A Terrible Blogger is Born!

April 20, 2009

What I learned from watching the movie “Milk”:

Filed under: State,U.S.A — rmangum @ 5:05 pm
Tags: ,

In this country there are only two ways of regulating gay/straight relations (and, by extension, all interactions between majorities and minorities): laws which forcibly prevent anyone from discriminating against homosexuals, or laws which forcibly discriminate against homosexuals.


  1. What I learned from watching the movie “Milk”: Gay people apparently idolize complete manipulative assholes.

    Comment by Francois Tremblay — April 20, 2009 @ 8:37 pm | Reply

  2. What I learned is that any Hollywood biopic must never stop worshiping it’s subject or advocating on his behalf. Even though, with Milk, you’re preaching to the choir. Hollywood must never portray characters that live and breathe in the real space and time that today’s biopics painstakingly attempt to create. There is the lead actor (the scenery mincing Sean Penn) and all others who are mere shills put into the film to tirelessly bulwark the film’s subject and, in this case, (yawn) the film’s CAUSE.

    Comment by Michael — April 21, 2009 @ 2:13 am | Reply

  3. What are you talking about? The movie portrays Milk as a complete asshole and a master of manipulation. If they “worship” him, then they are apparently completely corrupt.

    Comment by Francois Tremblay — April 21, 2009 @ 3:10 am | Reply

  4. I’m not sure that the movie does portray Milk that way at all. Everybody in the town acts like they’ve never felt sunshine or breathed fresh air until Harvey Milk invented them. Even if the film did portray Milk negatively, then the supporting cast was made up almost entirely of asshole worshipers, so how could you tell? I think that you and I think Milk was probably, mostly, an asshole, but that doesn’t mean the filmmaker or everyday people out there in Movieland want to see him that way. Show me the Hollywood filmmaker who wants to display the messianic complex behind the beloved, first-ever gay elected official in 70’s San Francisco, who was ALSO shot by some Twinkie snarfing redneck, and I’ll show you a very broke, and much maligned Hollywood filmmaker.

    Comment by Michael — April 22, 2009 @ 3:22 am | Reply

  5. Well, that was my impression from the beginning to the end of the movie. I don’t know how you could have seen it any differently. It’s pretty clear that they intended to portray him as a manipulative politicking asshole. Pretty much everything he does in the movie is moved by his own lust for power.

    Comment by Francois Tremblay — April 22, 2009 @ 7:21 am | Reply

  6. I found it interesting that the movie did not show the famous incident where Anita Bryant got hit in the face with a pie on live television. Apparently they did not want to portray the mix of humor and cruelty that often accompanies gay activism. Milk and his partner lovingly give each other the same treatment throughout the movie, however.

    Comment by rmangum — April 22, 2009 @ 3:36 pm | Reply

  7. Also, what’s up with not casting gay actors in any major gay roles (this also applies to “Brokeback Mountain”)? Surely there’s not a shortage in Hollywood. Or could it be the same impulse to sanitize gay culture for mass consumption?

    I should mention my favorite moment in the movie: when Milk tries to recruit the kid off the street who eventually becomes a loyal sidekick to his cause, the kid initially sneers that voting is a “bourgeois affectation” or something like that. It’s his shining moment, and he only becomes more boring from that point on. One would hope prop. 8 would revitalize such a notion among gays, but I doubt it.

    Comment by rmangum — April 23, 2009 @ 12:00 am | Reply

  8. Also, what’s up with not casting gay actors in any major gay roles (this also applies to “Brokeback Mountain”)? Surely there’s not a shortage in Hollywood. Or could it be the same impulse to sanitize gay culture for mass consumption?

    I imagine it’s so the execs can point out all the “acting” going on in the film to the Film Academy judges. Same thing as the mentally disabled. I guess you don’t have to worry about going “full gay” though…

    Comment by JMangum — April 24, 2009 @ 11:11 pm | Reply

  9. I’m sure there’s some of that going on too, although it’s hard not to think of that as an insult, since it implies that the only aspect of playing a gay character is the fact that they’re gay. I suppose the most charitable possibility is that gay actors themselves avoid those roles out of fear of typecasting, or that there aren’t as of yet enough gay stars to carry a major studio film.

    For the record, the agenda of “mainstreaming” or “normalizing” homosexuality through movies and t.v. is something I’m on board with, just like the movies and t.v. depicted black presidents long before we had one. It’s a way to be political without government. But it should not be as cloying and mendacious as Hollywood tends to be.

    Comment by rmangum — April 26, 2009 @ 4:38 am | Reply

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