Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Megalomania At It's Finest

If you consider yourself to be a "film person" and you haven't seen Elia Kazan's "A Face in the Crowd," please start slapping yourself in the face and don't stop until I can get to your home or place of business and take over.

For those of you who haven't seen it (and if you're in that group, you should be slapping yourself right about now; remember, NO STOPPING), it's about a boozing, whoring hobo who, while spending a night in jail for being drunk and disorderly, gets put on a local radio station as part of a "voices of the community" type program. His "aw shucks" demeanor, his boisterous personality, and his southern-fried wit make him an instant celebrity and, as he begins a rise to a Will Rogers-ish level of fame and power, he slowly descends into madness, with all the delusions of grandeur and backstabbing paranioa that implies.

This movie is a brilliant commentary on the nature of fame and how it can be used as a weapon in the hands of a madman, which is all well and good, but the real reason to watch the movie is this... the drunken, whoring hobo who goes insane is played by ANDY GRIFFITH!!!

I know!!! Before he was Matlock, before he was Sherrif Andy Taylor, before he embodied everything good and wholesome in America, he played a real life, ravingly maniacal bad guy and his is fucking brilliant. How he didn't earn a bucket of awards and become the biggest star ever from this movie is proof positive that life is harsh and unfair to those who deserve it's sweet, sweet prosperity.

Oh, also in it are Patricia Neal, who's hot and awesome, and a young Walter Matthau who, as the movie's wise-ass moral center, gives some of his best early work.

So, "film people," go rent this movie, watch it and then, only then, can you stop slapping yourself.

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