THE BLOG

Brokedown Breakthrough

01/13/2006 09:33 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Brokeback Mountain was hailed this week as a "breakthrough film" by the LA Times. I don't get it. Where's the breakthrough in a story about "the love that cannot speak its name" between two men, based on a short story by a woman (Annie Proulx), adapted into a screenplay by a married couple (Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana), directed by a straight man (Ang Lee), and starring two straight men? It just proves straight people can make a movie about their version of gay people -- and pat itself on the back for doing so. This harkens back to such classics as The Boys in the Band and Making Love, which were also heralded as breakthroughs in their day. All this proves is that when the majority appropriates a minority for its subject material it's not that commercial. The commercial verison is, alas, The Birdcage. However, what Hollywood does know how to do well is have minorities make films about the mainstream -- succesfully assimilating the American Dream and serving it back to eager audiences -- the ne plus ultra of this phenomenon being the 1954 White Christmas, the famous holiday movie, directed (Michael Curtiz), written (Norman Krasna), co-starring (Danny Kaye) and based on a song written by (irving Berlin) Jews or the recent hit Elf, which boast a similar writer-director-co-star trifecta and made more than $100 Million. Now there's a breakthrough.