Thursday, March 15, 2012
A Fistful of Ethnic Confusion! (Brad's Picks)
I am eagerly awaiting this weekend's release of Will Ferrell's Casa De Mi Padre...yes, even more so than ITMOD fave Nicolas Cage's Seeking Justice. The film just looks bonkers and I'm hoping Ferrell taps into that go-for-broke-aim-for-the-bushes brand of silly achieved in The Other Guys, still one of my favorite quotable movies. After watching the trailer on loop, Matt & I started listing off our favorite bits of racial miscasting...or are they perfectly cast? These days, it's hard to defend the method of dropping white guys in whatever race they wanted, but I genuinely love the five performances listed below.
5. Lee Van Cleef as Major Cham (China Gate): Yeah, so Lee Van Cleef is definitely not Chinese. But dammit, I love how dashing and suave his Major is as he attempts to flirt the shirt off of Angie Dickinson's equally awkward half Vietnamese gunrunner. Personally, I definitely would have chosen his soothsayer smile over Gene Barry's depressing mercenary--well, when we get down to brass tacks I'm gonna go with Nat King Cole's songster solider of fortune, but he's just my kinda dude. If you haven't seen Samuel Fuller's China Gate jump on over to Netflix Streaming immediately.
4. Michael Parks as Esteban Vihajo (Kill Bill Volume 2): Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino love playing around with racial casting, but their best bit of ethnic bending has to be Michael Parks' gangster pimp Esteban. With just five minutes of screen time he portrays the most ruthless of monsters and all of Bill's character comes into perfect clarity. And he's just gross.
3. Burt Reynolds as Yaqui Joe (100 Rifles): Okay, this one is more than a little wrong. No matter how much face paint in the can, you cannot make Burt Reynolds an Indian...I mean Native American. Still, I Love 100 Rifles! His unwilling partnership with Jim Brown's marshall is one of my favorite odd couple pairings in the Western genre and the way he drippingly lusts after Raquel Welch is painfully, oafishly accurate.
2. Eli Wallach as Tuco (The Good The Bad and The Ugly): Speaking of perfect Western odd couple pairings: Clint Eastwood & Eli Wallach--The Good & The Ugly. Wallach is my all time favorite bandito and he's all kinds of politically incorrect but who the hell cares? Not me. He just wants the money. Biding his time. Gonna stab you in the back, look at you squinty, and mock you through your dying breath.
1. Ricardo Montalban as Khan Noonien Singh (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan): Yeah, so you already know how much I love Star Trek; particularly the second feature film and 40% of that film's badassery is owed exclusively to Montalban's Sikh. Yeah...moving on to his Wrath which gives the film this great reversed revenge plot that, yes, did turn the franchise into an endless series of punch-out action sequences rather than explorations of Where No Man Has Gone Before. But, since Montalban vs Kirk is so epically awesome, I'm perfectly cool with that.