Friday, February 06, 2009

Pre-Oscar Hindsight: Grand Theft Auto Parsons

Ah! At last I can say I knew... SAW him when! Michael Shannon, star of Grand Theft Parsons and many others. As you all SHOULD know, he's the Oscar nominee for Best Supporting Actor in Revolutionary Road. Normally I don't care for melodrama, unless it's done well. Like in Just Married. Also, the Oscar voting block should ignore Kangaroo Jack and Let's Go to Prison, but I digress. If there was one you'd want to see off his resumé, make it Grand Theft Parsons. A simple story, simply told. Much like Electra Glide in Blue, but not so pretentious. And, as an added bonus, it's based on a true story! It's about a man named Phil Kaufman, and NO, he didn't go on to direct The Right Stuff, etc. No, this particular Phil Kaufman has to fulfill an oath to his rocker friend and client Gram Parsons, that whoever dies first, the other will burn their dead body... I mean, last earthly vessel in the desert where they once had a powerful religious experience. Well, it was the late 60s, and it was a more mystical time.
And that pretty much sums it up. Guess I should've put SPOILERS. But it's really about the journey, ultimately, and if I haven't said so already, the film harkens back to a simpler time, mainly when computers weren't so advanced, and things were more mellow. And believe me, there are worse ways to spend an hour and a half.
Still, when you watch a movie like this, you can't help but think to yourself, who should be playing these parts? For example, Johnny Knoxville... well, frankly, he did a pretty good job. I can't see Steve-O playing the part any better. Johnny was okay. And hey, sometimes you just can't get George Clooney. And Michael Shannon's part, I couldn't help but think it was written for Steven Wright. And Mr. Shannon at times sure seems to be channeling the energy of Steven Wright. But, only time will tell if Son of the Mask was the better choice. Jury's still out.
Someone said that Robert Forster was wasted in this movie. Obviously they haven't seen Me, Myself & Irene. And besides! The guy's gotta eat! I'll say it for you, Bobby. Incidentally, looking at his resumé, check out his character name in Firewall. That worked out well! Almost as lucky as Steve Buscemi's character in Desperado.
As for Clint Culp, well, I think he was suited for the role. He's the cop at the airport. They couldn't get Tobey Maguire, you see. And if I'm not mistaken, he may have a small part in this movie, but in the world of TV commercials, he's a god. My personal favorite: he plays an onion that can't fall asleep... something like that. I've got the still somewhere. Second favorite? Homeland Security almost arrests him in a DiGiorno ad. Well, give them a break! They're trying to catch Osama bin Laden, and even they are bound to think it's delivery.
Who else? They couldn't get Amy Smart to play Gram Parsons' ex, so they got... whoever. And I liked Michael Gregory as the tough-as-nails motorcycle cop who gets overruled by the hero's sheer willpower. Sorry, I'm not giving that plot development away. They couldn't get Richard Portnow, but who's splitting hairs but me, right?
And finally, Christina Applegate, in a pre-Anchorman turn. She's positively luminescent as Gram Parson's OTHER ex who's just trying to get her fraction of the estate. I would say they wanted to get Jennifer Aniston, but I dunno. The character's awful mean, and Aniston doesn't do mean. She's a star! Why would she want to be mean? No! No mean! ...that's all I care to remember at this point. Oh yeah, the same eagle sound was a little redundant, but that's just me. Fine desert cinematography. Despite my review, I still say check it out. Over and out!

-so sayeth the Movie Hooligan

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