The De-Gayification of "Brokeback Mountain"

I’m sure most of us have read about the buzz surrounding the movie “Brokeback Mountain”. Hollywood and homosexual advocacy groups have hailed the film as ground breaking in its portrayal of two sheepherders who fall in love with each other. And even more recently, the film garnered additional attention by being nominated for a Golden Globe.


Today I was reading this from Tammy Bruce…

Hollywood honchos continue to wring their hands over why you’ve stopped going to the movies. They blame ticket prices and DVD availability. They had better start considering the fact that filmmakers are so disconnected, so nihilistic, that the hopelessness and hostility they feel toward the world now permeates their work. Americans will no longer go see movies which are nothing more than the manifestation of the backwash of malignant narcissists. We’re also sick and tired of listening to actors lecture us about how awful the US is, and more recently, why a cold-blooded mass murdering gang founder should have been given clemency. Enough is enough.

Not only will we not go see films which insult us, we refuse to support an existential worldview. We happen to think life does matters, that decency is a good thing, and that people are inherently good, not bad. We also have stopped believing the lie that Americans are bad people. We looked away for 4 decades as that lie was spread, but that time is over.

So you can take your gay sheepherder, noble communist supporting reporters, big-business is evil, Americans are hopelessly and inherently corrupt and violent and unfaithful movies and go to Cannes where at least the Parisian set will love you. But that won’t exactly pay the bills, will it?

It used to be whichever movie won the top awards guaranteed boffo box office. Not any longer. The Golden Globe (the ‘foreign’ press contingent) and the Oscar people are going to find that their nights of orgiastic self-congratulation won’t get them much, if anything, any more.

She’s dead on.

Now, if you need evidence that Hollywood is willing to do anything to get people to buy tickets to their movies, consider this. Forget about the shout outs from pro-gay groups and the mainstream media who are promoting Brokeback Mountain as a long-deserved nod of acceptance toward the homosexual community. The film’s distributor, Focus Features, knows where they make their money. They make it from “joe public”, the every day types who like to head out to the theatre on weekends. Focus understands that while a certain segment of the viewing public is pro-gay, a larger majority isn’t, and they won’t go to see Brokeback Mountain because it helps homosexual advocacy groups. The larger majority will see the movie if it is entertaining and well made. This might explain why Focus Features released a new ad for Brokeback Mountain that obviously deemphasizes the whole “gay” thing.

First, here’s the original movie poster:


Now, here’s the new ad promoting the movie:


Gee, notice anything different?

Pro-gay movies won’t bring in the hundreds of millions of dollars needed by distributors like Focus Features. But, a love story which ends up unifying the good ‘ol American family unit sure will. That’s money in the bank, and that’s why Brokeback Mountain has been de-gayified. It just makes good ‘ol American economic sense.

h/t Steve Pond


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  3. WOW. Nice catch on the movie posters. Can’t you just hear the movie execs after testing the movie?

    “Well, initial findings are that everyday people were squirming in their seats the entire two hours and found the only redeeming quality of the film was at least the guy started a traditional family.”

    Priceless…and sad.

  4. I’m not sure what the point of the second poster for Brokeback is. If it did indeed persuade homophobic viewers to the theater, how will they feel once the film starts and they realize this is purely a gay love story?

    Not even Hollywood is that dumb.

    Not to mention, by the time middle american viewers can see the film, they’d have had to live under a rock not to know that this movie is about two men falling in love.

    All of this is moot of course because the film is brilliant and the gay part is not the point. Not that I expect the majority of red-state idiots to understand.

  5. Tony, you’re a stereotyping bigot…

    Red-state idiots indeed… blue-state coward.

    John M.

  6. The second poster is part of a series intended for the film industry, sepecifically for awards considerations, and NOT for the public at large.
    Check where images come from and don’t assume too much.

