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12 January 2006

Nostrabobus spoils "Brokeback Mountain" for you

Okay ... first of all, I'm going to be a real momzer and spoil "Brokeback Mountain" for all of you.

It is NOT about two gay cowboys.

It is about two gay SHEEPboys.

So you will get ripped off if you go thinking it's the first movie about gay cowboys. That movie has yet to be made.

Meanwhile, as Nostrabobus could have foreseen, this visually stunning and very beautiful story has managed to bring out The Worst, The Smallest, The Most Mean-Spirited in foxic America.

But they're still showing it all over the place. EVEN in Salt Lake City. Boo. You can even see it in Salt Lake City. Just don't get mad if you don't see any cows. And don't blame me if, when the movie's over and you walk outside, you're in Salt Lake City. Did I tell you to go there?

First the ban down at the big Cinema Quadruplex MultiOdeon-22. Then NBC's Today Show movie reviewer Gene Shalit sticks his foot in his mouth and pisses off some people and then has to write an apology and then his gay son says dad isn't homophobic.

And then ... just because you've all been Very Good ... as a Special Treat ... the review of "Brokeback Mountain" from Focus On The Family. Is that scary or what?

btw we could have seen it at the Cinequad Odeoplexoramic 31, but we chose instead to see it at Northampton's venerable Arte House, the wonderfully baroque 19th-century opery house, The Academy of Music. Treat yourself to a true architectural adventure next time you're in Northampton and catch a Art-House flick at the Academy. Sometimes they got live stuff, too, ballets and warbling sopranos live on stage.


Utah Gays Call Boycott
Over 'Brokeback Mountain' Ban

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: January 11, 2006 - 1:00 pm ET

(Salt Lake City, Utah) The GLBT Community Center of Utah is calling for a boycott of businesses owned by Larry H. Miller Holdings after it cancelled plans to show "Brokeback Mountain" at one of its theaters.

Miller, a prominent Mormon and one of the state's richest men owns a number of car dealerships, movie theaters, the NBA Utah Jazz and dozens of other companies.

In a call to action the center calls on Utah gays to "make a concerted effort to put your money to work."

Despite placing ads in local newspapers for "Brokeback Mountain" moviegoers last Friday night discovered that the film was not on the bill at the Megaplex 17 at Jordan Commons owned by Miller.

The film which has received numerous award nominations and glowing reviews has been under attack in Utah by the powerful Mormon Church. Whether that influenced the decision to pull the film is not known.

The Utah Eagle Forum, a conservative group that backed the state's constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and regularly fights other LGBT issues praised the decision not to run the film.

"Brokeback Mountain" can still be seen in Salt Lake City. It is being shown at the Broadway and Tower theaters, managed by the Salt Lake Film Society.

The decision by Miller Group to drop the film came a day after another chain suddenly decided not to show the movie in Poulsbo, Washington.
The Regal multiplex movie theater ran ads for "Brokeback Mountain" in Thursday's edition of the Kitsap Sun newspaper and was promoting pre-sale tickets at the theater.

But when people went to the theater posters had been removed and the film was not available.

The theater is owned by the Regal chain of movie house. The Knoxville, Tennessee-based Regal is one of the largest motion picture exhibitor in the world.

On Monday, one of the film's stars spoke out against those companies which dropped the film. Heath Ledger said the move was akin to racism.

"Personally, I don't think the movie is (controversial) but I think maybe the Mormons in Utah do. I think it's hilarious and very immature of a society," Ledger said.

"If two people are loving ... I think we should be more concerned if two people express anger in love, than love," he added.

© 2006


E! Online
Thursday 12 January 2006

Shalit Sorry for
"Brokeback" Bash

by Josh Grossberg

Gene Shalit doesn't typically respond to reviews of his reviews. But that was before the Great Brokeback Mountain Brouhaha.

The veteran Today Show film critic wrote a note expressing regret for a thumbs-down review of the Oscar hopeful that angered many in the gay community.

But it wasn't the negative notice of the gay cowboy flick that had drawn complaints; it was his description of one of the film's character.

Shalit sought to clarify his critique in a letter of apology to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, stating that in no way did he mean any offense by labeling Jake Gyllenhaal's Jack a "sexual predator" who "tracks Ennis [Heath Ledger] down and coaxes him into sporadic trysts." (Shalit went on to praise the acting of Ledger, however.)

"In describing the behavior of Jack, I used words ('sexual predator') that I now discover have angered, agitated and hurt many people," Shalit wrote. "I did not intend to use a word that many in the gay community consider incendiary...I certainly had no intention of casting aspersions on anyone in the gay community or on the community itself. I regret any emotional hurt that may have resulted from my review of Brokeback Mountain."

GLAAD issued a statement of its own applauding the mustachioed movie reviewer's mea culpa.

"[GLAAD] thanks and applauds Mr. Shalit for charifying his comments and making clear in his statement that his words were not intended to be defamatory to the LGBT community," the organization said.

Last week, GLAAD ripped Shalit for the review, which aired during his "Critic's Choice" segment last Thursday, saying the reviewer promoted "defamatory anti-gay prejudice to a national audience," and issued an action alert urging its supporters to call NBC and complain.

According to the group, the "bizarre characterization of Jack as a 'predator' and Ennis as a victim reflected a fundamental lack of understanding about the central relationship in the film and gay relationships in general...It seems highly doubtful that Shalit would similarly claim that Titanic's Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) was a 'sexual predator' because he was pursuing a romantic relationship with Rose (Kate Winslet)."

