I”ve often related to the guy in movies that guy that always wins Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars. He usually gets one or two really powerful scenes, be they funny or sad or full of aggression, but he usually disappears before the final reel and never, ever gets the girl. I think of my life in terms of how I affect others I am just a character that adds a little color to their lives, yet am incapable of carrying a film on my own.
God, I”m such a tool.
Best Supporting Actor? Who exactly do I think I am? I”m important enough in the life of others to make fourth, maybe even third billing? Even in “The Michigan Daily Movie,” I might not make it in the begining credits. Or maybe just barely, I might get “And Lyle Henretty,” but not in a cool way not an “and” credit like I”m a superstar taking a small role. I don”t get the “And George Gaynes as Commandant Lassard” credit. I”m more like Eddie Bunker.
Eddie Bunker, best known for his role as “spotlight operator” in “Best of the Best II,” also blazed a trail playing Mr. Blue in “Reservoir Dogs.” Mr. Blue sits with the other felons at the revolving, Scorsese-inducing breakfast scene, and even gets involved with the infamous “I don”t tip” conversation. When Mr. Pink says of the waitress “She was nice, but she was nothin” special.” “What”s special,” Blue replies, “take you in the back and suck your dick?” Mr. Blue has exactly two more lines during this conversation, one of which is only four words long and the same subject as the above quote. Cut to the infamous ber-cool-slo-mo-walking shot that is probably responsible for the remainder of Quentin Tarantino”s career. Mr. Blue has his hands in his pocket. He”s never in the movie again.
I lie he does return one more time. He appears in the flashback sequence where Joe hands out all of the color nicknames. While Mr. Pink bickers about his masculinity and Mr. Brown bemoans the correlation between his nickname and fecal matter, Mr. Blue just sits there, though he might get out a grunt. In fact, he”s entirely forgotten from the film, until Nice Guy Eddie asks what happened to him. No one is sure.
Mr. Blue just disappears from the movie. Why did Tarantino put him in there in the first place? I understand Mr. Brown, who also disappears early, because Tarantino plays him, and who wouldn”t like to be shot thorough the head in their own flick? But Mr. Blue? C”mon, he doesn”t advance the plot, he clearly doesn”t represent any subtexty ideals, and the viewer never finds out what happens to him! As close as I can figure, Tarantino views the film as a microcosm, with the conflicted character, the psychotic character, etc., and what he really needed to complete his utopian vision is a late middle-aged grease-ball character with an affinity for “Lucky Star.”
So is the plight of Mr. Blue and of you and me. He has no place in the film, he has one memorable line that stands in for characterization. Every once in a while I say something funny, and people laugh, though very few people say “Yeah, that Lyle, he”s a funny guy.” In fact, when I”m not around, people probably don”t talk about me at all. A few weeks ago, I looked at my roommate and said “So what happened to Ugly Dan, that kid that lived down the hall from us in Couzens?” He was watching TV, and didn”t hear me, and I forgot to ask again.
Now don”t get me wrong, I really do like Mr. Blue, I think he”s a stand-up guy. It”s just that he doesn”t make any sort of impact in the fictional world of any of the characters. In a flick where everyone dies at the end (and to those of you who are going to e-mail me and claim Mr. Pink lives, you”re just not listening carefully) Blue is the only character that you don”t miss. Why is this?
Easy. Mr. Blue is a regular guy with no star appeal. Everyone else in the film is a recognizable character actor with loads of charisma. In real life, how many character actors do you meet? Twenty? Maybe 21? And I”ll bet you remember every last one of them. Now, put six together in one room and you”ve got more talent than you can shake a stick at.
Even at the breakfast table, Mr. Blue is sticks out like an ugly long-haired thumb. The other guys play word Olympics while he strains with his one begotten fellatio joke. While Nice Guy Eddie ruminates on “The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia,” and Charles Bronson gets referenced (twice!), Mr. Blue is clearly out of the loop.
Each guy was hand picked for the “job” due to their expertise. While Mr. White and Mr. Pink are brute force and Brown is the getaway driver, Blue is busted down to crowd control. He”s apparently really good at making people do what he wants them to do when he HAS A GUN. Mr. Blue is just a guy that can do or say nothing all that special, and that makes him more like me than someone who is actually interesting enough to make a movie about.
Lyle Henretty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.