Sunday, December 21, 2008


The story of Harvey Milk is one I've known only briefly. An out gay man who was elected to San Francisco's board of supervisors and who was gunned down by a fellow supervisor in 1978. The subject seems perfect for a movie, right?

In Milk, Gus Van Sant's affecting dedication, Sean Penn plays Harvey Milk, a man frustrated with his life, so, he moves from New York area to San Francisco to follow his dreams of living a simplistic life with his partner. Soon he and the audience realize, like many instances in this life, sometimes having the easy life isn't meant for everyone. Milk is dissatisfied with his neighborhood and the treatment of homosexuals and wants change.

Milk begins by running for office. He fails. Repeatedly. He does eventually win, however, after much strife and alienation experienced by his long-time boyfriend played by James Franco in a strong, subtle performance.

What fascinates and awes in this movie is the degree to which Milk plays the system. Yes, he's gay, but he's smart and calculating as a politician. He's elected. And there's resistance of course. Threats on his life are made. He forges ahead.

What is great about this movie is its universal and timeless message that we our in control of our fates, if we're willing to take the responsibility to do so. Still more amazing is Penn's ability to strip away the narrative of the film and talk directly to the audience without actually doing so. At times, when Milk is talking to those huddled masses, that he shakes you to the core and makes you look at yourself. And personally, as a gay man, he tells you exactly what every homosexual must realize: a life of simplicity and privacy is something you should have if you desire it, but no matter how we try, what happens in the bedroom affects us as much as any other force in our lives, and hiding can't lead to change.

Inspirational, chilling and affecting. Van Sant crafts an amazing and subtle movie with much grace. Could it have been as good if the director himself wasn't gay?

Josh Brolin, as Dan White, Milk's fellow supervisor who eventually guns him down, is strong and reserved. There's something boiling under White's skin. Frustration? Disenfranchisement? Whatever it was, we know how it ends. And what an unexpectedly expected ending.

This movie, its quality of performance and craftsmanship, will be remembered for years to come, and perhaps everything Milk fought for won't die in vain. ***A***

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Random Acts of Boredom

You Are a Maine Coon Cat

You tend to be loving and playful around your family and friends.

But when you're around strangers you tend to be a bit reserved.

You are intuitive. You understand human emotions well.

You do best when you are around people. You don't like being left alone.

You Are the Tree Pose

You are a well grounded, down to earth person. Not much shakes you.

You can remain steady through a crisis - and other people lean on you.

You have high standards and morals. You easily rise above pettiness.

While people sometimes accuse you of being stubborn, you are able to shift focus when you need to.

You Are 46% Likely to Survive Another Great Depression

Your habits are pretty on par with the average person.

Unfortunately, this means your chances aren't good in another Great Depression.

Start saving your money now. Living in debt isn't doing you any favors.

Also figure out how to live a little more cheaply. Every little bit you can trim will help.

You Are a Pilgrim

Like the pilgrims, you've felt persecuted for your beliefs from time to time.

You have a strong sense of right and wrong. Your morality sometimes makes you feel out of step with the modern world.

You may not go as far as moving across the world, but you still identify with the pilgrims.

Well, except for the whole stealing land and killing Indians thing.

Your Sexuality is Australian

The average Australian first has sex at age 17.

And the average number of partners is 13.

17% of Australians have had a same sex experience.

22% of Aussies have done some role playing in the bedroom.

You Should Spend the Holidays In

Denmark - where you leave a mischievous elf a bowl of rice pudding

You Are Pecan Pie Soda

Sweet, but totally nuts

Your Christmas is Most Like: A Charlie Brown Christmas

Each year, you really get into the spirit of Christmas.

Which is much more important to you than nifty presents.