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filmmaven's coffee chat

a morning discussion of film and popular culture over coffee

Month

July 2015

What do you do when you have been schooled by Kevin Corrigan?

Ladies and Film Geeks, you just watch the movies he suggested (and do a little kitchen dance while making dinner). ponies

Ponies (2011) — Dir. Nick Sandow – (Available on Demand) There is nothing likable about Drazen (John Ventimiglia) except his friends (Kevin Corrigan and Babs Olusanmonkun). While you really do want to like him, because life is just hard sometimes, there is no where for the audience to find depth or quality in this character. Luckily, that doesn’t take away from the absolute charm of this film. There are a few moments that feel repetitive but lead into a quirky and entertaining path.  I find myself questioning, what really happened here?

some guy

Some Guy Who Kills People (2011) – – Dir. Jack Perez –  I feel bereft in not mentioning this film in the blog from earlier today (Sunday July 26…Kevin Corrigan ….I’m listening to Podcasts and feeling so connected) but since it was recommended I watched it again this afternoon on youtube. Everything about this movie is entertaining, the cast, the pacing, the mystery, and the dialogue. When you have Karen Black in a film, you having something. She is both subtle and stark with just an edge of creepy and you’d like her to be the murderer. Barry Bostwick as the town sheriff is both inappropriate and dim, still a higher caliber person than a few of the other characters and probably not the murderer. Kevin Corrigan waxes between being small and damaged then smart and cool but always maintains funny and weird.

I have 2B (2009) on my must watch list ..if anyone out there has seen it – give it a shout out in the comments and tell us what you think ….

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Kevin Corrigan…..I’m listening to podcasts and feeling so connected ….

There are films and actors that for various reasons stay with you and make you go …uh..mmmm….oh?

I have to say that “Living in Oblivion” (1995) did that for me with 4 different actors. Fairly certain I watched it around 1999 or 2000 rented from a local independent movie store that no longer exists. Attracted to films that have one nondescript box it was a super uh..mmm oh? OH!! viewing. First of all, Peter Dinklage doesn’t get enough screen time …but steals the film. Secondly, I have a mad crush on Steve Buscemi and will pretty much watch whatever…..but Kevin Corrigan….I can’t say what it is about him that is so captivating. Its that feeling like you know someone, oh yeah…its that guy ….Is he funny? is he charming? is he really cute? well. yes…but more so he is the guy you were friends with in high school and even though you haven’t seen him in years, that is who you think of when you have fond memories of art class or standing behind the gym having a smoke.

I watched a ton of his films in the few months after Oblivion because I was on a indie film junkie fix craze; “Buffalo 66” (1998), “Slums of Beverly Hills” (1998), “Lulu on the Bridge” (1998) “Henry Fool” (1997), “Detroit Rock City” (1999). That’s when I realized of course that he was always sort in my frame work because of “GoodFellas” (1990) as well as “True Romance” (1993) and “Zebrahead” (1992).

Probably a lot of people will say they recognize him most from television playing Donal Logue’s brother in “Grounded for Life” (2001-2005) and from “Goodfellas” (1990) as Henry Hill’s brother …a monumental film and role of a lifetime…but for me it was that rash of small but pivotal roles in that early 2000’s that made him feel like ..that guy ….the one you can tell anything to and you know you’ll get razzed but also he will have your back no matter.

Listening to a recent Podcast WTF with Marc Maron (Episode 606 may 26, 2015) I found Kevin Corrigan interesting and so invested as a fan of movie and music that listening to him talk validated this sense of connectivity (yes, to a stranger, remember people, he don’t know you okay?) I had felt in watching his performances. Yet, another piece that connected for me was how darn lucky he is ….performances in two pieces of cinematic history, “Goodellas” in his early days where he apparently had the common sense to pick Martin Scorsese’s brain for tidbits and “The Departed” (2006) where not only was he lucky to participate but was present enough in the experience to know and again learn from a collection of actors and a director like no other.

So coming full circle for me was those moments of being incredibly lucky…in the film “The Departed” is a scene that I have always felt was one of those wow this will never happen again what an amazing day at work scenes; that didn’t happen to Kevin Corrigan, so bear with me here a moment. There is a scene (SPOILER ALERT) where Matt Damon shoots Jack Nicholson. Now, yes, Matt has been around the block a little bit and done some great things, but how many times in an actor’s career do you work with Martin Scorsese AND get to kill off the baddest bad guy AND shoot Jack Nicholson at work? For me, that was the best scene of the movie because I can sort of feel Matt Damon’s joy in going to work that day. While I’m listening to Kevin talk about his experience with this director and being so present in the whole experience to ask questions, to wonder about the music choices in other movies, to take an already great job and make it an ever more incredible event so that I felt like I was totally right about him in my own fangirl way – Kevin is pretty cool.

Don’t however, get caught up only in the major films; as a film maven I highly recommend and really insist that you find, rent, borrow, or beg for the small titles. I would normally wind it down to 3 films with a synopsis..but there isn’t one with Corrigan, even uncredited that I would skip — so for now start out slow and find:

Slums of Beverly Hills (1998) Dir; Tamara Jenkins – Cute, almost true, funny and Natasha Lyonne; you can’t go wrong.

