Author Topic: A Ninth Viewing Observation  (Read 128574 times)

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #140 on: August 09, 2006, 09:14:48 am »
True ... very true! Certainly that is one angle that I have never considered!

I think that sometimes there can be a tendency to "overestimate" the Randall factor. I admit I've been guilty of this. We know Jack, and we know LaShawn (  ;D ), and we also know that Randall is the only guy we see come on to Jack. and we know what Jack says to his father about the ranch neighbor from Texas, and I know that in the past I've taken Randall as a much more serious threat to Ennis and Jack's relationshp than maybe he really was.

We know that Randall has a wife who talks a blue streak, and a management job on Roy Taylor's ranch, and that he wants sex from Jack (at least he has good taste in men  ;D ). And that's about it. Given the little we do know, I think it's possible he has incentive to stay in the closet, not upend his life by ranching up with Jack, and may be interested, as I've put it elsewhere, in just a couple of lakeside fucks once or twice a year.
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Offline dly64

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #141 on: August 09, 2006, 09:40:19 am »
We know that Randall has a wife who talks a blue streak, and a management job on Roy Taylor's ranch, and that he wants sex from Jack (at least he has good taste in men  ;D ). And that's about it. Given the little we do know, I think it's possible he has incentive to stay in the closet, not upend his life by ranching up with Jack, and may be interested, as I've put it elsewhere, in just a couple of lakeside fucks once or twice a year.

I remember reading somewhere else on this board that it seems incongruous that Randall would even be willing to move with Jack to Lightning Flat. Why? He is educated, well situated financially and is certainly “mechanically challenged.”  I am not sure what would incentivize Randall to give all of that up for Jack. On the flip side … I can’t see Jack giving up everything to move in with Randall. As long as his sexual needs are being met, why would he bother?
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Offline ednbarby

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #142 on: August 09, 2006, 09:50:53 am »
I remember reading somewhere else on this board that it seems incongruous that Randall would even be willing to move with Jack to Lightning Flat. Why? He is educated, well situated financially and is certainly “mechanically challenged.”  I am not sure what would incentivize Randall to give all of that up for Jack. On the flip side … I can’t see Jack giving up everything to move in with Randall. As long as his sexual needs are being met, why would he bother?

Good points.  I agree.  I see Jack mentioning him (and as someone else once pointed out, not even giving him his name, that's how not serious he is about him) to his father out of bitterness and spite at something he said about Ennis (and implied about Jack - e.g., couldn't get him to come up here could ya?).  Maybe even after a few adult beverages... 
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Offline welliwont

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #143 on: August 09, 2006, 10:08:30 am »
Along these lines, here's how I see it:  After their last time together at the lake, Jack goes up to Lightning Flat, just aching inside, not unlike that time he went up there after the summer on Brokeback.  But now he's aching and broken.  He hears the usual shit from Old Man Twist.  And during one of their many arguments, OMT says something like, "Whatever happened to the Great and Powerful Ennis del Mar - the one who was gonna help you 'lick this ranch into shape?'  Just another one o' yer half-baked ideas, I guess."  And Jack retorts with something more to himself than to his father, like "Yeah, well, the hell with him.  I know another guy - a ranch neighbor of mine in Childress - who *wants* to come up here and do that with me.  This Spring, I may just take him up on it."

But I agree - it was just him thinking out loud - wanting to shut his father - and his own heart - up once and for all.

We will never know.

But there is a difference between all the other times Jack visits LF and the last time.  well more than one difference, but the one I would like to point out is one that Ruthlessly so astutely outlined for us.

Quote
They part and the look on Jack’s face as Ennis drives away says a thousand things. Most notably, to me, the look says “Goddamn you Ennis. If it was up to me we could have had it. But it wasn’t just up to me. And you couldn’t “stand” it. So I’ll give you what you say you want (even though he really doesn’t), that which I know you really need – I’ll let you be.” Jack knows he is saying good-bye to Ennis for the last time here. And not for himself, but for his love. This is the greatest sacrifice shown in the film.

Jack has just seen his lover crumple up into a ball of unmanageable emotions, fears, conflicts, and inner struggles.  And Jack knows that Ennis can neither fix it nor stand it.  The destructive effects of rural homophobia (the theme of the film) have taken their ultimate toll on Ennis.  Jack has only two realistic options: Let Ennis go or hold him captive.  It is because of Jack’s love for Ennis that he lets him go.  Otherwise, Jack never loved Ennis at all because his other option is to say: “Damn!  I just saw my lover crumple into a ball of despair.  Oh, well, I can still get a few high-altitude fucks out of him every year.”  Because neither of them can fix it and because Ennis cannot stand it, Jack must quit Ennis.

Jack goes back to Texas. At some point he takes up with Randall. So much so that after twenty years of telling his folks “me and Ennis,” he now tells them “me and this other guy.”  And Jack does this before Ennis’ postcard about Pine Creek in November.

