The Loneliest Jukebox

Graham Barnfield's weblog, being gradually replaced by his Twitter feed -

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Saturday, April 29, 2006

His dark places and mine

A footnote in colleague Paul Gormley's new book says it's no coincidence that interest in Quentin Tarantino and James Ellroy peaked at the same point in the 1990s. This comment has made me more alert to the way Ellroy's fictional histories of Los Angeles, populated with a supporting cast real life local characters, sometimes permeate Hollywood-set movies these days. For instance, in Tobe Hooper's 're-imagining' of the Toolbox Murders, we know something bad is going to happen because a former resident of the crime scene was Elizabeth Short, the 'Black Dahlia'. (And because of the film title - doh!) Whether the forthcoming adaptation of Ellroy's novel will accelerate this trend remains to be seen.

As for the Hooper movie, it's far superior to the so-called original, in which - if I recall correctly - bare breasts were the main special effects and cheap scenes of torture were all that was on offer. It was about as scary as the latest Al Qaeda training video. In contrast to the 1970s slasher, the remake's under-rated Angela Bettis puts in a great performance, entertaining this insomniac with some disposable pop culture trash of the best sort. (Buy it here, UK readers.)

Talking of which, I also got to see Plato's Breaking Point at last, some five years after I worked as an extra on it. In fact I'd say it's also better than all but one of the films which have suffered from my anti-midas touch in the past. My scene, in which I sat in a greasy spoon while a crime gang discuss poor Plato (Joe Ferrara) going off the rails, was reshot with and without me in shot. In the finished film, the scene seems to have been reshot again on a bare Brechtian stage, or maybe this look is just a consequence of the extreme facial close-ups being deployed. Overall I think the film makers can be quite pleased with themselves, although the sound mix on the DVD is pretty poor at times. (Buy it here, UK readers, or click here for the trailer.)

Ever since my happy slap fiasco I've paid attention to the way search engine rankings can create a disproportionate amount of influence for the main sources they locate. My role in Plato's Breaking Point is an early example of this. The film has always been on my C.V. and, at some point, someone used this info to add me to the film's cast list on the Internet Movie Database. This (incomplete) listing is in alphabetical order, putting me somewhere near the top. When the DVD came in the post from a rental company, I'd been given third billing! A quick google shows it's not the only place in cyberspace where I have this starring role. Weird.


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