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.
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.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.
Q: That’s not just a bottle
of wine, James. It’s a special bottle for when you and I get together in Sweden.
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.
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.