Entries in the Category "emile hirsch"
Movie Review Double Shot
Sean Penn was amazing in the movie (glad that he won the SAG award a few weeks ago, though I imagine Mickey Rourke has him at the Oscars). I say this even for the benefit of people who seethe with hatred for Sean Penn (Shout out--Andra!) because he is remarkably un-Sean Penn like for the entire movie. He scarcely looks like himself, in a way I can’t quite describe, but which seems to have something to do with an elasticity in his face, neck and shoulders that he’s usually lacking. Also terrific are Emile Hirsch (who I only like sometimes) and James Franco (who was the only watchable element of The Crapapple Express) and especially Josh Brolin (who’s awesome in everything lately, but who tops off this performance with the best seventies hair ever).
So, this kind of movie is usually primarily about the performances, and, like I said, the actors didn’t disappoint. Still, one thing I got that I did not expect to see was a seriously compelling glimpse into the ultimate grassroots campaign; a primer for how a fight for rights insinuates itself into government. I didn’t know that much about the real Harvey Milk, and I couldn’t believe how many times he ran for office and lost before he finally ran and won. He chipped away at hate, prejudice and indifference for years. There was so much vigorous activism onscreen, that I—well, basically, if I had been able to walk out of the movie and into some kind of freedom march I so would’ve done it. The awesomeness of the scenes where the characters would assemble and walk to City Hall made me long to take part in some political action, this despite all the violence and frustration the activists in this movie faced.
Though that verb should not be in past tense, should it? It was savvy of the filmmakers to release this film right now; people are still hot (and rightfully so) about California’s Prop 8. It’s a vivid reminder that prejudice didn’t die with seventies hair.
There’s plenty in this movie about violence and racism and the increasing anachronism of alpha male posturing, but I’ll direct you towards other reviews to muse on that. Metacritic is a great place to start.
What I want to talk about is how totally alien almost all the characters in this movie were in the way they interacted with each other. The weirdness was leaking out of the screen. The characters all related to each other like they had all been born in laboratories and were just growing accustomed to human interaction. This occurs from the very first moments of the movie, and the way everyone acts at the funeral of Clint Eastwood’s character’s wife. First, the priest who’s trying to reach out to him, who continually addresses him by his first name (which escapes me at the moment) despite the fact that Clint demands that he not do it. Who does that? The grandchildren also slouch around the house and check their text messages like it wasn’t their grandmother who just died. Of course, all of this is in service to reinforcing Eastwood’s theme of “it ain’t like it used to be.” Kids today have no respect. Not even that little pipsqueak priest.
We see the same thing with his adult son and daughter-in-law, in the birthday scene. We open at the dining room table where Clint sits in front of a sad, tacky birthday cake while the others stand awkwardly at his sides. Then, they awkwardly hand him extremely thoughtless birthday gifts—not wrapped, of course. He sits there and grumbles, and we’re meant to commiserate with him as, yet again, assholes surround him. And in the theater I’m saying, “Sit down. Why are you hovering like that? Sit down.” I couldn’t help but feel that these scenes were directed (by Eastwood) to be purposely awkward, to make the audience join the character in his discomfort. If that’s the case, it was certainly effective.
Either that, or this is just how people act around Clint Eastwood, and he’s doesn’t realize it’s not normal.