Brokeback Mountain

Matt Damon in Elysium

While discussing his new film Promised Land and how boring he is, Matt Damon told Playboy (don’t click if you dislike looking at a lot of butts) about the experience of filming in a massive trash dump for Elysium and got humble about the roles he missed out on. “Having to say no to Avatar was tough because I particularly wanted to work with James Cameron, and still do, because he’s fantastic,” Damon said. “He knew he was the star of that movie and that everyone was going to go see it anyway. When he said, ‘Look, I’m offering it to you, but if you say no, the movie doesn’t need you,’ I remember thinking, Oh God, not only do I have to say no because of scheduling, but he’s going to make a star out of some guy who’s going to start taking jobs from me later.” Damon also talked about missing out on Milk and Brokeback Mountain, but ultimately concluding that Josh Brolin and Heath Ledger were the right actors for the parts because of how stellar they portrayed their respective characters.

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Over Under - Large

Brokeback Mountain had the highest opening weekend per screen average in 2005, and it went from opening in only five theaters to playing wide all over the world by the end of its run. Then, when award season rolled around, it garnered all sorts of acclaim, getting awards for best picture from multiple outlets, Oscars for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Director, and it even got recognition from GLAAD for being the year’s most outstanding film. Pretty much it was embraced by everyone as being groundbreaking and important, and it saved Ang Lee’s butt after he pissed everyone off by making The Hulk. Weekend came out just this last September, but you might not remember it because not many people ended up checking it out. By the time it left theaters it had only made a domestic gross of  $484,592. Ouch. And while this movie also got some love from GLAAD, it was ignored by all of the mainstream awards shows like the Oscars and the Golden Globes. A cultural phenomenon it wasn’t.

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Culture Warrior

The Oscar montage reel is a genre on its own. It’s transparently demonstrative of the overall function of the Academy Awards. These montage reels summarize and make explicit what the annual ceremony attempts to accomplish writ large: to create and solidify a canon of important American films, along with a delimited understanding of their importance. Yes, the Oscars have occasionally given a voice to the indie underdog and rush through their obligatory movies-with-subtitles category, but besides the occasional screenplay nomination for a truly innovative film and the rare foreign language film that broaches through the marginal categories, the Oscars are by and large a celebration of American cinema, specifically Hollywood cinema. During the 2006 ceremony, a moment occurred that has been seared into my memory. I haven’t been able to find a clip of it online since it aired six years ago, so I hope this isn’t wishful or inaccurate. The 2006 ceremony consisted of a spate of overtly political films, as Crash, Brokeback Mountain, Munich, Good Night and Good Luck competed for top honors, and Syriana was in the running for other awards. In likely hopes of gaining cultural capital from celebrating mainstream cinema’s rarely explored but ever-present political function, the Academy aired a self-congratulatory reel of past Oscar-nominated films that have addressed other topical social problems, from In the Heat of the Night to Philadelphia. When the lights came back and the audience applauded with anticipated decorum, host Jon Stewart then graced the stage and stated, in a […]

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Culture Warrior

One of the great misconceptions about Hollywood is that it is a liberal institution. Several false assumptions inform this misconception: thinking of “Hollywood” as a monolithic entity in any way besides its shared corporate infrastructure, confusing public endorsements of celebrity politicians by celebrity movie stars as political activism, thinking that left-leaning consumers of movies see Hollywood as representing their political beliefs in any way, selectively reading a limited number of texts (e.g., Green Zone “proves” Hollywood’s liberalism, but every superhero movie ever isn’t proof of its conservatism), and, most importantly, thinking that the most public figures associated with Hollywood (i.e., stars and filmmakers) are Hollywood. This last point I think is one that has continued to be the least considered when such straw man critiques are drawn, because Hollywood here is equated only with its most visible figures who overshadow its intricate but also not-so-shrouded political economy. It’s no mistake that despite the fluctuating numbers of major and minor Hollywood studios in the past 100 years, the most powerful studios, like the biggest banks in the nation, have been referred to as “The Big Five.” And indeed, to the surprise of no one, both Big Fives have had and are continuing a lucrative relationship with one another. Hollywood’s agenda, of course, has always been profit, and the representatives of this ideology are not George Clooney and Matt Damon, but Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal (Chairman/CEO & Co-Chairman, Sony/Columbia), Stephen Blairson (CEO, 20th Century Fox), Brad Grey (Chairman/CEO, Paramount), Ronald Meyer […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? On most nights, it’s average. Tonight, it is slightly above average. We begin tonight with an image from a movie you’re not looking forward to, but only because you probably don’t know about it yet. I know about it and am very much looking forward to it. And based on the transitive property of fandom, that means you’ll want to see it, too. It’s a first image from No Way Out, a short film by Aaron Morgan that was announced as part of the Fantastic Fest 2011 Shorts Program. I was in an Aaron Morgan joint once, and I can tell you that he’s a true professional, especially when it comes to the casting couch. Though I doubt AJ Bowen had to go through the same “rigorous” “casting process.” He’s legit and I was a newcomer.

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cultwarrior_decadeinreview

This week’s Culture Warrior gives an exhaustive review of the decade that you won’t find anywhere else on the Interwebs.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, Jake Gyllenhaal ends up appearing in almost every segment randomly. Him as a topic. He doesn’t actually appear on the show.

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turnedon-gaysex

In this week’s sex column, Bethany gives us five great cinematic reasons to love gay sex – just the way Leviticus never intended.

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bdreport-rolemodels

Another week, another fine selection here at the now-teetering-on-monthly Blu-ray Report. This week we get hit with some Role Models, some old school Batman, a gay rights activist and Cartman, all in HD.

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In our first feature for Porn Week, we explore the beauty of sex scenes on film by sharing our favorite ten.

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These films show us what we already know about the difficult world we live in. But they also give us hope that love is possible if somehow we can hold on and believe even when the odds are stacked against us.

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published: 04.19.2014
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published: 04.19.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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