These two pictures will probably represent the contest between the two men vying for best actor awards at the Academy Awards. So, here is my take on both of them:


First: No denying the talent of Sean Penn. He certainly deserves the nomination, if not the award itself. This is one of those movies where the actor totally becomes the character and immerses himself into the story.

 I consider myself fairly open minded. Gay theme movies such as “Bird Cage” and “Brokeback Mountain” were well acted, well-directed and were, for the most part, filmed in a manner which left nothing to the imagination, but still left out unnecessary and gratuitous sex.

I cannot say the same for “Milk.” One more wet, tongue-slobbering kiss between the men and I think I would have walked out. We all know that gay men kiss, but a little less would have told the same story without the graphics. Even in heterosexual movies these days, Hollywood actors in a kissing scene remind me of people eating a ripe peach. It’s bad enough between men and women, and — to me — more offensive between the same sexes. It is simply not necessary. If that sounds intolerant, so be it.

Give the director a D in this movie, we didn’t need to be provided the ending at the very beginning of the movie. Sure, many people who know the story of Harvey Milk in San Francisco already knew the ending, but there’s a certain mystique that’s removed when the final scene is revealed to the audience early on.

Neither did I care for the messages. Open constant and open use of pot by respectable, admired and influential people. And, a man in a position of political respectability engaging in affairs with street urchins.

All in all, it captured the story of this tormented and determined man to overcome the stigma, and become the first gay who rose to a position of political power. That’s to be admired.

Overall, give this one a 6.

“The Wrestler”
 A most depressing movie, indeed.
 That said, Mickey Rourke will probably get a well-earned Oscar for his role as a down-and-out, over-the-hill, lonely, destitute, washed up wrestler. That — in a nutshell — is the whole story.

This is also one of those movies where it’s totally driven by the one character. Every scene includes Mickey Rourke. The camera constantly follows him, capturing his every nuance, every emotion, every expression in graphic close-ups. The only exception might be Marisa Tomei’s one exit scene from the strip joint.

No one else could have played this role, but Rourke. Not DeNiro, not Pacino, not Hanks not Penn. This was a movie make for Rourke.

Tomei fans are in for a treat. She holds nothing back in her portrayal of a stripper working to support his child as a single mother.

It is mind-boggling what an actor will put himself through to portray a movie role. Whie computers and other techniques are used today to illustrate violience and bloodshed, there’s no denying what Mickey Rourke suffered through in the making of this picture. One bloody scene in particular is worthy of caution to those who have a weak stomach.

Overall, I give this one a 7.

Your thoughts?