Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hey, Guv, Let's Party!


Sean Penn’s new version of All the King’s Men is getting panned mercilessly in the media. “Appalling," “tedious," "ponderous and turgid as a book report" are a few descriptions I've read so far. Some are saying the film was in ill-conceived venture from the start. Maybe so, but it seems to me that it was perfectly logical for Penn to think he could play Willie Stark, the Southern demagogue at the heart of the story, given Stark’s uncanny similarity to one of Penn’s previous roles. The quotes below are from the 1949 version of All the King’s Men, starring Broderick Crawford.

On the Need for Revolution:

Willie Stark fires up a backwoods crowd: “Now, shut up! Shut up, all of you! Now listen to me, you hicks. Yeah, you're hicks too, and they fooled you a thousand times like they fooled me. But this time, I'm going to fool somebody. I'm going to stay in this race. I'm on my own and I'm out for blood.”

Jeff Spicoli explains the thinking of the founders to Mr. Hand: "What this Jefferson dude was saying is, we left this England place because it was bogus, and if we don't get some cool rules of our own - pronto - we'll just be bogus too."

Pathetic Attempts to Right Wrongs

Willie Stark attempts to bribe the father of a girl his son killed in an auto accident: “I’ll take care of everything . . . A man in the trucking business could really use a contract with the state, right?”

Jeff Spicoli claims he can repair Charles Jefferson's hopelessly trashed Camaro: "Relax, alright? My old man is a television repairman. He's got this ultimate set of tools. I can fix it."

On Living Well

Willie Stark: “I don't need money. People give me things because they believe in me.”

Jeff Spicoli: "All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I'm fine."

On the Essential Darkness of Human Existence

Willie Stark: “There's something on everybody. Man is conceived in sin and born in corruption. He passes from the stink of the dydie to the stench of the shroud. There's always something."

Jeff Spicoli: “Hey, there’s no birthday party for me here!”

NOTE: Both Willie Starks hosted SNL, Broderick Crawford in 1977, Sean Penn in 1987.

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