Author Topic: A Ninth Viewing Observation  (Read 129652 times)

Offline serious crayons

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #60 on: June 02, 2006, 08:31:07 am »
How about this one: During the scene where Alma meets Jack, there’s a loaf of Wonder bread (in its opaque wrapper) behind her. Each person in that room is wondering--and hiding--something.

When Alma confronts Ennis at Thanksgiving, there’s a loaf of bread behind her. This one is in a clear wrapper--what was previously concealed (by both of them) is now exposed

Whooooeee, goadra! On your very first post you've come up with an observation that in four months of hanging out on the message boards I've never seen anywhere before. Fantastic, and welcome to the group!

Offline ednbarby

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #61 on: June 02, 2006, 09:01:34 am »
Yes, welcome, Goadra.  You're gonna get along just fine with this crowd.  NICE one, by the way.  :)

Back to the subject of possible flaws, I beg very respectfully to differ on the notion that Jack's behavior when he told Ennis Aguirre had come back to say "bring 'em down" was out of character.  I think it was completely in character.  Jack was an eternal optimist - as some have said, he just figured he'd see Ennis again.  To me, it didn't occur to him that he wouldn't until he watched him in his side-view mirror as he drove away.

One more thing:  Jack was really never one to bare his emotions to Ennis.  Yes, he made himself vulnerable when he went for it in the first tent scene.  But not in the second.  It was Ennis who made the first move that time.  Jack would not have approached him had he not come into the tent.  Jack waited to cry until after he drove away after the divorce.  Ennis never sees the way he looks at him after the dozy embrace, or the way he looks after he drives away for the last time.  And though he went out on a limb to say "Sometimes I miss you so much I can hardly stand it," look at the quiet, measured, not-looking-at-Ennis way he says that.  Just like the way he says, "It could be like this - just like this, always."  He never pleads with him, though you always sense that's what's going on inside of him.  He was a master at keeping all that inside - and a master liar in order to do that ("Me, neither," saying he's sleeping with LaShawn when it's really Randall...)  As the song goes, he took his pension in loneliness and alcohol.  Ennis was always the more volatile.  Because bottled up with sadness and loneliness in Ennis was rage.  That was the one thing, entitled as he was to it, that Jack never had.  When he lets all the built-up anger and disappointment out finally at the lake, there's a sense that when he's done, he's done - there's no more left.  Whereas there seems to be no end to Ennis' rage.

I actually think that had Jack gone off about Aguirre, having to leave early, and all of it up on the mountain, that would have been terribly out of character for him.  But maybe that's just me?
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #62 on: June 02, 2006, 12:07:48 pm »
Back to the subject of possible flaws, I beg very respectfully to differ on the notion that Jack's behavior when he told Ennis Aguirre had come back to say "bring 'em down" was out of character.  I think it was completely in character.  Jack was an eternal optimist - as some have said, he just figured he'd see Ennis again.  To me, it didn't occur to him that he wouldn't until he watched him in his side-view mirror as he drove away.

I actually think that had Jack gone off about Aguirre, having to leave early, and all of it up on the mountain, that would have been terribly out of character for him.  But maybe that's just me?

Good point, Barb, about Jack's concealing his emotions. Whether it's because he's easygoing and lets things roll off him, or because he doesn't want to trigger Ennis' startle point, or because he's accustomed to hiding his vulnerabilities (maybe originally from his dad?), or because that's just his way of dealing with bayd news, I can't say. I'll leave that analysis to Jackologists like yourself.

But again very respectfully (and BTW, isn't it amazing how much nicer disagreement seems when preceded by that R-word?) even assuming that Jack did figure he'd see Ennis again, I still think he's insufficiently upset. Imagine falling in love with someone, spending one passionate idyllic life-changing month with him, just the two of you together in a wilderness paradise. You're looking forward to another month of bliss. But then, abruptly and unexpectedly, it's called to a premature halt.

Even if you do expect to see him again, you're not sure exactly when, there are no guarantees (Jack knew about Ennis' impending marriage, and there'd been no mention of changing that plan), and at best your next encounter might be a whole year away -- hell, even if you're absolutely sure you'll see him again, but not for a year -- wouldn't you be distraught? I know I would. Me, I'd be distraught even if the idyll had lasted through its whole scheduled term.

Jack could have welcomed the opportunity to join Ennis in trashing Aguirre; he'd done it before about the sleeping arrangements and the beans/sheep. And, being able to read Ennis fairly well, you'd think he might realize why Ennis was so upset and try to gently broach the subject.

The best way I can think of to fit this behavior into his character is that he knows why Ennis is upset (he looks like he might, when he gazes out at Ennis sulking just before heading over to lassoo him) but, again always leery of that startle point, he wants to be tactful and avoid addressing it directly.


Offline ednbarby

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #63 on: June 02, 2006, 01:01:26 pm »
Quote
The best way I can think of to fit this behavior into his character is that he knows why Ennis is upset (he looks like he might, when he gazes out at Ennis sulking just before heading over to lassoo him) but, again always leery of that startle point, he wants to be tactful and avoid addressing it directly.

