Sunday, September 28, 2008

Paul Newman R.I.P. (1925-2008)

One of the most solid actors to walk the planet in the last century has just left us. I suspect many of my fellow film bloggers out there are too young to truly know the depths of his work so I would suggest filling NetFlix queues with Newmans finest. Undisputed classics such as THE HUSTLER, HUD, COOL HAND LUKE, and Sydney Lumets THE VERDICT are highly recommended. As are his fun period piece buddy films with Robert Redford - BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID and THE STING. Extracurricular work would include Sydney Pollacks ABSENCE OF MALICE, NOBODY'S FOOL, and MR. AND MRS. BRIDGE. Honestly you can't go wrong with a Paul Newman movie - even BLAZE and THE TOWERING INFERNO have their merits. He worked with many of the great directors - Alfred Hitchcock on TORN CURTAIN, Robert Altman on BUFFALO BILL AND THE INDIANS, Martin Scorsese on THE COLOR OF MONEY (which Newman won the Best Actor Oscar for) and even the Coen Brothers on the unjustly underrated THE HUDSUCKER PROXY (pictured at the top of this post). His comical side has been overlooked in many of the obits Ive read the last day or so but his appearances on Letterman over the years have been hilarious self-effacing affairs - check out this clip on youtube. Its fitting that his last role was the voice of a 1951 Hudson Hornet Automobile named Doc Hudson in Pixars CARS. Nice that the wee ones will get an intro to Mr. Newman there. So put some Newmans Own popcorn in the microwave, fire up the DVD player and pay proper tribute to the man. More Later...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Moore Is Way Less This Time Out - Free Download Notwithstanding.


SLACKER UPRISING (Dir. Michael Moore, 2008)




“Stream it, download it, burn it now. It’s the first time a major feature-length film is being released for free on the internet. You can be part of this historic moment by logging on now!” – Michael Moore (from an email you’ll get when you sign up for the free download of SLACKER UPRISING).

Watching this new documentary sure doesn’t feel like I’m taking part in an historic moment. It’s a self indulgent infomercial centering on Moore’s tour of colleges in battleground states in the last weeks of the 2004 Bush Vs. Kerry election.

Since we all know how that turned out this is supposed to show Moore and fellow liberal Democrats’ failed but noble attempts as inspirational grass roots measures to encourage voters for the current campaign. It doesn’t quite come off that way though as despite some background to the swiftboating of Kerry, and touching testimonials from the families of soldiers in Iraq (as well as some by soldiers themselves), this mainly shows what Moore credits as “a cast of millions” screaming and applauding him on stage like a rock star over and over as he does his usual shtick.

You know the routine - Bush lied, the war is corrupt, get out and vote, etc. which is all fine but he covered it better, of course, in FAHRENHEIT 9/11 which this film ought to be just a bonus feature on a future Special Edition DVD of.

That’s not to say there aren’t good bits though and not coincidentely they don’t contain Moore’s visage but instead showcase the music on the tour. Steve Earle passionately plays “Rich Man’s War" to a rapt audience, Joan Baez does an acapella version of “Finlandia” and Eddie Vedder, who considers Moore one of “the wonders of the Patriot Act; Michael is a patriot who acts”, does an invigorated solo acoustic version of Cat Steven’s "Don’t Be Shy." *

There is also R.E.M., Tom Morello (of Rage Against the Machine), and singer songwriter Robert Orrall doing his catchy crowd pleaser “Al Gore Lives On My Street”. It’s Moore’s show though and it is commendable that he spends some time dealing with his detractors. Bush supporting students (in small numbers) come to his rallies and even try to get him barred from speaking but Moore has the mike and can yell down any opponent. 

To examine the valid criticisms and anger of the anti-Michael Moore population would have made the movie worthwhile but we just get the same slogans that by now even the choir is tired of.

* This appears to be what inspired Moore to use Steven's original version (written for HAROLD AND MAUDE) as the end credits music for SiCKO.


