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.