Sunday, November 25, 2007

Beefcake Bardem Channels Phantasm Horror Guy

Javier Bardem, the star of No Country for Old Men, is arguably the hottest man alive. But I think it's pretty obvious he schooled himself in how to be un-sexy by modeling his performance upon that of Angus Scrimm, who portrayed The Tall Man in Don Coscarelli's Phantasm movies. Compare these photos. Clearly Bardem copied Scrimm's hairstyle, scowl, and general air of cold, existential menace.

No Country for Old Men is a Coen Brothers adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's novel of the same name. It's a gritty story of believable characters in events following a drug deal and shootout. It opened last week, and the acting in it smokes. Phantasm is a cheesy 1979 horror flick which requires a lot of what Samuel Taylor Coleridge might call "willing suspension of disbelief," and the acting in it is silly. But both movies are completely absorbing because they feature an omnipotent bad guy who comes from an entirely different and more advanced plane of badness.

Bardem is a master of finding roles that uglify him. I guess he doesn't want to capitalize upon his God-given gifts and have an easy beefcake life (like Brad Pitt). That's admirable but frustrating for us ladies. He gets his head waxed and wears a fake paunch for Mondays in the Sun, potrays a homosexual in Before Night Falls, a bedridden quadriplegic in Mar Adentro. The only film I've seen him in which features him sexy is The Dancer Upstairs, though I haven't seen him in Love in the Time of Cholera yet.

I don't know much about Scrimm, but I have to admit his Tall Man character is my favorite horror movie villain. It's been a long time since I've seen the orginal Phantasm and seeing No Country has made me want to rent it again soon.

No Country is the best Coen brothers movie since Miller's Crossing, in my opinion. I think this the first time I've seen a movie that stayed so true to the book from which it was adapted.


flare said...

I love the way your mind works.

kfreuler said...

verona, i want you to forever be my personal movie critic. i will not go to the cinema once more without your frank but funny input. love the massage post, too!