Thursday, 8 February 2018

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2017: David Lynch in Lucky

David Lynch did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Howard in Lucky.

David Lynch, better known as one of the greatest directors of all time, takes on a rare acting role here. Lynch isn't someone who typically implants himself into his films, he's only ever appeared as an actor in his series Twin Peaks, out of his own projects. This got me thinking of his unique method of casting his films which that he doesn't audition his actors by having them read the script, he just speaks to the actor to decide if they're right for the role. This is notable as Lynch's films have some of the greatest cinematic performances ever given, and even the performances with little screentime can be unforgettable. I'd say it is fair to say his method is quite successful. This takes me to Lynch himself. Now a director casting themselves even small part can sometimes be problematic, Quentin Tarantino for example has consistently burden himself with his own shoddy performances, but other times it can work Martin Scorsese is very memorable in Taxi Driver on the other end of the spectrum. These typically are smaller roles, even when cast outside their own films. When he did cast himself as FBI director Gordon Cole in Twin Peaks, which was a fairly substantial role in the original series and one most important roles in the return of the series also from 2017. That role obviously though Lynch knew he was perfect for as his Gordon Cole is one of the many highlights of that series.

Lucky, which is directed by veteran character actor John Carroll Lynch, no relation as far as I know, was obviously not something David Lynch had control of yet it seems once again he took the part knowing he would be perfect for it. Lynch, as with his films, is a rather idiosyncratic man, and in turn the same as a performer. When Lynch acts it is something you've never quite seen before, but something you never knew you wanted so much. This is true once again as Howard in this film who is one of the regulars at a bar the titular man played by Harry Dean Stanton, a David Lynch regular, frequents. Lynch's Howard only features in three scenes of the film, and all relate to his most peculiar problem. That being that his old tortoise, not turtle, has escaped. This is where we get Lynch with his brilliant performance, that is all Lynch, and it is fascinating as you can see part of what makes him such a memorable director facilitated through a performance. Lynch is unassumingly hilarious in his delivery that much like his films can only be described as Lynchian. Lynch kind of should speak too loudly too broadly, yet never comes off that way for Lynch, it just seems right. In addition it seems just a hilarious when he speaks of his tortoise, named President Roosevelt, having escaped. When he mentions that he saw him "eyeing the gate" it is incredibly funny yet Lynch's delivery never as though he's trying clown around. In his own way he shows that Howard is deadly serious about this predicament someone having this certain somberness and a genuine in his expression that some how only contributes all the more to the comedic value as he ponders the escape. In his second scene we see as Howard is meeting with a lawyer (Ron Livingston) to make sure his estate is settled, which leads to a confrontation as Lucky doesn't take too kindly to the lawyer. Lynch throughout the scene still remains fascinating in his unique Lynch way he plays the scene distraught in the only way he could as he goes on about his loss of the tortoise, and how it made him think about his own mortality. Lynch does what he does in his films in that he can make something so amusing, and he's still funny here as he corrects everyone for wrongly calling President Roosevelt a tortoise, yet is also honestly moving as Lynch portrays so earnestly Howard's introspection and concern over his lost friend. Lynch's final scene is one more moment at the bar where Howard comes to state that he's come to terms with the loss of his tortoise. Lynch now though in his own strange Lynch way inspires hope, while of course still humor, as he so seriously states that the tortoise had something "he thought was important" and if it was meant to be "I'll see him again". There is a sadness in there still yet with this calm and acceptance of fate that is something remarkable. The fact that he says these words directly to Harry Dean Stanton with a certain smile and understanding creates an even greater poignancy to the moment no matter the intention. In the end the lost turtle man, sorry lost tortoise man, should be an utterly ridiculous concept. It should be clownery and silliness. In Lynch's hands it is something very entertaining to be sure, but also somehow beautiful in a way only David Lynch could provide. The truth is no other performer could give this performance, this is David Lynch delivering that Lynchian quality within his own self, and it is something truly special to behold.

21 comments:

Luke Higham said...

Kinda expected this. I guess my 4 fives prediction will be correct, unless Hamill pulls a surprise.

Psifonian said...

I love it when a plan comes together.

