Alan Arkin, where have you been all my life?

I won’t go so far as to say I have a crush on him…

But now I’ve recently seen him in two movies. Last week I watched Slums of Beverly Hills. It’s a mediocre movie completely saved by his acting. Last night I watched Little Miss Sunshine. I think that’s a wonderful movie on its own merits; it’s enhanced by Arkin.

He is, in my opinion, a great actor. I’m old, but not that old, so I looked him up on http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000273/ . I was very surprised to see how many things he’s been in that I haven’t heard of. I totally know his name…but so many of his movies are…well, I can’t say shitty, but I sure as hell haven’t heard of 90% of what he has appeared in.

Watch The In-Laws.

He was extraordinary in Catch-22. And I was just watching Edward Scissorhands yesterday on tv, and I completely forgot he was in it. He does a great job with ensemble casting in that one, as well. Apparently I’ve missed a lot of his repertoire too.

If you can track it down anywhere, he did movie in the late 70’s or early 80’s called Simon. It’s kind of a Woody Allen-esque, sci-fi, social satire thing, very funny.

He’s good in Glengarry Glen Ross as well, but that’s not exactly a rib tickler.

I forgot to mention The In-Laws (the original with Peter Falk, not the remake that was done a couple of years ago). Outstanding.

Argh, I couldn’t WAIT to type that one in…beat me to it…dayum… :smack:

“Serpentine, Shelly, Serpentine”

God, I love that movie, and the recent remake just doesn’t cut it in my eyes.

Sorry, me again…in checking that link, then remembered “Last of the Red Hot Lovers”, and the Police Cpt in “So I Married an Axe Murderer” - extremely entertaining!!!

A fantastic actor, deserving of an Oscar in general. (We’ve not seen “Little Miss Sunshine” yet.)

We’re just now watching the Oscarcast – a friend taped it for us; you have to have cable to watch it here, and we’re too busy to waste time watching television, so we don’t subscribe – and when Arkin won, the voice-over narrator pointed out that he’d been rejected for the part initially, because he seemed “too virile.” Arkin reportedly called that the nicest rejection he’d ever received.

His best performance? As a deaf-mute in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968).

Also recommended:

The Russians Are Coming the Russians Are Coming (1966)
Wait Until Dark (1967)
Catch-22 (1970)
Little Murders (1971)
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976)
The Defection of Simas Kudirka (1978)

I’ve long thought that one of his best roles was in a Canadian film, Joshua Then and Now, where he plays James Woods’ father. Arkin is a shady Montreal Jewish guy - not quite a gangster, but on the edge. It’s supposedly a semi-autobiography by the author, Mordecai Richler.

Chillingly creepy evil dude in Wait Until Dark, the most sadistic movie this side of Dancer in the Dark.

I’ll second “Wait Until Dark,” a film I haven’t seen since its first release and, because of Arkin’s performance, I can wait another forty years until I see it again, thankyouverymuch. OTOH, I never found him very funny. He seems to find frantic shouting funny but I don’t.

Note that he also gave us “The Banana Boat Song,” which could keep anybody from being up against the wall WTRC. (Note to self: People younger than you would not see the need for a chat abbreviation for “When The Revolution Comes.”)

Not looking it up here, but isn’t Harry Belafonte to blame for that?

Ok, now I looked it up:

Let me also suggest checking Arkin’s performance in the Nick Nolte-Sherilyn Fenn movie of Kurt Vonnegut’s MOTHER NIGHT.

How about “Freebie and The Bean”. His tirade about the neighbor’s dogs still has me laughing after thirty years or so.

I second this. You’ll then be able to find many instances where “Serpentine, Shelly - serpentine!” will be just the thing to say. :stuck_out_tongue:
VCNJ~

Great little movie. Not available on DVD, but you can get one cheap in VHS format.

He is led to believe he is an alien, and his wife keeps referring to his being “from out of space.” It’s OUTER space! OUTER space!

Watch him Popi, a little-known movie that came out in 1969. Arkin, playing the father of two little boys, gives a heart-wrenching, unforgettable performance. He’s extraordinary in this film.

The In-Laws is his best film, but a number of his great performances, small & large, have already been mentioned: Scissorhands, Joshua, Hunter, Glengarry. Let me add his very funny turn as the unwitting psychologist in Grosse Pointe Blank and though it’s been ages since I’ve seen it, I remember really liking the concentration camp TV movie Escape from Sobibor.