Shortly after the results of the 2004 election were in a headline in the satirical newspaper the Onion said it best: “Poll: Youth Totally Meant To Vote In Record Numbers”. This sums up whats wrong and ultimately very depressing about this exercise. 

This film would only be vital and necessary if the Slacker Uprising strategy worked. Instead we see 99 minutes of a man drunk on his own applause. Patting himself on the back and believing his own hype even when it turns out to be drastically ineffective. 

It is encouraging that polls are showing that more folks may be getting out and voting in what is likely the most severely important Presidential race in my lifetime but a film like this is hardly going to matter in the grand scheme. 

SLACKER UPRISING is for Michael Moore completists only (if there are such people) and it should have remained with its original title “Captain Mike Across America” as a sideline film, like I said before, only added as an extra on a future DVD re-release. It seems though, as smart and savvy as he is, that he knows this hence its asking price. Yep, that’s right - at least it’s free.

Postnote #1: Actually it’s not completely free - just the download for American and Canadians. DVDs are being sold for $9.95 at Moore’s website.

Postnote #2: For a worthwhile look at criticisms from Moore detractors check out Rick Caine & Debbie Melnyk’s MANUFACTURING DISSENT (Reviewed here November 13th, 2007)

More later...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

MOVING MIDWAY Moved Me In Many Ways

Sorry, I just couldnt resist the Gene Shalit-esque post heading. 

MOVING MIDWAY (Dir. Godfrey Cheshire, 2008)


Though he is based in New York these days, Godfrey Cheshire is fairly well known in my whereabouts (the Triangle Area in North Carolina) because, well, he was born in this area and the movie reviews he has written for the Independent Weekly for a long time (well, since the '80s) and his extensive film historian reputation.

When he learned that a plantation house (the Midway of the title) that has long been in his family was to be relocated away from the strip-mall sprawl of outer Raleigh he decided to finally pick up a camera himself and document the event. 

Along the way he finds that his family is a lot bigger than he thought it was with descendants of the slaves that worked on the house grounds revealing connections that stack up as revelations with further study. Robert Hinton, a African American Historian who has done his own research into the family Midway matters accompanies Cheshire on many of his trips and provides a sober (and sobering) viewpoint far removed from the romanticized South of GONE WITH THE WIND (which we see many vivid clips of).

Ghosts of the past are thought to be haunting Midway and may not be happy about the move but professor Hinton is, speaking about the plans to construct a shopping center with a Target he remarks:
 
“I have the pleasure of knowing that what used to be Midway Plantation will soon be covered with concrete and asphalt” to Cheshire’s somewhat bemused reaction. 

Viewing the massive operation it takes to move such a bulky historical house Cheshire notes that the draped pieces remind him of a film set. This is apt because the filter through which American media milestones like BIRTH OF A NATION, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, Alex Haley’s “Roots” (the book and TV miniseries), the before mentioned GONE WITH THE WIND, and even a clip of the infamous Uncle Remus from the roundly considered racist SONG OF THE SOUTH pour through what could have just been an overly ambitious home movie could only be devised by someone with such a refined but passionate love of pop culture.

MOVING MIDWAY is as funny and touchingly thoughtful as it is educational and intensely interesting. Despite that I have viciously disagreed with many of Cheshire’s opinions of mostly mainstream movies in the pages of a local paper over the years, I still returned to reading his reviews time and again because of the emotion and debate it would stir up in me. 

This labor of love stirred up a lot of feelings as well and as a small independent documentary by a first time film maker that hasn’t gotten a MPAA rating yet or much distribution, I strongly urge folks to seek it out. 

More later...

