Wednesday, December 07, 2005

man, I hate reviews like this

So I was browsing the Rotten Tomatoes page on Brokeback Mountain and I came upon this review:

Now, I know it's just a review, but reviewers like this piss me off. The snippet they chose to put on the page ("I love gay people and I love gay movies - just not this one") set me off immediately and I knew I had to read further. And yeah, the rest of the review confirms my suspisions that this guy just doesn't seem to understand gay people, romance, or really, life in general. OK, that's harsh. Put these things he says are just too rich.

First of all, what qualifies for him as a "gay movie?" Do the characters have to be queeny? Does it have to be bad and cheesy like most mainstream gay movies are? This film isn't promoting itself as a "gay movie"; it's promoting itself as a tragic romance.

So his little disclamor really just digs him further into the dirt, as far as I'm concerned.

Then there's this: "At least to me, the love story never came alive. Lord knows I'm an easy mark when it comes to films that go for the heart, but I was curiously unmoved by this so-called gay western."

Well, first of all, stop calling it a "gay western"... that's bound to keep you from being moved. That term has been tagged on by people who don't get it and want to pigoenhole it into something pat. It sounds like "films that go for the heart" for him mean crappy romantic comedies.

"They develop a friendship over that summer, even though Ennis doesn't talk much and Jack tends to act like a goofy bastard, and one night as they share a smallish tent, that friendship turns into something much deeper."

It sounds like he doesn't understand the concepts of opposites attracting... even in friendships.

But here's the real kicker:

"Alright, I've pushed this back enough, let's get into what I see as the film's real flaw. How can I put this delicately? I know it's politically incorrect to say that buttfucks are not particularly romantic to me, but I have to touch upon that as this is the main reason the film left me cold. Again, this has nothing to do with how it's two men who engage in it - what's frustrating to me is that the bond between the two characters seems mostly sexual. We're told over and over that Jack and Ennis desperately love each other, but almost all we see them do together is get drunk and have rough sex. Fun for them, no doubt, but as a movie romance, it's a little thin."

"Fun for them"!? How dense is he?
This just kills any credibility he thought he had as a reviewer. First of all, has he not heard of men at this time not being able to express their emotions? Particularly with other men? (see the dilemma here?) I mean, Jesus. It's called societal repression. It's what this movie is about. If he can't relate, lucky him.

The funny things is, others have criticized the sex scenes for being over-romanticized and not "rough" enough. I think it just goes to show that some have stronger stomachs than others.

I mean, if this guy really didn't have a problem with the man-on-man nature of the sex, he could've avoided the use of the word, "butt-fucking". I mean, really. If you're going to pan a film loved by the masses, that's also about a sensitive political topic, you should really do it with a little class, to avoid making yourself look like an idiot. One gets the feeling he wanted to say "butt-fucking" the whole time, but first had to actually write something resembling a real review.

Now, I know I appear rabidly pro-Brokeback here (and anti-Geisha for that matter) even sight unseen... all the indicators point to the former being great and the latter not so much. Perhaps I'm being too judgmental of this reviewer or just taking it way too seriously. Perhaps one reason I'm even writing this is to put my own strong emotions about this on display, and be judged accordingly... because I really feel strongly about some of the dumb reactions to this film. I mean, if he was paid to write this thing, then I'm angry, cause it's a stupid review. It has no substance and little to back up its conclusions, and the writer seems quite unaware of his own ignorance/bias.

Anyway, I really can't wait to see it and post some of own thoughts that are actually backed up by facts.

I would like feedback, though, from people letting me know if I'm maybe too sensitive or jumping to too many conclusions about this. I feel inappropriately angry here. I just feel like some critics are just not qualified.



Blogger Kamikaze Camel said...

the "buttfuckers" bit kind of scared me. That he himself says he likes gay people and gay movies, yet he finds it acceptable to write that. I'm sure his gay friends aren't that friendly after reading that.

3:00 AM  
Blogger adam k. said...

I suppose he could argue that he can use the term buttfuckers because he's just that comfortable with the gays and it's all in good fun, but then he uses it in a derogatory way. So no.

He sucks.

3:16 AM  
Blogger Kevin Laforest said...

I didn't call anyone "buttfuckers", that would NOT be acceptable. I said that buttfucks, referring to the act. Why didn't I write "making love", as someone pointed out to me? I'm sorry, but if you've seen the film (which Adam hasn't, it seems), you'll have to agree that what the cowboys get into is more buttfucking than making love. Maybe I could change it to "anal sex", is that more politically correct?

It really amazes me how my MIXED review is getting such a response. I can't imagine what hell the critics who wrote truly negative ones -and they are out there- are getting.

1:40 AM  
Blogger adam k. said...

Kevin LaForest,

I have no idea why you think the noun "buttfuckers" is more offensive than the action verb "buttfucking," but I disagree. That kind of defense if just neither here nor there.

But it's not so much that you used a specific word. What I took issue with was the whole tone of your review. The word in question is just one particularly glaring instance. I know it's just an internet review and there's a level of casual tone and candor that's acceptable in that environment, but I think the way you wrote it crossed the line into outright disrespect for the film... and it also seemed to show a real lack of understanding on your part of gay people and the issues they face.

I get that it's your reaction to the film and that your reaction is as valid as anyone else's, but your review read as if you didn't even want to be taken seriously, and hence, I couldn't take it very seriously.

And even now, in this comment, you write as if "buttfucking" and "making love" are somehow mutually exclusive, which they are most certainly not. And it's just odd, because other negative reviews of the film have cited it's over-romanticizing of what was supposed to be (as per the source material) a very raw, physical relationship... so I am forced to conclude that the love scenes couldn't have been too over or under-romanticized.

And no, I have not yet seen the movie, but I have read the story, watched the trailer, read several reviews, seen the L.A. critics award results, and, admittedly, formed a premature opinion. And when all is said and done, I am lead to believe that your reaction to the film and lack of emotional involvement with it is based more on your own attitude toward (and lack of knowledge of) "buttfuckers" and the act of "buttfucking" than on the film's actual merits.

Sorry I said "he sucks" when referring to you. That is never called for. What I meant was "his not liking it was his loss."

I hope this better explains my reaction to your review.


5:25 AM  
Blogger Kevin Laforest said...

Fair enough.

2:30 PM  

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