Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Dream teams and novel combinations

Commuting theme music: Cowboy Junkies, 200 More Miles Driving to work, I was (yet again) impressed by the richness of Margo Timmins's vocals, and I thought: wouldn't it be great to hear her produced by David Lynch's favorite musical wonk, Angelo Badalamenti? Badalamenti did wonders for the ethereal Julee Cruise. Badalamenti + Timmins = sultry meltdown. That thought automatically led to my other musical fantasy, 10,000 Maniacs' Natalie Merchant produced by Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor. I love Natalie's voice, but 10,000 Maniacs' lyrics and music make me want to take a nap. Like Margo Timmins, I just know Natalie Merchant can belt out an edgy alternative rock song. Blogging about music is, I suspect, a no win situation, since most of my audience won't be familiar with these artists. I would have to stick to the well known names, which, with rare exception, are people I don't give a damn about. "Wouldn't it be interesting if Elton John did covers of The Cure's greatest hits?" That sort of thing. (Stomach-turning, actually, but it was the first example that came to mind.) That's why I've decided to focus on cinematic pop culture for my remaining fantasy items. Feel free to post your dream combos in the comments. 1. Stephen Rea as Arkady Renko. In the 1983 production of Martin Cruz Smith's novel Gorky Park, what was Michael Apted & Co. thinking when they cast William Hurt in the role of Arkady Renko? And why hasn't Hollywood figured out that Gorky Park (the novel) has had several excellent sequels? Havana Bay or Wolves Eat Dogs would both make excellent movies. But please, please, leave Hurt out of them. I only ever liked William Hurt in one role: when he played the airheaded college professor in the 1980 movie, Altered States. I think Altered States was supposed to be a serious film, but I have always viewed it as comedy. Parts of it verge on slapstick. Stephen Rea, however, has no shortage of stage presence. He's best known as Jaye Davidson's speechless lover in The Crying Game, but it was his performance as Lieutenant Burakov in Citizen X (a dramatization of the case of Andrei Chikatilo, the Soviet Union's most notorious mass murderer. . . um, after Stalin, that is) which made me think Renko. Rea's character is, by turns, enraged, obsessed, and depressed in his consuming drive to catch the killer. This guy has magnetism and stage presence to burn. Nice to see that he has a role in the upcoming screen adaptation of Alan Moore's graphic novel, V for Vendetta. 2. Tony Todd in just about any role currently given to Will Smith or Denzel Washington. Don't know if I'm coining a new expression or not, but it seems to me that Hollywood has long suffered from Sydney Poitier syndrome: an uncontrollable tendency to look at a room full of black actors and see only one man. Will Smith is the man of the hour, although Denzel Washington still gets a few cherry roles (e.g., Man On Fire). Perhaps Don Cheadle's rising career (Mission to Mars, Traffic, Hotel Rwanda) is an indication that Hollywood is shaking its Sydney Poitier syndrome, but I suspect it has more to do with the failed attempts to clone Smith. But, jeez, what about Tony Todd? Poor guy only gets lead roles in horror movies (most notably, the Candyman series). If you want a taste of how Todd would fare in a dramatic role, rent the 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead. When Todd is on screen, you won't be paying attention to anyone else. 3. Well, the clock is ticking, and I really want to launch this one into the blogosphere before 1 PM, so I'll skip treating you with a picture of Tim Burton's crazy hair. Suffice to say that if I had Burton's talent and success, I'd wear my hair like that, too. If I had hair. Here are a couple of painfully obvious ideas for future Burton projects. Take the same approach he used for A Nightmare Before Christmas and The Corpse Bride and apply it to two more traditional macabre subjects: Kafka's The Metamorphosis, and Edgar Allan Poe's (insert just about any title here)? Especially Poe. As much as I like Vincent Price, I think all of those Hammer adaptations failed to capture the essential creepiness of Poe's universe. If anyone understands Poe, Burton does. Okay, I'm outa here. D.


Blogger jurassicpork said...