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Film Babble Blog Pop Quiz Reprise

To celebrate this being my 200th post (which I know in the bloggosphere is no biggie - my prolific pals at The Playlist have had 1471 posts this year alone!) I decided to re-post a quiz from my 80th post (May 6th, 2007) that didnt get a very satisfactory response first time out. Ive had a lot more hits since then and Ive added a new EXTRA EXTRA CREDIT question so I hope film freak folks will roll up their sleeves, get their #2 pencils, and tackle: Film Babble Blog's Movie & TV Mind Teasers! The major unanswered questions in the realm of modern pop-culture in a quick n easy pop-quiz format. 1. What was in the briefcase in PULP FICTION? 2. What was in the package that Charlie Meadows (John Goodman) leaves in the care of Barton (John Turturro) in BARTON FINK? 3. What state is Springfield in on The Simpsons? 4. Why (or how) is Chance the Gardener (Peter Sellers) able to walk on water at the end of BEING THERE? 5. How (or why) did Groundhog Day keep repeating to Phil Connors (Bill Murray) in GROUNDHOG DAY? 6. What is the one thing that 13 CONVERSATIONS ABOUT ONE THING is about? 7. Did Mookie (Spike Lee) do the right thing in DO THE RIGHT THING? 8. When the Fonz (Henry Winkler) moved in over the Cunningham's garage on Happy Days - did he actually pay rent? 9. How on bloody Earth did those images get on that damn videotape in any version of THE RING? 10. Who killed chauffeur Owen Taylor (Dan Wallace) in THE BIG SLEEP? (Man, if you can answer this...) EXTRA CREDIT : Who put the monolith on earth during the opening apes BC segment and on the moon in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY? God or Aliens? Discuss. EXTRA EXTRA CREDIT:

What does Bill Murray whisper in Scarlett Johansson' s ear at the end of LOST IN TRANSLATION?

Okay film folks! Dont let me down - take the quiz and send your answers to me as comments below or to my email: boopbloop7@gmail.com More later...

Friday, September 12, 2008

BURN AFTER READING: Not As Disposable As Its Title Suggests


BURN AFTER READING (Dirs. Ethan Coen & Joel Coen, 2008)



You cant get any more A-list than the cast of this movie. George Clooney, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton are Oscar winners, John Malkovich has been nominated more than once, and Brad Pitt is, well, Brad Pitt (yes hes been nominated too). 

Mix in a couple of the most acclaimed character actors working today - Richard Jenkins (Six Feet Under, THE VISITOR) and J.K. Simmons (J. Jonah Jameson in the SPIDERMAN series, JUNO) and you've got as rich and tasty an cinematic ensemble soufflĂ© that could be served today. 

Coming off the ginormous success of NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (yes, more Oscars) it seems the Coen Brothers needed to blow off some steam just as RAISING ARIZONA was the silly satirical followup to their dark debut BLOOD SIMPLE and THE BIG LEBOWSKI came right after FARGO, this is the ice cream to NO COUNTRY's full steak dinner. Okay, Ill get off the food analogies. Seems somewhat pointless to try to recount the plot but Ill still have a go at it. Malkovich is a boozing low level CIA agent whose files and memoirs are copied onto a disc by his wife (Swinton) after he is fired and she plans to divorce him. 

The disc is found at the gym Hardbodies where McDormand and Pitt work who, the money-grubbing schemers that they are, plan to blackmail Malkovich with. Meanwhile Clooney (also an idiot) who is having an affair with Swinton meets McDormand on one of his many misadventures with online dating. Misadventures is the right word for all of this as we see these pathetic people go through a series of sloppily handled escapades. 

The disc is, of course, a MacGuffin as its contents are unimportant and, as anyone in the film who studies it confirms, worthless. The conviction of McDormand, who wants the money to have extesive cosmetic surgery (Ive gone just about as far as I can go with this body) coupled with Pitt's badly bleached blundering makes for a lot of laughs while Clooneys wide eyed doltish womanizing brings his fair share of funny too. Malkovich's jaded jerk of a foul mouthed (his most repeated phrase throughout is what the fuck?!!?” I think) failed spy wont win him any awards but its among the finest comic acting of his career or at least since BEING JOHN MALKOVICH

Swinton seems to be the only one that is ill at ease with the material though that's probably because her character is so ill at ease with these situations. We dont really know what anyone is after J.K. Simmons as Malkovichs former superior says in an indifferent whatever manner at one point and I bet many critics will say the same about BURN AFTER READING. After the powerfully astute NO COUNTRY... this may seem merely a funny throw-away.

