When Sal Mineo was killed, many news outlets questioned whether his lifestyle in any way contributed to his death. They focused on the homosexual roles he recently portrayed, his own bisexuality and rumoured acts of sadomasochism. This biopic, which covers the last day of the actor’s life, eschews any salacious details and shows that he did in fact lead a pretty regular life. Therein lies its problem.
For if you want to spend ninety minutes of your time watching someone wake-up, go to the toilet, make a coffee, drink some milk, drink some orange-juice, make phone-calls, drive around, get a needle in his bum, eat a turkey sandwich, pick up his mail and so on, then this is the movie for you. On the other hand, and knowing the eventual outcome that awaits the title character, you may find yourself wishing him ill, just so the movie will come to an end.
Director James Franco appears in a protracted scene directing Mineo in rehearsals for a play, yet is only seen from behind. This conceit is indicative of the movie’s overall self-indulgence.
"I knew all I had to do was mark out specific activities for Sal Mineo’s last day. Some were based on what actually happened and some were based on what might have happened, because who knows exactly?"
No scene recreations in this biopic's limited setting. However, it does open with a scene which director James Franco admits was inspired by Sal Mineo's 1965 film Who Killed Teddy Bear.