First Post-Manila Movie: “Milk”

Self saw this one in Palo Alto Square, off Page Mill Road.  She once saw an Indiana Jones movie here, when she was still a grad student at Stanford.  The theatre still looks good, self is happy to report.  And the matinee price was only $6!!!

Self kept asking the lady selling the tickets:  Are you sure?  Are you sure?

And the lady said yes, it’s always been $6.

Self know that’s not true:  she has seen movies there with hubby, and they’ve paid $7 each.  Perhaps it’s $6 if one is an unaccompanied female 🙂

So, self settled herself down (this theatre has the greatest seats, better even than the ones in the new Redwood City cinema), a medium cup of ice cream balanced on her lap (dulce de leche and chocolate fudge brownie), and she watched all the previews (Oh, where can she see “Doubt”?  For it is no longer showing in her area), including Clive Owen’s next, “The International” (weird title, but who cares, it has Clive and Naomi, no way she’s going to miss that one).

The movie began in flashback mode, with a reflective Sean Penn sitting alone at his kitchen table and leaving what is apparently a last testament on a cassette recorder.  And —  self just has to get this one off her chest —  why did Director Gus Van Sant stack the deck by filling the supporting roles (Milk’s lovers, activist supporters, etc) with such cute men?  Exhibit A:  James Franco.  Exhibit B:  Emile Hirsch.  Exhibit C:  Diego Luna.  OK, Emile Hirsch isn’t that cute, but every time he was in a scene, self just couldn’t take her eyes off him.  And Diego Luna!  Has no one ever noticed that this guy has the most adorable dimples?

Milk himself was no Romeo, at least as played by Sean Penn.  In fact, he’s something of a geek.  Victor Garber, in a small role, playing Mayor Moscone, seemed to have walked in straight from the cast of Alias (where he played Sidney’s dad).

Josh Brolin was perfect as the rage-filled Dan White.  In fact, he was so convincing that whenever Milk/ Sean Penn glances askance at him, self felt like screaming, “Watch out, Harvey!  Don’t trust him!  The man is craaaazy!”

Van Sant has Milk die facing the banners announcing the production “Tosca” on the War Memorial Opera House (perhaps the only chees-y touch in the entire movie).

While self was on the plane to Manila, she had read a New York Times article about the Oscar-nominated screenplays, among which was the screenplay for “Milk.”  Self saved the article, and here’s the sample dialogue from “Milk”:

Ext. the Castro/ 18th and Castro —  Day

Harvey hands out campaign literature to passersby.

Harvey Milk:  Public dental care for retired people . . .  Legalize pot, vote Milk.

Harvey is distracted.  A young, longhaired Cleve Jones passes.  Harvey tries for his attention.

Harvey Milk:  Hey, I like the way your pants fit . . .  Where are you from, kid?

Cleve Jones:  (laughs)  Sorry, old man, not interested.

Harvey Milk:  Where’s home?

Cleve Jones:  Phoenix.

Harvey Milk:  I’m Harvey Milk.  I’m running for supervisor.  What’s your name?

Cleve Jones:  Cleve . . .  Jones.

Harvey Milk:  Well, Mr. Jones, we should walk up to my camera shop and register you.

Cleve Jones:  (Expletive)  Elections of any kind are a bourgeois affectation.

Harvey Milk:  Is that right?  Do you trick up on Polk street?

Cleve Jones:  (only half joking)  If I need the cash . . .  But I’m selective about my clients.

Harvey Milk:  Tell me one thing before you get back to work, then.  What was it like to be a little queer in Phoenix?

Cleve Jones:  I faked a lung disease to get out of P. E.  So what?  What are you, some kind of street shrink?

Harvey Milk:  Sometimes.

All right, dear blog readers, self would like to say that the above dialogue in no way conveys the dynamics of this scene, especially as performed by Emile Hirsch.  For Hirsch invests each of Cleve Jones’ lines with the most amazing physical business.  Truly.  Self nearly laughed out loud!  Go check it out, dear blog readers.

Stay tuned.

Breaking News!

The Lost Language, self’s new story collection (which includes “The Hand,” which won the Juked Fiction Prize in 2007), will be published in the Philippines by Anvil Press.

It means a lot, a lot, a lot to self, that she be published in her home country.  Thank you, oh estimable Karina Bolasco!   You made self’s day!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers!

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