Vague Visages Writers' Room

Vague Visages Writers’ Room: Weekend Vibes 4.27.18

Weekend Vibes is a Friday column about streaming recommendations, new release hype and entertainment events. 

Colin Biggs (@wordsbycbiggs)

Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy (1983) didn’t develop the following that Taxi Driver possesses, perhaps in part because there was no violence, but both films are sides of the same coin. Rupert Pupkin (regularly pronounced Pumpkin, Pupnik and Puffin) just needs one break to become the major comedian he knows he can be. Rarely is this character mentioned in write-ups of Robert De Niro’s legendary career, but few actors could so elegantly shift from hangdog loser to raging megalomaniac. Contrasted with the frigid, deadpan delivery of Jerry Lewis’ performance as famed late-night host Jerry Langford, every scene feels like it could end in either a simpering Rupert plotting his next move or a devastating explosion. Yet even small gestures in the film are revealing. On a stroll down a public thoroughfare, Langford is asked for an autograph by an elderly fan at a payphone, and he signs as asked. When he’s hounded to talk to the woman’s husband on the phone, he refuses, prompting the woman to scream “I hope you get cancer!”

Watching Pupkin deliver his monologue, one wonders why the comedian simply didn’t build his way up on the club circuit, rather than kidnap a famous television persona, but that would ignore Pupkin’s entitlement. Where Taxi Driver leaps head-long into violence, The King of Comedy chooses to bite its way satirically into a statement about ambition, furious male impotence and the intertwining of celebrity and crime. The King of Comedy couldn’t feel any timelier.

The King of Comedy is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

Walter Neto (@wfcneto)

When I watched Brian Jordan Alvarez’s debut feature Everything is Free — a New Wave-ish indie about a young American gay man living in Colombia — Morgan Krantz’s supporting performance stood out most. There’s something so innocent and yet so alluring… so seductive. And I just had to see what else he’s been in. To my delight, I’ve found out that Krantz has a small web series called Neurotica, and I couldn’t help but binge-watch the whole thing. So far, there are nine YouTube episodes that examine the modern man’s neurosis (and in the most awkward and raw way possible). How we deal with sex and our impulses, how we see our own bodies and why nudity is such a big deal in our society — everything is there in two to three minute sketches, which are sharply edited, written and acted by Krantz himself.

Check out Neurotica HERE.

Q.V. Hough (@QVHough)

Last week, FilmStruck dropped a couple 13-14 of Alfred Hitchcock’s early films, and I’m deeply ashamed that I haven’t watched a single one yet. Blame it on The Wire. So, it’s time to dust off my copy of Hitchcock/Truffaut and fully immerse myself. Watch. Read. Repeat.

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