EXTRAS WHO ADD A LITTLE SOMETHING – JOHN B. DESTRY

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To tell the truth there’s a lot of Memorable Extras in the film Happy Gilmore with throw away visual gags. Try the middle-aged Asian lady (Helena Yea) who hears Happy serenading his long since departed ex-girlfriend over the intercom buzzer and decides I’m having some of that or the poor old lady (Helen Honeywell) who jumps on the bonnet of his car screaming to be broken out of the retirement community Gilmore is dropping his beloved grandmother off at. They’re great moments and great actors but for my money there is just something about the Zamboni Driver.

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Happy Gilmore (Adam Sandler) rookie golfer has arrived on a date with PR guru Virginia Venit (Julie Bowen). The whole thing is a riff on the classic scene from Rocky. He asks the Zamboni driver if he can have the ice skating rink to himself and the driver (in a reverse from the humble pay off of Balboa’s date) has Happy told “For Happy Gilmore – anything.” It turns out Happy has set up quite a few things with the driver or owner because soon Endless Love is playing and there is a little mood lighting illuminating the rink. After a heart to heart Gilmore then places a bet about scoring a goal to effectively score a goal with Venit. Virginia then scores the goal and with all the power in her court makes a move on Gilmore herself. It’s a nice scene in a frat comedy that I still enjoy. The reason why may be some of the absurd touches throughout, case in point – as we pull back from Sandler and Bowen sharing their first kiss with the cheesy ballad playing in the background we see the middle aged Zamboni driver mouthing the lyrics as if he’s starring in his own music video. Actor John B. Destry nailed this bit not over or underplaying the moment and it left an impact. Whether it was written or Destry came up with it on the spot the head bow and sigh at the end speaks volumes. A whole character’s world contained in a gesture. Funny but also touching.

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I’ve tried researching his exploits further but the most I can come up with is his credits over at IMDB. He’s been working steadily since 1989 to the present. He’s played variations of drivers (7 times) and security guards (at least 6 times) quite a bit along with the old venerable beat cop. He’s been cast regularly as a middle aged men in working class night jobs. I’ve watched 3000 Miles to Graceland (2001), Capote (2005) and Watchmen (2009) but can’t recall his Marcus Tittlebaum, Pete Holt or Happy Harry’s Bartender from any of them.

That’s okay because Extras are meant to fade into the parts and not be recognisable like stars but I wonder if at the time he knew that there was something special about the gag he was doing in Happy Gilmore and that it would afford him some recognition. Who knows but he did a great job and may he continue to enjoy a long happy career in the arts.

-Lloyd Marken

WONDER WOMAN REVIEW AVAILABLE AT BUZZ MAGAZINE

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I’m very grateful to be able to say that I have had another review published at Buzz Magazine. This one is for Wonder Woman which is drinking in the sweet smell of success with critical acclaim and box office moola!  happy woman weekend wonder woman opening GIFYou can read some of my thoughts here http://buzzmagazine.com.au/4882-2/ and I can’t help but link below a video review from the How It Should Have Ended team because quite frankly I think Daniel Baxter is really perceptive about the appeal and major themes of some recent releases. HISHE is correct, they got Wonder Woman right and from there everything else flows.

Based out of Victoria, Buzz Magazine was one the longest running street press magazines in Australia being published in print from 1993 to 2010. Some fine writers have worked for Buzz over the years and gone onto successful careers in media since and there is simply no way to measure the contribution the mag made to local music over its print run. With such words and minimal advertising on the website the impression could be taken that Buzz is now semi-retired. Yet the site is quite prolific with new write-ups on a daily basis, the ongoing interest of fans old and new and contributions from some very talented people indeed.

I really appreciate everybody who takes the time to click on the links and check out these reviews, I hope you’re enjoying them. Out of the blockbusters I’ve seen so far this season Wonder Woman is only surpassed by Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

-Lloyd Marken

 

 

 

SOLDIER’S WIFE REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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The Queensland Cabaret Festival has been running the past couple of weeks and on Saturday night I was on assignment for Scenestr to attend the show Soldier’s Wife at the Brisbane Powerhouse.

I was excited to see the show, as stories about veterans and their families touches me. You can read more about my thoughts at http://scenestr.com.au/news/music/soldier-s-wife-queensland-cabaret-festival-review-20170612

While I feel some songs engaged me more fully than others they were all written with big hearts, the performances were world class and in the small intimate theatre where the show was performed the crowd was visibly moved throughout. I remain extremely grateful for these opportunities to see such shows and review them for such a great publication. Any love you can show by clicking on the review and liking and/or commenting is appreciated.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr. is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. With over twenty years of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They also publish Scene magazine in print every month focussed mostly on music gigs, festivals, stand-up comics, fashion and interviews with local and international bands. If you’re into music they’re a great read but they do cover all of the arts.

