Kiss Off

Dear Ang Lee,

I'm writing to you because I've read something very disturbing, and I want to make sure that it's not true. You've just begun directing a film called Brokeback Mountain starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger as a couple of cowboys who fall in love. That's not the disturbing part—that's the part, in fact, that convinces me there must be a God in the universe, and that he has a direct line into my most private fantasies. Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger as a couple of cowboys who fall in love? I mean, did someone in Hollywood get his hands on my diary, or what? First, Jennifer Lopez as a lesbian hit woman, then a soiled, surly Brad Pitt removing his body armor in order to better wash himself, and now this. Surely somebody up there likes me.

But this is all beside the point. Look, Ang, here's the disturbing thing: An item posted on the Internet Movie Database site reports that you're hedging on the idea of having Jake and Heath in any kind of lip lock. "We were all talking about the kissing in the movie just recently," Jake has apparently told the Malaysian Star. "Clearly, it's pretty challenging material, but Ang said two men herding sheep was far more sexual than two men having sex on-screen."

While I'd love to spend a little extra time forming a mental picture of Jake and Heath sitting around talking about kissing, Ang, I feel it's more important to break this to you: Nothing is more sexual than two men having sex on-screen. I'm pretty confident that this is a universal sentiment, regardless of whether or not everybody finds it as spiritually uplifting as I do. Two men engaged in the Act That Dare Not Get a PG-13 Rating is about as carnal as you can get, Ang. I don't know how much sheepherding really comes into play during most people's concept of sexuality. As far as I know, sheepherding isn't even anything anyone talks about during health class in high school, when a lot of those types of questions come up. Yeah, sure, sheepherding made for an exotic kind of backdrop in which Richard Chamberlain could pony Rachel Ward during The Thorn Birds, but, then, we all know it wasn't Rachel or the sheep that Miss Richard was secretly thinking about, now don't we? I rest my case.

I'm a big fan of your work, Ang, but you know what you can kiss if you take the Hollywood way out on this cowboy smooch. I'm a little tired of the industry patting itself on the back for producing something like Philadelphia, which thought it was brave for showing squeaky clean attorney Tom Hanks dying of AIDS, but didn't have the guts to show him living it up with Antonio Banderas—which is how any self-respecting gay lawyer I know would be spending most of his time, given the chance. The leads in even the tamest heterosexual romance on the WB get to go at it like fevered bunnies, but gay boys on the big screen have to be content with the neutered glances they give one another after fending off Gollum? Don't let me down, Ang. It's time Hollywood stopped being so damn sheepish.

swiecking@seattleweekly.com

 
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