Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Bill Macy: Okay in my book
Just thinking about that scene in Fargo where William H. Macy sees that his proposed scheme to kidnap his own wife starts turning to dust before his eyes, and as he starts scraping the ice off his windshield he just loses his shit. He starts slamming his ice scraper against his car. He's crying and sniveling and the fact that he's wearing a super fat movement-restricting coat only makes him seem even more pathetic. If only the Coens had clipped mittens to those triple-fat sleeves.
I can't even picture the word I'd use to describe it, though the best might be a complete hissyfit. I want to say that in the end he just crumples to his knees in the snowy parking lot, but to be honest I can't remember. It's been a long time since I've seen that movie, and for the most part I remember that scene, Steve Buscemi getting whipped on the ass in Brainerd*, and the guy who later went on to play the homicidal maniac in Carnivale carving ducks...
But my point is it's a scene with pretty much no dialogue, set outdoors in a snowstorm. and it remains one of the most powerful things I've ever seen in a movie. I think because it was such an intimate moment for the character that it felt almost pornographic (the non-erotic definition, thanks) to be watching it.
I can't spot an actor for shit. Sure, I can tell bad acting when I see it, but when it comes to the difference between good acting and great acting, I'm pretty much useless. This is the point where good acting and good writing are easy to mix up. or good storytelling. or good makeup.
and I think that this is something that pretty much everyone else does to a larger degree than they'd admit or realize. But when I think of good acting, I think of scenes like this. Just the normal guy who's slightly cracked, having a moment. I think it's easy to act great when you've got the movie on your side. My eighth grade retainer could've won the Oscar for Gladiator (which wasn't even the best Ridley Scott OR gladiator movie ever). Remember how terrible Joaquin Phoenix was in that, though?
When you find yourself empathizing with a man who volunteered his wife for kidnapping, though, someone's doing their goddamn job. and this breaks me up even more when I look it up and find out that he lost that year to Cuba Gooding Jr. I wonder who from the MPAA would ever admit to casting that vote.
and thinking about it now, Macy had a pretty similar scene in Magnolia**, and while he could've pretty much done the same thing there, he managed to make it a completely different scene. so good for him.
So I'd just like to raise a glass to Bill Macy, the best damn supporting actor in town. Give him the damned statue already. I'll always forgive his Jurassic Park IIIs and his Reversible Errors for his wiser moves, Like Fargo and State & Main, and House of Games. In another 20 years I'll be able to forgive you for Road Hogs.
Appearances in The Last Dragon, Happy, Texas, and the upcoming House of the Re-Animator(!) are too damned mind blowing to consider here. Though I will state that Macy/Wendt is a better presidential team than any I've heard since... EVER.
Notice that I only link to films I like, now. Call it selective linking. or just say I'm lazy, I don't care.
*I still have a mug from Brainerd that I bought just because of the association with that movie.
**the third most overrated movie of all time