Saturday, March 24, 2012

Great Character Actors: Fantasy Edition: Dusty Rhodes

Someone told me that they read somewhere once that in hard times a hero is born out of the chaos to protect the innocent and fight tyranny across the land. During such a period in the last part of the last millennium it was prophesied by a young soothsayer named Tony Schiavone that a hero would rise up to deliver a bionic elbow to all those who seek to clog the toilet of justice with paper towels and condoms. Virgil Riley Runnels, Jr., a charismatic young wrestler, was that man. Stepping out of the dust and debris created by a lack of white soul in 1980's America, from a trailer park nestled in the lonesome plains of east Texas, Runnels used his well hidden muscles (perfectly disguised as cellulite) to break the heavy chains placed on him by the brotherhood of obese commonfolk and become a hero in the universally respected sport of professional wrestling. A sport admired by every single athlete who has ever lived. Unquestionably. I'm speaking, of course, of "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes.

Now innocence and tyranny have many faces. For instance, in the case of Dusty Rhodes, tyranny wore a Rolex watch, Aviator sunglasses and a beautiful helmet of golden locks flowing like the river Nile after being urinated in by King Midas. While on the other end of the spectrum innocence was represented by a three hundred pound African American woman donning polka dot spandex and answering to the name of a precious stone. These were indeed strange times. A perfect time for Dusty Rhodes.

But how is it that such a hero could excel to such great levels in our nations wrestling alliance, strategically located in the deepest part of the South Eastern United States, and never conquer the lesser known, and certainly lesser admired, world of America's Hollywood? That is a question left to scholars and fools. Scholar Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, while lecturing on a colleague's signature eye poke finishing move, stated that  "Rowdy" Roddy Piper  had "More hits than Elvis." Well, the same could be said for his film career. Do I even need to bring up Mr. Piper's magnum opus "Hell Comes to Frogtown?" Of course not, we've all seen it. Then why is it that a man with twice the charm and style of a young Terry Hogan never got his shot at the silver screen? Again, only a fool would try to answer.

But enough about what should have been. Here now, I wish to list the roles that were given to The Dream In a alternate timeline. The character actor who should have enriched our childhoods. A man with the range and charisma of a cheetah festooned with gamma radiation, who in turn is bitten by a radioactive Tom Hanks. Yeah, he would have been that good. 

Dusty Rhodes' fake IMDB acting resume:

  1. Redneck
  2. Redneck Sheriff
  3. Redneck Deputy
  4. Redneck Police Officer
  5. Wise line cook at greasy spoon
  6. Salt-of-the-earth moonshiner
  7. Guest star on a "In The Heat of The Night" episode
  8. Anyone in a Hal Needham movie
  9. Gator wrangler in Syfy original movie
  10. CB radio repairman
  11. Guy with less than six lines in "No Holds Barred"
  12. Main thug who works for main bad guy/ Roles Terry Funk's agent passed over
  13. Drunkard in made-for-T.V. western that is NOT "Lonesome Dove"
  14. Truck Driver #4 in the "calling all truck drivers" scene in truck driving movie
  15. Pit chief
  16. Fisherman in boat who's boat overturns when hijinks ensue
  17. Honkey Tonk patron
  18. Man with shotgun
  19. Guy who gives small speech at union rally
  20. Sassy informant
  21. Tough yet sassy bar owner being pushed out of business by the mob (ends up dead)
  22. Texas oil baron in teen sex comedy

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Better. Stronger. Faster.

God bless Lee Majors. He has brought such joy to my life. I have an uncle that is a stuntman who moonlights as a bounty hunter, and he says Lee Majors performance as Colt Seavers is the most accurate portrayal of his profession that he has ever seen. And who can forget Col. Steve Austin, who, as far as I can tell, never asked to be robotically enhanced. Nevertheless, he took on his newly appointed responsibilities with such vigor and finesse that, as a child, I sometimes thought of entering the space program in hopes that I would fall victim to some celestial experiment gone-wrong that would force the government to ante up six million dollars (1970's money) to reassemble what was left of me. And as a "thank you" for saving my life I would be indentured to the American government, tirelessly chasing badguys and bigfoots, never more than a bionic earshot away from the beckoned call of Oscar Goldman.

Today I was watching the history channel and I saw the following commercial. I can only assume Lee Majors is Broke.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Captain Chaos has joined Dr. Nikolas Van Helsing.

My heart feels like these masks tonight. Empty.

Look, I'm not going to sit here and blow smoke up your ass and pretend that Dom DeLuise got the respect he deserved. Nor am I going to say Dom DeLuise was nothing more than Burt Reynolds' punching bag. So what if some of his funniest work happened to be pulled out of the trash can sitting next to Hal Needham's Steenbeck. The man did for end credit outtakes what Hitler did for antisemitism. He was just that good.

Dom DeLuise was hilarious in the small parts he did throughout his career (Blazing Saddles), but he was never as good as when he worked with Burt Reynolds. Movie folk like to throw around the term "chemistry," but that doesn't apply to Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise. To say they had chemistry would mean they were going for something beyond just showing up for work. The great thing is when they showed up for work comedy gold was forged. Burt and Dom simply liked each other and it showed when they were on screen together. Neither one of them could give a shit less what the audience thought, they were just having fun. And let's face it, Burt Reynolds is not a naturally gifted comedian; all he did from about 1975 to around 1983 was recite his lines and look pretty. His best comedic gag was looking at the camera and smiling. Don't get me wrong, it worked, and I, like millions of other people, fucking ate it up. However, if you added (and Hal Needham, in all his unpretentious genius, recognized this) a tablespoon of Dom DeLuise, it was as good as, if not better than, three car crashes or five explosions. Burt needed Dom to make him funny.

I miss Dom DeLuise. I miss him not only because he and Burt Reynolds made me laugh, but because I fear his legacy of unprofessional ridiculousness may be lost forever. Can anyone fill his shoes?