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


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