Sunday, October 30, 2011

PARENTS (1989) - Bob Balaban

Once upon a time, Randy Quaid was only crazy in the movies. He specialized in oddball, off-kilter supporting performances in classics like The Last Detail, National Lampoon's Vacation, Midnight Express or Quick Change. Now that he seems real life certifiable, his recent resume leaves a little to be desired.

I've always loved Randy, even in small portions. That's why Parents is such a rare gem. It's a great big ol' helping of Randy with extra crazy sauce on the side. Though the film's protagonist is a nearly mute adolescent who suspects his Mom and Pop might be cannibals, it's Randy's line readings-- so '50s suburban father bland yet sinister at the same time-- that steal the show. The kid's eventual revelation that there's something in the nightly "leftovers" won't come as much surprise. But Randy's ability to play truly menacing (and not a mere slackjawed yokel) just might.

Parents also boasts a boppy Angelo Badalamenti score and some snappy Better Homes and Gardens by way of Blue Velvet set design. Also, some of the most disturbing looking breakfast sausages I've ever seen on film. It was almost enough to put me off meat for good. Almost.

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