The Curious Incident of the Talking Horse and the Sad Girl and the Village Under the Sea, and Other Things

1. Mark Haddon, who wrote the appealing autistic detective story The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, is in the poetry business now. LitKicks approves of this entirely, although Ranting Ed has found evidence indicating the new book may not be so great. We’ll have to find out for ourselves.

2. I am trying to think of a way to claim that great gangster films are literature, so that I can announce here the sad news that actor Chris Penn was found dead in his Santa Monica home. One news outlet refers to him as Chris Penn, actor in “Footloose”, but he is no such thing; he is Chris Penn, actor in “Reservoir Dogs.” He played the cheerful and chubby son of head gangster Joe, a key role in that film’s brilliant ensemble cast.

Here’s why I think the best gangster films are literature: even though nobody’s done it yet, someday some theatre producer will discover that these films can be reinvented as stage drama. I know it seems impossible to imagine “Reservoir Dogs” without Steve Buscemi or, say, “Dog Day Afternoon” without Al Pacino, but in fact these films had great scripts that enabled these actors to excel, and different actors might be able to discover entirely new interpretations of their characters if anybody were to attempt to produce them on stage. Fifty years from now, somebody will prove me right on this point. Or maybe next week.

3. The Morning News is interviewing Bret Easton Ellis, NPR is interviewing Kurt Vonnegut, Maud Newton is considering Mark Twain and BookForum is unearthing Harold Brodkey. All in all, a good week for stuff.

6 Responses

  1. Chris Penn, actors, and
    Chris Penn, actors, and scripts

    Chris Penn was perfect in his role as “Nice Guy Eddie Cabot” in Reservoir Dogs. A very classic type of character: Smart, cool-headed, and businesslike, but perhaps a bit spoiled and chubby from having the cushy job of the mob boss’ son.

    Excerpt from the script:

    NICE GUY EDDIE (joking) Did you see that daddy? Guy got me on the ground and he tried to fuck me.
    MR. BLONDE: You wish.
    NICE GUY EDDIE: Listen Vic, I don’t mind what you do, but don’t try to fuck me in my father’s office, I don’t think of you that way. I like you a lot man, but I don’t think of you that way.
    MR. BLONDE: Eddie, if I was a butt cowboy, I wouldn’t even throw you to the posse.
    NICE GUY EDDIE: Of course not, you’d keep me for yourself, you sick bastard. Four years of fuckin’ punks up the ass you’d appreciate a piece of prime rib when you see one.
    NICE GUY EDDIE: Listen daddy, I got an idea. Now just, hear me out. Now, I know you don’t like usin’ the boys on jobs like these, but Vic has been nothin’ but good luck for us. The guy’s a fuckin’ rabbits foot for cryin’ out loud. I’d like to have him in. You know he’s reliable and you damn well know we can trust him.
    JOE: [pause] How would you feel about pulling off a job with about five other guys?
    MR. BLONDE: I’d feel great about it.”

    I’m saddened by the news of his death.

    I am a Quentin Tarantino fan so, a while back when I wanted to learn how to write a script, I bought a paperback edition of the script to Pulp Fiction. I know Pulp Fiction was written with John Travolta and Uma Thurman in mind. I would like to find out if Tarantino wrote the part of Good Guy Eddie with Chris Penn in mind.

  2. Penn and GangstersI felt a
    Penn and Gangsters

    I felt a soft blow when I learned of Chris Penn’s death. He seemed so jovial and will be remembered for his character roles, most notably in “Dogs”. I hope that nothing nefarious is behind his death such as drugs or foul play.

    Many gangster films play out like literature- I love the Tarantino films, but two others are also favorites- a traditional mobster flick “Goodfellas” and a coming of age gangsta film “Boys in the Hood”. Both films play out like poetry. I would also recommend reading the original GODFATHER novel by Mario Puzo- it makes the experience of watching the (first two) excellent films much richer.

  3. Thanks for posting this,
    Thanks for posting this, Bill. I’d forgotten that his name was Nice Guy Eddie.

  4. chriswas in “short cuts” too

    was in “short cuts” too which was made in the memory of “Raymond Carver”, and also “true romance” although he did not have a big role it is still a good movie–chris seemed to always be playing a psycho killer, no?

    i liked him!

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Litkicks will turn 30 years old in the summer of 2024! We can’t believe it ourselves. We don’t run as many blog posts about books and writers as we used to, but founder Marc Eliot Stein aka Levi Asher is busy running two podcasts. Please check out our latest work!