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Friday, October 28, 2011

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This is the thirteenth entry in a series in which I'll countdown my 20 favorite scenes from the last 10 years in movies. To catch up more with the idea of this project, to see the other entries on the countdown, and to find out how you can contribute, click here.

"The gay cowboy movie". That's the unfortunate label Brokeback Mountain had to deal with back in 2005, and a label it still carries today. Most expected its label to be that of Best Picture, but alas, the Academy had other ideas.

I won't get into the Crash vs. Brokeback Mountain debate because that's not what this countdown is about, and I happen to admire both films to a certain degree. Of course, you'll notice no scenes from Paul Haggis' film made the list. Perhaps that fact shows you which side I come down on.

This scene isn't one of sweeping tragedy, but rather unrestrained passion. It's been quite a long time since Jack and Ennis spent that summer on the mountain. They now both have wives and families, but just laying eyes on the other is enough to bring their feelings rushing back. They can't contain themselves, as you'll see. It's a beautiful moment, made all the more emotionally complex when Ennis' wife walks out and sees them.

I love how Ennis is just sitting in miserable silence until he hears Jack pull up. His expression changes immediately upon seeing his former lover. Couldn't say the same thing about Alma, however, who retreats in fright after seeing her husband kissing another man. It speaks volumes of her character that she doesn't do anything. Accompanied by the heartbreaking score, it's a very moving moment.

With the Philly Film Festival last weekend, I started to fall behind on these posts. That's why we'll be doing two per day for the rest of the month. So later today, you'll get scene #7, also featuring the late great Heath Ledger.


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