Tag Archives: Denzel Washington

Talking About Acting in a University Cafeteria

15 Mar

Today, I had lunch in our campus cafeteria. The big crowds had yet to arrive, and I saw our Theater Director eating alone. I loaded up with my grilled cheese sandwich and french fries and sat at his table. We have had many conversations through the years, but I had never asked what everyone should ask a Theater Director.

Who, in your opinion, is the greatest actor of all time?

His immediate answer was Laurence Olivier. He also thinks that James Dean was a natural and that Marlon Brando tried too hard. When I asked about current actors, he said that Denzel Washington is at the top of the list along with Meryl Streep. Although, Streep probably gets nominated for awards when she should not because of who she is.

It was an interesting conversation that delved into acting styles, acting teachers and the mistakes that he feels people have made with each. However, it got really interesting when he asked this question.

Have I ever told you about my older brother?

This is the story that followed.

His older brother dropped out of college and went to Hollywood. He was a handsome guy with dark hair, green eyes and a great smile. In short, he fit the mold. Like most people, he struggled for work and was constantly being turned down at auditions. However, there was a time when everything clicked.

He auditioned for a new television series and got the call. He had a role in the show.

Unfortunately, he received another call from a friend with news that he did not want to hear. His name had come up, and he was going to receive his draft letter. The friend said that there was no way to stop it. If he wanted to get out of being drafted, then he had to immediately sign up for the National Guard. That meant giving up the role in the new television series.

The decision was made. He turned down the role and went into training with the National Guard. The producers of the show replaced him with a slightly older actor who was beyond draft age.

The television show was Rawhide. The role was Rowdy Yates. The replacement actor was Clint Eastwood.

Our Theater Director’s brother returned home to Nashville, fell in love and got married.

Clint went on to a modicum of fame.

The Gunslinger That Cannot Be Killed

23 Jan

In 1960, audiences went to the theaters and watched The Magnificent Seven, a Western that stars Charles Bronson, Eli Wallach, Steve McQueen, James Coburn and a lot of other great actors. However, the leader of the Seven and the most memorable character is Chris, the black-clad gunslinger played by Yul Brynner.magnificent-seven

It was an iconic role and a memorable character for anyone who loves Westerns, but it could not be known that this character would live on in different incarnations and different genres. There have been many characters that have graced the screen in multiple films, but it is possible that none of them have a journey similar to this one.

The 1960s had sequels. There was James Bond movies, Derek Flint movies (starring Coburn) and Matt Helm movies. However, there were not many Western sequels. Well, Yul Brynner as Chris showed up in Return of the Magnificent Seven, which came out in 1966.

More “Magnificent Seven” movies were made, but Brynner abandoned the role. At least, people thought he abandoned the role. In 1973, he donned the black hat in Westworld, a movie about a futuristic theme-park where people can play out their fantasies with robots. This time, the gunslinger is not the hero. He is a robot in the middle of a robot overthrow. As people are killed across the park, Brynner chases Richard Benjamin, the last surviving human. Once again, he is the most memorable character.

Westworld was a hit, and it begat another film. Futureworld came out in in 1976, and the gunslinger came back to life. I may be wrong, but that could mean that Chris the Gunslinger is the only character to appear in two different pairs of sequels.

I started thinking about this because the character has made a return. The other night, we watched the 2016 version of The Magnificent Seven. This one stars Denzel Washington as the man in black who brings together a collection of tough guys to help out the citizens of a farming town. His name is not Chris, but it is the same character.denzel-magnificent

However, that is not the only time 2016 brought the gunslinger to new audiences. Westworld is an HBO show inspired by the old movie. In this one, Ed Harris plays a gunslinger in a black hat. However, he is human. He is not the character. In an homage to Yul Brynner, the gunslinger is seen standing in an old underground lab. Apparently, he has been taken offline.westworld

That may be true of the robot, but I am not sure it is true about the character. After all, how many characters have spanned the world of movies and television for 57 years? It looks like this gunslinger cannot be killed.

No Idea Whatsoever

4 Jun

I have no idea what to blog about this evening. Nothing funny has happened over the weekend. I have no profound thoughts to expound to the world. There is not a list that I find fascinating enough to create. It seems that I have come to a stumbling block in my blogging path. I have noticed while perusing WordPress that a lot of people write about absolutely nothing, but I determined a long time ago that I would not resort to that. I want this space to have meaning, or at least have meaning to me.

However, here I sit writing about absolutely nothing, and I am not happy about it. So, here are a few things.

I just watched the season finale of Game of Thrones. It was pretty awesome, In fact, I liked it better than last week’s episode that everyone said was the episode-to-end-all-episodes. Now, I am watching Devil in a Blue Dress, a Denzel Washington movie from 1995 that has a great soundtrack. A few of the cuts from the album are:

“West Side Baby” by T-Bone Walker

“Good Rockin’ Tonight” by Wynonie Harris

“Chica Boo” by Lloyd Glenn

You may recognize “Good Rockin’ Tonight” because it was covered by Elvis. No last name needed. Wouldn’t it be cool to be famous enough to be known by one name? Elvis. Madonna. Fabio. You can’t put a price on that kind of fame. I saw on a site dedicated to blog tips that a picture should always be included. It makes the page look better and breaks up the reading. I will type in one-named celebrities and see what comes up.

Now, there is a real threesome. Takes me back to the glory days of the 80s, the days of parachute pants and my Camaro Z-28. Man, those were the days. I would cruise the Main and make my turns at Kroger and Sonic. Speaking of Sonic, I wrote a post about that place a long time ago, and I still haven’t gotten a good answer to my question.

There are other questions that I would like to know the answer to. For instance,

What was in the case in Ronin?

What was in the case in Pulp Fiction?

You know what? I know what was in them. They were filled with McGuffin’s, something used to drive a plot. That shouldn’t be confused with McGuffey’s Readers, books used for almost 100 years to teach kids how to read. The stories usually had a Biblical theme which kind of blew the old separation of church and state thing out the window.

Speaking of windows, I believe that I am reaching my window of opportunity to end this rambling post about nothing. If you made it this far, then I congratulate you. Next time, I will write a post about something.