This thread is descending into Kurtz-level madness at a rapid pace.
I admit this thread has really angered me from the second I read the title. Please avoid cheap provocations. But I don’t want you to feel that you aren’t entitled to your opinion, so I’m sorry if I chewed you out too much, but this is an opinion I can’t understand at all. But please don’t try to explain it again. Very few things piss me off, but this sure did.
Don’t worry people, Coronel X is not a self-hating streak!
FYI Milk IS GVS’s best work so far.
Justin-I agree. Can’t understand why a director can’t vary his work. Coronel X reminds me of those guys who dumps on their favorite indie band as soon as they become popular.
MILK passed me by. I’m not a Hollywood biopic fan, as these films seem like they are copied from the same Jesus template (i.e earnest nobody → hard won fame → battling demons → ugly crucifixion/quiet redemption). Insert Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, blunt their rough and crazy edges, and nominate everyone involved for an Oscar. Boring.
But a vigorously defended, crazily denounced biopic— I now have to see MILK. Thanks, Coronel X!
I do have to warn you, I may start wearing a pink armband for the cause afterwards. I am sure I’ll be joining the Homosexual Liberation Army once I’ve been indoctrinated by their pernicious propaganda. I’m a weak kneed guy like that: very impressionable.
@vellaem…hillarious…i have a rainbow sticker that they substituted for a ticket the first time i saw milk that you can have, as since i saw milk twice my home is now completely covered with “propaganda” and i just don’t have the room for it. i’m an impressionable mind too.
I have to agree that Van Sant maintains an enviable position in the industry. He has enough acclaim and street credit to do big films if he chooses to and he can raise the money for more personal or experimental projects. I don’t love all of his films, but I appreciate what he does. I think “Milk” was a very well made, timely film and I am glad Van Sant did it instead of someone else. If anything, the film treats the gay movement of the time in a way that is a far too antiseptic. But I would still be happy to see it win best picture over Slumdog.
Please Remember Sean Penn got an Academy Nomination thnks to this film………….
Actually, I think MILK is his best work. I’ve never been a fan of his work in the past, but I think MILK was fantastic.
You might have a point IF Van Zant had started with Finding Forrester or Good Will Hunting. In fact, he started with The Discipline of D.E. and Mala Noche, two films that have no bearing on mainstream hollywood. He continued to work largely under the radar until releasing Drugstore Cowboy and My Own Private Idaho, films I wouldn’t refer to as sell-out pictures. I don’t really care if you think of Van Zant as major or minor, but please factor in his whole body of work when you’re telling us how impossible and fake it is for him to switch styles.
And another thing: why does making this type of film equate with him betraying himself? Could it be that he appreciates and enjoys the virtues of a wide variety of cinema? For instance, Paranoid Park is in my top ten for 2008, but Forgetting Sarah Marshall is too. What does that say about me? What about David Gordon Green, who went from making Snow Angels to Pineapple Express? Even you enjoyed Mystic River, so maybe he does too. Is he a sell-out? Or, could he like both types of movies, and be good at making them too?
As a side note, I’ve not seen Milk, but I thought your ideas about how a film director can or should work are way out of whack.
Strange. I think GVS is a great director with a very uneven filmography, to say the least, but MILK has to be up there near the top of his repertoire for me. I don’t necessarily think I’d call MILK a “mainstream” movie, by any means. But even if he made a summer blockbuster with a huge budget … well, if it’s as solid as MILK in terms of story, pacing, acting, and depth … I don’t see the problem.
Drugstore Cowboy was such a key moment in late 80s culture. I mean, it gave us a lot of hope. We’d been blown away by Down By Law and Blue Velvet, but those films were intimidating, whereas Drugstore was like a magnet for love. I remember thinking Matt Dillon was the James Dean of our time, and the film had a light, almost optimistic tone (in spite of the dark scenes with Heather Graham). Who could forget the Truffaut-like sight gag where the hotel starts filling up with a cop convention? Who can forget Desmond Dekker’s ebullient “The Israelites” as a protest song about drug law persecution? Or the scene where Dillon gets his burly neighbor to take out the undercover narc across the street by convincing the guy that the narc’s been peeping on his daughter. Burroughs’ cameo was so cool. Then came My Own Private Idaho, a beautiful film that strongly divided people over its gay content. It was a typically beautiful moment in that film when he has the hustlers talking about their worst tricks while we hear Madonna’s “Cherish” on the jukebox. And the ending was quite sad and uncompromising. And then River Phoenx died, and in this really shitty way — I mean, if there’s any reason to hate Johnny Depp it’s that he had Phoenix’s overdosed dying body carted out onto the sidewalk outside the Viper Room in L.A. so Depp wouldn’t have to deal with a dead body in his night club. That’s cold. And Van Sant and Phoenix were extremely close, I don’t know if they were lovers, but Van Sant was very broken up for a long time after that. He still couldn’t bring himself to do a proper commentary for My Own Private Idaho. And, for me, he drifted through a kind of uninspired period where his films just fell a little short of their former greatness, and where he tended to rely on other people’s stories. But around the time of Elephant and Gerry (although there were flashes of his old self in Good Will Hunting), he really began to come back into his own. He began to trust his own passion for film again, and for the lives of confused, lost souls — the kind of lost soul Phoenix played so well. So it’s very fortunate that he came back to us at all. I’m just trying to ask people to see him as a human being, not just some guy with a camera over his face.
Van Sant has found a way to exist within the market. What was that thing with Nicole Kidman if not a commercial cop? What, you don’t suppose Soderbergh making those Ocean’s movies wasn’t thinking about his position in the market? It’s sad that this has to be so, but there it is. It’s the crafty ones who manage a career in Hollywood. What would you do? I’ll have his career before I’d whore myself out completely and be Brett Ratner. Not one ounce of artistic merit in that guy’s entire being. Pure product. But, he’s somewhat successful in the field, so what does one do with that? Look elsewhere.
Justin-I also love Drugstore Cowboy. Who knew that Matt Dillon could actually act? And altho I prefer his more commercial films over ones like Paranoid Park, Gerry and Last Days I respect what he’s trying to do in these films. And Milk is much better than the typical bio pic. It’s very difficult to cover someone’s life in 120 minutes and do it justice.
Oh, I think he still got it…. but I think he’s the kind of filmmaker, like Soderbergh, who alternates between making personal films and commercial films.