  7. Adam Husak says:

    It’s refreshing to see ads that don’t pigeonhole Brokeback as a ‘gay cowboy’ movie. It is a broader story that impacts not just the two men, but two wives, and three children. Imagine being a woman married to a man and he could never totally love you. Anne Hatheway and Michelle Williams deliver stunning performances that deserve just as much attention in the ads as Heath and Jake.

  8. An American icon, like cowboys, shouldn’t be portrayed as pillow biting feces freaks.

    It’s just wrong.

  9. Richard Blom says:

    Yeah, Tony! Well said. It is a brilliant movie and the right wing nonsense about it is totally inane. This movie has no agenda–it just tells a great, human story. The neo-con pundits are just exposing their own dried up little souls. Brokeback Mountain is a great work of art. Whether it makes a billion dollars or “bombs”, nothing’s going to change how great it is.

  10. Brokeback Mountain was an excellent movie.
    Its a shame just because of its gay theme the
    conservatives wants to trash it. Yes, some
    cowboys were gay too!!!

  11. When all is said and done, here’s what remains remarkable: it’s days away from 2006, and a major film that has as its source a story about two men who need each other is generating more controversy than Katrina. I have lived in Tennessee, Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, Colnnecticut, and other states. I have known a lot of people – the common ilk and otherwise – and they all either have gay cousins, gay friends, a gay brother, or have taken a stroll on the wild side themselves.

    I do not get it. The only element that can possibly explain the freaking-out is that BB takes man/man doings into a realm beyond the more sexually open comfort zone of today. That is, the dudes fiercely love each other. This, and this alone, is frightening to the masses that are…better at accepting the notion of gay sex. To tolerate one example of a coupling that is doomed because the very thing any nation is founded upon – the preservation of a child-rearing environment – is what is poisonous to it, is way, way disturbing to the average person.

  12. Tammy Bruce:

    “We happen to think life does matters, that decency is a good thing, and that people are inherently good, not bad.”

    And..Tammy Bruce, the next paragraph-

    “So you can take your gay sheepherder, noble communist supporting reporters, big-business is evil, Americans are hopelessly and inherently corrupt and violent and unfaithful movies and go to Cannes where at least the Parisian set will love you.”

    It’s a shame how disillusioned most people are.

    Glacomo is dead on here. What the majority of the American population is finding terrifying in this film, is the integrity it gives to a gay relationship.

  13. I think this ‘traditional’ poster is exclusively for movie industry people. I haven’t seen it anywhere.
    Besides, anyone who watches television or reads anything knows by now what this movie is about.

    I loved the movie and thought it was deeply touching.

    Ang Lee’s style is very controlled however, and a lot remains unshown and unsaid. You have to meet him half way. Every shot and every line means something; if you think nothing’s happening then you’re not paying close enough attention.

  14. Browbeating the “red state idiots” who aren’t rushing out to see “Brokeback” only proves the paucity of understanding and insight amongst you Enlightened Liberals.

    “Brokeback” would have a chance at a more positive reception from the general audience if Hollywood were producing any movies that WEREN’T lectures to the unwashed dopes in flyover country. From the Clooney ouvre to Jarhead to The Day After Tomorrow to, um, all the other Hollywood crap, almost every movie made today is chockful of snooty morality tales about the racism, sexism and general oafishness of the average American – especially any Americans who could remotely be construed as “conservative.”

    And now Hollywood insists that their showpiece film for the year is a romance between two gay sheep herders. Sorry, but I’m still too busy processing the Aesop-esque fable from “Day After Tomorrow” about the evil Cheney-style VP who got his comeuppance from the global warming he caused.

    I’m all full up on lectures about my values. If it’s not too much bother, I have just one comment in reply – Hollywood, go f–k yourselves.

  15. Yeah, but didn’t people in the Red States vote for the Kennebunkport Cowboy? That guy who is illegally spying on y’all now and who may just get his blue-jeaned, gin fizz sipping ass impeached.

