Adorned in wool-lined ranch coats and armed with mascot sheep, the KTYD Morning Show crew converged on the Fiesta Five Theater for its “Brokeback Challenge” last Monday. The challenger was film fest director Roger Durling, who was asked the week prior by KTYD’s Matt McAllister what his favorite film of 2005 was. Without hesitation, Durling declared Brokeback Mountain—whose star Heath Ledger was honored Wednesday night at the festival—and what ensued was a hilarious on-air exchange.
As Durling affirmed the film’s virtues, McAllister expressed his hesitation about the homosexual content. When Durling declared seeing this film “won’t make you gay,” the “Brokeback Challenge” was born, and last week, KTYD’s antagonists—along with a selection of curious listeners—wound up at the Monday matinee showing, with sodas in hand.
“It was a well done movie and I get it,” offered an empathetic McAllister upon emerging from the showing. “But it’s not my style of film. It’s a slow, drawn-out, Western love story. Man to man or man to woman; it would still be the same film to me. I like movies that put you in a good mood when you leave. The world is a sad enough place as it is and this is a depressing movie. I like films like Wedding Crashers. But it was a good film and I can see why it’s getting the awards.” Contrarily, Durling, a champion of Brokeback Mountain since it first appeared, said, “Nothing that you have seen previously from Ledger prepares you for this particular performance.” Durling also cautioned everybody about drawing immediate conclusions, suggesting that the film needs to gestate before being fully contemplated.
As KTYD’s McAllister, Julie Ramos, and I wandered State Street discussing the film, that contemplation quickly started. While neither overtly enjoyed the film, there we were analyzing plots, hypothesizing inferred events, and discussing cultural context. And isn’t that the real virtue of film? Good ones make you forget your troubles and make you laugh uncontrollably, or can expose different cultures and question the world around you. Cinema can be uplifting and inspiring, or sad and depressing. And other times it just proves to be a downright challenge. —Brett Leigh Dicks