Not Ready For the Gay Leading MAN

I’m going to piggyback off of Bold As Love today because he has a great post on the upcoming movie, Brokeback Mountain. LOL . This is a movie about two gay cowboys that have a secret affair in the mountains during their fishing “rendezvous”. Now, I have no idea what it takes to sell a movie in Hollywood, but someone had a hell of a sales pitch to get this movie financed. I’m trying to figure out, who’s going to go see it?

I know we live in this multi-cultural world where we encourage inclusiveness, but lets be real here, this is not a movie that mainstream Americans, even the most Liberal among us will see. I see now that Hollywood needs is a lesson in film etiquette. And today, I’m going to provide one for them.

First, I agree with
Bold As Love in that Brokeback Mountain should be something an independent studio should release. It looks like one of those artsy movies and I will admit that the story might be good. There may be an audience for it but It’s not going to fly with most moviegoers. Second, change the damn name. Brokeback Mountain is NOT a good name for a gay-themed movie.

The Lesson:

I understand the need to be more inclusive. I for one believe that there needs to be more black people in films. But when it comes to gay characters, there are certain roles that we don’t expect to see a gay theme. So today’s lesson is the type of movies where gay theme doesn’t work for the mainstream.

1. Cowboys: When I think of cowboy films I think of Clint Eastwood. I think of gun fights, bar room brawls, train heist and the bad guy getting shot full of lead while sitting at a poker table and going for his gun. Cowboys represent the quintessential man. Rough, rugged, and willing to bust a cap in ya at the drop of a dime. Were there gay cowboys, I’m sure there were. But that’s not what mainstream America wants to see on film. Ok, I find the relationship between the Lone Ranger and Tonto suspicious, but they didn’t focus on that. They focused on the fact that the Lone Ranger was about justice, busting a cap and wooing the women with his rugged good look and mysterious charm. That’s a freakin’ cowboy.

2. Mobsters: A good mobster punches punks in the nose, shoots up a couple of restaurants, throws a couple of bodies in the river and smacks his girl around. We want our made men cold blooded and ruthless. Americans can’t imagine a gay Scarface or Don Vito Corleone. It doesn’t jive well with our psyche. Think about it. Are we interested in two made men sitting at the table discussing the conflict of being in the “Family” and being gay, or discussing how their going to dump Vinnie’s body in the New York Harbor and take over his territory.

3. Secret Agents: When you think of secret agents the first person who comes to mind is 007. And what was James Bond? Playboy, sophisticated and at times ruthless. At some point in every man’s life, he wishes he could be like James Bond. Can you imagine 007 having a secret love affair with Q. Oh my God, it would have killed the series.

007: This looks like a great bottle of wine, Q.
Q: That’s not just a bottle
of wine, James. It’s a special bottle for when you and I get together in Sweden.
Now tell me you weren’t expecting Q to tell 007 how that bottle of wine held a secret weapon that would dismember an unsuspecting bad guy? You were. My point made.

4. Cops: Not that I love the po po, but when I see a cop movie I want a conflicted man with certain undesirable traits like (bending the rules, punching suspects in the mouths, a willingness to get the bad guy by any means necessary). Think about it, would you want a gay Dirty Harry or Shaft? It doesn’t work. Think of the theme song to Shaft: Who is the man, that will risk his neck for his brother man. Shaft! Now, lets put a gay theme to it: Who is the man, that will run up in his brother man. Shaft! Is it me, or did the song and the title of the movie become sick, perverted monstrosity. The movie would flop.

5. Super Heroes: I know Batman and Robin look suspicious but in our hearts we know that the Cape Crusaders are straight. Spiderman in conflicted with his relationship with Mary Jane Watson, but it’s not like he had a crush on the Green Gobbler and didn’t want to waste him. We expect our Super Heroes to have internal conflict about living their lives and saving the world from evil mutants. But we’re not interested in them having conflicts about their sexuality. It doesn’t make for a good subplot.

Final Analysis:

Now, I know gay men can be a rough as any straight male, but we are talking about selling an image. Movies are about an escape and most people are just not trying to see gay men in roles they expect to see strong leading men. Sure, you can downplay the gayness but at that point, why make the character gay if you are not willing to emphasis it?

And don’t be fooled by the openness of women, Hollywood. Women are not interested in seeing Robert Redford and Clint Eastwood in a love scene together. That’s not cute and it’s not sexy. Women want to see their leading men putting brothers in headlocks, gunning down bad guys and macin’ the leading lady just as much as the men want to see it.

Please don’t get me wrong. This is nothing against gay people. There are plenty of roles for gay people to play. Heck, you can throw them in the genre of movies that I listed, but I'm not sure if they work well as leading men. It’s just that certain characters call for a leading man to be.. well, um… a man. Am I wrong? If so, please enlighten me if I am.


