Friday, September 30, 2011

Film Pairing — Off the Wall Films, David Hyde Pierce and Woody Harrelson

There are plenty of vetted, mighty fine crime films out there. And eventually, I hope to get around to most of them, putting them together for interesting double features. In fact while we may not agree on which films are classics and which are simply good, there is probably a lot of agreement about which films are worthwhile. But if you want to have an out-of-safe experience, you might try these two films starring actors who got their start in successful sitcoms and have perhaps stepped outside their — or our— comfort zones.

If you want a bizarre, very off-the wall film that seems to have quietly slipped into streaming video, check out David Hyde Pierce in The Perfect Host. According to Wikipedia, the film took only 17 days to shoot. Basically, it is the dinner party from hell. I don’t know what to say. I laughed at it, with it and couldn’t take my eyes off it. This may be unfair and a personal problem, but I had the sense that Pierce is playing Niles Crane’s extremely evil twin —not that there's anything wrong with that.

Woody Harrelson has come a long way since “Cheers.” He has shown himself to be, at minimum, a credible actor, and often more than capable of handling a wide range of parts. Did he take one step too far in this one? I think Harrelson’s characterization of a wittily engaging gay man who maintains a comfortable life by establishing “friendships” with wealthy Washington DC woman of a certain age seems a little forced. Nonetheless, The Walker, directed by Paul Shrader is a well-done and certainly a more traditional mystery

It also stars Lauren Bacall, William Dafoe, Ned Beatty and Lily Tomlin.

A slight warning, the evening promises to be emotionally disruptive. The two stories exist in completely different realities. I’d save The Walker for last and I’d move from some exotic, frivolous cocktail with The Perfect Host to a more subtle mixed drink for The Walker.

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