Author Topic: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"  (Read 8795 times)

Offline Jeff Wrangler

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 28,225
  • "He somebody you cowboy'd with?"
Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2007, 03:41:49 pm »
I was at first offended also when I read this on TOB...  I at first thought, oh, because I think Jack was murdered, I'm not comfortable in my sexuality?  WTF? 

Then I thought about it and read deeper into it, and applied my own experiences and that with my ex-partners views of it being and accident, and have found the thoery/test to be quite interesting...kind of like a pysche test.  Optimist vs. Pessismist.  Half full vs. half empty.  etc.

I'm inclined to agree that how we believe Jack died says a lot about us individually, but not about whether or not we are comfortable in our sexuality.

Now, let me add this: From my reading of the comment through the link, I'm taking "sexuality" as used here as a synonym for "sexual orientation." I'm prepared to entertain the idea that how you view Jack's death may say something about how comfortable you are with sex, but not as litmus test of comfort with your sexual orientation.
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline Artiste

  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • ********
  • Posts: 15,998
Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2007, 04:01:41 pm »
Wow!

Maybe Annie can explain!

This is like hurt, or an even anti-gay or a gay test??

Hugs!




Offline Shasta542

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 7,999
Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2007, 08:08:22 pm »
I always argued "accident" on IMDb. I knew a man in my hometown who got killed when a tractor tire came off the rim, so I saw Lureen's explanation as realistic and Ennis's feelings as fearfulness.

Artiste -- it's not an anti - gay test.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2007, 09:06:29 pm by Shasta542 »
"Gettin' tired of your dumbass missin'!"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Offline Brown Eyes

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • BetterMost Moderator
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 10,375
Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2007, 09:29:24 pm »
There's something about this whole exercise that bothers me.  I question the psychology she uses.  I don't know of anyone who saw the film who thought it was an accident.  I have to think on this for a while.

Do you think readers of Proulx's story feel that his death is more ambiguous than the way it is portrayed in the film?  I mean... do you think she's in any way more successful in conveying a true sense of ambiguity than Ang Lee was in his representation of this issue in the movie?

In any case... This is a great topic!  Thanks for bringing this over here Eric!  I do agree that to a very casual viewer of BBM (someone who only watches it once and doesn't spend too much time analyzing it) might not quite understand that the visualization of Jack's death is ONLY Ennis's imagination.  But, I do think that a careful viewer understands this and the debates that continue to rage over how Jack died seem to bear this out.

I tend to believe Jack was murdered.  And I don't know what that says about my own sexuality or self-confidence.  But, for me, while it's definitely possible that Jack could have died the way Lureen describes... it always sounds a little too far-fetched to me.

But, I truly believe that we only can know what Ennis *thinks* and what Lureen *says*, so there's no real way to every resolve the debate.  It's a very smart element of BBM I think.

the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie

Offline Jeff Wrangler

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 28,225
  • "He somebody you cowboy'd with?"
Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2007, 11:35:58 pm »
But, I truly believe that we only can know what Ennis *thinks* and what Lureen *says*, so there's no real way to every resolve the debate.  It's a very smart element of BBM I think.

Which kind of reminds me of something I've said before: Ultimately, what matters is what Ennis thinks, not what we think.  ;) And Ennis thinks it was the tire iron.
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline Lynne

  • BetterMost Supporter
  • BetterMost Moderator
  • BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 9,291
  • "The world's always ending." --Ianto Jones
    • Elizabeth Warren for Massachusetts
Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2007, 12:02:56 am »
Hmmm..

I have seen this movie 20+ times plus numerous DVD viewings to interpret every subtle detail I ever heard mentioned.  BUT it never crossed my mind that Jack's death was anything short of a murder.  To put this in context, I didn't really know the Matthew Shepherd story when I first saw BBM, so I couldn't be influenced by that.  I think what convinced me was Lureen's almost completely unemotional description of the events.  When someone dies tragically, there are way more 'I don't knows' compared to of such a pat story...way too much cover up to convince me I was hearing the truth.

So, if Annie thinks this is a test - those of us with real fears see the tire irons, whereas those of us comfy with ourselves/our sexuality see an accident??  I just don't buy it.  Purely anecdotal, but the people I know who insist on the 'accident' version of events seem to be unable to accept Jack's murder.  This is valid and my heart goes out to them - it's a heinous thing to come to terms with. 

This is strange though because Annie herself in BBM lends more credence to the tire iron scenario - as Ennis is listening to OMT - he realizes that it was the tire iron that got Jack - he no longer is holding on to ambiguity.  The movie softens it for us and leaves us open to more interpretation, IMO, than does the canon short story.
"Laß sein. Laß sein."