11 Responses to Not Ready For the Gay Leading MAN

  1. downtownlad Says:
    Dude - that's what the story is about. How two gay men reconcile their love for each other in a time and place (1960's Wyoming) that does not tolerate homosexuality, and how they deal with their expectations to conform to a straight lifestyle. The story just doesn't work if you made both of them, oh, let's say beauticians, for example. The story only works if they're in a profession that EXPECTS them to be straight.

    Since I doubt you'll see it - I'll give away the ending to you. They don't stay with each other and they go back to living with their wives. Does that surprise you?

    It's based on an excellent short-story. Isn't that what movies are supposed to be about? Telling a good story.
  2. James Manning Says:
    True downtownlad, but I'm really basing my opinion on a myopic view of the world. I'm sure the story is really good and like I said, there is a place for a movie like this. I just doubt it will appeal to a mass market.

    Besides, I'm really just having fun with the topic. Don't take me too serious about this. But you are correct... I'm not going to see it. But I'm like that with a lot of movies.

    But thanks for posting.
  3. kerri Says:
    i have to say that this film has interested me. i do agree with you though james, that most women do not find two guys together very sexy. doesn't matter who is in the film.

    i keep saying that i am going to see a plethora of different films but the last time i stepped foot in a theater was for the aviator... for some reason i like dvd's better!
  4. James Manning Says:
    Kerri, I think that is because it takes an arm and a leg to see a movie that you may or may not like. A History of Violence was a horrible movie and me and my girlfriend spent almost $30 to see.
  5. Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden Says:
    11 07 05

    James,you bring up some valid points. Especially from the perspective of the mainstream. And I do think the story line is interesting, but see your points. And according to downtownlad's comments it looks as though the chacters in the movie are about as confused about this issue as you! I think a lot of these designations are manufactored anyway. Back in the day, people discussed BEHAVIOR. It wasn't like if you are gay or straight; it was about what you did. I think it is better that way because for the gay person to go out with a person of the opposite sex, they usually get austrasized within their communities, even if they did like the person. I think holding to a hard gay or straight line can be dangerous for many people, unless they REALLY know themselves. Otherwise, we should focus on what people do, not giving them a label...
  6. James Manning Says:
    Mahn, I'm going to discuss this in further detail but my girlfriend comes from the perspective that I am homophobic. I disagree with her but maybe it is time to have this discussion and not tiptoe around it. I'm going to ask the brother to really dig in and give their opinion on it.

    Tune in because it is going to get heated.
  7. Jaimie Says:
    It is art-plain and simple. Art is manifested in many different ways, and it is this fact that makes us all individuals. I agree with downtownlad that this movie purposely used the role of cowboys to be gay men to make a point. Gay men are everywhere-what we expect is for them to be the "beauticians", the overt gay (think: Queer Eye), etc. This is not reality. James, someone in your family could be gay and you wouldn't even know it. Black culture, as well as Latino culture, does not embrace homosexuality-in fact, most of the time its treated as if it doesn't exist. Imagine how the individual homosexual feels living in this reality. It must be quite lonely-especially when the alienation comes from your family and/or culture.
  8. Jaimie Says:
    And yes, I'm going to label you-HOMOPHOBIC. You and your friend Bold as Love. Sorry, but not really.

    Love ya!
  9. downtownlad Says:
    You should definitely discuss homophobia in the black community on your blog. It's a big issue.

    So many gay people are in the closet, or on the "down low" as it's commonly called. And because so many gay black men are not coming to terms with their sexuality, they are not only risking their own lives, but the lives of black women as well. The rate of HIV in the black gay community is approaching 50%. That's what happens when gay men don't come to terms with their sexuality and end up having anonymous gay sex. And then they pretend to be straight and are putting straight black women at risk.

    Wouldn't it be better if the black community was more accepting of gay people? Then gay people could actually have relationships out in the open, which would result in more stable and monogomous relationships, and thus a lower HIV rate.
  10. bold as love Says:
    Peace on That
    Look what you did,got us both indicted on Homophobia charges, dayum. Okay, Jaime, Iam not a homophobe-I have a sensitivity certificate to prove it-lol.
    Really, my issue is not whether being gay is acceptable or not- Remember Iam a libertarian, I support the rights of gay people- it's freedom. I'm irked because there are tons of great cowboy/western stories that could be made. Also it seems that these days being a red-blooded, hetero male is a bad thing. As far as the point Mahndisa made about the black community needing to be more tolerant of gays I submit that by and large we are- in the sense that we practice a, live and let live, type of mentality about gays. It's only when we feel that gays are forcing us to sign off wholesale on their lifestyle that we get a tad bit ig'nant about the issue.
  11. Dell Gines Says:
    Brokeback mountain. AHAHAHAHAHA...

    I am not homophobic...I don't fear gays, homosexuality whatever...

    But homosexuality is immoral and an abnormal behavior.

    Now, I am still considering how this should be expressed in the public arena, because as a general rule I prefer market forces to dictate what people will and won't purchase, but at some point you have to draw the line.

    I will say one thing from a detached perspective though, naming the movie brokeback mountain, only further stereotypes gays. I find it odd they would or the original author would name it that.