Monday, February 23, 2009

The Penn Is Mightier Than the Slumdog

Posted By on February 23, 2009, 4:07 AM

click to enlarge sean_penn7_1.jpg
For the record, despite the fact that the Academy Awards are known as "the gay Super Bowl," I never watch the Oscars. Frankly, I've always been bored by the repetitive award-show format and repelled by Hollywood's self-congratulatory grandiloquence. Not even the (admittedly exciting) sound of a timpani drumroll can arouse my interest long enough to care whether the award for sound editing went to Slumdog Millionaire or The Dark Knight. (On the other hand, I am astounded by Scott Renshaw's preternatural sense of such things: He totally called the winners for the sound-editing and sound-mixing categories. How the hell did he do that?!?!? Is he a genie?)

Instead, I spent a pleasant evening cooking chicken curry and watching I Am Sam, for the simple reasons that I like chicken curry, and I have only recently started to really like Sean Penn. You see, in 1987, Penn was arrested for slugging a paparazzo. As an idealistic 19-year-old stringer covering city council, planning commission and school board meetings for the Murray Green Sheet, I decided Penn's actions were some kind of First Amendment outrage.

In the na%uFFFDveté of youth, I decided I hated Sean Penn, and refused to watch any of his movies. I loved Sweet and Lowdown, but it was a grudging kind of love—and only in the past year have I sort of "rediscovered" Penn. He's a truly great actor, and I realize now that the prejudice I formed against him in my youth was unfair. (Sorry, Sean.) So now I take every opportunity to watch all the Penn movies I've missed over the last 20 or so years. (Anyway, a couple episodes of TMZ are proof of how truly loathesome paparazzi really are. That "photographer" must have had it coming.)

Now, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the biopic Milk received "foot-stomping standing ovations" as opposed to Slumdog Millionaire's "polite applause" among the Castro Theatre audience. (Man, what a party that must be!) And, now that I read what Penn said during his Best Actor acceptance speech, I'm stomping my feet a little bit, too:

"You commie, homo-loving sons of guns. ... I think it's a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect on their great shame and their shame in their grandchildren's eyes if they continue that support. We've got to have equal rights for everyone."

Now I'm nothing but a big, slobbering fanboy. Love you, Sean! If you want to see me, I'll be at the front of the line at the Salt Lake City premiere of Tree of Life.

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