Brokeback Mountain Parody Trailers

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Trope · Genre
Synonyms: re-cut trailer, remixed trailer, spoof trailer
Related: constructed reality
See Also: Vidding
Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom
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It could be argued that the constructed reality genre of vidding went viral (although not under that name) sometime after the release of Brokeback Mountain in 2005, with the explosion of Brokeback Mountain parody trailers on YouTube and other streaming video sites.

Re-cut trailers had existed before Brokeback Mountain [1]. However, they mainly consisted of using alternate background music and out-of-context dialogue to make a certain movie appear as if it were in a completely different genre, for instance, Mary Poppins as a horror movie or Scarface as a romantic comedy.

Brokeback Mountain parody trailers took the concept a step further, creating a new type of vid, essentially a fusion in which characters from different movies and TV shows were re-cast as the main characters of Brokeback Mountain.

Virginia Heffernan, a critic for the New York Times, described the typical Brokeback parody trailer as follows:

The parodies typically use Gustavo Santaolalla's sexy, mournful theme from "Brokeback Mountain," together with the title cards from that movie's trailer, to reframe clips from another movie. It works almost every time: a gay movie seems to emerge when scenes between male leads, or a male lead and a supporting actor, are slowed down, set to make-out music and bumpered by portentous cards that say things like, "A truth they couldn't deny." [2]

The original, and arguably most popular, Brokeback trailer was "Brokeback to the Future," a mashup of Brokeback Mountain and the Back to the Future movies. It was created by members of the Chocolate Cake City comedy troupe. One version of this trailer was viewed almost four million times on YouTube. [3]

Several Brokeback Mountain parody trailers were made by slash vidders from media fandom, such as the G'Kar/Londo Babylon 5 version, Brokeback Babylon, [4] by Mayanvideos, but many more were made by amateur video editors from outside media fandom, who were presumably unfamiliar with constructed reality techniques as used in songvids by media fandom vidders. Many Brokeback parody trailer creators were male, and many created their parody trailers as viral advertising, such as for a comedy website.

Nearly every popular tv show and movie was mashed up with Brokeback Mountain at some point, and many parody trailers were linked on pop culture sites like Defamer [5] or Entertainment Weekly's PopWatch blog. In a PopWatch blog post from March 2006, the blogger reported:

The producers of Lost have just clued PopWatch in to Brokeback Island, voted by the series' producers, cast and crew as their favorite of the many Brokeback-Lost spoofs they've seen in recent weeks.[6]

The creator of Brokeback Island was Molly, aka crazymol4588. On her Youtube profile page, she notes that her vid was also mentioned in The Washington Post and Details Magazine. [7] The Details Magazine article is an interview with actor Josh Holloway. It quotes Holloway's wife Yessika Kumala as telling him, "You've made it, honey ... You've been brokeback'd." [8] Ms. Kumala then emails a link to Brokeback Island to J. J. Abrams. Many more links to Brokeback parodies of Lost can be found on the Lostpedia wiki.

MTV.com even published an interview with the creators of the original Brokeback to the Future trailer, and with parody-trailer creator Tian Tang, a movie buff who created Brokeback parodies for the movies Rush Hour and Heat. In this interview, Tang said:

'Heat,' the movie, is very interesting. ... Al Pacino has shot Robert De Niro but he still holds his hand as he watches him die, as a show of respect and honor among those two men. Such clips can be interpreted as innuendos. [9]

Another Defamer post, in March 2006, declared the Brokeback parody trailer fad to be "over," stating that once an internet meme had been covered in the New York Times (in the aforementioned article with Virginia Heffernan) it was officially dead.

However, since Virginia Heffernan's article tied the Brokeback parody trailer phenomenon to academic Leslie Fiedler's thesis that great 19th-century American novels often focused on an implied homoerotic relationship between men, it could be seen as an argument that these trailers were more than an ephemeral Internet meme:

Now Fiedler's thesis seems to apply to Hollywood movies as well, but the thorough close-readings that have refined and broadened Fiedler's argument this time have been provided not by graduate students, but by online pranksters using little more than laptops, a broadband connection and Final Cut Pro.

References

  1. Anthony Leong's My1UP Page, My Favorite Trailer Remixes Posted April 12, 2007. Accessed November 23, 2008.
  2. Virginia Heffernan, Brokeback Spoofs: Tough Guys Unmasked Posted March 2, 2006. Accessed November 23, 2008
  3. Charlotte Ridge, Cowboys Can't Be Gay! The Politics of Brokeback Mountain Parodies Accessed November 23, 2008.
  4. Mayanvideos, Brokeback Babylon Posted July 12, 2007. Accessed November 23, 2008
  5. Defamer, Finally, A Geek-Positive Brokeback Parody Posted January 31, 2006. Accessed November 23, 2008.
  6. PopWatch, 'Lost' gets in on the 'Brokeback' parody act Posted March 3, 2006. Accessed November 23, 2008.
  7. Molly, crazymol4588's Channel Accessed November 23, 2008.
  8. Details Magazine The hottest redneck on television spills secrets from the set of Lost Accessed November 23, 2008
  9. Larry Carroll, 'Brokeback To The Future' Creators Hope Heath And Jake Don't Hate Them Posted March 2, 2006. Accessed November 23, 2008
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