This year, I committed the sin of watching the Oscars without having a clue about the movies involved. Out of all the movies nominated for "Best Picture," I had seen one (Munich, which contributed to possibly the most depressing Christmas of my life). Therefore, I was unable to participate in the shock and awe that was created when Crash beat out Brokeback Mountain for the prestigious award.
So when WCU presented a free showing of Brokeback Mountain (coupled with a panel discussion, which I avoided), I jumped at the chance. Perhaps I would experience the magic that all the critics were raving over.
There might have been magic, sure, but I was too distracted by Heath Ledger's inability to enunciate, I must have missed it. Seriously, I couldn't understand him. Between the strong Western accent and what sounded like a mouthful of crackers, any important information that the Ennis character might have imparted upon the audience was completely lost.
Here's what I did understand: Ennis, a wandering cowboy, teams up with Jack, a dreamer, to herd some sheep through the mountains of Wyoming. While out there in the wilderness, Ennis and Jack fall hopelessly in love with each other, which is demonstrated by either manly fighting or manly sex. But, alas, they cannot reveal their true feelings to the bigoted outside world. Le sigh. So they continue on with their lives, get married, have children, and meet each other every so often out on Brokeback Mountain.
Aside from Ennis's "oral surgery patient" dialect, I found the story entertaining. I enjoyed marking the passing of cinematic time by mentally measuring the length of Jake Gyllenhaal's sideburns and mustache. I also found the dilemma of the film's female characters interesting, but dreadfully underdeveloped (storytelling device, I know). So overall, while I don't think this film was "Best Picture"-caliber, it was a thoughtful and meaningful story.
You know, perhaps Heath Ledger is more talented than I give him credit for. After all, the talented Marlon Brando had to stuff his cheeks with cotton balls to produce the sort of voice Ledger seems deliver naturally.
Good on ya, mate!