A high class but trivial piece that treads water between more ambitious efforts, Im sure some will remark, but I believe there is a lot more going for it than that. 

Sure, it would be easy to conclude that this is a silly statement on our current technology driven paranoia and that everybody is stupid, glib, and completely out for themselves but I think that would be dumbing it down considerably. With their patented low angles, wide interior shots, and the overall free for all spirit that they appear to instill in all the films participants, the offbeat world we are presented could only be Coen created - this is a view of their private sector, to use some Washington D.C. jargon. 

Like many Coen Brothers movies this will take repeat viewings to fully appreciate and to formulate more of a take on where it stands in their canon. Right now I can only say that BURN AFTER READING is consistently hilarious with a host of A-listers at the top of their game and Im looking forward to seeing it again. Its an enjoyable and extremely silly sector that Im glad they don't keep so private.

More later...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

New DVDs - REDBELT, RECOUNT, & BABY MAMA (for reals!)

Time to take a break from the big screen and review some new release DVDs - all with quick easy titles! So here goes it: -->

REDBELT (Dir. David Mamet, 2008)




A David Mamet Martial arts movie, well, how about that! Actually, since Mamet’s films usually offer double-talking con artists scoring a scam, the seedy world of strong armed prize-competitions is a perfect fit. 

Chiwetel Ejiofor, working his worry-lines particularly this one popping vein on his forehead, is a jujitsu master and self defense instructor who lives by a moral code and has perfected a new strategy. Which is, to determine the fight, Ejiofor explains with three marbles: “Each fighter has a two-in-three odds of chosing a white marble. 

White marble's a pass” and that the “black marble is a handicap” meaning the fighter loses the use of his arms. He considers this his training method trademark despite its historical precedent and it is grifted from him by the business that is show - a movie star (a gruff thick Tim Allen) and his film production cronies and a big league televised championship. 

Other pressures mount with his nagging wife (Alice Braca) bitchin’ ‘bout huge debts, a frazzled lawyer (Emily Mortimer) who accidentely shoots out the window of Ejiofor’s studio with a cop’s gun, a hot wrist-watch that competes with the marble method to be the film’s meta-MacGuffin. “There is always an escape” Ejiofor often states though it gets so dicey you doubt whether he believes 
it. 

Mamet’s trusty regulars Joe Montegna, Ricky Jay (stiffer than usual but still effective), and Rebecca Pidgeon (Mamet’s wife) all do their wicked best with the barbed wordings while curiously crafted fight choreography marks the set pieces. Along with the surpisingly deft Tim Allen (atoning for WILD HOGS I hope) the always affable David Paymer has a brief bit as a loan shark and look for Jennifer Grey (DIRTY DANCING) in a nothing part as Montegna’s lady-friend. 

Ejiofor is the one to watch though; he carries every scene with a gravitas only hinted at in previous works like DIRTY PRETTY THINGS and AMERICAN GANGSTER. His sparring both with his fellow thespians in tense talks and in the ring is engrossing. REDBELT isn’t Mamet’s best film (that’s GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS IMHO) but it is meticulous and gloriously manipulative in many pleasurable ways. 

It's a thinking man’s Martial arts movie that, for all the abrasiveness of its characters plans, has a careful respectful grace that so much modern drama is missing. 

