Tuesday, September 16, 2008



I knew fan fiction was all the rage within fantasy nerd circles, but who knew that an Annie Proulx short story about two gay cowboys - made into a vastly overrated Ang Lee film, Brokeback Mountain - would inspire a whole new circle of jerks to send out their limp purple prose.

"There are countless people out there who think the story is open range to explore their fantasies and to correct what they see as an unbearably disappointing story. They constantly send ghastly manuscripts and pornish rewrites of the story to me, expecting me to reply with praise and applause for 'fixing' the story. They certainly don't get the message that if you can't fix it, you've got to stand it." (Independent UK)

Having had a short obsession with reading online erotic fiction myself, I can only imagine the sludge that Ms. Proulx received in the mail. I mean, sure, it's fun to write... I don't mean to dis the fans for doing their own thang, but to send it to her like "hey... you should've done it this way". Huh!?!?

It would be like me gathering up some friends to reshoot the last half of Indy 4 because it didn't meet my expectations and then sending it to Spielberg. Ok, yeah... I'm sure he gives a sh*t!

I do kind of admire people with egos large enough to send their favorite author a writing sample. It must be kind of self-affirming in an ignorance-is-bliss sort of way. Cuz lord knows when they don't receive that letter of adoration back from Ms. Proulx (or whomever) said pseudo-writer will just stand in front of the mirror and say, "Whatever. She just doesn't get my brilliance!"

These people grow up to be Jeffrey Wells.


J.D. said...

... made into a vastly overrated Ang Lee film, Brokeback Mountain ...

That takes a lot of chutzpah, dude. Congrats?

Marilyn said...

Indeed. I'm not sure how you came up with that. I wasn't interested in Brokeback Mountain, but decided to watch it on cable one day. It blew me away.

Fox said...

To me it's lukewarm melodrama. The story is cute enough, but there is nothing very enticing about the filmmaking. I think that Ang Lee might have been unsure of how to put his hands on a subject he was culturally separated from, and I think it shows in the movie.

Marilyn said...

I understand your position, Fox, but I guess I disagree. I think that Lee captured Western life pretty well. As for gay life, while I can't speak from firsthand knowledge, it seemed pretty realistic to me. I thought his direction of the wives was especially good, particularly Ennis' wife. That communicated a lot that many gay-related stories don't really touch on. I even think he did a better job with it than Tony Kushner did with the wife in Angels in America, admittedly a more theatrical vehicle than Brokeback.

Fox said...

I agree with you about Michelle Williams (Ennis' wife). I thought she gave the best performance in the film.

Anne Hathaway's performance, on the otherhand, came off as a bit goofy to me. Though that may have been Lee's fault. The big hair'd lady sitting on the couch with her martini glass and clanging accent was a little too much for me to bear. It was kind of like parody.

For me, the female performances seemed to go hand in hand with the male's (I liked Ledger, didn't like Gyllenhaal)

Marilyn said...

In general, I agree with you. Ledger and Williams definitely hit it out of the park. Hathaway and Gyllenhaal hit the right notes, but a bit too hard or cliched. Still, they did an all right job for me.

Rick Olson said...

I thought Brokeback was only so-so, but I don't think it was Ang Lee's gay-culture creds (he's gay himself, after all), but perhaps his mis-understanding of the cowboy life.

Personally, I go against the critical tide ... I much preferred Gyllenhaal performance to Ledgers, although I though Williams was great.

Fox said...

Rick, I didn't mean it as Ang Lee relating to the topic as just a gay man, but more specifically as a gay man living in 1970's Wyoming, or even more specifically as a gay cowboy in 1970's Wyoming. So I think we agree on that.

What I did appreciate Brokeback Mountain is that it shows homosexual/bi-sexual males in a non-stereotypical way. Rarely in film do we see gay men prortrayed as gruff, sporty, or rugged. And no, I don't been rugged as in Cruising "rugged" but as in the dude that likes to shoot hoops at he gym or the guy that works under his car all weekend long.

Evan Derrick said...

Stop fakin' it, Fox. We know you've already sent in multiple pieces of fan fiction to Ms. Proulx. Time to own up, get it all out in the open, stop paying your therapist all of that money, you know?

nick plowman said...

I LOVED BB with all my heart and soul! But I respect other peoples opinions....hell I even loved Crash!

Megan said...

I haven't seen Brokeback yet. It's on the list.

Although I have in my mind 'continued the story' of books I have read, it never occurred to me to try and write an entire revision, let alone sending it to the original author! Yikes!

Looks like we do need Jurisfiction after all...

Fox said...


You're partially right. I have been writing fan fiction, but I've yet to send it to Proulx. (I DID send it to Rick, however... he's a fan).

The story is called "OverZealous", and it involves you and Luke, but out of respect for you guys, I won't disclose the plot in this forum.

Nick -

Right on, brother! If you were here I would give you some dap (aka a "fist bump" for all you whiteys). That is quite brave of you to admit loving Crash, and while we disagree on it as well, I equally respect your opinion.


You just became my favorite person of the day for your "Jurisfiction" pun. I love pun humor! I pretty much go weak in the knees for a good punster.

As for the books that you have 'continued the story' on, would I be off in assuming that the Twilight series falls into that category with you. Are you one of "those" girls?

bill r. said...

Since when is Ang Lee gay? I mean, it's fine if he is; I just don't think he is.

And while I can understand Annie Proulx's annoyance, I think she's a bit of a...she's an unpleasant person, I think. Her ridiculous sour grapes essay following the Oscars was really tacky. Yes, I know, Crash is the worst thing ever and all that, it should be shot and so forth, but God, she came off badly in that.

And I think Brokeback Mountain falls somewhere between "so-so" and "great". So I guess that means I thought it was "good".

Fox said...

Bill -

Not sure about Lee. I was taking Rick's word for it. Maybe he just thinks all Asian people are gay.

Yeah, I don't know about Proulx. I've never read her books, or even care too. I wouldn't doubt that she is kind of a priss. (I mean, she's a writer after all.) I guess I just like her feistiness on this issue. A minor issue though, for sure.

Pat said...

FWIW, IMDB says Ang Lee has been married for 25 years and has two kids. So maybe he's straight?

I wasn't a big fan of "Brokeback" myself, although Heath Ledger's performance just about tore my heart open.

Fox said...

Thanks Pat! Pat - while running the great Doodad Kind of Town - is also TRACTOR FACTS resident fact checker!

Man, what's up with Rick mixing in the rumors about Ang Lee!?! Rick, explain thyself!!!

Megan said...

Fox - Wish I could take credit, but that term was coined by the marvelous author Jasper Fforde.

Nope, not one of 'those' girls. Maybe 10 years ago I would have been, though!

elgringo said...

That lady wrote the short story for Brokeback Mountain? I LOVE HER. She's amazing.