Friday, March 03, 2006

The Homo Movie

I saw this CNN piece yesterday and I was floored:


This is a year when smaller, more independent films are being recognized in a big way, films with controversial theme, political themes, gay or transgender themes, but outside of Hollywood are the Oscars and the films that are honoring. Are they relevant to middle America? Well, I took a trip to Kansas to find out.


ANDERSON (voice-over): Far from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood lies Lebanon, Kansas, population 250 people, median age 52. A place where three houses recently sold for a grand total of $11,000 on eBay.

Many have asked the question, is Hollywood out of touch with middle America? What better place to find out than the middle of America. This is the geographic center of the continental United States in Lebanon, Kansas.

RANDY MAUS, LEBANON RESIDENT: Out here, at least in rural America where you could say it's the Bible belt, we're still looking for movies that have creative substance and a storyline.

ANDERSON: Randy Maus is a Lebanon transplant from the Boston area. He, along with other Lebanon residence, including the ladies in the Methodist Church bell choir, aren't exactly thrilled with the films the Oscars are honoring.

Has anybody seen "Brokeback Mountain?"


ANDERSON: Anybody want to see it?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're just not interested in all the sex and skin.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just not my style of life.

ANDERSON: What kind of movies do you want Hollywood to make?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about "The Sound of Music" and some of those?

LADIES: Right. Right.

ANDERSON: We stopped by the Lebanon hotspot, Ladow's Market, where one local told us Hollywood just can't relate to a farming way of life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They've never been back in here to know what it's like to actually have to make a living doing this.

ANDERSON: The closest theater is 12 miles away in Smith Center, Kansas. One movie theater, one film shown per week, and none of the movies nominated for best picture have played here.

MIKE HUGHES, CENTER THEATER: We have a large senior citizen base, so we gear a lot of our movies towards that and our children's pictures do real well.

ANDERSON: So say you put "Brokeback Mountain" on the screen?

HUGHES: I feel it would not play very well. It wouldn't be profitable for us.

ANDERSON: Dave Karger, a senior writer for "Entertainment Weekly," says profits aren't the driving force behind the Academy Awards.

DAVE KARGER, "ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY": They're about recognizing the five best movies of the year, not the five most profitable movies of the year.

ANDERSON: Here in the middle of America, in Lebanon, the Oscars are as far from their minds as they seem to be from the minds of those in Hollywood.


ANDERSON: And in addition to "Brokeback Mountain," many of the residents hadn't even heard of the other best picture nominees, "Capote," "Crash," "Munich," "Good Night and Good Luck," and if they had, many of them weren't interested in seeing them. You can bet millions of people will be watching the Oscars, but most likely the viewer numbers will be very, very low in Lebanon, Kansas.

LIN: But "Big Momma" was plague at the theater, and I don't think that one's nominated is it, Brooke?

ANDERSON: "Big Momma's House 2," no it is not nominated this year. I think "Pink Panther" is on its way to that theater as well.

LIN: Excellent. All right, we all are for the arts. Thanks, Brooke.