-Lloyd Marken

20th CENTURY WOMEN REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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20th Century Women has taken its sweet ass time getting to Australian cinemas but it proved worth the wait and justified every nomination or award win that came Annette Bening’s way during Awards season. You can read more of my thoughts here http://scenestr.com.au/news/movies-and-tv/20th-century-women-review-20170607

I’ve been very lucky to get published online for a few publications these past 3 months. I’ve been grateful for the opportunity and appreciate the support from my fellow bloggers.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr. is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. With over twenty years of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They also publish Scene magazine in print every month focussed mostly on music gigs, festivals, stand-up comics, fashion and interviews with local and international bands. If you’re into music they’re a great read but they do cover all of the arts.

-Lloyd Marken

STAR CHARACTER ACTORS – ALICE DRUMMOND

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Do you recognise this actress?

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How about now?

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Still not sure, how about now?

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If not then maybe I should tell you immediately after this, the title Ghostbusters appears on screen.

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The actress shown is Alice Drummond, the embodiment of a Star Character Actor. Her film career is littered with roles that might as well be simply termed “Old Lady”. That was her type and she played it well with various nuances. When thinking about this series she was one of the ones I knew I would do when I got started. In addition to her famous turn in Ghostbusters (1984), I know her well for Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) with her classic line “Laces Out.” straddling the line of manic but adorable. No doubt I recognised her at the time in shows I watched like Ed and Boston Legal and you may recall her from Dark ShadowsRyan’s Hope, The Equalizer, Grace Under Fire, Friends, Law and Order and Spin City.

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From her film debut as Woman in Elevator in Where’s Poppa? in 1970 through to the 2011 short film Open House she amassed 43 film appearances. These included roles I remember like the dreadful Funny Farm (1988) and roles I do not remember like Eyewitness (1981), The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982), Running on Empty (1988), Awakenings (1990), Nobody’s Fool (1994), I.Q. (1994), To Wong Foo Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar (1995), In & Out (1997), Pieces of April (2003), House of D (2004), The Honeymooners (2005), Synecdoche, New York (2008), Doubt (2008) but can almost picture. I’m planning to watch Awakenings in the near future and I’ll be interested to see her performance in it as I mostly remember her for her comedic work.

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Despite playing variations of old ladies in her film work for over 3 decades, Drummond was capable of great range. In 1970 she was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance as Mrs Lee in The Chinese and Dr Fish. Just one of those enjoyable discoveries with this series where you found out so much more about the performer and their life achievements. She regularly performed off and on Broadway for the rest of her life. Sadly she passed away last November aged 88. Her work lives on. Where do you remember her from and what was one of her performances that proved a favourite with you?

-Lloyd Marken

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OVER 2,500 VIEWS FOR ‘THE FOUNDER’ REVIEW

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I’ll try to keep this short but I did want to share that Ray Kroc…What An Asshole! reached 2,500 views on the 27th May, Australian time. Views has been slowing down in the past fortnight following on from the heady explosion of interest in April following the digital release of the The Founder for the home market. I doubt there will be many more milestones to celebrate in the future, certainly in the near future but I hope people who read the review enjoyed it. It is the engagement I get from my regular readers that matters most but it has been exciting knowing so many different individuals from around the world have, even fleetingly, read something I wrote once. Once again I’d just like to thank anybody who has read anything from this humble obscure corner of the internet and enjoyed it.

A few stats just cause stats, the post published 18JAN2017 received 53 views in January, 372 in February, 212 in March, 1,098 in April, 875 in May and so far 29 in June. The last week of April boasted 382 views, followed by 296 views in the first week of May, then 206, 178, 143 and so far this week 81.Averages across the months per day have been 3, 13, 6, 36, 28 and so far in June 10. There is simply no other post on this blog that boasts such stats. It currently has 18 Likes and 2,639 views. Thank you internet.

-Lloyd Marken

MINOR ROLES THAT HAD A MAJOR IMPACT – JAGUAR OWNER FROM SPEED

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A minor role will usually only involve a few minutes of screen time but will usually see the character given a name and have some relevance to the main characters. A friend who in a twist is the key villain, a mother who only offers advice in one scene, somebody whose importance to the plot is only revealed at the eleventh hour. Other times it’s a showy role for only one scene and everybody is talking about that performance after they leave the film.