I do believe as Ruthlessly has hypothesized, that Jack was thinking about quitting Ennis, and would probably have tried to do so.  Just because the shirts were still up in the closet in LF does not mean that that he wasn't going to try and quit Ennis.  Those two shirts represent Ennis, represent his undying love for Ennis; they are his most prized possession IMO.  I think he would always have kept those shirts, no matter what.  The fact that he mentions coming to LF with his rancher neighbhour is AP's way of conveying that Jack was thinking on this.  Whether he could have made himself do it is another question.  This is 180 change in my point of view since I first saw the movie, when I was all starry-eyed and romantic thinking that Jack would never leave his one true love, but I think all the discussions and Ruthlessly's insight have helped me to make sense of what really was happeining.

I gotta go to work now, or I would make a couple more supporting arguements....

« Last Edit: August 09, 2006, 10:25:57 am by JakeTwist »
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #144 on: August 09, 2006, 10:16:16 am »
I remember reading somewhere else on this board that it seems incongruous that Randall would even be willing to move with Jack to Lightning Flat. Why? He is educated, well situated financially and is certainly “mechanically challenged.”  I am not sure what would incentivize Randall to give all of that up for Jack. On the flip side … I can’t see Jack giving up everything to move in with Randall. As long as his sexual needs are being met, why would he bother?

Good points, Diane, Barb and Jeff. Randall had lived in a bigger city and attended college; it's likely he would have met other gay men along the way. And he wasn't shy about coming on to Jack soon after meeting him, so he seems to go for what he wants pretty directly. If he'd wanted to live with a man, he probably could have done so before now. Instead, he married that lively little gal.

As for Jack, true, if he was seeing Randall regularly (though no reason to assume they limited it to a couple of low-altitude fucks a year), that doesn't mean he necessarily wanted to live with him. Would he automatically want to live with anyone he has sex with, even if he doesn't love the person?

In any case, I think we're supposed to be left somewhat in the dark about this, the way Ennis is, always left wondering. OMT's mention of the other fella to Ennis is fate (i.e., Annie Proulx) twisting the knife, making things that much more torturous for Ennis, and us. It's harder in the story than in the movie, because in the movie, at least 1) we've met Randall, know Jack has known him for a while, saw Jack's deer-in-the-headlights look when Randall mentioned the fishing cabin (for all Ennis knows, the other fella is someone Jack met and fell in love with AFTER seeing Ennis the last time -- at least we have reason to think otherwise), and 2) saw what a big deal it was for Jack to say "Sometimes I miss you so much I can hardly stand it." In the story, it's a more casual paraphrase, not a direct quote, and somehow "I could whip babies" doesn't have quite the same gravity as "I can hardly stand it."

Jane, your post just came in. I've never agreed with the "Jack quit Ennis" theory, and these reasons why neither Randall nor Jack necessarily would have wanted to live together only give my disagreement a tiny bit more support.

Offline nakymaton

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #145 on: August 09, 2006, 10:42:33 am »
It's possible that Jack really was trying to quit Ennis, and that the thing with Randall wouldn't have worked out anyway. It's entirely possible to dump somebody without having another realistic replacement available.

(The more I think about Randall, the more I think that he wouldn't have moved to Lightning Flat with Jack. Leave a stable job to fix up a messed-up ranch further out in the middle of nowhere? No, I think that, even if Jack was trying to quit Ennis, it was all wishful thinking. Less intense of a wish than Jack's claims that Ennis was going to move to Lightning Flat with him, too.)
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Offline dly64

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #146 on: August 09, 2006, 10:46:31 am »
In any case, I think we're supposed to be left somewhat in the dark about this, the way Ennis is, always left wondering. OMT's mention of the other fella to Ennis is fate (i.e., Annie Proulx) twisting the knife, making things that much more torturous for Ennis, and us. It's harder in the story than in the movie, because in the movie, at least 1) we've met Randall, know Jack has known him for a while, saw Jack's deer-in-the-headlights look when Randall mentioned the fishing cabin (for all Ennis knows, the other fella is someone Jack met and fell in love with AFTER seeing Ennis the last time -- at least we have reason to think otherwise), and 2) saw what a big deal it was for Jack to say "Sometimes I miss you so much I can hardly stand it." In the story, it's a more casual paraphrase, not a direct quote, and somehow "I could whip babies" doesn't have quite the same gravity as "I can hardly stand it."

Jane, your post just came in. I've never agreed with the "Jack quit Ennis" theory, and these reasons why neither Randall nor Jack necessarily would have wanted to live together only give my disagreement a tiny bit more support.

You are so right. The whole idea of the “other ranch fella” is another ambiguity in this film. We can only speculate the reality of the situation. Jack’s vulnerability at the lake scene says a lot about his state of mind. No matter what Jack may have been doing …. going to Mexico, having sex with Randall or someone else  …  it could not meet Jack’s emotional needs. Only Ennis could do that. In TS3, we see Ennis holding Jack … reminiscent of the time on BBM when Ennis embraces Jack and hums a lullaby. It is one of those times when we get a glimpse into their love for each other …. in a non-physical intimate way. 

