It’s Steve Buscemi’s Birthday—Let’s Get Weird

One day in my sophomore year of college, I walked into my Contemporary American Cinema class at IFC Center and there was Steve Buscemi just chillin’ with my professor. I froze a bit—seeing him out of context was an odd thing at 9 AM on Tuesday, and is anyone ever fully prepared to just bump into the wonder that is the lovably wonky smile and buggering eyes of Steve Buscemi? He wasn’t doing anything particularly weird—just hanging out in a sweater before going off to pre-production Boardwalk Empire rehearsal. He had stopped by my class to screen and talk about his 2007 intimate drama Interview, which he wrote, directed, and starred in opposite Sienna Miller. And although nowadays he’s mainly known for his role as the anti-hero political/gangster Nucky Thompson on Boardwalk Empire—for which he has won multiple Screen Actors Guild Awards and a Golden Globe—it’s his early film roles that truly exemplify the talented but always weird Buscemi we love so much.

And as today is his 55th birthday, what better way to celebrate his career chock-full of cult favorites than to look back on his best roles—spanning from his work with Jim Jarmusch in the late ’80s, Tarantino and the Coens in the ’90s, and the other goodies in between and after. Enjoy.

Charlie the Barber in Mystery Train (1989)

Told through a series of vignettes all centered around one hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, JIm Maramusch’s 1989 ode to the spirit of Elvis Presley, featured Buscemi in the small but memorable role as Charlie the Barber in the final story of the film, “Lost in Space,” for which he was nominated for an Indepedent Spirit Award.

Mr. Pink in Resevoir Dogs (1992)

In 1992 Quentin Tarantino made his directorial debut with Reservoir Dogs, shooting his career forward and garnering him an obsessive fan base. And in the role of Mr. Pink, Buscemi was embedded as a violent and bizarro cult icon for movies to come. The role also won him his first an Independent Spirit Award.

Buddy Holly in Pulp Ficton (1994)

After Reservoir Dogs, of course Buscemi would make a cameo in Tarantino’s next and most acclaimed film, 1994’s Pulp Fiction. Unless you’re paying close attention you might not catch him, but he’s surely there as Buddy Holly in the iconic Jack Rabbit Slim’s Restaurant scene.

Carl Showalter in Fargo (1996)

As the star of Joel and Ethan Cohen’s Fargo, Buscemi got to sink his wonky teeth into the character of desperate criminal, Carl Showalter. The zany 1996 crime drama wasn’t only a career hit for Buscemi but also won an Academy Award for Best Screenplay.

Donny Kerabetsos in The Big Lebowski (1998)

Reuniting with the Coen Brothers again, Buscemi hopped onboard the cult favorite The Big Lebowski. In the 1996 comedy, he plays the timid bowling buddy Donny  Kerabetsos opposite the beloved Jeff Bridges and John Goodman.

Dave Veltri in The Wedding Singer (1998)

It’s been years since I’ve seen the ’80s-set Adam Sandler comedy The Wedding Singer, but when I look back on it, the first thing I think of is Buscemi drunk in a teal suit. His role as Dave Teltri is strange and ridiculous with that Buscemi creep factor you know and love.

Homeless Guy in Big Daddy (1999)

Reuniting with Sandler in the 1999 comedy Big Daddy, Buscemi makes an appearance as a homeless man. Enough said.

Seymour in Ghost World (2001)

Based on the graphic novel of the same name, Ghost World tells the story of two teenage outsiders, one of which becomes involved with a misanthropic older man, Seymour. Played by Buscemi with the right mix of humor and sadness, the role got him a Golden Globe nomination and won him a second Independent Spirit Award.

