Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Adopt An Actor

Splotchy came up with a fun innovation recently-- "Adopt-An-Actor." It consists, mainly, of choosing a character actor to sponsor. The details aren't clear-- I'm not sure yet if you're supposed to let him or her crash on your couch when they're in town.

My first inclination was go grab Brad Dourif, who's played mostly troubled, and often creepy characters since his portrayal of Billy in the One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (which I saw, by the way, Splotchy, in the Lagrange Theater in 1975 or 1976!). He's played memorable roles in the awful David Lynch version of Dune, and in Star Trek: Voyager and The X-Files. He's best-known recently for his recurring role in Deadwood.

Last night, though, I was watching one of my favorite movies, Raising Arizona. I'll post this one soon as a "Fave Rave" soon, so I won't go much into it, but IMHO this movie is a masterpiece.

I was also reminded that one of the great character actors of all time, Trey Wilson was in it. As Nathan Arizona, the father of the kidnapped baby, he steals a lot of scenes. A couple of examples:

As the FBI and Arizona State Police overrun his house looking for clues, he yells at them for searching for his son Nathan, Jr. in the only house in Arizona that they know his son isn't at. When the investigators ask him if his son was wearing pajamas, he snaps back, "No one sleeps naked in this house.

He played a couple more memorable roles: as FBI field director Franklin in Jonathan Demme's "Married to the Mob," and, very memorably, as coach Joe Riggins in Bull Durham.

I searched Youtube in vain for the great "Lolligagging" locker room scene (with the great comic actor Robert Wuhl). I couldn't even find a picture of him.

Unfortunately, Wilson died of a cerebral hemmorage in 1989 at the age of 40.

In looking him up, I discovered that he was actually cast in another Coen brothers movie, the gangster movie Miller's Crossing. When he died during filming, the part went to Albert Finney.

I think, then, I'm going to adopt well-travelled character actor M. Emmett Walsh, who was also in Raising Arizona, as the annoying co-worker.

Looking him up on the Internet Movie Database, I discovered that Walsh had 187 entries. The first thing I distinctly remember him in was as the jerk swimming coach in "Ordinary People" ("I would never have let them put electricty in my head..."), but I remembered his face from dozens of movies.

He was in Midnight Cowboy, They Might Be Giants (the movie that the group got the name from, I believe), Serpico, Slapshot, Reds, Blade Runner and many more. According to IMDB, he was the infamous "Group W" Sergeant in the film adaptation of Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant."

It's not like he really needs my sponsorship, though. Among the 187 movies are five that have been or will be released this year. His career appears to be doing just fine without my help.

18 comments:

kim said...

Only you would nominate a dead guy.

Wasn't M. Emmett Walsh the dad in The Jeffersons?

Splotchy said...

Sweet damn, mr. yen!

M. Emmett Walsh is the shit! What a fantabulous adoption you have made!

I love this man, almost as much as David Patrick Kelly.

He is by far the best thing about the first Coen Bros. movie Blood Simple.

He's delivered so many other memorable roles, both comedic and dramatic, in Fletch, Bladerunner, even turkeys like The Mighty Quinn.

Fantastic choice, man. Fantastic.

Spooney said...

Brad Dourif was also Grima Wormtongue in Lord of the Rings.

Sponney said...

That's funny cuz M. Emmett Walsh played the swimming coach in the Rodney Dangerfield movie Back to School too.

Skylers Dad said...

I choose William Macy, he is my favorite of all time!

busterp said...

Macy is a good choice. And of course Walsh.

Personally I'd choose Campbell Scott. I first saw him in Mamet's The Spanish Prisoner. Very understated acting. I catch him in misc movies but always liked his work. I last saw him in(The Excorcism of Emily Rose).

Two I couldn't do would be Ned Beatty or Jon Voight. Why? Deliverance and Midnight Cowboy.

The Elk said...

You threw me with the Walsh in Slapshot comment and I had to go look it up on IMDB.
I completely forgot that he played the Sports Reporter "I was trying to capture the spirit of the thing Reg...."
As for Adopting an Actor, my choice would be hands down Marjoe Gortner. Who can top his steller acting in The Towering Inferno, Viva Knievel, and being attacked by a giant Chicken in Food of the Gods......

Big Orange (a.k.a. "Uncle Moonpie") said...

I'll support anyone who takes their clothes off a lot. In fact, if there's anyone who's nude on camera MORE than they're dressed, I'll armwrestle ya' to sponsor 'em.

Who's first??

anandamide said...

Big orange. It's OK, Harvey Keitel is all yours.....

Johnny Yen said...

Kim-
Yeah. He was the white George Jefferson.

Splotchy-
Thanks! Yeah, he was great in that movie! Otherwise, it's by far my least favorite Coen brothers movie.

Spooney-
I saw that when I looked him up in the IMDB.

I haven't tackled the Lord movies. My youngest brother was a huge, huge fan of the books, and talked a lot about them when we were young. I think I'll delve into the movies, but I think they'll be a project.

I saw in the IMDB as well that he was in Back to School, but I couldn't remember the role.

Skyler's Dad-
He is great, isn't he? He's actually moved up from being a lead actor. Have you seen Magnolia? One of my favorite movies, and he's great in that.

Busterp-
I looked him up and I've only seen Singles-- I remember him well in that. I'll throw The Spanish Prisoner on my Netflix queue.

Elk-
I'm going to do a regular feature about movies I'm still waiting for on DVD. Food of the Gods is right at the top of that list. As you well know, Food of the Gods II is out...

That documentary he did in the seventies outing the evangelical movement is out on DVD now.

Big Orange-
How about Ron "The Human Carpet" Jeremy?

Anandamide-
LOL!

As my friend Jim says-- is he naked? Is he crying? It must be Harvey Keitel.

Me and my old friend Jamie made up a drinking game for Bad Lieutenant called, um, Bad Lieutenant. It's based on the well-known drinking game "Hi Bob," where you watch a Bob Newhart rerun, and whenever someone says "Hi Bob," you drink. In "Bad Lieutenant," you drink every time Harvey Keitels character does something bad, and shout "Bad Lieutenant!" If he does something really bad, e.g. shooting up while gettin' down with two hookers, then you shout "Bad, Bad Lieutenant!" and empty your drink.

MacGuffin said...

The Coen brothers are like film Gods to me, imperfect ones from time to time, but Gods nonetheless.

Johnny Yen said...

Macguffin-
Me too. I've heard that Intolerable Cruelty is pretty weak, but I think that Raising Arizona, Miller's Crossing, The Big Lebowski, Fargo, O Brother Where Art Thou, etc. by far makes up for it.

GETkristiLOVE said...

I love both of your choices actually. It's so funny you mention Raising Arizona because it's one of my all time favorites, and I quoted it just the other day. After having my new baby kitten for a matter of hours, I looked at SV and just started crying, "I love her so much."

Gee. Now that I think about it. I hope he got it.

Natalie said...

I would like to sponsor Treat Williams. He can do anything. I kind of like Dune but that is because I grew up watching my dad watch every possible version (and that is a lot of versions) of that movie. I can't imagine how drunk you would be playing a game of Bad Lieutenant. I might die.

Elizabeth said...

I would adopt Tim Robbins. He's a doll!

Amy Guth said...

"Would you buy furniture from Unpainted Huffines?!?!?!"

Great one. Excellent call.

gizmorox said...

I've met him! He lives in my hometown when he's not making movies. When I was 11 I almost ran him over with my bike when he was going into the bar. He's awesome. He's just a weird, scruffy guy.

Anonymous said...

Kim - M. Emmett Walsh was NOT on The Jefffersons.