Sean Penn loses drag queen contest

“This Must Be the Place”

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If you’re reading Denver Art Matters you’re probably a fan of Sean Penn. I just wonder if you think, like I do, that he is the most amazing actor of our time?  From the first time I laid eyes on him in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” (1982), his goofy, intelligent intensity and superb talent, placed him at the top of my favorite actor list. His career has proven that he has an unsettling instinct for choosing roles that suit his talents perfectly.

That’s why I decided on, “This Must Be the Place,” over the-getting-rave-reviews Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” movie last week.

O.K. TMBTP is a weird film. But Penn’s portrayal of an aging rockstar living in Dublin, a la Ozzy Osborne in Goth, emitting mumbled Truman Capote-esque lines, brilliantly showcases the talents of one of today’s most talented actors. I trust Penn’s acting choices.

The story line takes Cheyenne, the retired rock star, back to New York for his father’s final breath. After the funeral, even though he and his father hadn’t spoken in twenty years, Cheyenne necessitates revenge for his Auschwitz survivor father. Deciding to confront the depraved Auschwitz guard who tormented his father’s every waking hour after WWII. He discovers he is now living gratis in the U.S.  Thus, his cross country search begins.

The cast is impressive, Judd Hirsch, Frances McDormand (his wife), David Byrne. It’s doubtful Penn or any of the cast will be nominated for an award, but stranger things have happened. TMBTP debuted at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival produced by the Weinstein Company. Written and directed by Italian filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino, Penn gives an atypical, compelling performance, but quite honestly, he is a terrible looking drag queen.

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