Author Topic: Ennis/Jack/both; book/movie/both?  (Read 7766 times)

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: Ennis/Jack/both; book/movie/both?
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2006, 11:27:02 am »
Wow.  I couldn't agree with you more, here, Jeff.  I over-simplified my answer because I thought my reasons for liking both characters equally were too complicated to explain.  And then you came along and nailed it.  Thanks!  :)  Story Ennis is less uptight than Movie Ennis, for sure.  And Movie Jack (thanks to Mr. Gyllenhaal primarily) is more vulnerable than Story Jack, who I find almost unnervingly aggressive.  Still, I enjoy the story just as much, but sometimes for different reasons than I enjoy the movie.

Thanks, Barb! Ver' kind of you, ma'am! And "almost unnervingly aggressive" is a great way to describe Story Jack!

Actually, what I had in mind specifically about the difference between the Jacks is that Annie tells us, in the motel scene (as I interpret the text, anyway) that Jack has been having sex with other guys during the four years that he and Ennis were apart--and lies about it to Ennis. In the film we only see Jack's failed attempt to pick up Jimbo--and that leaves me free to believe that Movie Jack has not been having sex with other guys--and to believe that he doesn't "cheat" on Ennis until after the post-Del Mar divorce fiasco.
"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 serious crayons

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Re: Ennis/Jack/both; book/movie/both?
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2006, 12:12:10 pm »
Story Ennis is less uptight than Movie Ennis, for sure.

That's interesting, Barb (and Jeff!). That's exactly why I prefer Movie Ennis!

Not that I'm generally drawn to uptight people in "real life." I just find Movie Ennis more complex and vulnerable and emotionally screwed up in a fascinating way.

I also prefer Movie Jack, for the record. Actually, I find the characters of Story Ennis and Story Jack less interesting, and less distinguishable from each other. Sure, they behave in different ways, make different choices, but the story characters aren't nearly as ying and yangy as their movie counterparts. Even their dialogue is more interchangable.

Offline ednbarby

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Re: Ennis/Jack/both; book/movie/both?
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2006, 04:28:44 pm »
I agree, Katherine.  It's interesting - usually characters are fleshed out far better in the original text than in the movie, but this one was the exception.  I love the story so much because I love Annie's prose and the way she describes the landscape so vividly that you can see it, hear it and smell it.  But Ang Lee's direction is so lyrical, he (and Rodrigo) found the way to describe it perfectly, too.

Ah.  It's all good.
No more beans!

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: Ennis/Jack/both; book/movie/both?
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2006, 06:46:39 pm »
Ah.  It's all good.

To that, I can add nothing but a humble "Amen."  :)
"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 delalluvia

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Re: Ennis/Jack/both; book/movie/both?
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2006, 06:56:47 pm »
Ennis in the short story was a lot less likeable than he was in the movie.  In the short story, while he is more expressive of his desire for Jack, he's otherwise self-absorbed, his fear makes him very selfish and he's a poor father.  In the movie, he's a lot better father, but his fear keeps him selfish in regards to Jack.

Jack I like in both the movie and the story.  He's still the one who suffers the most, opens up the most, is willing to risk the most, is the one who is still concerned for his son, regardless of the fact that he didn't want any kids in the first place.

I understand and can feel for Ennis, but Jack breaks my heart.

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: Ennis/Jack/both; book/movie/both?
« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2006, 10:31:00 pm »
Ennis in the short story was a lot less likeable than he was in the movie.

Hunh?

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In the short story, while he is more expressive of his desire for Jack, he's otherwise self-absorbed,

He isn't self-absorbed in the film?

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his fear makes him very selfish and he's a poor father.  In the movie, he's a lot better father,

The film makers just chose to show him with the girls more than Annie Proulx does in the story. I don't think that necessarily means he's a better father in the film or a poorer father in the story.

The following line from the story, from the end of Ennis's Thanksgiving confrontation with Alma, has been pointed out as evidence of Story Ennis being a bad or uninterested father: "He didn't try to see his girls for a long time, figuring they would look him up when they got the sense and years to move out from Alma."

