I haven’t seen Gus Van Sant’s latest Paranoid Park, but for a director that has always been one of my favorites from Drugstore Cowboy, My Own Private Idaho, especially To Die For and certainly Good Will Hunting (actually caught them filming in Harvard Square as a kid and it was the first time I thought holy shit movies are actually made by people).? But lately he’s gone off the reservation with works like Gerry, Last Days and Elephant, though that trilogy of films is inherently more interesting that say Finding Forrester, I’m not sure they are rewatchable on any level.
Hopefully, Milk returns Van Sant to the filmmaker that was both daring and watchable, engaging on an emotional level.? We’ll see.? It’s certainly a story I can’t imagine anyone else telling and the cast including Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, James Franco, Emile Hirsch is all top notch.
Harvey Milk was the first openly elected gay city official in the country when he was elected to the San Francsico Board of Supervisors in 1977.? The following year, both he and the city’s mayor, George Moscone (Victor Garber), were shot to death by former city supervisor, Dan White (Josh Brolin), who blamed his former colleagues for denying White’s attempt to rescind his resignation from the board.
Oddly enough, this bit of US history also gave birth to what is now known as the “twinkie defense.” During White’s trial it was ruled he was incapable of premeditation because the health food and fitness junkie had turned to a diet of twinkies and coca-cola which worsened his mood swings.? White was convicted of voluntary manslaughter instead, which set of the White Night Riots.? Basically though, the Twinkie Defense rules that a person should not be held accountable for their actions because some outside source interferes with their natural biology.? Crazy right?
But that should not be Harvey Milk’s legacy. We should remember him as the courageous civil rights fighter that he was, clearly ahead of his time. Running for office when homosexuality was still considered a “mental disease.”
Even watching the trailer and realizing, shit that’s 1978 not too long ago, the country has come a long way in that time; it is depressing that the country hasn’t come far enough.? Seriously.? It still amazes me that there is even a debate over same-sex marriage.? Okay, I’ll stop.?
The post is about the trailer after all, not my political stances when it comes to the cultural wars (one more point: by calling it a war aren’t we by definition creating a paradigm that something has to be defeated?? Words have power.? There is no “war” to speak of, just people not allowing certain individuals the same rights.? Listening to John McCain say “all people are created equal” during his acceptance speech, I kept waiting for him to essentially say “except the gays.”? No, buddy we are all equal so it’s about time we start acting like it. You can’t play it both ways.).
Milk comes out on December 5, 2008