Monday, April 20, 2009

Close Range: Wyoming Stories

by Annie Proulx

When the movie Brokeback Mountain came out back in 2005, I remember hearing from somewhere that the original short story is quite different from the movie. Ever since, I'd been curious about it.

(For the record, I didn't like the movie that much the first time I saw it. I was just kinda "meh." I watched it again on DVD, cuz I have several friends who really-really-really liked it. After watching it a second time, I realize that part of the reason I didn't like it is that it's hard to understand what the characters are saying. Ennis especially is a mumbler, but Jack too. And I think the sound quality in general is just kinda poor. I did, however, like the movie more upon second watching — at home with the sound turned way up — and in fact it made me cry.)

So, fast-forward to late last week. I finally got around to reading the book. "Brokeback Mountain" happens to be the last story in the collection, and I wanted to read some of the others for the sake of context too. I didn't really like the first one... second one was better. Not bad, necessarily, but not my cup of tea. I got through most of the book, and warmed up a little to the western milieu, but finally decided to skip the last two before "Brokeback Mountain."

Turns out it's exactly like the movie — or vice versa, I suppose. There are several lines of dialogue in the movie exactly as they are in the book. And again it made me cry.

I wish I could remember how/where I got the impression that the story was supposed to be different from the movie. Makes me wonder if there wasn't some of kind of conservative smear campaign to convince people the movie was pro-gay Hollywood propaganda because stuff like that wouldn't/doesn't happen in the "real" wild west.

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