RECOUNT (Dir. Jay Roach, 2008) 

“Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. And then there’s that little known third category.” - Al Gore


This HBO telefilm tells an all too familliar tale - the maddening election result fiasco that was the Bush/Gore Presidential campaign of 2000. No need to worry about any Spoilers here - everyone knows how this turned out but what makes this compelling and essential is the devil in the details. A solid cast staffs both sides of the debate - Kevin Spacey, Dennis Leary, and Ed Begley Jr. in the Democratic corner facing off Tom Wilkinson, Bob Babalan, and Bruce McGill as the rebuking Republicans. 

Laura Dern as Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris is the icing on an already very tasty cake. As Warren Christopher, John Hurt makes a much more striking note (described by Leary as “so tight he probably eats his M&Ms with a knife and fork”) than he did in the whole of that last Indiana Jones flick.

The real star here is the story though - biased towards the Democrats as one would figure and fudging with some minor facts aside, the topsy turvy twists of the road to the White House turned me inside-out with some of the same feelings I had when the real thing was happening getting stirred up. 

I got so into the frustrating back and forth that I thought it was again possible for Gore to win only to have to take a big bite of a stale reality sandwich. Sigh. Except for archival footage and some over the shoulder shots we never see Gore or Bush, we just hear their voices on phones or see doubles at a distance and this was a good decision. 

The meat of the matter was those toiling beneath them epitomized by Spacey’s part as Gore's former Chief Of Staff. Klain was actually fired from his position but still came to work on the campaign and then the recount commitee. Spacey brings his usual slick glide to the role which can be annoying in films like BEYOND THE SEA (actually everything was annoying in that movie) and THE LIFE OF DAVID GALE (ditto) but it works wonders with such lines as "the plural of ‘chad’ is ‘chad’?” Leary pretty much hammers down his standard schtick but his jaded cynical demeanor is definitely necessary considering.

Like many I’ve never really gotten over the 2000 election. It was one of the most disappointing and devastating events of my lifetime. That a lot of the mitigating factors haven’t completely been resolved is very troubling in light of the upcoming election. There’s a lot to recommend about RECOUNT but the most vital message it contains can be summed up by the words of poet George Santayana: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
 While I don’t think we’ll ever forget this story, I still fear it may be repeated.

BABY MAMA (Dir. Michael McCullers, 2008)


 

Tina Fey, former SNL head writer and currently the star of 30 Rock (which she also created and writes), never appeared to aspire to motion picture leading lady status. “My role model is Harold Ramis” she told Time Magazine in an interview when promoting MEAN GIRLS. She went on: “I want to sneak into movies. I have no pretensions of thinking people will pay to see me.”

Well, this was #1 at the box office its opening weekend (I know that doesn't necessarily mean hit - i.e. BANGKOK DANGEROUS) so plenty did pay to see her, but I didn’t.

Mainly because the lame looking clips on the commercials - I mean, did anyone think that bits like Fey getting mad at Amy Poehler for sticking gum under her prized coffee table were that funny? Well, nothing here is that funny. This is light comedy - a rom com that was marketed as a crude offensive Farrelly brothers type affair.


Fey is a 37 year old career woman who one day wakes up and wants a baby. She is told by a doctor (John Hodgman - the PC guy from those “get a Mac” ads) that the chances of her getting pregnant are “one in a million” so she looks into adoption but is discouraged by the long waiting list. The idea of employing a surrogate mother pulls her in and before long she is set up with Amy Poehler as a white trash loon. 

Poehler and Fey have worked together a lot so they have a great clashing chemistry, but the tone here is too comfortable to really take off. It does contain a good cast with appearances by SNL folk (Will Forte, Fred Armisen, Siobhan Fallon), a mildly amusing performance by Steve Martin as Fey's pony-tailed new agey boss, Sigourney Weaver being a good sport about aging jokes as the surrogacy firm head who boasts about conceiving naturally, and Greg Kinnear as a smarmy but charming possible love interest for Fey. The problem is that it's all too light and trivial. 

