'Today' show trashes 'Brokeback'
?Today? show movie critic Gene Shalit trashed ?Brokeback Mountain? today, in a review that smacked of a gross misunderstanding of the film and short story.
Shalit called the film ?wildly over praised? and referred to Jack Twist, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, as a ?sexual predator.?
Shalit described the bleak scenery in the opening scenes of the film and the boredom of the two main characters. Then he noted that something remarkable happens, ?They have sex.?
Well, actually, Gene, what was truly remarkable was that they fell in love.
He then reduces Twist and Ennis Del Mar?s 20-plus year relationship to a series of sexual encounters instigated by Twist merely to satisfy his sexual appetite. Shalit implies that there is nothing of substance between the two tortured characters and completely misses the aching love story at the center of the film.
Shalit did offer some grudging praise for Heath Ledger?s performance, but the gratuitously negative review revealed Shalit?s surprising discomfort for the topic of two men falling in love, and yes, having sex.
His reaction is surprising because Shalit has written about his own gay son in an essay posted to PFLAG?s website. In it, Shalit expresses support for his son, writing, ?Many parents lie awake at night wondering if they played a role in the sexual orientation of their child. I think they should go back to sleep. Each child is an individual.?
No one is suggesting that ?Brokeback? is without flaws, but Shalit?s smackdown was so thorough and so focused on the gay sex depicted in the film that his review says more about him than it does about the movie.
Posted by Kevin Naff, Washington Blade Managing Editor