Mid-Michigan theatres too cowardly to show Brokeback
January 16, 2006 —
If you plan on seeing Brokeback Mountain in theatres, you had better clear out about six hours of your day. That's because the closest movie theatre playing the two hour and fifteen minute movie is in the Detroit area.
Local theatres are playing it straight, so to speak, by simply overlooking the film. Despite the fact that Brokeback is a high profile movie with big name actors (among them Heath Ledger and Donnie Darko himself, Jake Gyllenhaal), a big name director (Ang Lee), and a slew of award nominations (including a Golden Globe for Best Picture), many theatres are balking at showing the film on their screens.
Unlike Utah Jazz owner Larry Miller's movie theatre, which pulled Brokeback hours before its release, Michigan cinemas just never intended on showing the film.
So what's the deal? Why should mid-Michigan residents have to gas up and head to Royal Oak in order to see a movie that is not only praised by critics but is also one of the most talked-about pictures of the year?
The reason is simple. Of course, the reason is different, depending on who you ask.
Talk to someone representing a local cinema and you will likely hear something about how Brokeback is not in high demand. That's right: everyone in the tri-cities area apparently would rather see more sophisticated movies like Cheaper By the Dozen 2 and The Ringer.
But really, it's worth arguing that point once you notice the local GKC Theatre is currently showing Munich, Tristan & Isolde, and Memoirs of a Geisha - the most recognizable actor out of all three of those movies is Geoffrey Rush.
If you are like me, you are probably thinking that the real reason Brokeback is not playing is that it is a movie about gay cowboys. Sure, it sounds silly when you sum it up like that. A gay cowboy western probably would not be on my must-see list if I were ignorant to the nature of the movie.
But having read the short story which inspired the film, I know that there is much more to Brokeback than the two male protagonists getting it on, which unfortunately overshadows anything else that happens in the story for a lot of people.
After all, whenever I hear the movie mentioned, it is referred to as "that gay cowboy movie" or something along those lines. Even I, someone anticipating the release of Brokeback for some time now, have used those words. But to refuse to give screen time to a big-budget Hollywood picture because it is "that gay cowboy movie" is absurd.
What are theatres worrying about? Are they afraid that someone will see Brokeback Mountain expecting a heartfelt Disney-fied family movie and leave the theatre outraged at what went down on screen? Well if that is the case, then maybe people should read what a movie is about before handing over $9 to see it.
Or maybe the cinemas are just embarrassed to show the movie. Maybe they just don't feel right having Harry Potter and Brokeback Mountain in adjacent theatres.
I overheard someone on the television talking about this issue recently. I don't remember if it was Jay Leno or Jon Stewart or someone else entirely, but whoever it was said that this movie isn't going to turn people gay. We should not be afraid of this movie. If anything, Brokeback Mountain could open some people's eyes. That is, assuming they can get a day off work to hit the road and track it down.