What does it mean when Larry
H. Miller pulls 'Brokeback' but shows 'Hostel'?
By Jack Saunders
April 24, 2006 | I'm very familiar with Jazz owner
and the you-know-this-guy, car-dealing czar Larry H.
Miller. Miller, during the opening weekend of Brokeback
Mountain at his Salt Lake Jordan Commons Megaplex
this spring pulled the picture hours before its Utah
Of course this sparked a fiery controversy with community
members. Supposedly Miller had just heard that morning
that the film was about homosexuality and made the call
to pull the film. Miller is known for his deep religious
conviction. He doesn't go to Jazz games on Sundays and
bankrolls LDS film projects.
The controversy, of course, was good publicity for
Brokeback. As a limited-release film Brokeback
surpassed box office predictions and received all kinds
of accolades. It also did well in Utah and eventually
came to Logan and stayed for an astonishing four weeks
(those of you who know Logan, know that that's saying
Miller, when asked by the local media as to why he
did it, said he didn't agree with the content and got
a lot of flak and praise for saying that. My straight-arrow
father called him a hero. Others called him a hypocrite,
pointing out other films that the church would also
frown upon that were shown in his theaters at the same
time as Brokeback. Case in Point, Eli Roth's
Hostel. After having seen both films, I can't
help but comment.
Hostel is brutally baked with decapitations,
chainsaw limb hacking, disembowelments, eye plucking
and brick-powered skull bashing. In addition it blows
Brokeback out of the water in the sex/nudity
category as well. This film boarders on NC-17 and by
nature is anti-American, inhumane, sadistic, cruel and
bloodthirsty. But, one thing is for sure there are no
homosexuals -- if anything, the film is also anti-gay.
One scene shows a man on a train touch the knee of the
man he's sitting next to. He gets called a "faggot."
In contrast, Brokeback is the classic, tragic
love story. It follows the romantic and secretive 20-year
relationship of cowboys Jack and Enos and profoundly
defies the stereotypical masculine nature of the cowboy
image. It provokes altered, off-the-beaten-path thinking
and promotes conversation about the traditionally taboo
subject of homosexuality. It's also a reflective portrait
of small-town America and typical conservative, xenophobic
So, is Miller heroic for standing up for his values
and standards or is he just another homophobe? Had he
seen both films would his decision still have been the
Perhaps this is just another illustration on mainstream
society's homophobia. Does showing Hostel over
Brokeback imply that Miller would rather promote
brutality and merciless killings over homosexuality?
If the content concern for Miller was sex scenes, why
didn't he pull Hostel and many other films
like it that showcase explicit erotica? Would he rather
watch people die than see men kiss?
At the time's of Miller's decision I posed this hypothetical
question to a co-worker while conversing about the situation:
"Would you rather watch two guys kiss or someone get
decapitated?" Surprisingly his answer was the later.
My co-worker is a non-traditional male nurse and just
got his doctorate. I was banking on a different answer
from him. So maybe Miller's not so far off. Maybe the
latter would be the consensus of most Americans. I would
like to hope it wouldn't be.