Author Topic: The "Roots" of the movie  (Read 3092 times)

Offline brokeplex

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The "Roots" of the movie
« on: October 07, 2007, 06:11:25 pm »
I was listening to the commentary in the 2 disc version of BBM and heard interesting words from a movie critic, I think her name was Ruby Rich. She said that as she was emerging from the Toronto Film festival screening of BBM she heard some of the movie goers exclaim, "At last, we have our 'Gone With The Wind!" These words moved me and I thought, Yes, that observation is on target. I thought a bit more and wondered if an even better analogy would be to the 1970's miniseries "Roots". BBM being a fictional analog for gay folks to the non-fictional story of "Roots". Any thoughts?

Offline Rayn

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Re: The "Roots" of the movie
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2007, 12:19:37 pm »
Hmmm, well, I suppose they have a point, but the movie can probably be compared to others as well.  I personally don't get the "Gone with the Wind" comparison, but I'm sure it meant a lot to whoever said it.  I'm interested in knowing why they might think that or why you did, brokeplex.

For me, the first comparison that comes to mind is "A Street Car Named Desire" with Brando weeping over Stella.  It was a groundbreaking film that changed the way everyone acted thereafter.  No man had ever appeared so strong and so weak in one character, so vulnerable and sensitive, but also tough.  These qualities are in Jack and Ennis too and Brokeback Mountain was a groundbreaking film to me.  It was the first time I ever saw a truly serious love story about men...  They weren't "queer" in outward appearance or manner, they were just men in love like so many in the past who have hidden it, but the film hid nothing!  It was not only daring but it's was an "our time has come" event.    Those are my thoughts on it.

Now, I was in a store recently and had "Roots" in my hand, the entire story, but didn't get it.   I think I will now, because I never saw it. So, I'll have to get back to you on that later.


Offline brokeplex

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Re: The "Roots" of the movie
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2007, 01:01:47 pm »
Hmmm, well, I suppose they have a point, but the movie can probably be compared to others as well.  I personally don't get the "Gone with the Wind" comparison, but I'm sure it meant a lot to whoever said it.  I'm interested in knowing why they might think that or why you did, brokeplex.

For me, the first comparison that comes to mind is "A Street Car Named Desire" with Brando weeping over Stella.  It was a groundbreaking film that changed the way everyone acted thereafter.  No man had ever appeared so strong and so weak in one character, so vulnerable and sensitive, but also tough.  These qualities are in Jack and Ennis too and Brokeback Mountain was a groundbreaking film to me.  It was the first time I ever saw a truly serious love story about men...  They weren't "queer" in outward appearance or manner, they were just men in love like so many in the past who have hidden it, but the film hid nothing!  It was not only daring but it's was an "our time has come" event.    Those are my thoughts on it.

Now, I was in a store recently and had "Roots" in my hand, the entire story, but didn't get it.   I think I will now, because I never saw it. So, I'll have to get back to you on that later.



"Roots" the non-fiction book and the TV miniseries from the 70's are very much worth reading and watching. Alex Haley the author traced the origins of his family back to West Africa in the 1700's. His lineal decendant Kunta Kinte was sold into slavery in that time, made it across the Middle Passage, and was sold to a land owner in Virginia at the time of the American Revolution. "Roots" is his story and the story of his child, and all of her decendents. Their trials, tribulations,and triumphs. The miniseries had a major impact on me and many others who were around in the late 1970's. Many African-Americans will offer that "Roots" began a interest among American Blacks in finding out about their family histories. My reference to "BBM" as a kind of Gay Roots, is that it shows two men of an earlier generation, earlier even than mine and I am now 51, who coped with a virulently homophobic society in rural America in a time long before the Gay Rights movement had much of an impact - even in more tolerant urban centers. Although none of us are familialy related to Ennis and Jack, many of us grew up in circustances that were similar, if not in different times. Hence the comment about a fictional gay "Roots".
The comment that Ruby Rich reported from the Toronto festival, about "BBM" being a gay "Gone with the Wind" has resonance with me as both movies are sweeping romantic epics. "GWTW" had a dramatic impact during the 1930's and 1940's in defining the crucial event in US history: The Civil War. This was especially true here in the old Confederacy. But of course "GWTW" impacted greatly the whole nation. I think what the Ruby Rich was reporting was that for Gay people, "BBM" is an epic story that will have the same type of long term impact.