A long time ago there were these ice skaters named Torville and Dean. They scored a perfect 6 from all the judges in their final routine at the 1984 Winter Olympics and naturally became legends. Image result for torvill and dean in australia 1994Following their Gold Medal winning performance at the winter Olympics they went professional and performed for several years. In 1994 they returned to the Winter Olympics and won Bronze. Some time passed and they came to Australia to perform. My family were fans and on a whim one day decided they would see if they could get tickets. It was not in my parent’s nature to go to such shows, they were luxuries to be weighed up heavily. Hence the last minute enquiry and the resulting lack of availability. So as a consolation prize we decided we’d go to the movies. Speed termed as a “Die Hard on a Bus” was out  with Keanu Reeves playing against type. We knew of his Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989), Parenthood (1989) and Point Break (1991) although only the first had been really watched by me as the others were probably deemed too adult. We went in with no expectations, my father, mother and siblings. I still think about that night every now and again watching Speed up on the big screen. Kids become teenagers and get too old to go see movies with their parents. Then your parents tend to not want to go out to the movies because its easier to wait until it comes out on Foxtel. 🙂 Speed was on the cusp of that change and an unexpected gift. This action film inadvertently became a family film  because we all have that memory and we all enjoyed that night and that movie. A great movie will be universally loved and bring people together.

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Torville and Dean would have been a once in a lifetime experience but there are no memories from that day tinged with disappointment only amazement. It turned out Speed was to be bonafide classic with amazing cinematography, a rip roaring score, amazing stunts, witty dialogue, and a fantastic ensemble cast. There’s no denying that Joe Morton, Jeff Daniels, Dennis Hopper, Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves have a huge part to play in engaging the audience and making them care about the outcome. As a kid who’d never seen Easy Rider it made Hopper relevant again, it introduced the world to Sandra Bullock and it allowed Reeves to be seen in a new light. Yet there is not one speaking part in that film that isn’t memorable. That gun wielding latino “Stop the busss!”, the aw shucks tourist “We’re at the airport…I’ve already been to the airport.”, the lady with the G-string coming out of the elevator, the elderly African American couple weeping “The baby.” just before that incredible jump. I could fill out the rest of the year in this series of posts with actors from Speed. I’m half tempted to, but on initial viewing there was one guy who we all strode out of the cinema talking about-the black guy who’s car gets commandeered.

Credited as Jaguar Owner Glenn Plummer is still listed seventh on the cast listing at IMDB. An ordinary man finding himself in the extraordinary situation of flying down the LA Freeway after a commuter bus that has a bomb on it. I look back now and wonder how this played to African American audiences to see a black man in an expensive vehicle have his car commandeered at gunpoint by a white police officer (Keanu Reeves’s Jack Traven) who then proceeds to wreck said vehicle and put both of their lives in danger. Related imageAt the time this was standard behaviour for film action heroes to pull guns when civilians black or white did not play nice with them. Now I wonder if Plummer’s performance is a little over the top, at the time African Americans were featuring more and more in films and to Australian audiences any unique ways they spoke were lively and fresh and exciting to see. Bad Boys come out a couple of years later and the banter between Martin Lawrence and Will Smith was riveting because we weren’t used to seeing this in mainstream American films. Now two decades later I wonder if Glenn Plummer was encouraged to ham it up but I like to think he maintained his dignity. Related imageThe characters always plays as real to the situation, the off hand way he says “Take the phone.” after losing his car door feels right but you know a white guy wouldn’t say it the same way and that’s kind of the point. Well I guess it will be interesting to hear what you think but I thoroughly enjoyed  Glenn Plummer’s performance as Jaguar Owner and it seems I wasn’t the only one.

They made a point of having his character now named Maurice appear in a similar manner in the sequel Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997) courtesy of an amazingly ridiculous coincidence and he got some high profile roles directly after Speed in Showgirls (1995), Up Close & Personal (1996). More recently Glenn Plummer had roles in The Day After Tomorrow (2004), Saw II (2005), Sons of Anarchy (2008) and Suits (2016).

He has also branched out into other jobs co-writing, producing and directing in 2006 VooDoo Curse: The Giddeh (2006) and the upcoming Charlie Charlie (2017).

Some people will remember him in his early work in Menace II Society (1993) and his break out role in South Central (1992). Others know him from his recent television work. Yet if you’ve seen Speed it’s doubtful you’ll not remember him in that. He took a small thankless role and sold every line, every joke, every reaction and I hope to see him again soon holding my full attention with his incredible talent.

-Lloyd Marken

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