Offline Artiste

  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • ********
  • Posts: 15,998
Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2007, 12:10:10 am »
I can never think that Jack was not murdered in the movie! And yes, it is an anti-gay film!

Nor can I see a first or often a person sees the  BM movie that Jack was not murdered; everything points to Jack being murdered by many because Jack was a bi or gay man!!


As far as Jack's wife in the movie, it seems evident that she did hide Jack's gay tendercies, why? Was she anti-gay?

Hugs! Have a good night or a good day all!!

Offline Brown Eyes

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • BetterMost Moderator
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 10,375
Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2007, 12:17:21 am »
Which kind of reminds me of something I've said before: Ultimately, what matters is what Ennis thinks, not what we think.  ;) And Ennis thinks it was the tire iron.


Jeff, I agree with you... that Ennis's perspective/ thoughts in many ways are our guiding perspective for the whole plot given his role as protagonist.  And, as his fears about the tire iron (some even sometimes call it "paranoia"... although I'm not a big fan of that word) seem to increase over the years, I think his fears begin to drive or at least influence how the audience understands the perils potentially facing their relationship and their safety.  I think in the film, by the time we see the image of Jack's death we're so used to identifying with Ennis that it's easy to see this illusion of his death as entirely plausible. 

Or, I wonder if from the perspective of an audience member who believes the accident scenario... Could the argument be made that Ennis's ability to imagine a graphic violent scene happening to Jack be the ultimate extreme expression of his "paranoia" or of the fears that were the main reason he kept himself removed from Jack all those years?

When it comes down to whether the audience believes what Ennis "thinks" or what Lureen "says"... I think it's definitely a test of the audience to see who we think *knows* Jack better.   Does Lureen know Jack better since they lived their daily life together and she had a much fuller context/perspective on his Texas life (but of course with crucial gaps in her knowledge about his sexuality, Ennis and affairs with other men).  Or, given Ennis's deep connection with Jack and his knowledge about most everything to do with Jack's sexuality (even the affairs with other men by this point) does he have the more reliable guage on what might have happened to Jack?  I do think this is some kind of test for the audience... Lureen or Ennis.

After saying all of this... I personally still think Ennis was probably right.

the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie

Offline Jeff Wrangler

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 28,225
  • "He somebody you cowboy'd with?"
Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2007, 01:12:41 am »
Hmmm..

I have seen this movie 20+ times plus numerous DVD viewings to interpret every subtle detail I ever heard mentioned.  BUT it never crossed my mind that Jack's death was anything short of a murder.  To put this in context, I didn't really know the Matthew Shepherd story when I first saw BBM, so I couldn't be influenced by that.  I think what convinced me was Lureen's almost completely unemotional description of the events.  When someone dies tragically, there are way more 'I don't knows' compared to of such a pat story...way too much cover up to convince me I was hearing the truth.

But the thing is, though--and I laugh at myself to find myself seeming to defend Lureen's story--in RL, by the time Ennis and Lureen spoke on the telephone, even if her story were real, she would probably have had to tell it many times before she told it to Ennis, which could account for her unemotional tone when she tells it to Ennis.

I still don't buy it, though--and I haven't since 1997.
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline Lynne

  • BetterMost Supporter
  • BetterMost Moderator
  • BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 9,291
  • "The world's always ending." --Ianto Jones
    • Elizabeth Warren for Massachusetts
Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #19 on: November 10, 2007, 01:41:35 am »
Yes, Jeff I agree that there could be several reasons for Lureen's monotone relating the story of Jack's death to Ennis - she's in shock, she's likely recited it verbatim many times before, etc...  Maybe that's the central question here - are we really so quick to jump to the conclusion where Jack is a victim of a hate crime, realizing Ennis' worst fears?  Or is there a more 'innocent' explanation?  I'm too jaded to believe the dressed up version (and shit, when does even the accident version become so much more palatable?!).

Another piece of the puzzle, though, may come to us thru Lureen - the hitch in her voice and the coldness - when Ennis relates that he and Jack herded sheep up on Brokeback in 1963.  It seems that when she assembles those facts with what she really knows, fully realizing the connection Ennis had with Jack, perhaps that's when she herself realizes she's relating a glossed-over story of the actual event?  At any rate, when she regroups, tells Ennis to see Jack's folks and about his wishes regarding Brokeback, she redeems herself admirably.

But as to the interpretation of Jack's death being a test - I'd never called myself bisexual before BBM - didn't see the point of a label.  BBM and specifically BetterMost made it impossible to not acknowledge that part of myself.  One data point doesn't make a trend, but it works in my case.
"Laß sein. Laß sein."