As you well know by now the film Crash won the Oscar for the best film of the year. I’ve only seen part of the film and don’t remember much of it. But, the film did win over Brokeback Mountain, which I’ve yet to see either. (It hasn’t been a big moviegoing season for me this year).
While Brokeback Mountain didn’t win the best picture Oscar, Ang Lee received best director, and to me, more importantly, Larry McMurtry received the Oscar for best screenplay adapation. This made me happy.
McMurtry adapted the screenplay from Annie Proulx’s short story "Brokeback Mountain," which I haven’t read either, but want to read. While it’s important that a film like Brokeback Mountain gets acknowledgement for depicting a gay love as enduring as love should be, just as important to me is McMurtry’s winning the Oscar, not just because McMurtry’s an important writer to me personally, but because of what he said in his acceptance speech: (paraphrasing here) for everyone to remember how important it is to read and to keep the culture of the book alive.
That’s a wonderful statement from someone for whom the love of books is essential. McMurtry has made the love of books essential to his life; and in turn that love has provided his livelihood by informing him as a writer.
McMurtry’s Last Picture Show is one of the most significant books in my life: It was the first book I’d read by a serious witer from Texas and allowed me to understand that a writer from here could write about what McMurtry was writing about and be taken seriously. (Before I knew McMurtry was from Texas and wrote about Texas, the only writer from Texas that I’d ever heard of and read was Robert E. Howard, the inventor of Conan the Barbarian.)
Even more inspiring is that McMurtry grew up in small town (Archer City) much like the two small towns in which I grew up (Marlin and Academy, Texas); Academy hauntingly similar to the fictional Thalia of The Last Picture Show. It was OK for me to be the bookish kid from the small town in Texas. Reading McMurtry, knowing something about him, validated me, who I was, who I am, and what I hope to become and achieve.