Wednesday, March 01, 2006

OK, One More

Hollywood: 'Brokeback'—No Bump

One more before I go. This just makes me crazy. Initially this movie was supposed to be lucky to make back its $14 million budget. Then it was going to be lucky to crack $50 million. Now it's made more than $75 million and what do we get? Not an article about how it's one of the most profitable movies of the year, or how it made all this money without the expensive ad blitz that a normal Hollywood piece of trash relies upon to goose the first weekend gross, but how it's underperforming in the wake of all its Oscar nominations and won't even crack the $80 million mark, much less clear the $100 million hurdle that some pundits put before it after the nominations came out.

What a load of shit. First, the movie has made $76 million at the American box office and another $51 million overseas. And if it doesn't crack the $80 million mark here by the weekend after the Oscars (the numbers would come out March 12), I'll eat my hat. Plenty of movies with bigger budgets, bigger stars, bigger ad buys, and safer subject matter don't approach these numbers.

Second, if you haven't seen it yet, what are you waiting for? Beyond being the best movie of the year, Brokeback is a cultural touchstone, a happening that is reframing the way people talk about homosexuality at just the time when it's a big issue in politics. Coworkers have asked me to discuss the movie with them, to answer questions about whether it's accurate and to generally understand the feelings of characters to whom they've clearly related strongly. Without this movie, they'd never have broached the topic. Now, they'll think twice, I hope, when they hear a politician attempting to deflect their attention from real issues by waving the threat of gay marriage in front of them.

I don't ask that you march in parades or stand in the cold waving signs or even sign internet petitions to help the cause of equality, though all of those actions are appreciated. But please, see this movie before it leaves theatres, and encourage those around you to do the same. It makes people think about something they don't ordinarily think about and reconsider something they've taken for granted until now. In a battle where we have right on our side, that's all we need.

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