Tuesday, October 13, 2009
New Feature: The weekly glass of bourbon
This is the first of a weekly feature wherein we celebrate a talented filmmaker - be they an actor, director, screenwriter, producer or any other kind of talent - that is shamefully unknown to most people in spite of a wealth of talent and an impressive body of work. This person will have a glass of bourbon raised in their name so an invitation may go out throughout the land to all film lovers to raise their glasses in honor of said artist that they may keep making our film-going experience that more brighter.
The first glass of bourbon is raised in honor of an actor who belongs to that somewhat dubious category of thespian, the "That guy." A "that guy" is a character actor who is always memorable and interesting but who, for some reason or another, has not garnered sizable roles in major Hollywood films, making their face instantly recognizable yet their name impossible to remember ("look hon... it's That Guy!"). I am here talking about Luis Guzman, a Hollywood veteran of 32 years who has been playing an assortment of hoodlums, cops, swindlers, hustlers, shivers and shakers since 1977. I first remember seeing Guzman in the horrid The Cowboy Way in the early 90's and remember that he was my favorite part about that film. From then I always noticed him in any bit part he showed up in, including some television appearances on Law and Order, Homicide and an early stint on Miami Vice. Guzman later became a great favorite of Gen-X wunderkinds Steven Soderbergh and P.T. Anderson, appearing in numerous of their films. Among the highlights of those appearances are as the ill-fated cop in Soderbergh's Traffic and as a part of Burt Reynold's crew in Anderson's Boogie Nights. Guzman is beyond dependable in any role he appears in. He can make a standard, pedestrian scene come alive with a vibrant energy and he can infuse a line of dialogue with meaning and subtext that will stay with you for the longest time. Whether it's the bad jokes he tells in Traffic or his character's obsession in Out of Sight with learning how a magician saws a woman in half, Guzman can make the most obligatory scene into something very special. So let's raise our glass to a great actor and a classy guy...