    I believe you did. Red States = morons.

  16. I don’t get the big deal. The ad showing Jake Gyllenhaal with Anne Hathaway is simply part of an Oscar campaign published in entertainment trades “Variety” and “Hollywood Reporter.” All of the movies take out ads for weeks on end — sometimes there are multiple ads for one movie in the same issue. Instead of sticking with only one image, the promotion department uses different images from the movie to remind Oscar voters of a particular movie. Sometimes the ads focus on promoting a particular actor, so it’s not surprising that some ads will feature Michele Williams or Anne Hathaway. Often, the studios are required by contract to take out a certain number of ads promoting a particular actor or actress. There are many more ads which feature Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger together, or ads featuring just one of the actors.

  17. I wonder how many of you have actually seen the movie or read the story. For the record, the traditional families are ripped apart and the cow boys go on to be gay as ever. Although i agree the new posters might be a way of attracting new viewers, it doesn’t change the acutal content of the movie and what people will be faced with when they go see the movie.

  18. There’s no 2nd poster, did you delete it by accident?

  19. Brokeback told a great story and bigots who blog anti-gay bias show their ignorance. Whop cares what you think, you small-minded, bible thumping jerks.

  20. Those “torn apart” “traditional families” were created because of pressures from society. I myself was pressured into creating a “traditional” family at one point many years ago. Thank God my now ex-wife realized that I was meant to be who I am, not who society wanted me to be! By the way… the cowboys do NOT go on to be “gay as ever” One is murdered and the other has his heart broken!

  21. How much money did it make? And how many awards is it getting? Shouldn’t they get awards if it’s obviously liked more than another movie, not less? This is beyond ridiculous.

  22. The Oscar awards are based on what the people in the Screen Actors Guild liked, and partly on some other considerations, such as whether someone has been nominated multiple times without winning. The Golden Globes are based on what the Hollywood Foreign Press Assoc members liked.

    If you want to see crappy movies rewarded for selling a lot of tickets (as if the money wasn’t already enough of an undeserved reward) then tune into the People’s Choice Awards.

    And I fail to see how making McCarthyism and Big-Business look bad is about how America is evil. Your average American is not a McCarthyist, nor is the average American involved in Big-Business – except perhaps as a low level employee. Pointing out the evils of those at the top is not the same thing as attacking America.

    Just because SOME movies Hollywood puts out offend SOME right-wing Americans doesn’t mean that they offend America in general.

  23. Guys, the thing is the movie is about having a “secret vice” that society will not accept. Movies are either escapist or teach us something. This is supposed to teach us about a gay love story. You could substitute any number of other plotlines that accomplish the same thing. So unless you are in love with your horse, shoot up drugs, are on the “down low,” in love with an underage girl, are into group sex behind your wife’s back, or have some other repugnant secret vice, you just can’t relate to the film. I have vices but none so secret I can’t tell anybody about them or that that lead to a secret life. So the movie just has nothing to offer “Average Joe.” That is its failing.

  24. this film is simply trying to make homosexual relationships more acceptable in the traditionally anti liberal areas of USA hence the cowboy theme.
    There is no gay gene as the english gay said “I dont believer homosexuality is genetic we just love to be promiscuous!” end of quote.

    Just highlights the 2 camps in USA liberals vs conservative….just waiting for the conservatives to make a film of 2 gay cowboys coming to Christ and being delivered from their gayness!! No one would even make that in hollywood. Even Mel could get the Passion made there!

    These groups in USA are so transparent and SO obvious !! Why dont the libs and cons just have a shoot out and winner takes the country. Or wait for the muslims who hate hollywood liberal values to take over. Maybe divine justice!!

  25. brokebak was a well written movie that told us a story of 2 guys who fell in love and those seem to a be arare story seeing how i prolly seen one gay love story b4 this! and this movie made 178m world wide so as for ruining it and de gaying it would be almost blasphemous ass holes

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