Thursday, January 15, 2009
I was a video store jockey back in the early nineties which was fitting because that's when Clerks came out. Pretty good show - it captured the boredom, snark and foolishness of the whole experience pretty well.
I worked in a store in Forest Hill and experienced my share of weirdness as a result.
Trust fund babies in their forties and fifties wandering Spadina Avenue day after day (and there's not much to wander) waiting for their parents to die so they could inherit the rest of their fortune.
People whose enormous wealth was completely inverse to the amount of brains they had.
Famous folks with a taste for porn.
The woman who would come in and ask about the movie with "that guy, the one with the brown hair".
The guy whose kids had racked up a grand in late fees, took out his money clip, pulled six hundred dollar bills off of a wad and asked if that would cover it.
The eight year old who sounded like a seventy year old man who started each day with a pack of Camels (unfiltered) and a bottle of Scotch before he headed to the track.
The students and other young people who lived in the neighbourhood, bartenders and actors and regular joes, who joined us in our bemusement at what was going on around us.
The pretty girls.
Can't remember who it was who said it - rich people are like me and you, they just have more money.
Its true. The majority of people I dealt with were terrific folks with the odd arsehole thrown in there.
And most of them had pretty bad taste in movies, in my opinion, but I'm an awful snob when it comes to certain things and movies is one of those.
(Beer is another except truth be told if someone hands me a Coors Light I'll drink that sucker straight away. I'm not that proud.)
Anyways one thing that would make me mental was when people would come in and whine about trying to get a copy of The Specialist or Sliver when copies of Red Rock West or The Last Seduction or El Mariachi were available.
At the time there was an explosion of smaller movies, some of them bad, many of them terrific, and actors like Steve Buschemi, Eric Stoltz, Parker Posey and Harvey Keitel were ubiquitous on our store shelves.
Keitel has always been one of my favourites. His first credit is "German soldier" in an episode of Hogan's Heroes in 1966 - he was already 27 at the time. In the seventies he was in Mean Streets and Taxi Driver but until the early nineties most of his work was minor stuff, in TV, on stage and in supporting roles in forgettable films.
And then he became huge, just as he passed the age of fifty.
From 1992 to 1996 he was in sixteen films that were released, an explosion of work, and mostly terrific shit, Monkey Trouble and Sister Act notwithstanding.
Reservoir Dogs, Smoke, Pulp Fiction, The Piano, The Bad Lieutenant.
Except for the nudity. There's Harvey, fifty three years old, full frontal, drinking a bottle of whiskey, crying, staggering about for an eternity in The Bad Lieutenant. Here he is wiping down the piano in The Piano, not a stitch on him. It was a running joke with us - naked Keitel, everywhere you looked.
Fifteen years later and when I think of those days its one of the first memories that pops into my head.
Jesus. Make it stop.
Shawn Horcoff is Harvey Keitel, except thankfully he is not naked all of the time. He's awesome and his presence makes for a terrific movie but he's not going to pull in five hundred million dollars at the box office all by himself. Having DiCaprio (Ales Hemsky) by his side (What's Eating Gilbert Grape Leo not The Quick and The Dead Leo) is a start but fact is this team needs Tom Hanks or Julia Roberts or George Clooney, someone who can win an Oscar and bring in the box office.
And forget about Billy Baldwin (Vinny Lecavalier) - especially when you're talking about what amounts to a lifetime contract. Why studios ever thought your man was gold at the box office is beyond me.
One of my favourite movies from my clerking days is Dazed and Confused. Just a beauty of a movie and fun to pick out all of the soon to be famous / not so famous young actors and actresses.
They were nearly all famous to me because most of them were in other movies soon after but the reality is that some of them faded away quickly, including the two leads, Jason London and Wiley Wiggins as well as Michelle Burke (who did play Dan Ackroyd's daughter in Coneheads, mind you). Then there were others like Cole Hauser, Nicky Katt and Anthony Rapp who have been acting for years but are certainly not that recognizable, Rory Cochrane, Parker Posey, Joey Lauren Adams, Milla Jovovich and Adam Goldberg, who all have had some success in movies or TV and finally the big boys, Ben Affleck and Matthew McConaughey as well as Renee Zellweger, who was uncredited as "the girl in the blue pickup".
Its an apt comparison because right now the Oilers are full of youngsters and Dazed and Confused certainly describes the way the franchise has been run since June 19, 2006 and the way the club has played this season thus far.
And its teeming with young kids trying to prove themselves. We already know that a guy like Steve MacIntyre (Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!) is like the extra who somehow has managed to wrangle a spoken line out of the production. Soon we'll never see him again but its a fun story all the same.
But what about Gagner, Cogliano, Brodziak, Pouliot, Reddox, Nilsson, Potulny, Brule, Stortini, Schremp, Gilbert, Grebeshkov, Smid, Peckham and Deslauriers?
Who's going to be McConaughey? And who's going to be Jason O. Smith?
Posted by Black Dog at 1:30 PM