Saturday, March 14, 2009


This week I received the Gus Van Sant film "Milk" from Netflix! Last night I finally had the chance to see it! And I want to let the WORLD know how much I loved this film. For anyone who doesn't already know, it is the story of the first openly gay elected official, Harvey Milk. He is to LGBT people, what Martin Luther King Jr. is to Black people. And I can say that because I am both! He fought for gay rights when it wasn't popular and he set the precedent by which we still fight today in the rights for equality. I am so glad that Gus Van Sant, an openly gay filmmaker himself, has finally brought this story to screen. It has to be said also that the writing, by Oscar winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black was very worthy of the Academy Award that it did receive! He also gave an amazing Academy Award acceptance speech when he won this year! Nice going Lance!

One of the reason's why I loved the DVD is because of all the extras on included with this disc. It contained several featurettes, however in particular was the "Remembering Harvey" short. This featured many of the people who were with Milk during his historic rise to fame in San Francisco during the 1970's. Many of these same people are portrayed by younger actors in the film itself. Cleve Jones, who many people know as the man who conceived of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, talks about Harvey with much affection and the impact that he had on him as well as the gay community then. In the film he is brilliantly played by Emile Hirsch.

Speaking of acting, I have to say that Sean Penn as Harvey Milk, James Franco as Scott Smith, and Josh Brolin as Dan White were excellent! It's always a treat when actors can so immerse themselves into a role that you forget that they are the actors themselves. The entire cast was great! Gus Van Sant has done a fine job once again!

Many of you may already know that I am a BIG fan on Mr. Van Sant's work as a director (with the exception of his remake of the Hitchcock classic "Psycho") Hitchcock should be emulated and paid homage to but NO DIRECTOR (myself included) should ever REMAKE an Alfred Hitchcock film (except Alfred Hitchcock himself like he did for "The Man Who Knew Too Much") but I digress. Ever since "My Own Private Idaho" I've been hooked on Van Sant! Of course I feel somewhat of a kinship with him being an openly gay filmmaker too! He, much like Harvey Milk, uses his artistry to send a message with the media of film. I hope to continue this same concept as I embark on my film career.

It's funny, but I saw similarities between Harvey Milk and myself. Like me, starting my film career in my 40's, he didn't start his gay activism until he turned 40. I never knew how much his actions in the 70's have contributed to me being the man I can be today! It's also very fitting that this film should be released in this particular time when California conservatives have passed Proposition 8 which prohibits same-sex marriage in that state. Coincidence? I don't think so! That being said I hope that Gus Van Sant continues to put out great works such as this. He is one of my many inspirations and I hope that one day I can win an award and thank him and Harvey Milk for all that they have done for our community!

Now, GO rent (or buy the DVD to add to you Gus Van Sant film collection like I am). You won't be disappointed!