Saturday, January 17, 2009
It's good to be vindicated...when mainstream pop culture finally catches up to one's own private/eccentric preferences in things. People, it happens to Cheeseburger & Fries (aka Holland & Dockery) all the time. Witness the return of Mickey Rourke, who just won the Golden Globe for best actor in The Wrestler, with some already saying he's a cinch for the Oscar.
There are certain artists/writers/actors out there that both JSH and I mutually covet (of course, there's things we disagree on, but that's just the nature of the way things work). Rourke is an actor that neither of us have ever denied. Even with pictures that aren't worth the celluloid they're puked up on, a Rourke performance will stand out. But it's not just that Rourke was in some stink-bombs, his stature in our universe is based on the many fine films he has participated in...if the jury will just note these examples...
Oh, wait, what, you forgot that he was in the neo-noir classic Body Heat? Actually, I don't think that movie has aged well, but Rourke's performance has, aged well, that is. As part of the ensemble cast of Diner, Rourke had his act down. Rumble Fish, in addition to being one of Francis Coppola's crowning achievements as a director, is also one of Rourke's finest turns (not to mention Dennis Hopper and Tom Waits). I'll stand behind Year of the Dragon any old day. Angel Heart, unlike Body Heat, is a real neo-noir to be remembered, this time with Mickey Rourke in the lead. Despite or because of its flaws, Barfly will always be the best adaptation of writer Charles Bukowsi to film (especially with Buk's direct involvement in the movie, and director Barbet Schroeder's intent to not change a work of Buk's script), with Rourke as Chinaski/Bukowski.
Some of you all people perceive Sin City as Rourke's return to form (but props to co-director Rodriguez who, ahead of the curve, used him also in his Once Upon a Time in Mexico)...but don't call it a comeback, babies, Rourke's been here fo' years...oh, well, okay, except for his stint leaving the thespian profession to go pro as a boxer, which led to the facial injuries that have shaped the current, ahem, mature look for Rourke. Maybe he ain't as pretty as he once was (but who is?), Rourke also stands alone as the single most willfully eccentric contemporary actor in the public eye (Tom Cruise's tics just seem like the blandness of a frat boy turned Scientologist in comparison), making Rourke the heir apparent to Brando.
So with this rehabilitation of Mickey Rourke in the mainstream, all I can say is, welcome back to our world. We didn't miss you, world. We had our tapes and DVDs of Rourke's movies to entertain us while you were gone.
And, oh, Mr. Rourke, if you read this, we unceremoniously anoint thy head with Cheeseburger & Fries, make you an honorary Transylvania Gentleman. Drop us a line if you're ever in Kentucky, wanna watch some fights, smoke a few cigars.