Franco rocks playing Ginsberg in Howl
 

Seattle Gay News
Mobile Edition
rss: SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml



SGN ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT SECTION

SGN Mobile Front Page



MOVIE REVIEWS
CALENDAR
NORTHWEST NEWS CALENDAR
CLASSIFIED

click here to go to the main SGN website

 

posted Friday, November 5, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 45

Franco rocks playing Ginsberg in Howl
by Scott Rice - SGN Contributing Writer

Howl
Now Playing


James Franco playing Allen Ginsberg in a film directed by wonder twin powers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman is enough to make any Queer fall on the floor writhing in ecstasy. Toss in a little Mary-Louise Parker and mine the soap opera circuit for handsome dudes to play the three great loves of Ginsberg's life, and I won't be the same for weeks.

Epstein, whose first film with Friedman was 1989's Oscar-winning documentary Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt, is a Queer hero. He directed the seminal and groundbreaking documentary Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives in 1978, a time when Queer film meant grainy un-looped Super 8 shorts starring hirsute muscle men in leather kit that arrived wrapped in plain brown paper. Epstein's filmography reads like a Queer culture primer and includes The Times of Harvey Milk (another Oscar-winner), The AIDS Show, The Celluloid Closet, and Paragraph 175 - all required viewing for every member of the LGBT community.

James Franco is a god.

The above paragraph is not hyperbole. Franco has played James Dean and Harvey Milk's lover Scott Smith, he is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Yale, and he got his first small break playing Daniel Desario on the ill-fated but surprisingly good television series Freaks and Geeks. It doesn't matter whether he's slumming in Nicholas Sparks schlock, taking on General Hospital with a wink and nudge, starring in Hollywood blockbusters, or making small films that matter - Franco makes it all work, and he looks mighty fine doing it.

Franco's take on the young version of Ginsberg is nothing short of brilliant. The awkward gestures, the black glasses. The impossible sexiness of the nerdish Jewish kid who dropped out of Columbia and dropped into Bellevue. Franco gets it all, even the voice with its odd cadence and tinny nasal quality.

Mary-Louise Parker is a goddess.

I know, I know, Parker has only a small role in Howl - a small but pivotal role as Gail Potter, the embodiment of the collectively shocked voice of middle America. Potter is American post war denial personified and Howl is the poem that rattled that cage. Parker - all sexy and quirky just as we love her - is perfect as the sexually repressed literary critic who believes real literature must reflect prevailing moral values.

The filmmakers, somehow intersecting with Franco's recent sweet fascination with soap operas, mine the world of soaps for hot guys to play Ginsberg's three great loves: Aaron Tveit of Gossip Girl plays Peter Orlovsky, Todd Rotondi of As the World Turns plays Jack Kerouac, and Jon Prescott also of As the World Turns plays Neal Cassidy. They are, as mentioned above, hot and they all do solid work.

Howl, the film, is part narrative biopic, part experimental film trying to capture the elusive magic that is good poetry, and part courtroom drama. While the film works on every level, the real reason to see Howl is because the poem is so good, and because the poem - and the obscenity trial it triggered - changed our world. Howl, the poem, is the jazz riffed song of a disillusioned generation of drug-addled angels who looked around at the excesses and incongruity of the '50s era cultural landscape that seemed to exclude everyone other than WASPy heterosexuals with two kids and a penchant for missionary style sex and called bullshit.

who howled on their knees in the subway and were dragged off the roof waving genitals and manuscripts,
who let themselves be fucked in the ass by saintly motorcyclists, and screamed with joy,
who blew and were blown by those human seraphim, the sailors, caresses of Atlantic and Caribbean love


Enough said.



next story
Hair: The history of the first rock musical
------------------------------
Kelli O'Hara a holiday gift for Seattle Men's Chorus
------------------------------
Beach Girl5 headed our way
------------------------------
Seattle Rep stages Albee's Pulitzer-winning Three Tall Women
------------------------------
Gorillaz irradiate Key Arena with visually stunning show
------------------------------
Did it take George Harrison to bring us Ravi Shankar?
------------------------------
Baltic States of ecstasy
------------------------------
Young soloist and conductor light up Benaroya Hall
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
Hearts Are Monsters a strange premiere
------------------------------
Intriguing Monsters a journey to nowhere
------------------------------

------------------------------
Franco rocks playing Ginsberg in Howl
------------------------------
Todd Verow's delightful Deleted Scenes
------------------------------

------------------------------
Q-Scopes by Jack Fertig
------------------------------

------------------------------
Deck the Hall Ball, Feist, Best of Music 2010
------------------------------
Letters
------------------------------
Joey Arias pays tribute to Billie Holiday and explores his Docufantasy
------------------------------
Deck the Hall Ball, Feist, Best of Music 2010
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 36 YEARS!