Did the Academy not consider the Legos?

‘Brokeback’ was robbed – but not for the reasons you think

Keri Carlson

Brokeback Mountain” should have won the Best Picture Oscar.

This is not a testament to the film’s cinematic quality or storyline or director or actors, etc. And “Crash” might be a really good film – I haven’t seen it. In fact, I hadn’t even seen “Brokeback Mountain” when I made this statement a month ago. To me, that’s not the point.

I based “Brokeback’s” worthiness purely on the hundreds of parodies I have seen posted all over the Internet. Any film that inspires this level of reinterpretation certainly has tapped into something. Plus, isn’t “I wish I knew how to quit you” the new “Show me the money!”?

On the Web you can find adaptations of “Brokeback Mountain” done in Legos, performed by dogs and acted as musicals. The most common parody is a relatively new phenomenon called re-cut trailers. The re-cuts mock movie trailer or preview form and re-edit a film to make it seem completely different. Many re-cuts feature horror or scary films turned into seemingly happy, family films. The “Brokeback” re-cut takes any film with two male leads and re-edits the film to bring out a hidden homosexual relationship.

The brilliance of these “Brokeback” re-cuts is that it works surprisingly well for so many films and television shows, including: “Back to the Future,” “The O.C.,” “Batman,” “Star Wars” (between C-3PO and R2-D2!), “Lord of the Rings,” “Top Gun,” “Good Will Hunting” and “He-Man.”

Most of the re-cuts follow a similar formula. They all play that relentlessly insipid “Brokeback” theme song in the background, with the emotional scenes from the new show or movie slowed down to show characters gazing into one another’s eyes or lovingly embracing. Then they insert text from the original “Brokeback” trailer such as “A truth they couldn’t deny.”

“Brokeback Mountain” is not the first text to arouse this kind of re-editing to discover or reveal homosexuality. Slash art was started by (mostly) women fascinated with creating a sexual relationship between “Star Trek’s” Kirk and Spock. This art has been circulating since before the Internet through ‘zines, and has since spread to other sci-fi shows.

The “Brokeback” re-cuts do essentially the same thing. But while slash almost exclusively was produced by women, re-cuts seem to be created by just as many, if not more, men.

Slash often has been viewed as a political reaction in which the re-editing’s purpose was to emasculate the male characters. And the phenomenon still is mainly focused on men’s gay relationships. There’s a “Brokeback” re-cut of “Charlie’s Angels,” but that’s about the only one that uses women. Perhaps men are doing the same thing as slash by emasculating themselves, but I think now it has more to do with a cultural curiosity regarding hidden homosexuality.

Now that “Brokeback Mountain” has been released on video/DVD, I finally saw the real thing. But I found the film hard to take seriously. I knew what to expect and I had heard the lines so many times out of the original context that they sounded humorous to me. Even when I could put the Lego images out of my head, the film bored me overall. I still, however, believe my original statement – that the film should have won the Oscar. Because I have found that whether I like a film or not, it hardly makes a difference – what matters is the response the film gets outside the theater.

– Keri Carlson welcomes comments at [email protected]