Wednesday, September 24, 2008
two crazy bastards.
So its 1 am and I am watching Abel Ferrera's Bad Lieutenant on television, and I am getting some major kicks out of Harvey Keitel's delightfully unhinged performance as the out-of-control drug and gambling addicted Lieutenant. As Keitel descends further and further into crazytown, I can't help but be reminded of probably the most fucking insane movie character ever, Dennis Hopper's crazed, mysterious gas-huffing, sociopathic pimp from Blue Velvet, Frank Booth:
So I'm starting to wonder which character is more crazy: the Lieutenant or Frank Booth? Lets start by examining their mutual behaviour at arguably their most batshit-insane moments.
Wow. Those are two deeply, deeply troubled individuals.
Now, the two characters share many similarities, like a nagging chemical dependency and the ability to fly off the handle in mad fits of rage at a moment's notice. But at least there is a method to Keitel's madness: the baseball team that he has bet money on loses, and since he has been drinking and snorting cocaine all day, he shoots out the radio in his car before falling into a deep existential despair. Hopper, on the other hand, goes on a completely "what the fuck?" psychosexual rampage, complete with a serious insanity-inducing mystery gas, and for no real discernible reason other than the fact that he seems to enjoy being a complete lunatic and punching Isabella Rossellini in the face.
So based on the pure empirical evidence, my heart is telling me to go with Hopper on this one, but right now I have to say I'm leaning towards the Lieutenant. Although I will admit that this decision is more than a little biased by the fact that at this exact moment, Harvey Keitel is holding two men at gunpoint and smoking crack while watching a baseball game. It's hard not to be influenced by that.
No matter which character is technically more of a psychopath, I've got to commend both actors for helping to redefine what it means to be an insane person in the world of cinema. Can you imagine if these two characters ever met and hung out in real life? I actually think the universe would explode. Or possible implode. Or maybe nothing at all would happen but in any case, there would be two very angry, very crazy, drug-addicted old guys roaming the streets together who I would be avoiding at all costs.