Friday, April 3, 2009

Overlooked: Albert Brooks

So I was watching Taxi Driver back in '76, and I got a look at that guy who hits on the Cybill Shepherd character in Senator Palatine's campaign office, and I was like: "Dude, you just KNOW he's a talented comic writer waiting to happen."

And you know what? I was right!

That guy, of course, was (and still is) Albert Brooks, an actor/writer/director who has lurked in the comedy background for years, surfacing occasionally as an actor -- in Finding Nemo, The Simpsons Movie (and, more memorably, a few Simpsons episodes), and James L. Brooks' Broadcast News (the Albert version of Brooks got a Best Supporting Actor nomination for that one).

As a writer-director, Brooks appears less frequently. But when he does, it's often worth paying attention -- he's something of a more-bitter Woody Allen. He hasn't made the Complete Great Film like Allen, but he's usually good for some sharp laughs and astute observations.

Sadly, the YouTube pirates couldn't quite come up with the best clips from his two best offerings -- Lost in America and Mother -- but here's a good one from his clever, low-key 1999 film The Muse:

"I write happy, ..."

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