As for Jack “quitting” Ennis … I have never been able to agree with that argument, either. There have been compelling arguments to support that theory … I just don’t buy them (totally).

Diane

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Offline jpwagoneer1964

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #147 on: August 09, 2006, 11:20:00 am »
You are so right. The whole idea of the “other ranch fella” is another ambiguity in this film. We can only speculate the reality of the situation. Jack’s vulnerability at the lake scene says a lot about his state of mind. No matter what Jack may have been doing …. going to Mexico, having sex with Randall or someone else  …  it could not meet Jack’s emotional needs. Only Ennis could do that. In TS3, we see Ennis holding Jack … reminiscent of the time on BBM when Ennis embraces Jack and hums a lullaby. It is one of those times when we get a glimpse into their love for each other …. in a non-physical intimate way. 

As for Jack “quitting” Ennis … I have never been able to agree with that argument, either. There have been compelling arguments to support that theory … I just don’t buy them (totally).


I don't think Jack coud ever 'quit Ennis. As pointed out in another post in  LF when Jacks mother place her hand on Ennis's shoulder telling him 'don't worry you were the love of Jack's life, not....
« Last Edit: August 09, 2006, 02:08:24 pm by jpwagoneer1964 »
Thank you Heath and Jake for showing us Ennis and Jack,  teaching us how much they loved one another.

Offline Mikaela

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #148 on: August 09, 2006, 11:44:16 am »
Jack loved Ennis till he died. The shirts prove that, IMO.

I think Jack mentioned the ranch neighbour to his parents because he wanted to convince himself he really was quitting Ennis, that he'd manage to do it. "Say it loud, make it real". I wouldn't be surprised if Randall would have been as surprised as Ennis to hear about it.


But then I've never really been able to buy that Randall would have been willing - or would have lasted *if* he was willing - to move up to LF. I base the impression of Randall on very little, true - but I base it on about the same that Jack knew by the time Randall came on to him outside the Benefit Dance place:

He's got a good education, an OK job, has got some money (and a wife who knows how to spend them.) He is intellectual rather than "mechanical". He's very straight-forward in coming on to Jack - first at the table and then afterwards, - directly in front of both their wives, too, which IMO is telling us something. My impression is that the reason he's circumspect at all in what he's saying while theyr're sitting on the bench is that he's not entirely certain that Jack is interested - Jack is sending out pretty conflicted signals after all.

He's got a good-looking wife who's so ditzy, dumb and self-absorbed she'd probably not notice what Randall gets up to on the side if it hit her in the face. I can't help wondering if he didn't very deliberately marry her only for that reason. We don't know how long they've been married, but I get the impression from what Lashawn is saying  it's not *that* long ago. Yet Randall very disinterestedly calls his wife "the woman". I don't think he's got any affection for her - he seem to think she's a boring necessity.

Incidentally, is the Aggie game where Randall and Lashawn met a football game? One more sign, if so, that Randall is making sure to be seen doing what "real men" do according to the teachings of fine upstanding citizens like L.D.  Or maybe he just likes football.  :)  

Anyway, all of the above is my way of saying that Randall has managed to blend in. He seems to me to be a person who's found a way to live as comfortably as possible in the dark confines of the closet. I'm not saying he's not feeling horrible about that, not saying he doesn't lie awake at night hating it all, not saying he'd not much rather have lived openly, - but he *has* taken the cards his world has dealt him and is making the most of it. He seems to be handling his life in a less emotional, more deliberately calculated manner than Jack and certainly Ennis. Ennis doesn't want to be with a man except out in the middle of nowhere. Jack wants to live with a man. Both are struggling very much with the discrepancy between what they do and what they want. Randall has taken the middle road between the two of them and plays adroitly by society's rule in public, clearly playing by his own rules in private.

He's making the most of what society will let him do, and be.  At first glance at least, Randall seems much less tortured and conflicted about it than Ennis - seems to have found a way to manage being covertly gay in a straight world without being torn to pieces by the pressure. That *is* a first glance impression, sure enough - but I wonder whether that wasn't also the first impression that Jack got. If so, I think that may have been what attracted Jack to Randall more than anything else. Jack loved Ennis, always, but with all his emotional baggage Ennis was no easy man to love.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2006, 02:27:57 pm by Mikaela »

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #149 on: August 09, 2006, 01:41:39 pm »
Quote
He's got a good-looking wife who's so ditzy, dumb and self-absorbed she'd probably not notice what Randall gets up to on the side if it hit her in the face.

Thanks for that sentence, Mikaela! Gave me a real good laugh!  :laugh:

I'm sure the Aggie game was a college football game. Football is real big in Texas. Remember, "Boys should watch football. You want your son to grow up to be a man."  :D
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