Tree’s Lounge (1996)  – a really good character study; you can see Buscemi thinking about the film so some of the scenes are a wonderful study of film moments but awkward as part of the story…still so worth watching if you can get past going, OMG! Its Carol Kane! etc…

TV stuff: Really, watch Grounded for Life ..so cute. but also catch “Damages” (2009) its weirdly intense and I think almost too many episodes… &  “Fringe” (2009-20011) in which Kevin has like 6 or 7 episodes but you just feel the fit.

and naturally I don’t have to say watch everything by Martin Scorsese …Do I ?

Calling All Monster Kids

Calling All Monster Kids.

Going way back to the beginning……part uno …..Confessions of a TV JUNKIE

I was just reminded of a story my mother told me about the time I was 3 and having nightmares ..this would have been in the middle 1960’s (never mind what year). She took me to a Doctor very worried about these night time fears and wild things I was saying. The doctor did his examination, finding nothing physically wrong and reassured her that it was just at thing that can happen to a toddler and not to fret too much because it would pass. As they are wrapping up this consultation, something in the chatty babbling of my 3 year old self gave the Doc an inspiration.

“Has she been watching TV?”

“oh Yes,” responds my sweet mom, “She loves that Batman show.”

The doctor told her to distract me and not let me watch it anymore…..the nightmares ended soon after. I’m not sure if I’m delighted with the Doctors brilliance or disgusted that I had to wait several years and into reruns before seeing Batman again.

When I think about all the amazing actors and wonderful shows in those 20 years at the start of television I continue to be astonished. From Vaudeville and movies came pouring into television studios the most brilliant actors, directors and writers, such talent in front of and behind the camera. One of the main reasons I loved Batman, Colombo and other shows of the 60s’ and 70’s was the incredible guest stars. Cesar Romero as the joker? Ruth Gordon and Roddy McDowall as the murder of the week? It was a delightful plethora of Broadway and movie actors on the small screen.

If we just stay with the show BATMAN which really only ran for a few short years and touch on a few guest stars – the history of film just implodes on itself:

My personal Favorite of any character and of the three actresses as Catwoman is the number one ppplllllruuuurrrrr ever vocalized by a human (there should be a reward for that right?) EARTHA KITT

Eartha

a star with a minimum 2.51x.2.51×2.51 magnitude had a background of film and stage with singing and dancing recognition both in the United States and Europe through her time with the Katherine Dunham Dance troupe. She brought a certain class and smoothness to the campy Batman television show that I admired.

Carolyn Jones most notably not as her Mortica persona but as the tough and loving Ronnie of “King Creole” (1958) with the brand new movie star Elvis Presley, decorates the screen with wit and a dark cleverness as Marsha Queen of the Diamonds.

jones carolyn

Anne Baxter a true actor of the Golden age of Hollywood appeared in 7 episodes as Olga. Her roles on film, as the Eve in “All About Eve” (1950) and Nefertiti in “the Ten Commandments” (1956) really signify the caliber of actors that worked in small episodic television shows giving early TV its glitter.

www.kobal-collection.com Title: TEN COMMANDMENTS, THE (1956) ¥ Pers: BAXTER, ANNE ¥ Year: 1956 ¥ Dir: DE MILLE, CECIL B. ¥ Ref: TEN004EX ¥ Credit: [ PARAMOUNT / THE KOBAL COLLECTION ] TEN COMMANDMENTS, THE (1956) ,   Circa 1956 Photo by Kobal/PARAMOUNT/The Kobal Collection/WireImage.com To license this image (10629747), contact The Kobal Collection/WireImage.com
http://www.kobal-collection.com
Imagine if you would at the time of these shows we couldn’t just pull up Netflix or Youtube or even google our favorite actors. It took hard work to be a film maven during this dark ages period. Libraries and late night television, the eerie balconies of second run movie houses and if you were super lucky a revival glamour night with a double feature interrupted by silly grown men in costumes who even GASP talked over your favorite films. So here I found the lovely, throaty Tallulah Bankhead right in my living room on the small black n white set (would you believe resting nicely on top an old color set that fizzled instead of playing?) with bunny ear antennas and a missing knob. Yet, there she was..beautiful, funny, dangerous from Broadway Queen in Dark Victor and Clash by Night to screen idol in films such as “Lifeboat” (1944) to television vixen, Ms. Bankhead continues to thrill the film obsessed.

tal Black-Widow-Tallulah

The list is daunting to continue but I’m sure you are getting the picture now, Bruce Lee, George Sanders, Otto Preminger, Joan Collins, Liberace, Roddy McDowall, Walter Slezak, Elisha Cook jr…if you want a lesson in film history just follow the cast list of guest stars and dive in. Please, please..dive in …watch them all …and come back here to tell us what you found and why you loved it.

With a special thanks to Bob Kane, Jerry Robinson, Bill Finger and William Dozier for an interesting start to a life long obsession.

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