Skip to Navigation Skip to Content

Character Actors Gone Wild

And Remembering A Hundred-Year-Old Spitfire At the Castro Theater

Greetings and salutations* film nerds, if you’re a loyal follower of The Reel, you know this week Poppa Film Snot is (once again) thumbing his upturned nose at the bloody carnage coming from the wake of this Summer’s Sequel-Fest-Train-Wreck to celebrate little known movie gems from some of Hollywood’s greatest actors.

Tuesday I highlighted masterpieces from the Leading Actor category, today let’s talk Supporting Actors, precisely Legendary Hollywood Wild Men who’ve flown under the People Magazine radar despite having notorious reputations as Bad Boy Life Actors.

These nut cases are some of my very favorite character actors—all business on a sound stage, and all volatile, eccentric trouble once they hit the streets. Dead or alive, none of these geniuses ever seem to get their just due … why not? Who in the hell knows, just give it up will ya?

Wild Men Character Actor’s Picks to Click
•    Timothy Carey in The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976)
•    Harry Dean Stanton in Rancho Deluxe (1975)
•    J.T. Walsh in The Last Seduction (1994)
•    Warren Oates in Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)


courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Babs’ Fireball Burns On
Discriminating cinephiles itching to get out the house should check out the Castro Theatre tonight for the last night of the Barbara Stanwyck Centennial Film Festival. Trust me, you’ve got nothing better to do …

Born 100 years ago this July, Barbara Stanwyck or as I like to call her, Sugarpuss O’Shea, was at the top of her game as a smart-mouthed, pint-sized crackerjack who could do it all onscreen.  From cold-blooded film fatale in Double Indemnity (1944) to wacked-out comedienne in The Lady Eve (1941), Babs led the way for diminutive acting dynamos like Holly Hunter and Ashley Judd to ply their trade, so check out the Castro and take a bite of peach.*

Whether you’re a drag queen, a gangster fiend or a rootin’-tootin’ fan of the Wild West, Babsie’s got what you need, so check out her goods and give her, her just desserts. Remember, her vindictive ghost will be watching from her rarified stoop on Mount Olympus so I wouldn’t suggest making out in the back row unless you want the Wrath of Babs on your eternal soul ... Until next week, this is Murph the Surf signing off. Until we meet again, be bad and, get into trouble baby*.

Happenings Round Town:
•    The Boss of It All (2007) Dir: von Trier – Lumiere (6/29, one week only!)
•    Macbeth (2007) Dir. Wright
•    The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) Dir. Sharman – Clay (Midnight Show)
•    Desperate Living (1977) Dir: Waters – Bridge (starts Friday)

Barbara Stanwyck Film Festival – Castro Theatre (tonight!)
•    Baby Face (1933) Dir. Green
•    Remember the Night (1940) Dir. Leeson

Volume 22 Footnotes*
•    “Greetings and salutations.” – Heathers (1991): Christian Slater to Winona Ryder.
•    “Take a bite of peach,” – Wild at Heart (1991): A horn-dog, assault-weapon lovin’, spankhouse magazine girl coos to Nicholas Cage as she rips off her hot pants.
•    “Let’s get into trouble baby.” – Tapeheads (1988): Soul Train host Don Cornelius (as Hollywood Producer Mo Fuzz) to upstart filmmakers Tim Robbins and John Cusack.