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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

5 reasons I’m psyched for ‘Milk’

All this week! 5 movies I’m psyched for in November — well, 3 movies I’m psyched for and 2 I’m not yet totally sure about but would like to be psyched for — and 5 reasons why. No. 1: Milk [opens limited November 26].
1. Really? All those local anti-gay propositions passed all over the country yesterday? *sigh* I think I need a reminder that we have actually come some distance, however small, from the days when gays were vilified as the spawn of Satan who were here to seduce our children. Not that things are much better today, but at least the bigots — most of them, at least — have crossed off the “spawn of Satan” bit. The children, it seems, are still in danger of being, I dunno, metrosexualized? Honestly, what is wrong with people? I’d say that a movie like this one might change their minds, except they’d never see it… and probably never even have a chance to see it, if it never widens beyond a limited release. Which it probably won’t. Did I say I was psyched? Now I’ve talked myself into being depressed…

2. Director Gus Van Sant. I don’t love all his films — in fact, I kind of think that Elephant is the biggest load of bullshit I’ve ever seen, and Finding Forrester is a bunch of tripe with a topping of tripe with a serving of tripe on the side — but I love that he takes big chances with most of his films that, more often than not, pay off in intriguing ways.

3. That cast! Sean Penn, of course, but also Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin (who has grown on me, a lot, recently, particularly with American Gangster and W.), James Franco, Diego Luna, Victor Garber… I guess most of them are playing gay guys, but still, it’s kind of a gal’s dream movie, all that manflesh to ogle. Also, hardly anyone knows Denis O’Hare’s name, but he’s this great New York theater and TV actor who shows up for intense small parts in films — he’s the scary psych doctor in Changeling who’s so mean to Angelina Jolie — and he’s in this too.

4. The gay agenda. I, for one, support our nicely dressed queer overlords. They throw great parties, for one.

5. James Franco naked. Hey, he’s cute. Also, when he describes the scene like this: “I felt like the girl in all those teen movies that pops out of the hot tub topless,” it makes me hope that this will be little blow for equalizing casual nudity for both sexes onscreen. Heh, I said blow.

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