Friday, September 14, 2012

My Own Private Idaho

My Own Private Idaho (1991)

Directed by Gus Van Sant

Screenplay by Gus Van Sant

Based on William Shakespeare's play, "Henry IV"

Stars: River Phoenix, Keanu Reeves, William Richert, Chiara Caselli, Flea, Udo Kier and Tom Troupe

It is rare to find a movie about a gay character or several gay characters that don't go into the stereotypical tropes like in a certain 1985 film that I reviewed and hated. Gus Van Sant was coming off the critical success of Drugstore Cowboy to make this film. I did not know that the movie was based on Henry IV, which I have never read. Hre is another movie that I thought was going to be one thing and ended up another with mediocre results.

Mike (Phoenix) and Scott (Reeves) are a pair of hustlers living in Portland, Oregon. They are basically squatters. They sleep on rooftops and an abandoned hotel with the leader of their group, Bob (Richert). I forgot to mention that Mike is narcoleptic gay hustler which would make him the lowest of low on the chain. He is in love with Scott, who is actually straight and doing hustling to piss off his father, the mayor of city Jack Favor (Troupe). Scott is about to get a substantial inheritance on his 21st birthday. For some reason, Mike wants to find his long-lost mother so Mike and Scott travel on motorcycle to try to find her.

My track record with Gus Van Sant's movie have been mixed. While I loved Good Will Hunting, liked Finding Forrester or Milk and hated Paranoid Park, this movie was nothing to me. I could not see the point of the film.

I thought the movie was going to be a road film coming of age story about two best friends that might be lovers. It wasn't like that at all. It started with strange soliloquies to the direct horizons by Mike. Then it was some weirdness with Bob Pigeon trying to get money or something. The mother subplot came out of left field and was not resolved. Why was it in there? I didn't understand the point Van Sant was trying to make in this film.

I tried to connect with the film by following Mike's journey to be with Scott that he apparently loves that comes out of the blue sitting at a campfire. I was brushed aside. I wanted to get into the road journey that they were on. Not much of that. The movie was not enjoyable to watch. It was like looking inside a glass vase that is empty. That's how I felt watching movie, empty. I got nothing from it. It will probably be gone from my memory as the post goes up. Such a disappointment.

My Rating

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