Poehler could have really gone somewhere with her caustic character, hints of that are here when she's going into labor and freaking out in a hospital hallway: “It feels like I’m shitting a knife!” but director/writer McCullers (also a former SNL alumni) seems to have decided to play one tone and never veer far from its self imposed sentiment. 

Still, Fey and Poehler have their moments and it’s nice to see a quasi-smart comedy involving the needs of women protagonists that's not trying to fake sincerity. Its small success will, with hope, give them the chance to try for something that has more teeth and will really leave more of a mark than this. 

More later...

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Coen Brothers Repertory Role Call 1984-2008

In anticipation of the new Coen Brothers film BURN AFTER READING (opening next week!) I decided it was time to update the listing of their stock company of able bodied actors. Lets get right to it starting with: The Major Players

Steve Buscemi (MILLER'S CROSSING, BARTON FINK, THE HUDSUCKER PROXY, FARGO, THE BIG LEBOWSKI, PARIS JE 'TAIME): The bug-eyed Buscemi is a perfect fit for the world of the Coens making. After making an undeniable impression in bit parts for the brothers in 3 films in a row, he graduated to major player as Carl Showalter in FARGO - a tour de force performance which should have gotten him an Oscar or at least a nomination. Next up as Donnie, the daft but incredibly lovable bowler/surfer in THE BIG LEBOWSKI he had many memorable moments (Im throwing rocks tonight!) before his untimely demise. He didn't show up for them again until their short segment of the colorful anothology film PARIS JE 'TAIME (2007) in which he played an unlucky tourist in the city of love. Heres hoping it wasnt his last time in front of the Coens camera.

George Clooney (O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU?, INTOLERABLE CRUELTY, BURN AFTER READING): Many thought the square-jawed leading man if there ever was one would be like Nicholas Cage or Tim Robbins - i.e. a starring part one-off for the Minnesotan movie-makers but Clooney keeps coming back for more. Completing what he calls a trilogy of idiots with BURN AFTER READING it is rumored that he may be on board for the brothers long talked about Hercules project. Man, I hope that comes together!

John Goodman (RAISING ARIZONA, BARTON FINK, THE

HUDSUCKER PROXY (just a radio voice-over cameo), THE BIG LEBOWSKI, O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU?): One of the most reliable of the major players, Goodman brings a stern but dangerously stupid edge to every character hes embodied. From escaped felon Gale Snoats in RAISING ARIZONA to BARTON FINKs charming but murderous Charlie Meadows (who could tell you some stories) to the incredibly quotable Walter Sobchak (Mark it zero!, were talking about unchecked aggression here, Dude, this is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass!, etc.) with his turn as Big Dan Teague in O BROTHER... being possibly his last film with the Coens. He told Rolling Stone: After a while, (my) characters got too similar. Their names were even similar, so we had to part company. I kind of miss those days. Theres a lot I would do differently, but you cant do that. Its against the laws of nature. Time travels on. Maybe so but I for one hope the Coens go for the Goodman goods again some day.

Holly Hunter (BLOOD SIMPLE, RAISING ARIZONA, O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU?): She was just a uncredited voice on a phone answering machine in BLOOD SIMPLE but Hunters ferociously feisty performances in the comedy classic RAISING ARIZONA and the Oedipal musical O BROTHER... definitely make her a major player in the Coen canon. Officer Edwina Ed McDunnough in RAISING ARIZONA was a breakthrough role for her and it paved the way for an Osacr nomination the following year for BROADCAST NEWS. She took home the Academy Award for THE PIANO in 1994 but that didn't mean she would turn her nose up at the prospect of reteaming with the Brothers. As the fierce Penny in O BROTHER... she seemed right at home. Like Goodman and, well, every one of these folks, I hope to see her in Coen country again someday down the road.

