think of anything that could be removed without weakening the final product. every look, every gesture, is, in fact, a much longer speech condensed into a much shorter space.

this is a restrained, beautiful movie with two exceptional performances. it’s more than worth a bit of a backache.

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jihadvertising?

i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:



am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

mental health mondays :: pop quiz

those of you who are friends of mine on facebook [that might look a little weird to those of you seeing this post on facebook] may have seen my weekly "sunday quiz time", where i just ask random questions in the name of stimulating conversation. after doing that this week, i ended up taking a very wide variety of quizzes on mental floss, which made me a little smug about my knowledge of geography and a little rattled about my knowledge of the finer points of grammar. [i want to say, in my defense, that the one grammar quiz i found was really f**king hard. is that last sentence grammatically correct? i don't know. i have no confidence in my grammar anymore.]

i got so into answering questions about just about anything that i thought it might be fun to apply that format to mental health mondays. i've already done links to quizzes about various mental disorders and how to tell if you have them [i think it turned out i had all of them], but i wanted to do a special set of…

i agree, smedley [or, smokers totally saved our planet in 1983]

so this conversation happened [via text, so i have evidence and possibly so does the canadian government and the nsa].

dom and i were trying to settle our mutual nerves about tomorrow night's conversion screening, remembering that we've made a fine little film that people should see. which is just about exactly what dom had said when i responded thusly:

me :: i agree smedley. [pauses for a moment] did you get that here?

dom :: no?

me :: the aliens who were looking at earth and then decided it wasn't worth bothering with because people smoked even though it was bad for them?
come to think of it, that might mean that smokers prevented an alien invasion in the seventies.

dom :: what ?!?!?

me :: i've had wine and very little food. [pause] but the alien thing was real. [pause.] well, real on tv.

dom :: please eat something.

of course, i was wrong. the ad in question ran in 1983. this is the part where i would triumphantly embed the ad from youtube, except that the governmen…