Simian Substitute Site For September 2017: Monkey Trousers Theatre
Spank’s Edinburgh Diary, Postscript 2017

MOSTLYFILM: The Good Place/Harry Dean Stanton

If you're like me and only ever think of Harry Dean Stanton as an old guy, here's what he looked like in 1959, in an episode of the Chuck Connors TV show The Rifleman. (He called himself Dean Stanton back then.)It's been a busy old week on MostlyFilm. You may have noticed that the site's not updated as frequently as it used to be, but we're still putting out hot content whenever circumstances demand it: and this particular week, circumstances have demanded it twice. I'm involved in both of the posts that resulted, which is why I'm telling you about them here.

Firstly, there's the TV show The Good Place, for which I've written a preview. I actually watched most of the first season earlier this year, on a Cathay Pacific flight during our holiday in Hong Kong and Japan, and yes I will get around to writing about that soon I promise. Anyway, it's a similar story to the time last year when I discovered Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on a plane: like that show, The Good Place has now been picked up by Netflix in the UK, allowing you to catch up on old episodes as well as watch new ones the day after their transmission in the US. I think you should do just that, and the article explains why.

Secondly, there's the small matter of Harry Dean Stanton, who died last weekend at the perfectly respectable age of 91. It was felt that MostlyFilm should mark his passing in some way or other, so three of us - CaulorLime, theTramp, and yours truly - have each picked one of Harry Dean's performances and written a bit about why they were so good.

It would be monstrously glib to try and link these two pieces by expressing the hope that Harry Dean Stanton is now himself in The Good Place. So I won't. Instead, I'll give you a few bits of video as your Red Button Bonus Content.

Part of the reason why I've combined two posts' worth of Red Button material here is because I don't want to show too much of The Good Place. There's plenty of video on YouTube, much of it posted by NBC themselves on their official channel: so if you want all of the good bits of the first season blown in advance, then you know where to go. Myself, I'd recommend that you just stick to this season 1 trailer, and then watch the whole thing from the beginning. You'll thank me afterwards.

So let's move onto Harry Dean Stanton, and a whole bunch of clips that you know already. In the MostlyFilm piece, each of us seems to have settled on one particular scene that sums up the actor's greatness. So here are those scenes (with one exception that's already embedded there). First of all, here he is in CaulorLime's choice of scene from Alien, with a brief introduction pointing out how the nifty sound design makes it even scarier.

After that I get to talk about Paris, Texas, and marvel at the way that HDS changes character completely between the start and the end of the film. In the MostlyFilm post, you can watch a long clip showing what he looks like at the end: here's what he looks like at the start. (Incidentally, in preparation for my contribution I rewatched the film as an Amazon rental. It's the first time I've paid them money to watch a streaming video, and it worked surprisingly well. Amazon may be tax-dodging scum, and those Associate links at the bottom of my site earn me bugger all, but they seem to do that right at least.)

And here's theTramp's selection, from Pretty In Pink, the only film out of this selection that I haven't yet seen myself.

Of course, it should be noted that all of our choices are from the seventies and eighties: but Harry Dean kept working all the way up to the very end. His last film, still to be released, is called Lucky, and I'm hoping that you'll see a review of it here in a couple of weeks, if you know what I mean. But he was also one of the most delightful characters in the new series of Twin Peaks broadcast earlier this year: in the middle of the parade of freaks and psychopaths we've always come to expect from the show, his Carl Rodd was a beacon of simple human decency. This wee scene should show you what I mean.


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