On Monday, Shalit's gay son, physician and author Peter Shalit, wrote a letter of his own to GLAAD defending his father.

"He had no idea that his review of a movie, and his reaction to a particular character, would be seen as homophobia. Of course he is not homophobic," said the younger Shalit. "Agreed, he didn't particularly seem to like Brokeback Mountain, and he found the character of Jack unsympathetic. But his negative response to a particular character is not 'defamation' and had nothing to do with the sexual orientation of the character.

"Incidentally, I loved the movie--and it sure isn't the first time I disagreed with my dad about one of his reviews," Peter Shalit continued, adding that he felt compelled to write after talking to friends and seeing the "buzz online," in which some "bloggers are talking about [the elder Shalit] as if he's an enemy of gay people."

"We are all really on the same side," the younger Shalit summed up.

Gene Shalit's diss aside, Brokeback Mountain is shaping up to be the movie to beat at this year's Academy Awards. The film dominated the Critics' Choice Awards this week, including a win for Best Picture. It has also been named Best Picture by both the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the New York Film Critics Circle, was selected as one of 2005's 10 best by the American Film Institute and is up for key prizes at the Independent Spirit Awards, as well as the writers, producers and actors guilds.

Brokeback's truest test for Oscar viability will come Monday, when it competes for a leading seven Golden Globes. Nominations for the Academy Awards will be announced on Jan. 31.

- 30 -


Family News in Focus
A Web site of Focus on the Family
January 12, 2006

'Brokeback' Conviction

by Gary Schneeberger, editor

The "gay cowboy" movie everybody is talking about is a reminder of what we're called to do as Christians -- and how we're called to do it.

It's been a little more than a month now since I saw "Brokeback Mountain," the "gay cowboy" movie that continues to generate headlines -- on front pages as well as entertainment pages -- and I've been feeling morally superior ever since.

Why? Mostly because of one scene, in which the lead characters reunite several years after their initial tryst atop the mountain of the movie's title. Ennis (Heath Ledger) runs to greet Jack (Jake Gyllenhaal), and is so overcome that he pulls him into a stairwell and kisses him passionately. Even though the duo thinks they're out of eyeshot, Ennis' wife catches a glimpse of their embrace -- and director Ang Lee's camera lingers on her devastated reaction.

That reaction, in the Denver theater in which I saw the film, was greeted with a mix of laughter and applause from the largely-gay audience that shared the auditorium with me (and I've heard and/or read similar reports from across the country).

That's been the fuel for my feelings of moral superiority.

How on earth, I've wondered, could anybody find that scene funny or -- worse -- something to cheer? Is adultery, and the punch in the gut it delivers to the one being cheated on, perfectly acceptable so long as the adulterer is "being true to himself"? Is fulfilling their own selfish desires, no matter who gets hurt, the only thing homosexuals care about? I mean, gay, straight, sideways, diagonal, convex -- I don't care what your orientation is, if you respond to a scene like this in a manner like that, you've forfeited your claim to the moral high ground in any cultural argument. Ever.

It's only been in the last couple of days that I've realized where this kind of thinking had illogically led me: to the conclusion that I have all the moral high ground. And it's only been in the last several hours, as I've wrestled with getting these thoughts out of my head and onto the computer screen, that I've realized how dangerous -- and shameful -- such thinking is.

In the cultural and policy battles we fight every day, particularly on issues like the normalization of homosexuality and the availability of abortion, it's easy to take on airs of superiority like those I've been wearing. Maybe it's because we have the truth of Scripture on our side; maybe it's because we're fallen human beings prone to arrogance and pride and every other sin under the sun -- just like those on the other side of the ideological aisle. Most likely, it's a combination of the two.

Whatever causes it, though, there is no disputing it cripples our witness for Christ -- no matter how we wind up faring on the Culture War scorecard. A victory won gracelessly or gloatingly is no victory at all; even if we eventually succeed in making abortion no longer legal, what have we really accomplished for the Kingdom if our tactics and attitudes drive the people who most need God further away from him?

To watch a film like "Brokeback Mountain" and react the way I did does not please the Lord. He loves those who laughed at that tragic scene I described earlier precisely as much as He loves me. He longs to heal their hearts. If I hope to be a tool He uses to do so, and that ought to be my goal as someone who has felt called to work at a Christian ministry, I've got to do more than sniff at the insensitivity and immaturity of those gay men and women I watched the movie with. I've got to do more than be disgusted at the subject matter of the film. I've got to consider why they laughed -- and, in the larger context, why they view this film as such a watershed moment for themselves and their movement.

I am fortunate to work each day alongside men and women who grasp these basic, but crucial, truths better than most. The Love Won Out team, led by Mike Haley, reaches out daily to scared and confused people like the characters in "Brokeback Mountain." Sometimes it's men and women struggling with their own same-sex attractions; sometimes it's the friends and family members of those men and women. But every time, the counsel and the prayer Mike and his team offer is authentically, unrelentingly Christlike. They extend love and hope to those told by the world their only choice is to love a life of hopelessness.

I've always admired my Love Won Out friends, but I've been convicted of my need to better emulate them now that I've seen "Brokeback Mountain." It'd be a lie to say I enjoyed the movie, but an ever greater one to say I'm not grateful I saw it.


To learn more about Love Won Out, visit the ministry's Web site.

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