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At The Movies: Brokeback and George:

Or How Brokeback Mountain Ruined Curious George. Sasha StoneMirror film critic Curious George, as written in book form, has always been a little weird, admittedly —- a grown man dressed in yellow hanging out with a little monkey who gets into all sorts of trouble. It isn’t long before visions of Michael Jackson are dancing in our heads. But Curious George is one of those initiations into childhood every kid must, by law, experience. They all seem to like Curious George and would it really matter if they didn’t? When it was announced there would be a film of the beloved books, the built-in audience seemed guaranteed. Since anxious parents with nothing to do on a weekend will take their kid to see anything rated G, PG or sometimes PG-13 (who are we kidding, sometimes R) Curious George was a major ka-ching in the making.Here’s the thing, though. Anyone who has seen Brokeback Mountain, or the subsequent parody shorts floating around the internet, will have a hard time not giggling inappropriately at Curious George. How much has Brokeback Mountain forever changed the way we see male archetypes in film? Well, let’s see. Brokeback to the Future (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfODSPIYwpQ) edits together all three Back to the Future movies into one epic love story between Doc and McFly. Top Gun 2: Brokeback Squadron (http://www.ebaumsworld.com/2006/01/barebacktopgun.html) has the same guitar theme that’s in Future and, of course, Brokeback Mountain itself. But it doesn’t stop there – Brokeback Heat with Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino as lovers, and even one for the poor little penguins in March of the Penguins (a tribute to the recent discovery of the gay penguins at a German zoo). The funny thing is that Brokeback Mountain uncorked a hidden map of sorts to the rampant homoerotica in our cinematic templates. And it’s very nearly foolproof.Here we’ve been thinking all along that it’s about the boy meets girl. Underneath all of that are longing looks between men, lingering smiles, very suggestive dialogue. These satirists hardly had to do anything at all to merge the male prototypes. The ingredients were already there. Who knew?The body language of men when it comes to relating to one another is inherently funny, these parodies have revealed. They stand stiff as boards, afraid to touch each other. Women together are more relaxed, have less of a boundary issue. Straight men themselves are so afraid to be thought of as gay that they come off uncomfortable which inevitably comes off as funny.The formula can be applied to any very popular movie. Jaws: three men alone at sea, until something unexpected happened. Casablanca could be recut as a love affair between Rick and Lazlo with Elsa the forgotten hetero wife. Imagine the possibilities with any Clint Eastwood movie, the more macho the better.The only way we all could be informed in mass of this phenomenon is the glory and power of the internet. An obscure kid from some college back east slaps together some video footage and suddenly, a movement is born. This may be the first film but it’s very likely it won’t be the last. So back to Curious George. You can take your kid if you want to, but be warned. You will be seized with fits of laughter just imagining what some video web wire head plans to do with the guy in the yellow suit and his little monkey, “it was forbidden love from the start…”With the vocal talents of Will Ferrell and Drew Barrymore, Curious George is a decent enough animated feature, probably better for video shelves than movie theaters. The film opened in third place, behind Steve Martin’s Pink Panther and Final Destination 3. One day perhaps the Brokeback effect will wear off but for now, I don’t know about you, but I won’t be able to watch any serious film involving males again without thinking about them discovering their inner gay cowboy.

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