Happy Alan Arkin Day!

Today, August 5th, is Alan Arkin day because………well, because one year my friend and I were bored and decided to make up a holiday. But truly no one else is more deserving of day arbitrarily given them by a coupla slackers. Alan Arkin is one of the best actors working today. Every one of his characters is fully, beautifully delineated with easily recognized, very human emotions and motivations and an almost tangible history. For forty years he has worked in the movie industry, never really becoming a “star” but always, always giving a first rate performance. He is equally adept at drama and comedy, plus he can sing and write children’s books too! Some of his best:

The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming (1966) - this well-intentioned movie about universal harmony is hopelessy mired in !!wacky hijacks!! and way too much Carl Reiner. Still, the Glorious Arkin rises above it all with a gently humorous and sensitive turn as a stranded Russian marine. This is one of my favorite of his roles, and it’s in one of my least favorite movies. (Plus, he looks damn cute in it.)

Wait Until Dark (1967) - Stephen King listed this as one of the scariest movies of all time, and said that The Fabulous Arkinator’s Harry Roat, Jr is one of the finest pieces of villainy in cinema history. I utterly agree. Do yourself a favor and watch it. Do yourself a bigger favor and watch it with the lights out.

Catch-22 (1970) - If you can stomach it. This anti-war piece if of course a classic. My Husband in a Future Life plays Yossarian. Do I have to mention that he’s brilliant?

The In-Laws (1979) - This one of the funniest films of all time, I kid you not. Mr. His Work Should be Revered by Schoolchildren Everywhere plays an uptight dentist who gradually dissolves into nearly pathological hysteria and never strikes a false note. And Peter Falk’s in it. You all like Peter Falk, right? I thought so.

The Last Unicorn (1982) - In one of the most beautifully realized fantasy films of all time, Yes, the Father of Adam Arkin lends his voice to Schmendrick, a wizard struggling with issues of heroism and morality in the face of his own growing power and ambition.

Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) - Suffice to say that it definitely an actor’s film, and I Can’t Think of Any More Names to Express My Boundless Admiration more than holds his own.

I could name a dozen others, but then I would be responsible for hamster genocide. Instead I will present for your perusal the IMDB page on Alan Arkin. Anyone else love this guy?

I adore Alan. I’ve been staying up late on Sunday nights to catch reruns of 100 Center Street on A&E and I’m regularly reminded of just how flawless his skills are.

Happy Alan Arkin Day! Hurrah!

Alan Arkin is a wonderful actor. I really looked forward to watching him play Adam on Northern Exposure. That, in my not-so-humble opinion, is one of the greatest TV roles ever.

He recently guest starred on Monk. He must have written his own lines because they were the best I’ve seen on the show so far.

Happy Alan Arkin Day to all!

Edward Scissorhands is among my all time favorite films, and features wonderful performances by the entire cast, AA included.

Since the birth of my daughter two years ago, each day I feel like I’m turning more and more into Alan Arkin as Mr. Boggs.

Is Alan Arkin day always on the 5[sup]th[/sup], or is it on the first Monday in August so we get a three-day weekend?

Hate to break it to you, JT, but that’s Adam Arkin, Alan’s son. Similar look, different guy.

Other terrific Arkin roles not mentioned yet:

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
Joshua Then and Now
Escape from Sobibor
Grosse Pointe Blank

but if I had to choose my favorite, it’d also be The In-Laws.

He’s also the best thing in a good movie currently out: Thirteen Conversations About One Thing

Some great Arkin performances that were left out of the OP.

The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968) Arkin’s first major dramatic role.

Freebie and the Bean (1974) - Arkin played the Bean in one of the best of the “buddy film” genre.

Simon (1980) - Arkin had the title role in this undeservedly neglected comedy.

The Rocketeer (1991) - Admittedly not a great film, but it did give Arkin an opportunity to costar with Jennifer Connelly’s breasts.

Grosse Pointe Blank (1997) and America’s Sweethearts (2001) - The commentators on the latter movie said they cast Arkin because of his great performance in a similar role in the former film; in both movies, he has a comic relief cameo as John Cusack’s psychological advisor.

Aww, hell. We didn’t think of making it so that it was always a Monday. We did petition to have it recognized as a company holiday. Our boss hated us.

It’s on the 5[sup]th[/sup] because we were sitting around on the 4[sup]th[/sup] bitching about the lack of holidays in August. We decided to declare a holiday right then and there, and what better to celebrate than the best actor in the known universe? Then I said, “No! Let’s not make it today! Let’s make it tomorrow so I can bring cupcakes!” So the 4[sup]th[/sup] is Alan Akin Eve.

Many of the important decisions in history center around cupcakes, I hear.