Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Trim Bin #51

- Hearing about the death of Peter Boyle, my mind immediately jumped to two scenes. The first is Boyle as the cabbie guru Wizard waxing philosophical to Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver (a scene largely improvised by Boyle). The second is the "Puttin On the Ritz" scene in Young Frankenstein; the monster's indecipherable yelps are one of the film's highlights. It's hard to imagine anyone but Boyle playing either role so memorably, and for that he will be missed.

- I'm planning on beginning the next gauntlet (suggestions for a new name are welcome) starting on January 1st. This time, we'll be determining which film is the worst of all time. Feel free to leave a comment here with your bottom ten anytime between now and January; I look forward to judging the worst of the worst.

- The awards season has begun, with most major critics' groups having announced their choices (you can find a handy guide to the NY, Boston, LA and Washington picks here). The biggest winners this year appear to be Letters From Iwo Jima, United 93, The Departed and The Queen. Two of those films are among my favorites this year, and Letters could join that list (I'm indifferent to The Queen despite Helen Mirren's pitch-perfect performance). All in all, not a bad year for the critics, as it was probably too much to hope for a sudden surge of enthusiasm for The Fountain. I'm neither qualified nor interested in doing much awards speculation, so this is probably it until the Oscar nominations. I just figured I'd mention that yes, I do think about these things.

- More on The Departed: this piece from Film Comment (page 1 page 2 page 3 page 4) is the strongest written on the film so far, and offers some provocative ideas about the film (I took Queenan at face value, but perhaps he is shadier than he seems).

- Finally, in honor of the new David Lynch/Laura Dern collaboration Inland Empire (I'm seeing it at the Brattle this weekend, and I can't wait), here's a scene featuring Dern's brilliant work as Lula in Wild at Heart. "Holy shit, it's night of the living fuckin' dead!"

Alien 10
The Queen
The Royal Tenenbaums
Casino Royale
Casualties of War


Anonymous said...

I watched The Departed again last night (we just got it at Hollywood Hits). My favorite performances were Alec Baldwin and Donnie Whalberg, by a mile. I have come to expect perfection from Baldwin, but you can tell that Whalberg relished the chance to be in a great movie surrounded by the best Hwood has to offer. He steals every scene he's in and he loves it. "I'm the guy who does his job, you must be the other guy." got the biggest laugh out of the whole movie (which had some very funny lines) in all three of the screenings I saw.
The Fountian was the best movie I have seen this year, but The Departed is a very close second. The Fountain is only first because of how much of it I took with me when I left the theater.
As for Queenan's motivation, I too took him at face value. Watching the movie again, I still can't see any malice in him. He can't protect Costigan from Dingham's tirdaes because he knows that Costigan will have to deal with worse. He has to see what Costigan can put up with under pressure. In the scene at Queenan's house I think you can see that he really cares about Costigan's mental state, but he probably doesn't want to get too close with Costigan. He lets fatherly concern with Costigan get in the way of doing his job of protecting him. Maybe I just see Martin Sheen as a father figure.

Anonymous said...

By Donnie Whalberg, I meant Mark Whalberg.

Andrew Bemis said...

We have the same top two thus far this year. Nifty.

Yeah, I'd ultimately have to agree about Queenan - that line "Not for my guy" is just too guileless. My favorite performance in the film is Matt Damon; he does a great, subtle job of playing it likeable while still giving you glimpses of how cold the character really is (the French restaurant scene is creepy when you look closely at it).