Friday, March 19, 2004

Janeane Garofalo Crush

Don't hit me, but yeah, I have a crush on Janeane Garofalo. Her politics are despicable, but she's cute and funny and cute. Her stand up comedy is so-so, but her stints on Larry Sanders and The Ben Stiller Show are great, as have been many of her movie appearances.

I really think she could be the next Eve Arden (pic here) if she wanted; she plays the cynical, smart-mouthed best friend like few others. She's attrative enough to pull it off, but not so good looking as to detract from the star. Look at her chemistry with Uma Thurman in The Truth About Cats And Dogs for an idea of what it would be like.

But Garofalo doesn't particularly care for acting, as she finds the phoniness of the industry off-putting. Whatever. You can read about that in this interview. But, in the couse of the interview, she mentions that her favorite movie of what she's done is The Matchmaker. So, I rented it to see how it was.

Wow. I really wish she'd rethink her attitudes to movies. I won't do a full review, but if you're looking for a "date night" movie to get all mushy over, this is the one. Pure piffle, with a plot you can guess from the first ten minutes, but well-handled and pretty funny. It only drags, amazingly enough, when Garofalo is off screen!

Garofalo shines, too, especially dressed in regular adult clothes. She reins in her caustic side and ramps up the megawatt smiles to wonderful effect. She plays a fish out of water stuck in a small Irish village during the annual Matchmaker Festival. Of course, she "meets cute" with the local handsome lad and the rest of the movie is all bumbling to love. Nothing you haven't seen, but I can see why Garofalo is proud. She looks great and holds up the film with aplomb.

[Side note: A word on cameos. Actor Robert Mandan makes a two-minute cameo at the end of the movie as a character's father. He played Chester Tate on "Soap" and was a staple of Eighties television. But in his short cameo here, he makes the most of his time and fully realises his character. It's a model of acting and great to watch. He was pretty close to his death by then, but he has polish and charisma to spare. Marvelous work.

My favorite cameo still is John Mahoney in Betrayed, where he plays the white supremacist father of a murdered son. In a ten minute scene with Debra Winger, sitting around a campfire, he takes what had been a cardboard spear-carrier part and breathes full life into it. By the end of the scene, he's become a living person, with emotions, history, family and motivation. You find yourself sympathising with a white supremacist. All in ten minutes. It's still a wonder to behold.

End digression!]

Where was I? Oh yeah, Janeane Garofalo, crushcrushcrush. It's a shame she's backing away from movies. The "Eve Arden character" is an important role in movies and no one is currently filling it. Elizabeth McCormick and Elizabeth Perkins were in the running for a while, but have faded. Arden was famous as the older, wise-cracking, skeptical, world-weary best friend of the movie's lead. She could be counted on to give bad, jaded advice that kept the two leads apart and would then reliably fall for the male lead's best friend at the end, slightly less cynical than before. Arden made a career of playing those roles and was perfectly cast.

C'mon Janeane!

No comments: