Friday 9 December 2011

A History of Middle-Aged Englishmen in Movies/My Heart

Today's guest post is by my friend Jessica. She's an American but as we're always being told, Britain is overflowing with immigrants so she lives in the UK. It's handy that she does, mind you, as that's where the majority of her favourite film stars are from, as this piece now reveals. Thanks to Jessica!

As a teenager in Chicago in the 1990s, I had a very impressive series of movie magazine cuttings on my bedroom wall. Most impressive is that they were not of Brad Pitt or Leonardo DiCaprio. They were of old English guys. I am an American.

I am going to list some of these middle aged Englishmen and the movies of theirs I watched over and over when filled with adolescence’s surging, hormonal longing. I will not, however, make some kind of creepy Freudian analysis of this or connect it in any way to how I ended up marrying an Englishman eight years my senior. I will not even mention that at all.

Tim Roth

Tim Roth is the yappy terrier of middle-aged English actors. He is scrappy and rough and he thinks he’s in a Scorcese movie but isn’t it adorable because you could pick him up pinched between two fingers and he’s much too short for any adult human female. All of his jumpers were oversized. I don’t know what else you need to know.

I used to watch three Tim Roth movies over and over in the 90s. One of them was Reservoir Dogs, in which he does a pretty good job of a pretty terrible American accent. He gets shot in the stomach and goes all pale and covered in blood, which is a really good look. This movie also proves that if you stand next to Harvey Keitel for a while, you will look like a beautiful angel with the skin of a sainted toddler, which is also apparently a very good look.

Captives is a tiny movie in which Tim Roth plays a violent criminal who is for some reason allowed to leave prison for treats like attending college classes and buying some bits from the Sainsbury’s and fucking the sexy prison dentist in a men’s room stall. At fifteen, I thought that yes, it would probably be an excellent idea to fuck a prisoner in a bathroom stall if he was, you know, nice to me and stuff.

Rosencrantz and Gildenstern Are Dead was my third obsessive Tim Roth movie. The one I could talk about in my English class without using the phrase ‘fucked the prison dentist in a men’s room stall’. The one that made me read Tom Stoppard plays and think, like, really intensely about Shakespeare and stuff because it was dark and went really well with early Cure records. This movie got a lot of play because it also featured my next big 90s crush.

Gary Oldman

I remember reading an interview in which Winona Ryder claimed she was too terrified to talk to Gary Oldman when they were making Dracula. Well, good, Winona. That means you were paying attention. You are Molly Ringwald and he is Judd Nelson but he is never, ever going to give you his earring, do you hear me?

Gary Oldman was terrifying as Dracula, he was intimidating as Beethoven in Immortal Beloved, but the best…the best…was as the crooked cop in Leon (known as The Professional in America because we don’t ‘get’ French names, apparently, and might go into Blockbuster and shout ‘LOO? LOUIE? LONE? LONER? LUNCH? LOOGIE? OH DAMN IT I HATE FOREIGNS SO MUCH JUST GIVE ME TITANIC!!’). If Tim Roth was the perfect guy to do puppy eyes whilst slowly bleeding to death, Gary Oldman was the perfect guy to make some guy slowly bleed to death. He did this thing in Leon where he popped a pill of the illegal variety and craned his neck up and back, like a convulsion.

If you don’t know why that’s attractive, I can’t help you.

Rik Mayall
Shut up. Seriously, just shut up. He was FUNNY and he had INTERESTING SHOES and REALLY LOVED PHOEBE CATES and just SHUT UP.


Anonymous said...

Oh god, Rosencrantz and Gildenstern Are Dead was awesome. We watched it in English then my nerdy friends and I played that mad word game from the tennis court at a party. It got all raucous and it was the geekiest and best game I'd ever played.

Jessica said...

Oh, Betsy. It continues to make so much sense that we're friends.

Graham Sibley said...

If you can find it, I recommend Meantime from 1983 with painfully young Roth and Oldman

Wicca'd Witch said...

I loved Drop Dead Fred too. It's ok, you are not alone.


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