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Movie Review: Sour Milk

Sunday night I got talked into watching Milk by my persuasive wife. I know it got good reviews and the previews looked interesting, and I originally planned on seeing it in theaters.

I have this syndrome that I call Lazy Movie Syndrome, or LMS. After a movie has left theaters and come out on on DVD (and Blu Ray and On Demand blah blah blah), I lose interest in watching it, if it’s a drama. If I’m going to waste two hours of my life on the weekend or evening watching something, I’d prefer that it’s something light and airy. A comedy or an action film. Definitely not a drama.

So it was with reluctance and trepidation that I spent my Sunday night watching Milk, the semi-biographical story of California’s first openly gay elected official.

Without discounting the important role that Milk played in the gay rights movement and in protecting the basic civil rights of all Americans, I would like to address the actual movie itself.

Some biographical films manage to compile someone’s life into a two-hour movie using innovative techniques, flashbacks, and an interesting narrative. This is not one of those films.

This movie is more like a horrible documentary that manages to cut out most of the interesting parts of someone’s life and focus on the dry and boring elements. I sat, staring at the television, saddled with ennui, as I was barraged with scene after scene of the characters talking and sitting and talking and waiting and talking and whining.

Gus van Sant has yet to make a movie that I have enjoyed. It’s good to know that his streak continues.

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29 Replies to “Movie Review: Sour Milk”

  1. Faiqa

    Really? I enjoyed the movie, a lot. Of course, I wasn’t even aware of Harvey Milk prior to the film, so my liking may have been due to the fact that I was so incredibly impressed with and inspired by him.

  2. Alex

    It was good, not great. Penn was great, not perfect. Van Sant’s great movies include “My Private Idaho,” “Good Will Hunting,” “Elephant,” “To Die For”….

  3. SciFi Dad

    You disliked Good Will Hunting AND Finding Forrester? Surprising, but OK.

    But, you didn’t like the video for RHCP Under The Bridge?!? I mean, kaleidoscoping drummers… pink lead singers running away from explosions… Flea in that hat?

    I have to conclude that you have no soul.

  4. Avitable

    Faiqa, both Amy and I were rather unimpressed. She thought the final third of the movie got better, but I had already given up on it by then.

    Jared, I’ve never actually seen the whole thing. I could see enjoying the movie despite the directing because of who wrote it, though.

    Amanda, I’d just rather spend my movie time at home doing something fun!

    Brandon, I won’t deny that it’s an important story to tell.

    Jester, I think it’s awesome that it had that impact for you. Of course, saying that you don’t think you can talk to me anymore because we differ on a movie is silly.

    Alex, never saw My Private Idaho. Tried to watch Elephant. Only saw some of Good Will Hunting and I think I’d like the writing despite the directing. I think you’re the only person who liked that horrible Nicole Kidman flick, though.

    Ed, maybe I should download it and give it a shot.

    SciFi Dad, see above for my comments on Good Will Hunting. Finding Forrester was cheesy and cliched. “You’re the man now, dawg!” And I said his movies. “Under the Bridge” is a pretty awesome video, so I guess he can make three-minute long videos that appeal to me.

  5. NYCWD

    I liked the book, The Mayor of Castro Street, better myself.

    So I guess you didn’t watch WRESTLEMANIA XXV. I’ll never understand why you deny yourself the pleasure of REAL drama.

  6. B.E. Earl

    “saddled with ennui”

    Very nice. In a weird way, my favorite Gus van Sant flick is “Gerry”. I don’t know why, and I certainly won’t watch it again. Something about it drew me in though.

  7. Finn

    I was just as mezmerized as Nanna by “saddled with ennui,” but I remember what I wanted to say.

    Since you and I seem to have disparate taste in movies, I’ll take this as a clue to catch this On Demand (and hey, I have a coupon so it will be FREE). Thanks!

  8. Robin

    I watched that movie last night, I had already known the whole story but I still was transfixed and fascinated. Sean Penn was just amazing, everyone was and it was such a wow story. I loved it and I cried.

  9. Hilly

    I have an aversion to most biopics, quite honestly. I haven’t seen “Milk” for this very reason, even though Jester keeps insisting that it was so good he almost passed out. Your review here did not help that situation…at all!

    However, one day I will be home and lonely and the mood will strike me…mostly maybe.

  10. Avitable

    Sybil, every comment adds something. Usually. 😀

    Blondefabulous, I don’t mind them if I go to the theater.

    NYCWD, I can’t understand how you can watch that dreck.

    BE Earl, I’ve heard that it’s interesting. Maybe I’ll try it.

    Mom, why is that phrase so interesting to people?

    Finn, we do? What movies do you like that I don’t?

    Bossy, oh, I didn’t spoil anything. Hi!

    Robin, I found Sean Penn to be a bit grating, to be honest.

    Always Home, I’ve never seen that, either.

    Hilly, for me it was so boring that I almost passed out. So Jester and I had almost the same reaction!

  11. Crys

    i want to commend you for your fine use of ennui. you never fail to surprise and titillate.

    i want to see Milk but have not yet. i’m in no rush. i did, however, see Quarantine this past weekend and you know what? it was good.

  12. Poppy

    I am not interested in watching Sean Penn use his Sam voice for Milk. He used to be semi-entertaining, but I am too distracted by his real-life jackassery to focus on his acting.

  13. Avitable

    Heather, I’m guessing most of it is pretty accurate, from the drab boringness of it all!

    Mik, they actually mention that film in the credits of this one.

    Greg, yeah.

    Poppy, well, it’s not really his Sam voice, but it’s close!

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