I daresay you've hit the nail on the head with that one.  This here Jackologist couldn't put it any better.  The only thing I'll add is that imagine if Ennis hadn't sucker-punched him when he went to administer to his wounds.  Imagine if Ennis had *let* him.  I think we'd see a whole other facet of Jack's real feelings about the impending separation then.
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #64 on: June 02, 2006, 03:37:43 pm »
I daresay you've hit the nail on the head with that one.  This here Jackologist couldn't put it any better.  The only thing I'll add is that imagine if Ennis hadn't sucker-punched him when he went to administer to his wounds.  Imagine if Ennis had *let* him.  I think we'd see a whole other facet of Jack's real feelings about the impending separation then.

Absolutely. There sure are a lot of "if onlys" in that scene, as well as in and the truckside one following.

Offline nakymaton

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #65 on: June 02, 2006, 03:39:45 pm »
How about this one: During the scene where Alma meets Jack, there’s a loaf of Wonder bread (in its opaque wrapper) behind her. Each person in that room is wondering--and hiding--something.

When Alma confronts Ennis at Thanksgiving, there’s a loaf of bread behind her. This one is in a clear wrapper--what was previously concealed (by both of them) is now exposed

Oh, wow, good one, goadra. And welcome. :)

The only thing I'll add is that imagine if Ennis hadn't sucker-punched him when he went to administer to his wounds.  Imagine if Ennis had *let* him.  I think we'd see a whole other facet of Jack's real feelings about the impending separation then.

*imagines scene in full NC-17 detail*

*comes back into thread after a cold shower*

Ok, kidding aside -- that's the tragedy of the whole relationship, isn't it? I think that Jack's apparent insensitivity is entirely within character (while respectfully disagreeing with Katherine on the subject ;D - but can I tease you about it, like it's a harmonica or something?) -- but so is Ennis's reaction. I mean, I can't imagine Jack coming out and saying "Hey, Ennis, I can tell that you're really upset about this. Let's talk about it." And I can't imagine Ennis saying "Thanks for wiping the blood off my nose. I was just so upset about leaving you, you know?" They're both who they are, perfect for each other and yet doomed by some combination of outside forces and their own personalities.
Watch out. That poster has a low startle point.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #66 on: June 02, 2006, 03:48:21 pm »
Ok, kidding aside -- that's the tragedy of the whole relationship, isn't it? I think that Jack's apparent insensitivity is entirely within character (while respectfully disagreeing with Katherine on the subject ;D - but can I tease you about it, like it's a harmonica or something?) -- but so is Ennis's reaction. I mean, I can't imagine Jack coming out and saying "Hey, Ennis, I can tell that you're really upset about this. Let's talk about it." And I can't imagine Ennis saying "Thanks for wiping the blood off my nose. I was just so upset about leaving you, you know?" They're both who they are, perfect for each other and yet doomed by some combination of outside forces and their own personalities.

Yes, in fact that suggests one of the big "if onlys" about this scene: if only Ennis and Jack had gotten into couples therapy and learned to express their feelings honestly and openly while always being careful to use "I" sentences so as not to put the other person on the defensive (i.e., "When you sucker punch me, I feel bad.")

 ;)

Offline alec716

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #67 on: June 04, 2006, 10:15:27 pm »
OK, that was funny!  thanks for the chuckle from someone who spent the late '80s immersed in group process.  there could be a whole discussion thread of other examples of Jack and Ennis speaking in those "when you blank, I feel blank" statements... could get pretty hilarious.
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Offline stevenedel

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #68 on: June 05, 2006, 06:20:58 am »
That line seems out of character for him because he usually knows what to do in “practical” situations (chasing after the mules, shooting the elk).

Following up on that thought: I got the impression that at some point, each of the three characters that I will for the sake of simplicity lump under the category "gay" (Jack, Ennis, Randall) is associated with clumsiness. Jack can't open a can of beans, spills cigarette ashes on his clothes and doesn't catch the key L.D. throws him; Ennis won't work in the powerplant, because, clumsy as he says he is, he's afraid he'll get electrocuted; and Randall, says LaShawn, "is not very mechanical".
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: A Ninth Viewing Observation
« Reply #69 on: June 05, 2006, 10:04:20 am »
Interesting points, goadra and stevendel. And stevendel, I second the welcome!

Personally, though, I'll have to say I don't think I could compare the three men on similar terms. I think Ennis is feigning clumsiness about the power plant just because he doesn't want to take the job. In fact, he is pretty mechanical (fixes Jack's truck) and coordinated (shoots an elk, easily catches an unexpectedly tossed watch left-handed). Dancing is another matter, though; clearly he is terrible at that.

Randall's ineptness we know only through LaShawn, and I've always interpreted all her criticisms as unwitting euphemisms for his sexuality (much like Lureen's "husbands don't never want to dance with their wives"). We don't know for sure that they're accurate.

Jack is genuinely clumsy, it's true. I've always thought that's one reason he's attracted to Ennis, who isn't. Pretty good dancer, though.

And it's true that none of the men pay much attention to the women in their lives.