Brokeback Mountain' spurs culture
of gay cowboy jokes
Heard any good “Brokeback’’ jokes lately?
No? Here’s one courtesy of Jay Leno:
“A movie theater in Utah abruptly canceled a screening of the movie ‘Brokeback Mountain,’” Leno said in a recent “Tonight Show” monologue. “They felt it was inappropriate for the community standards.
“Instead, they ran ‘Deliverance.’”
Ba-dum-dum. But seriously, folks...
The gay cowboy romance-tragedy, starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as lovers Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist, has become the office water-cooler topic of the moment.
The Internet is full of “Brokeback’’ jokes, some funny, some just crude. Last week, USA Today ran a lengthy story on its Life front addressing the phenomenon.
“Against all odds, a Western romance about two men...has corralled the cultural zeitgeist, making it safe for our national funny bone to come out of the closet,’’ wrote USA Today’s Susan Wloszcyna.
The buzz extends from office e-mails with the inevitable tag line “I wish I knew how to quit you’’ — the movie’s signature phrase — all the way to the highest corridor of power, the Oval Office.
At a question-and-answer session recently, President Bush was asked whether he’d seen the movie.
An awkward grin spread across the president’s face. He finally allowed that while he’d be glad to talk about ranching, he hadn’t seen “Brokeback Mountain.’’
But you could tell he’d heard about it.
The film, which has been gradually opening in theaters across the country, debuted in Fayetteville on Friday.
The R-rated movie is showing at the Market Fair 15 and Cameo Art House Theatre, where it drew good weekend crowds.
Nationally, the movie ranked No. 6 with more than $6 million in box-office proceeds last week, bringing its two-month take to about $50 million. Not bad for a movie that cost an estimated $14 million to make, according to press reports.
The movie has already won four Golden Globe awards, and Oscar recognition seems certain. Ledger, in particular, has been singled out for praise for his devastating portrayal of an inarticulate man struggling with his sexual identity.
But still, the jokes persist...
David Letterman listed his “Top 10 Signs You are a Gay Cowboy.’’ Number 5: “Native Americans refer to you as Dances With Men.’’
On “Saturday Night Live,’’ Alec Baldwin and Will Forte played gay prospectors in a spoof called “Brokeback Goldmine.’’
“Brokeback Squadron,’’ an online spoof making the rounds, features a character modeled after Tom Cruise in “Top Gun’’ making goo-goo eyes at his studly wingman.
The movie’s poster, which depicts the two cowboy-hatted characters in a pensive pose, has been the subject of any number of take-offs. One depicts indicted Congressman Tom DeLay and corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff over the caption, “Kickback Mountain.’’
In the USA Today story, gay actor and writer Bruce Vilanch called the movie an “irresistible’’ target for parody.
“Not only is it the first mainstream gay love story in a long time, it’s between two cowboys,’’ Vilanch said. “What greater American icons are there than gay men and cowboys? When you mix the two, it’s a stereotype too good to pass by.’’
So we can expect the nudge-nudge, wink-wink jokes to continue, at least until the phenomenon passes and “Brokeback’’ jokes become as dated as disco.
Until then, stay tuned for the inevitable “Brokeback Mountain’’ Valentine’s Day cards (“I’ll never quit you,’’ etc., etc.), jokes about sequels (“Brokeback II: Return to the Mountain’’) and, come Halloween, “Brokeback’’ cowboy costumes (Are you going as Jack or Ennis?).
After which point, “I wish I knew how to quit you’’ will mercifully pass into the memory banks of movie history, residing forever alongside “Show me the money’’ and “Life is like a box of chocolates.’’
Gone, but never forgotten.