Frances McDormand (BLOOD SIMPLE, RAISING ARIZONA, MILLER'S CROSSING, FARGO, THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE, BURN AFTER READING): Obvious why she makes the grade. McDormand starred in the Coen brothers film debut BLOOD SIMPLE, she had brief but memorable bits in RAISING ARIZONA and MILLERS CROSSING before once again ruling the screen as pregnant Police Chief Marge Gunderson (which won her the Best Actress Oscar), she has a key part in THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE, and she returns in BURN AFTER READING as gym employee Linda Litzke which I can't wait to see. Oh yeah, shes married to Joel Coen so theres that too. Fun fact: Pre-stardom McDormand once shared an apartment with both Joel and Ethan Coen as well as Sam Raimi, Scott Spiegel, and Holly Hunter.

Jon Polito (MILLERS CROSSING, BARTON FINK, THE HUDSUCKER PROXY, THE BIG LEBOWSKI, THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE): A great under-rated character actor, Polito has stolen every scene he's been in under the Coens direction from the GODFATHER-esque opening monolgue in MILLER'S CROSSING right through to the sleazy businessman Creighton Tolliver in THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE.

Tony Shalhoub (MILLER'S CROSSING, BARTON FINK, THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE): Better known these days as Monk, Shalhoub was a great presence usually playing a slick fast talking insider in a brief but sweet sideline role. As Hollywood producer Ben Geisler in BARTON FINK he constantly admonishes Fink (John Turturro) about his struggles with writing: Wallace Beery. Wrestling picture. What do you need, a roadmap? As defending lawyer Freddy Riedenschneider (great name) in THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE, Shalhoub is no less harsh: I litigate. I don't capitulate.

John Turturro (MILLER'S CROSSING, BARTON FINK, THE BIG LEBOWSKI, O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU?): Turturro is IMHO the finest actor present as a major player and each of his roles are works of beauty. His powerfully intense performance as BARTON FINK is of course a stand-out being that it is a starring role but oddly THE BIG LEBOWSKIs Jesus Quintana (which pretty much just counts as a cameo) may be his most lasting creation for the Coens. In a recent interview Turturro spoke of wanting to do a LEBOWSKI spin-off sorta sequel that focused on Jesus getting out of jail and landing a job as a bus driver for a girls high school volleyball team. It will be a combination of ROCKY and THE BAD NEWS BEARS. At the very least we'd have to have a Dude cameo. I wouldnt hold my breath on that happening but it is a funny thought.

And The Rest: Bruce Campbell - THE HUDSUCKER PROXY, FARGO, INTOLERABLE CRUELTY, THE LADYKILLERS: 2 small parts and 2 as soap actor on TV - all 4 are uncredited.

Blake Clark - INTOLERABLE CRUELTY, THE LADYKILLERS

Charles Durning - THE HUDSUCKER PROXY, O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU

Richard Jenkins (Pictured left) - THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE, INTOLERABLE CRUELTY, BURN AFTER READING

John Mahoney - BARTON FINK, THE HUDSUCKER PROXY

John McConnell - MILLER'S CROSSING, O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU, THE LADYKILLERS

Stephen Root - O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU, THE LADYKILLERS, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN - Another personal favorite of mine. Root, best known as Newsradios Jimmy James and OFFICE SPACEs Milton (pictured right) has only had a few very small parts in the Coens work. I really hope they throw something more substantial his direction because he seems like he was born to be in their world.

J.K. Simmons - THE LADYKILLERS, BURN AFTER READING - Another hope to be regular in my book (on my blog more like).

Hallie Singleton - THE MAN WHO WASNT THERE, THE LADYKILLERS

Peter Stormare - FARGO, THE BIG LEBOWSKI - A Pancakes House loving nihilist through and through.

Billy Bob Thornton - THE MAN WHO WASNT THERE, INTOLERABLE CRUELTY - Hope he gets used again too.

M. Emmet Walsh (pictured on the left) BLOOD SIMPLE, RAISING ARIZONA - A key player in the first 2 Coen bros. flicks Walsh couldve easily slipped into the cast of NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.

Okay! Did I miss anybody?

More later...