Re-Watch: My Own Private Idaho (1991)

My Own Private Idaho
Director: Gus Van Sant
Writer: Gus Van Sant
Based on: William Shakespeare‘s Henry IV, Part 1, Henry IV, Part 2, and Henry V (loosely)
Cast: River Phoenix, Keanu Reeves, James Russo, William Richert, Rodney Harvey, Chiara Caselli, Flea, Grace Zabriskie, Udo Kier
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 23.9.2018
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Plot:
Mike (River Phoenix) and Scottie (Keanu Reeves) are hustlers, living in the streets of Portland. Scottie has been living this way for longer than Mike and shows Mike the ropes a little, introducing him to Bob Pigeon (William Richert) who is something between a pimp and a father figure for a lot of more or less homeless hustlers in the city. Scottie also takes care of Mike when he has one of his narcoleptic spells. Despite their closeness, there’s a chasm between Mike and Scottie as Mike doesn’t have many choices to live the way he does, while Scottie comes from a rich family and chose to hustle to embarrass them.

I saw My Own Private Idaho around 20 years ago and I understood very little of it back then. Seeing it now, opened up the film to me much more. That in itself is already a beautiful experience, but even without that part of the experience, the film is wonderful.

The film poster showing River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves.
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Milk (2008)

Milk is the biopic about Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to public office. Directed by Gus Van Sant, the movie stars Sean Penn, James Franco, Josh Brolin, Emile Hirsch and Diego Luna and got the Oscars for best screenplay (Dustin Lance Black) and best actor (Sean Penn).

Plot:
The movie chronicles Harvey Milk’s (Sean Penn) life from the point where he meets Scott (James Franco) and moves to San Francisco aka the start of his political life to his assassination by Dan White (Josh Brolin) 8 years later.

The movie has a very strong cast, but unfortunately the screenplay is weak in some parts, giving the actors little to work with. [While I think Dustin Lance Black is really cute and his Oscar speech was great and go gay community!… I don’t hink that he deserved it. I’m really sorry to say that… Really. But it’s the truth.]

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