Queer eye for the straight 'Brokeback'-watching guy

112816__brokebackmountain_lI’m not sure whether it’s amusing or discouraging that everyone believes that your typical straight-guy moviegoer is cringing with disgust at the prospect of watching Brokeback Mountain‘s Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger (left) make out. Self-described ”red-blooded American male homosexual movie critic” Dave White falls into the amused camp, and he offers a pretty hilarious essay on MSNBC.com in which he reassures such moviegoers that they’ll make it through the film without feeling too icky. I’d add a few points of my own:

1) Sure, some straight guys will be relieved to know there’s only about a minute of man-on-man action in the movie, but I’m not sure that knowing about an Anne Hathaway topless scene is any real compensation. Good to know, yes, but is anyone really going to say, ”I’m not wild about watching two cowpokes swap spit, but I’ll go to the multiplex and sit through it just to glimpse that Princess Diaries chick nekkid”? C’mon, dude, that’s what the DVD is for.

2) White tosses off but does not elaborate much on the observation that ”most Westerns are about 1,000 percent gay.” That may shock most moviegoers, but it’s true. White cites as an example Montgomery Clift’s Red River, but there are countless other examples, where the women are superfluous and the men ride off into the sunset together: Rancho Notorious, The Wild Rovers, Blazing Saddles, Young Guns, The Wild Bunch, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, Silverado… and for lesbians, Johnny Guitar, Bad Girls, and Calamity Jane (where Doris Day sings about ”My Secret Love”).

3) And, of course, there isn’t any evidence that movies, including Brokeback Mountain, can make a straight guy into a gay guy. On the other hand, even an uptight straight guy could experience one of the great pleasures of moviegoing: identifying and empathizing with people who initially seem to have nothing in common with you.

Still, I guess I have to ask: Is the gay content going to keep you away from Brokeback? Is it a selling point for you? Or do you plan to see the movie but cover your eyes during the love scenes?

addCredit(“BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN: Kimberley French”)

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  • Ariel

    Oh, it’s a selling point for me. Haven’t you heard? Boys making out is the new girls making out.
    I saw a screener of Brokeback Mountain a few weeks ago, and while I absolutely adored it, I can’t deny that I’d been wishing for more prurient scenes.

  • yee haw

    Jake and Heath are both hot and I can’t wait to see them make out onscreen! Besides, the movie looks like it will have fantastic cinematography and a good storyline.

  • female fan

    This movie looks like a tearjerker. I love sad love stories and this one looks good. The gay thing makes it even more interesting; knowing both actors are straight will let us know if they are really good actors or not. I am definitely seeing this movie!

  • Brandon O

    I don’t have much of a desire to see the movie, but I’d like to think that is because I dislike movies that obviously try to be groundbreaking or heartbreaking.

  • Trish

    I am a sucker for bittersweet, melancholy love stories, no matter what the gender, so I’ll be there. And if it requires watching Heath and dreamy Jake kiss and touch and share meaningful glances, so much the better! Yum.

  • Celeste

    Well, I’ve yet to meet a homosexual male who feared watching M/F romances would turn him straight. Seriously, if you’re that terrified of movies where the characters are not exactly like you, I can’t imagine you’d find many to watch at all.
    As for whether it’s a selling point.. for me, it’s basically the sole reason I’m interested in seeing this flick.

  • Scott

    I agree with Celest, but, despite the fact that watching this movie does not mean that you are gay or have any inclination to be so, the subject matter alone sadly will be enough to prevent a lot of people from experiencing a really good movie. I would like to give Jake and, particularly, Heath credit for starring in the movie. I bet a lot of young “hot” male actors wouldn’t have even entertained the idea.

  • James The Greatest

    Last night at a screening of Syriana, during the Brokeback trailer, I heard a few “macho” guys make mocking noises, and I’ve got to admit, there was a part of me that really was truly offended and hurt. I’ve gone to see countless movies featuring straight men and women and still found relatable emotions and characters and nuances, so for people to be disgusted by the thought of someone different finding happiness is a bit frustrating. And let’s keep in mind, I was at The Grove in L.A. (For those of you not in the area, it’s a frou frou urban shopping area that attracts a very L.A. gay-friendly crowd.)
    I think the beauty and the draw of this movie is not just that it features a non-stereotypical or -traditional gay couple but also that it doesn’t make a spectacle of such romance. It looks to be a love story with ups and downs just like any movie involving forbidden love or romance.
    I agree that those who feel the need to vocalize their feelings so vehemently during the trailer probably need to reassess their own sexual orientation. (Who knows? They might even be able to have more fun if they waste less time hating.)

  • Eddie Hargreaves

    Straight guys don’t much like to see straight romantic dramas, so why would they be interested in a gay one?

  • Vancouver

    Well, I sure PLANNED to see it. It has been my most-anticipated movie of the year–and I generally can’t stand anything to do with the gay male culture. A good romance is a good romance is a good romance, as far as I’m concerned, and Heath Ledger is Heath Ledger.
    That said, I don’t know where all you guys are going to exercise your decision either to see it or not to see it. It opens in FIVE places this Friday. FIVE. When they say limited release, they apparently mean a release so skinny you can’t see it if it turns sideways. For criminy: where the heck are we supposed to view this wonder? The release is so insignificant that doesn’t show up on Yahoo Movies, it doesn’t show up on the main page of Box Office Mojo…nope. It just happens to be on the cover of Premiere and every other entertainment magazine in the known universe, as if, hey, it’s actually going to be available to see. Maybe it will play in Vancouver, gay male capital of Canada, I don’t know. But it sure isn’t saying it is.

  • Mike in Moncton

    Not interested. And the latest issue of EW with the Brokeback actors on it kept me from buying that too, for the first time in years. I buy it EVERY WEEK…until now.
    Thing is, I might’ve considered seeing this movie if I wasn’t told to death that I HAD to.

  • Megan

    I was interested in this movie before by just word of mouth, but after the ew review came out it made me really want to see this movie. I hope Brokeback Mountain will be as good as the article and the story line suggest.

  • Nancy

    Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhall? I am so there! And just for the record, Vancouver, Montreal is the gay male capital of Canada. Oh, and by the way. Hank D? It’s time to come out, brother.

  • abp

    I am looking forward to this movie, and the same-sex plotline does not bother me in the slightest. To the contrary, I find the story intriguing, and am eager to see this film because it is, by all accounts, well-scripted, well-acted, and well-directed. I agree that Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal deserve credit for risking their mainstream “cred” by taking on such controversial roles. It got me thinking, though, about other gay male roles that are played by straight actors (Eric McCormack on Will & Grace, Michael C. Hall on Six Feet Under, et al.) — wouldn’t it be nice if, rather than recognizing straight actors for “bravely” playing gay, Hollywood ceased pressuring gay actors to remain closeted and embraced the idea of openly gay actors playing gay roles? It’s a shame, really, that Hollywood remains so sanitized when it comes to sexual orientation. But I digress…

  • Michelle

    As an avid female and teenage moviegoer, the gya content of Brokeback Mountain most certainly won’t keep me away from the theaters as soon as it comes out. In fact it probably contributes a great deal to my curiosity toward it. I don’t believe there’s been anything so explicitely gay and artful at the same time in a major movie. Especially now after all the rave reviews, I honestly can’t wait the same way I couldn’t wait for Walk The Line to come out.

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