Man, wasn't Citizen X a great movie? The box said that it compared with Silence of the Lambs and I said, Yeah yeah. But this is one movie that actually lived up to its PR billing. Stephen Rea was great in an understated way.

11/08/2005 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

Margo Timmins "belting out" a song? I've always thought of her voice as something small and frail (but not plastic, baby).

11/08/2005 03:58:00 PM  
Blogger Gabriele C. said...

Hey, that second guy looks quite yummy. And I bet Monica will agree. :-)

11/08/2005 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Hi JP. Don't ask me about Silence of the Lambs -- I think Hopkins has chewed so much scenery on-screen, it's a wonder he doesn't look like Hitchcock. I liked Citizen X much better than Lambs . . . although I do like my Jodie Foster. Just as long as she's not trying to contact extraterrestrials.

Stephen: Small and frail? I know she can belt out a song. Don't ask me how -- I just know it.

Gabriele, I think any woman would watching Todd on screen would have to say "WOOF!" That's a hungry woof, not a "he's a dog" woof.

He had a short recurring role on Xena, too, IIRC. Pretty hunky in that, too -- showed some shaved man boobage.

11/08/2005 05:04:00 PM  
Blogger amanda m. said...

instead of stephen rea, though he would have been good, i'd have LOVED to have seen Clive Owen as Renko. yeah.
Natalie produced by Trent? Hmmm, just might work. She needs to get away from all the crap that sounds the same, hell she even made the Bruce song sound like a maniacs song.
Margo. Sigh. I think a little Trent in her life would be a good thing too... or maybe that kid from the White Stripes, he produced Loretta Lynn's latest and he'd probably do a fantastic take on Timmons...

11/08/2005 05:10:00 PM  
Anonymous PBW said...

If Stephen Rea could do a NY accent, he'd have made the perfect Edward X. Delaney. Ralph Fiennes grubbed up a bit (ala Strange Days) has always been my mental image of Renko.

I'd like to see Vin Diesel as Othello, Keanu Reeves as Hamlet, and Ed Harris as anything besides Jackson Pollack.

11/08/2005 07:51:00 PM  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Clive Owen? Yeah, that works for me.

Oooh, Vin Diesel as Othello. I like that. (Ever see the version in which Bob Hoskins played Iago? He was great.)

As for Keanu Reeves, maybe it's a guy thing, but I could only ever tolerate him as Bill. Or was it Ted?

11/08/2005 11:31:00 PM  
Blogger THIS! Christine said...

I live in a very remote part of the world. We don't have access to radio stations (I know many of you may find that hard to believe)... oh how I miss Buffy, my one source of cool/different, music.


11/09/2005 12:37:00 AM  
Blogger mm said...

Your thoughts on Keanu aren't just a guy thing, Doug. Although wasn't he in Parenthood, too? I didn't hate him in that.

Dream Teams: What if Van Morrison teamed up with the Chieftains! Oh wait, they already did. :)

11/09/2005 03:11:00 AM  
Anonymous jmc said...

I've got to gush about Citizen X. Saw it on HBO way back in college, taped it, have almost worn the tape out. Time to spring for the DVD, I guess. Love Stephen Rea and Donald Sutherland. Especially like the line at the end, when the psychologists notes that Burakov and Fetisov together make one good person.

11/09/2005 04:40:00 AM  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Yeah, JMC, that was one smart screenplay. And isn't it a joy to watch a movie that doesn't assume you have a 3rd grade intellect?

11/09/2005 08:51:00 AM  
Anonymous fiveandfour said...

Mostly off topic, but it's strange that I was just thinking about the Cowboy Junkies the other day and how it's been awhile since I've pulled one of their cds off the shelf for a listen...well, actually, I was thinking of that and I could swear it was the Cowboy Junkies that opened for U2 at a concert I saw and Margo had her back to the audience for 90% of their set and mumbled most of the lyrics. It was a very frustrating thing to watch.

11/09/2005 09:54:00 PM  

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