RatedRStar said...

This is one of those moments where you have to be thankful that there was that final great performance from Stanton, because most actors nowadays in old age when they pass away, often they dont give that final goodbye performance so it is almost otherworldly that David Lynch got to act alongside his friend one last time.

Michael McCarthy said...

Really? I thought Lynch was good but for me Skerritt was easily the standout of the supporting cast.

Calvin Law said...

I used to have turtles (yeah, not tortoises) whose deaths I took very hard to, so I have to say this performance hit me particularly hard in that regard. I loved his reaction to the scene where James Darren's character asks him 'which one' to President Roosevelt's name.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Has Skerritt gone up.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: thoughts and rating for the one-scene wonder of Roosevelt.

Bryan L said...

Louis: Have you seen Lynch's performance on the Late Show arc on Louie? He's great in it.

Psifonian said...

Co-signed with Bryan. Lynch was robbed of an Emmy.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Yes, 4.5.

Calvin:

Never has a greater Tortoise performance been committed to screen.

Michael:

Yes.

Bryan:

Yes and I agree.

"See the funny. Make me laugh. Go."

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your cast for a 50's Hoosiers and 60's and 80's Mississippi Grind.

Anonymous said...

Joaquin Phoenix apparently top choice to play the Joker, I think that would be a brilliant choice, unhinged on screen and in real life.

Bryan L said...

His character in Louie is indeed very quotable.

"You get that belly moving son, or you're out!"
"So get out! Thank you! Have a nice day!"
"Here's the thing with that champ. That's short for champion."

Bryan L said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Jennifer Lawrence as an actress? And past film roles that she'd be a good fit for?

Calvin Law said...

Louis: your thoughts on this late 1960s Inside Llewyn Davis cast? And who'd be the director.

Llewyn - Harry Dean Stanton
Jean - Lee Grant
Roland Turner - Burl Ives
Jim - Glen Campbell
Grossman - Gig Young
Johnny Five - David Hemmings

Anonymous said...

Louis: Rating and thoughts on George Reeves in From Here to Eternity and Elisha Cook Jr. in Shane.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the Venom teaser.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Hoosiers 1950's:

Norman Dale: Clark Gable
Myra: Olivia de Havilland
Shooter: Van Heflin

Mississippi Grind 60's:

Curtis: Paul Newman
Gerry: Robert Mitchum
Simone: Angie Dickinson
Vanessa: Dyan Cannon

80's:

Curtis: James Woods
Gerry: Al Pacino
Simone: Sharon Stone
Vanessa: Rosanna Arquette

Bryan:

Lawrence probably is one of my most extreme changes in my opinion of an actress over the course of writing my reviews. I will say though it is not due to my belief in her talent rather my belief in the way she's chosen to use it. She very well showed she could have been the next Sissy Spacek through the overabundance of natural talent she revealed in her early roles, unfortunately she instead decided that she should be the next Meryl Streep instead. She since then in each role being more used for less naturalistic performances which do not play to her strengths. She still has that raw talent, which she used so well in Winter's Bone, which if you watch now almost seems like a different person.

With that in mind:

Holly (Badlands)
Belinda McDonald (Johnny Belinda)
Jane Craig (Broadcast News)

Calvin:

Maybe Robert Altman for director. Fine choices though maybe Fredric March as Grossman.

Anonymous:

Reeves - 3(He's good in breaking down the Captain's wife scene where he manages to exude a bit of unease due to his own history when it reveals itself. He doesn't get to a great deal outside of that moments and he's usually just kind of off to the side. He's wholly fine as is though.)

Cook - 3(Typical pathetic Cook work to be sure. It's mostly standard in that regard for him, but there is one moment I love where he tries to draw against Jack Palance. I refer specifically to the moment in that reaction of his where he's realized he's lost, and his anger fades away in a split second almost to this attempt at some sort of contrition before being gunned down.)

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Not much to take from it otherwise than that Hardy looks fine, of course Hardy is the least of my worries. If this is a good representation of the film it's extremely generic.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Reeves as Superman if you've seen Adventures of Superman.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

I think I might have seen an episode a long time ago, but I don't remember it.