Tag: Gus Van Sant

November 11, 2016 / / Main Slate Archive

“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.” — Jack Kerouac, On the Road

The road is both a refuge and a prison in My Own Private Idaho, the seminal 1991 drama by director Gus Van Sant. It stretches out, vast and infinite in its scope, clouded by the memory of the cars all whizzing past, of the turns not made but longed for, and the journeys not quite finished yet well remembered.

Teetering on the edges, the street hustlers of My Own Private Idaho seem inclined at first to see the road as a form of salvation. Here, the space they claim is their own, and it’s paved with opportunity, teeming with potential Johns. They’re all just one car ride away from the next great score or disaster. But who wants the real world when you’ve tasted this kind of freedom?

September 22, 2014 / / Main Slate Archive


Robin Williams was an actor who selected his film roles very carefully. Despite his ironclad station as the greatest American comedian of his time, Williams appeared in dramas nearly as much as he appeared in comedies. One need only look to the shy Dr. Sayer of AWAKENINGS or to the chilling villains of ONE HOUR PHOTO or INSOMNIA to see the acting mastery Williams commanded.

December 21, 2012 / / Main Slate Archive


Milk – 2008 – dir. Gus Van Sant

If you are reading this, congratulations! You have survived the apocalypse/are surviving the apocalypse/laughing at everyone who made a big deal over some BS about an apocalypse happening today! You deserve some great movies, courtesy of Focus Features’ 10th birthday celebration! First up today, we have Gus Van Sant’s Milk. This may seem like an odd film to celebrate the apocalypse/post-apocalypse/lack thereof, but you know, I think it kind of fits emotionally. If this is the end for humanity, I think Milk’s a story that demonstrates a lot of the progress we as humans should be proud of, underlined by the tragic pang of regret that we could have done more.

August 17, 2012 / / Main Slate Archive

My Own Private Idaho – 1991 – dir. Gus Van Sant

When this film was first recommended to me three years ago, all I knew was that it was a Gus Van Sant film about a group of gay street hustlers that starred River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves. It piqued my interest, mostly because I’d never seen either actor in such a role before.

June 11, 2007 / / Film Notes

Director Gus Van Sant’s 1989 feature Drugstore Cowboy is surprising in that it manages to tackle heavy subject matter while remaining remarkably light on its feet. It moves at a steady but unhurried pace and gives humor and heartbreak equal time. The story concerns a crew of junkies in the Pacific Northwest who rob drugstores to maintain their high, and Van Sant achieves the nigh-impossible by treating the issue with an understanding of both the allure of addiction and the horrors that it can lead to. Charges that it glamorizes drug use carry a shard of truth: early scenes of the gang shooting up are rendered as dreamily blissful, and Matt Dillon is casually seductive as Bob Hughes, the slim, clever, and undeniably cool leader of the crew. But one doesn’t easily shake the image of the bluing corpse that causes Bob to try to kick his habit later on, nor forget the lingering, melancholy uncertainty of Drugstore Cowboy’s final frames.