Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

08 May 2005

Idaho Dreams


This morning I watched My Own Private Idaho. I see where Gus Van Sant is going, but it's no fun to watch. This portrait of America is terrific and desperate: a journey without hope or mercy and with no end in sight. The lonely homosexual is forever doomed to gain sustenance through the perversions of others and never to find lasting happiness, even temporary happiness. Keanu Reeves is really good in this, but though he received numerous accolades, I think River Phoenix is ill-suited to Van Sant's dialogue. He has none of the Shakespearean ability that Reeves has. Keanu has a timeless quality and delivery that make Van Sant's script seem to work--even the sequences that make no earthly sense.
Two--or was it three?--years ago, Van Sant directed two amazing films back to back: Elephant and Gerry, both of which I loved. As for My Own Private Idaho, when the last frame of the film was eclipsed by the final title card "have a nice day," I couldn't do anything else but look at the screen and say "Fuck you." Painful.