‘Fargo’ Coming to FX as ‘Limited Series’

It’s a big day for FX, as this morning they announced a new sister channel, FXX (devoted to comedy, with It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia being the programming anchor). They’ve also announced the greenlight for a "limited series" based on Joel and Ethan Coen’s Oscar-winning Fargo

"Limited series," of course, is fancy, high-tech talk for miniseries; perhaps the latter moniker brings about memories of trashy, campy projects like North and South. But FX is hoping that this will pay off, and they’re putting a lot of money into the concept, and not just with a TV adaptation of Fargo. According to Deadline:

Additionally, FX president John Landgraf announced several high-profile limited/miniseries projects in development as the genre will become a cornerstone for FX’s sibling FXM (Fox Movie Channel): Grand Hotel from Sam Mendes, about a fictional terrorist plot in Paris; Sutton, from Alexander Payne and Michael De Luca, about the infamous bank robber; Mad Dogs, from The Shield‘s Shawn Ryan, based on the British black comedy/psychological thriller miniseries; and The Story Of Mayflower, from producers Paul Giamatti and Gil Netter (Life Of Pi).

I was dubious at first about the prospect of a Fargo miniseries (what, exactly, would be the point?), but FX seems to have its shit together and is tossing money to smart people. Still, let us not forget the failed Fargo TV series from 1997, which starred Edie Falco in the role orginated by Frances McDormand. The pilot was even directed by Kathy Bates! Let’s get those two women involved in this one, eh?

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’90s Rockers Stone Temple Pilots Have Fired Scott Weiland

Hello, and welcome to 1998. Today’s top story: Scott Weiland, co-founded and frontman for Stone Temple Pilots, has been fired from the band. A single-sentence comment from the band’s publicist states, "Stone Temple Pilots have announced they have officially terminated Scott Weiland." Weiland apparently learned about his "termination" from news reports rather than first-hand from his bandmates. Couldn’t they have call him on his flip phone? Harsh, dudes. I haven’t been this disappointed in since The English Patient beat Fargo for Best Picture last year. (That reminds me, the Oscars are next month! Do you think L.A. Confidential has a shot?)

[via Fox News]

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Hey ‘EW,’ these Chicks are Even Trickier

Entertainment Weekly, the pitch-perfect purveyor of pop listicles, recently released its picks for the Top 25 Hollywood Hookers. But, despite an admirable attempt at comprehensive whoredom—Deneuve! Phoenix! Bigalow!—they missed a few. After the jump, five actresses worth triple-bagging for.

The two hookers from Fargo, North Dakota. After watching them bounce up and down on Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare in a repugnant motel room, we get the pleasure of seeing them under pressure (sort of). When Frances McDormand’s Marge Gunderson asks about their “clients,” the following conversation ensues:

Hooker No. 1: Well, the little guy was kinda funny-lookin’. Marge Gunderson: In what way? Hooker No. 1: I dunno… just funny-lookin’. Marge Gunderson: Can you be any more specific? Hooker No. 1: I couldn’t really say… He wasn’t circumcised. Marge Gunderson: Was he funny lookin’ apart from that? Hooker No. 1: Yah… Marge Gunderson: So, you were havin’ sex with the little fellow, then. Hooker No. 1: Uh huh…

Katherine Waterston in The Babysitters. As the ringleader of an underage group of babysitters-cum-prostitutes, hehe, Waterston makes us want our parents to go away more often.

Jaime King in Sin City. She plays twin sisters Wendy and Goldie, but Mickey Rourke’s Marv doesn’t really care which is which. On a rampage of retribution, Wendy says, “Kill em’ for me Marv. Kill ’em good,” to which he responds, “I won’t let you down, Goldie.” Oh, and there’s that teenage fanboy aerial view of her lying on a heart-shaped bed.

Amy Sedaris in Strangers with Candy. Her introduction to her new high school classmates really speaks for itself: “Hello, I’m Jerri Blank and… and I’m an alcoholic. I’m also addicted to amphetamines as well as main line narcotics. Some people say I have a sex addiction, but I think all those years of prostitution was just a means to feed my ravenous hunger for heroin. It’s kinda like the chicken or the nugget. The point is, I’m addicted to gambling. Thank you. Oh, and… my daddy’s in a coma.”

Sally Field in Forrest Gump. Her kid isn’t all there uptown, so Mrs. Gump sleeps her way into the best school for Forrest. And you thought Julia Roberts was the hooker with a heart of gold.