However, he clearly didn't follow through on that. By the time of his final camping trip with Jack, he's seeing the girls about once a month, and they're still minors, so presumably they haven't yet moved out from Alma. And he's just as conscientious about his child support in the story as in the film.

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but his fear keeps him selfish in regards to Jack.

How is that different from the movie?

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I understand and can feel for Ennis, but Jack breaks my heart.

With that I heartily agree--Jack breaks my heart--especially in the movie.
"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 delalluvia

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Re: Ennis/Jack/both; book/movie/both?
« Reply #16 on: July 06, 2006, 10:58:22 pm »
Hunh?  He isn't self-absorbed in the film?

He's moreso in the short story, IMO, but more expressive to Jack.  In the movie he's much more inhibited, so poor Jack gets very little emotionally out of their reunions.

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The film makers just chose to show him with the girls more than Annie Proulx does in the story. I don't think that necessarily means he's a better father in the film or a poorer father in the story.

I think that says a lot actually.  The short story says 'never a vacation with her and the girls, his disinclination to step out and have any fun'.  In the story, Alma specifically mentions his lack of wanting to anything social as one of the reasons she left him.  In the movie, it's clear that he DOES take the girls for ice cream, he DOES take the family to a 4th of July picnic, he DOES take the girls on a church picnic.

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The following line from the story, from the end of Ennis's Thanksgiving confrontation with Alma, has been pointed out as evidence of Story Ennis being a bad or uninterested father: "He didn't try to see his girls for a long time, figuring they would look him up when they got the sense and years to move out from Alma."

That's story Ennis.  Again, he's less likeable in the story.

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However, he clearly didn't follow through on that  By the time of his final camping trip with Jack, he's seeing the girls about once a month, and they're still minors, so presumably they haven't yet moved out from Alma. And he's just as conscientious about his child support in the story as in the film.

True, but we don't know who initiated the contact.  Him or the girls.  Movie Ennis always shows care for his girls, never abandoning them, not even for Jack.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2006, 11:15:59 pm by delalluvia »

Offline serious crayons

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Re: Ennis/Jack/both; book/movie/both?
« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2006, 11:07:45 pm »
his fear keeps him selfish in regards to Jack.

How is that different from the movie?

Excuse me, but how is he selfish in either story or movie?

Clearly in some ways he would much prefer the sweet life with Jack over what he's "stuck with" in Riverton. His choice to stand it could fairly be described as mistaken, shortsighted, deluded, conformist, paranoid ... all kinds of negative things. But IMO it doesn't seem the least bit selfish.

Offline delalluvia

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Re: Ennis/Jack/both; book/movie/both?
« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2006, 11:23:47 pm »
Excuse me, but how is he selfish in either story or movie?

Clearly in some ways he would much prefer the sweet life with Jack over what he's "stuck with" in Riverton. His choice to stand it could fairly be described as mistaken, shortsighted, deluded, conformist, paranoid ... all kinds of negative things. But IMO it doesn't seem the least bit selfish.

I consider him very selfish.  He's a poor husband to Alma.  Just because he's not in love with her doesn't mean he should sit around home and mope and never take her out anywhere.  Jack is clearly a social creature and steps out with his wife regardless of whether he actually likes it or not.  It's for her you see and not just for him.

Ennis never brings home any fish for his family.  Ever.  Never even thinks to stop and buy some.

Ennis never offers to come down to Texas, save Jack a trip.  Jack always has to come to him.

Jack drives all the way up from Texas upon word of Ennis' divorce.  Ennis has the kids that weekend and doesn't even offer Jack the opportunity to stick around so he could see him later.  He just lets Jack drive all the way back.

Their relationship was always on Ennis' terms.  Always out in the country, in the cold weather, when he knows Jack is always cold.  The time Jack drives up to surprise him, Ennis is worried that someone driving by actually saw them just standing there talking.  There will be no hanging out in town even just for drinks because that's the way Ennis wants it.

I agree that fear drives him to it, but it's still selfishness.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: Ennis/Jack/both; book/movie/both?
« Reply #19 on: July 07, 2006, 01:14:44 am »
Hmm ... Well, all I can say, Del, is that you and I react to the movie and/or story very differently.

Why did Jack put up with that jerk for 20 f'in years?