Gene Shalit has been the Today show film critic for 31 years now, not because he has anything particularly insightful to say, but because it's fun to look at a man in permanent Groucho nose glasses every morning. But Shalit's bizarre Brokeback Mountain review yesterday has revealed a dark side to Bozo the Pringles Guy that none of us could ever have anticipated. An exerpt:
The sheep do nothing special as they bleet around the bush, but Jack and Ennis do do something special. They have sex. Jack, who strikes me as a sexual predator, tracks Ennis down and coaxes him into sporadic trysts. But sporadic isn't frequent enough for Jack. He wants Ennis full time! He whines, he pleads, he shouts that when they're apart, he's desolated. Jack can't absorb Ennis' implied response: better desolate than never! Heath Ledger's performance under Ang Lee's direction is outstanding, and Brokeback does have a few dramatic peaks. But this may be because its unconventional theme is outside the buns, it is being wildly overpraised. Not by me!
While gay rights groups are decrying the review as a bigoted and blindsided take on the tender central love story, our gut reaction is something else entirely. Shalit is behaving in a perfectly normal fashion, if he were to have fallen completely head-over-heels in love with Ennis over the course of the screening. Think about it: who hasn't tried to convince the object of their unreciprocated affection that the new special someone in their life isn't actually an obsessive, stalking psycho. Poor Gene. The guy is a total goner for the "outstanding" Ennis, completely desolated by being held outside the buns of his cowboy crush.