Offline Shakesthecoffecan

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Re: The "Roots" of the movie
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2007, 03:45:30 pm »
I think the GWTW reference plays into the fact they are both love stories, tragic ones. The analogy to Roots I feel is even stronger. It had a powerful impact on me that this story was taking place over the course of my lifetime (I was born 10 days before they brung 'em down). It has done a lot to teach people, esp. the young people who asked "why didn't they just go to San Francisco?"

As a person who has worked many years on my genealogy I can tell you too it humanized gay folks for the wider world, like Roots humainzed a bunch of long dead ancestors of Alex Hailey. 
"It was only you in my life, and it will always be only you, Jack, I swear."

Offline Rayn

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Re: The "Roots" of the movie
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2007, 11:22:17 am »
"Roots" the non-fiction book and the TV miniseries from the 70's are very much worth reading and watching. Alex Haley the author traced the origins of his family back to West Africa in the 1700's. His lineal decendant Kunta Kinte was sold into slavery in that time, made it across the Middle Passage, and was sold to a land owner in Virginia at the time of the American Revolution. "Roots" is his story and the story of his child, and all of her decendents. Their trials, tribulations,and triumphs. The miniseries had a major impact on me and many others who were around in the late 1970's. Many African-Americans will offer that "Roots" began a interest among American Blacks in finding out about their family histories. My reference to "BBM" as a kind of Gay Roots, is that it shows two men of an earlier generation, earlier even than mine and I am now 51, who coped with a virulently homophobic society in rural America in a time long before the Gay Rights movement had much of an impact - even in more tolerant urban centers. Although none of us are familialy related to Ennis and Jack, many of us grew up in circustances that were similar, if not in different times. Hence the comment about a fictional gay "Roots".
The comment that Ruby Rich reported from the Toronto festival, about "BBM" being a gay "Gone with the Wind" has resonance with me as both movies are sweeping romantic epics. "GWTW" had a dramatic impact during the 1930's and 1940's in defining the crucial event in US history: The Civil War. This was especially true here in the old Confederacy. But of course "GWTW" impacted greatly the whole nation. I think what the Ruby Rich was reporting was that for Gay people, "BBM" is an epic story that will have the same type of long term impact.


Well, yeah, I know the synopsis of Roots and I am familiar with Alex Haley... I just never watched Roots even though I've seen many other related movies and read related books, related i.e. to American "white history" and African Amer. history.  Each group has a history, but when you think of it,  it's our collective American history no matter what race one is... eh?

Gone With The Wind is a true epic drama.   Brokeback Mountain isn't an epic.  We could say in truth it had "an epic emotional impact" on some in the gay community, but it didn't do that for many non gay people and there are some in the gay community who thought Capote much better.  In fact Capote is closer to epic, and it was not an epic either.  BBM was far to small in scope, action, length and production to be called epic.   

Spartica, Ben Hur, Gone wth the Wind, Gandhi... those are epics, but BBM, for all the love I have for it, doesn't fit the definition of epic.  A quick look at a dictionary reveals that and however hard we wish our beloved movie to be an epic, it just doesnt' fit the definition. 

From the Cambridge Dictionary:
epic   Show phonetics
noun [C]
a film, poem or book which is long and contains a lot of action, usually dealing with a historical subject:
It's one of those old Hollywood epics with a cast of thousands.

