Poignant and Frightening

“Hotshots” looks at a movie!

Milk - Movie PosterMILK is the Gus Van Sant film about the political career of Harvey Bernard Milk, who in 1977 was elected to San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors and was credited with being the first openly gay elected official in U.S. history.

Tragically, a year later when he was only 48, Harvey was shot and killed along with Mayor George Moscone in City Hall by Dan White, a former city supervisor who had resigned his position, but wanted his job back and took out his frustration on the mayor and Harvey.

Sean Penn plays Harvey, and he is just absolutely great in the role. Expect him to win a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actor.

Josh Brolin plays Dan White, and he could easily win a nomination for Best Supporting Actor, himself.

The film begins in November 1978 and uses the conceit of showing Harvey dictating into a tape recorder and commenting on the events that we then see in flashback as the film progresses.

In 1970 Harvey meets Scott Smith, played by James Franco, in New York City. It is Harvey’s 40th birthday, and he confesses, “Forty years old, and I haven’t done a thing that I’m proud of.”

Two years later they move to San Francisco together and open a camera store on Castro Street, the Number 1 destination for gays at that time. Harvey says that the police hated the gays, and the gays hated them right back.

Harvey became known as The Mayor of Castro Street, but he says that he might have invented that title for himself.

He decides to run for a real office, but he loses the election, being told that he is too old to be a hippie. In 1975 Harvey runs again, cleaning up his hippie appearance so that he looks like the successful businessman he was. He loses again.

Harvey’s personal life suffers, but he gains new friends as well as loyal supporters who finally help him win a seat on the Board of Supervisors in 1977.

Dan White also wins a seat, and Harvey forms an unlikely alliance with the former policeman and fireman on a number of causes they support. You could almost say that they even became friends.

And then all hell breaks loose.

MILK is poignant, enlightening, engrossing, and frightening, but mostly frightening in light of the recent current events.

I’m Dan Culberson and this is “Hotshots.”