In case you were wondering, Reverse Shot is not immune to the hype. Or at least, who can help but be aware of the inundation of weirdo publicity about Brokeback Mountain that’s been cascading like golden showers for the past six-odd months. But if there’s something I simply can’t fucking stand anymore (even more so than the predictable crap over at the Drudge Report), it’s the constant stressing of the UNIVERSALITY of the central gay love story of Ang Lee’s surprisingly unadorned, sturdily mounted (laugh, but it’s TRUE) cobalt-blue kinda-western. In interviews, the ballcapped, grinning Lee has been doing it, almost to the point of panic-stricken tongue-knots (“It’s a universal love story…universal…they don’t necessarily have to be two guys.”). Yes, I get it, don’t alienate the straights. Got it. Now, newly minted hesitant gay poster boy Jake Gyllenhaal has been ducking for cover for months, as in the new Details: “I approached the story believing that these are actually straight guys who fall in love,” he says. “That’s how I related to the material. These are two straight guys who develop this love, this bond. Love binds you, and you see these guys pulling and pulling and tugging and trying to figure out what they want, and what they will allow themselves to have.”
To use the oft exclamation from one of my fave gay-panic movies of all time, Dreamcatcher: Well, fuck me, Freddy. Uh oh, Focus Features, here it comes…I’m gonna say it. I’m gonna say it….get ready:
Brokeback Mountain is GAY. Thank God. Double gay with marshmallow, two cherries, almond slivers, and hot, hot fudge. No, not in the Trick, Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss way that most of the country perceives as reliably, ghettoized homo, but lots of denim and Heath Ledger’s low-register drawl cannot disguise the fact that, no, dude, it’s NOT universal: This love story, nicely handled and wonderfully expansive in its own realm, is specific in every manner, from its Montana setting, to its 60s-to-80s time period, to its two MALE closeted characters whose love remains a closed-lipped, “fishing buddies” affair over many decades. I know Oscar nominations are expected, and to make it the crossover success it has to be, you needed to Titanic up the poster and have Heath and Jake act all aw-shucks and egg-shell crushing when talking to Star Jones and Katie Couric. But please, no more “universality”; every corner of every frame is specific to one particular, American social indignity that continues to this day, the full emotional scope of this melancholy love story cannot be stolen away from its landscape. Yeah, plus, there’s saliva-lubricated ass-ramming, and lots of goopy man-on-man making out. I’m seeing it again.