Offline Rayn

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Re: The "Roots" of the movie
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2007, 11:48:30 am »
I think the GWTW reference plays into the fact they are both love stories, tragic ones. The analogy to Roots I feel is even stronger. It had a powerful impact on me that this story was taking place over the course of my lifetime (I was born 10 days before they brung 'em down). It has done a lot to teach people, esp. the young people who asked "why didn't they just go to San Francisco?"

As a person who has worked many years on my genealogy I can tell you too it humanized gay folks for the wider world, like Roots humainzed a bunch of long dead ancestors of Alex Hailey. 


OK, OK, I"ll get the whole Roots series on CD this weekend.   I know it's a fantastic epic story, for sure, and I'm probably one of 6 people in the US who never saw it!  LOL   Heck... I never could read fast enough to "read it all" and I was literature major in university! There's just so much out there to see and read.   :o

Rayn   :)

Offline brokeplex

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Re: The "Roots" of the movie
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2007, 02:47:52 pm »


Gone With The Wind is a true epic drama.   Brokeback Mountain isn't an epic.  We could say in truth it had "an epic emotional impact" on some in the gay community, but it didn't do that for many non gay people and there are some in the gay community who thought Capote much better.  In fact Capote is closer to epic, and it was not an epic either.  BBM was far to small in scope, action, length and production to be called epic.   

Spartica, Ben Hur, Gone wth the Wind, Gandhi... those are epics, but BBM, for all the love I have for it, doesn't fit the definition of epic.  A quick look at a dictionary reveals that and however hard we wish our beloved movie to be an epic, it just doesnt' fit the definition. 

From the Cambridge Dictionary:
epic   Show phonetics
noun [C]
a film, poem or book which is long and contains a lot of action, usually dealing with a historical subject:
It's one of those old Hollywood epics with a cast of thousands.


Thanks, great point about definition of "sweeping epics". I'll just say that both Gone with the Wind and Brokeback Mountain "swept" me away.

Offline Rayn

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Re: The "Roots" of the movie
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2007, 04:25:42 am »
Thanks, great point about definition of "sweeping epics". I'll just say that both Gone with the Wind and Brokeback Mountain "swept" me away.



Sure enough... :)     

And as far as I'm concerned, BBM should have swept away more Oscars too.  But men in the mainstream didn't feel that way though.  More women did; and as I mentioned, some men and women in the gay community didn't "get it" either.   For those that did, it certainly had an epic impact on some.  It's interesting to note different reactions to it, from indifferent to swept away, huh?



Offline brokebackjack

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Re: The "Roots" of the movie
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2007, 08:26:46 am »
I don't think it's either GWTW or Roots
"I couldn't stand it no more so i fixed it"

Offline brokeplex

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Re: The "Roots" of the movie
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2007, 02:13:55 pm »


Sure enough... :)     

And as far as I'm concerned, BBM should have swept away more Oscars too.  But men in the mainstream didn't feel that way though.  More women did; and as I mentioned, some men and women in the gay community didn't "get it" either.   For those that did, it certainly had an epic impact on some.  It's interesting to note different reactions to it, from indifferent to swept away, huh?




I really like what you have said here. I think that you are right on target about the gender differences among men versus women in an understanding of BBM, this seems especially true among straight men. You can see it in movie reviews, some reviewers who didn't like the movie simply didn't watch the movie very carefully, others were motivated by an religious or ideological agenda that colored their commentary about BBM. If you have time, read conservative columnist / radio talk show host Michael Medved's review of BBM. Many like him simply couldn't bridge the cognative gap and try to really understand why the movie is so important. I heard that Tony Curtis a member of the "Academy" that selects the Oscar winners refused to even see the movie before voting on "Best Picture"!!
Your comment about different people having different reactions to the same movie, struck a chord with me. I log onto "Bettermost" just for that reason! I am facisnated with how different people, people of various ages, genders, sexual orientations, political ideologies, occupations, regions, are all strongly affected by the same movie in similar but different ways. I would LOVE to see a demographic analysis of the "Brokie" community.