Pushing Tin (1999)
you determine "cool"?
Some people are just plain cool. Dean Martin and Cary Grant and JFK and Bogart are cool. Mr Rogers and Dick Cheney and Mr Garrison and Wally Cox are not. Nothing can change that. You can't become cool through great acting. You either are or you aren't. Kenneth Branagh is not cool, despite the best acting skills on the earth. George Clooney is cool without even trying.
Which brings us to this movie, which was was hamstrung by a very strange casting decision. The Russell Bell character has to be really cool, so cool that he intimidates the cock of the walk in the air traffic controller world just by being himself, so cool that if you met him you'd make plans not to introduce him to your wife.
So who was cast in this role?
Billy Bob Thornton
Let's face it. BB is not cool. Billy Bob may be the best character actor in the business today, and he can do many different things, but cool is not one of them. Billy Bob is a little skinny geek who who used to be a little fat geek, and is afraid of old furniture. If you were a high school bully in Billy Bob's school, you would not beat him up, because you would never even notice him. Years later, he would come up to you at your reunion and say, "Remember me? I was in your Chem class." You would not. Because he is a nobody. That is precisely what makes him so effective as a character actor. He is a genius at being a nobody.
So how did the script try to convince us that this little weasel is a cool, big penis kind of guy? He sings "Muskrat Love" on a karaoke machine.
I think that pretty much says it all.
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