Daily Archives: June 20, 2009

The Times of Harvey Milk


There was a time where if you missed something the first time around, that was it. Then later, with more channels, the possibility a re-broadcast was likely. Finally, with videotape and later DVD rentals and sales – and the ability to burn and share a televised broadcast – pretty much anything is available legally. (I know that everything is available illegally, but that’s not how we roll here.)

But sometimes titles get discontinued and fall out of circulation. Owners of used copies float out some absurd prices (I know, I know…supply and demand, yada yada) and for the most part the films are hard to find. One such illogical title is The Times of Harvey Milk. Not only is the subject matter fresh because of the recent movie, featuring an award-winning turn by Sean Penn, but the original documentary film won the Academy Award.

I watched the movie again this weekend and was deeply moved, as I was the previous time I saw the film. Milk was far from perfect, and the film does not set him up to be a flawless savior. What does come through is his humanity and concern – while he would have been justified focusing all his energies as a gay activist, he chose to fight for anyone who didn’t have a voice in the system. He was a savvy politician – he knew how to make alignments and get attention – and he was also tireless in his efforts. As my daughter said after we watched it together, “we sure could use someone like that today.”

I am fortunate to have a wondeful library system in my city with a deep list of documentary titles, so while I would prefer to have purchased this and add it my collection, I was able to borrow a copy and enjoy it. Not all of you will be as fortunate.

Thank God for Hulu.

Go ahead and watch. Unlike the premise of the Hulu commercials, the aliens really aren’t going to make soup out of your brains. (The major networks are already doing that with reality television). You probably won’t get all the good bonus features, but the film itself is well worth your ninety minutes.

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Filed under Features and Interviews, Film/TV