May 25 2012
by Sara Clemens
We all know Tyrion Lannister (and by extension, Peter Dinklage) is a bit of a darling here at Unreality. The dude’s sheer awesomeness has led me to devour any and all film and television projects of his that I can get my little nerd-girl hands on. I’m not going to lie, his piercing blue eyes also provided much of the forward momentum.
Unabashed crush aside, Peter Dinklage really does have an uber impressive body of work. I saw The Station Agent back in college when it was released (*adjusts hipster glasses*), and it really is as good as everyone says. He was also one of the better parts of the quickly sinking ship that was season 4 of Nip/Tuck. And since I hear tell there are some sci-fi fans around these parts, be sure to check out Threshold. (Brent Spiner and Peter as snarky scientists! How was this show not a hit? What’s that? The somewhat poorly developed plot and less-than-stellar writing? Alright, then.) I’ve also had the singular pleasure of experiencing the horrific abomination that is Tiptoes: the official selection of the 2004 Sundance Film Festival which was introduced by the director explaining he had been fired before final editing, and thus had no idea what the audience was about to see.
My cinematic travels ultimately led me to discover that Peter Dinklage had made four movies with Steve Buscemi, who is also awesome, and is also in possession of blue eyes. COINCIDENCE?! Probably. A light trolling of the internets revealed that the two actors highly respect one another, and Buscemi was an early advocate for casting Dinklage in various projects he produced, directed, or was otherwise involved with. Peter reveals in a Vanity Fair interview that he and Steve are “not really” drinking buddies. I like to think he’s lying. Without further ado, here are the four Dinkscemi vehicles, all of which I recommend as underrated gems:
Living in Oblivion
The duo’s first screen outing together also happens to be Peter’s first film role. A low budget indie film about the trials and tribulations of filmmaking (meta alert!), Living in Oblivion also stars a young Catherine Keener and Dermot Mulroney. The film takes place over one day of shooting and Steve Buscemi plays the frustrated director as a man about two seconds away from a nervous breakdown. Dinklage plays the dwarf brought in to bring authenticity to a dream sequence.
Choice Dinkscemi Bit: “Have you ever had a dream with a dwarf in it? Do you know anyone who’s had a dream with a dwarf in it? No! I don’t even have dreams with dwarfs in them!”
Another low budget film with an excellent cast (Jennifer Beals, Daryl Mitchell, Peter Stormare, and Sam Rockwell for starters), 13 Moons finds our two heroes playing two parts of a TV clown comedy team: Buscemi as Bananas and Dinklage as Binky. The film takes place over the course of one night and the series of crazy events that occur within it. In addition to the two clowns, there’s a bail bondsman, a rap magnate and his girlfriend, a kid who needs an organ transplant, a crazy drug addict, and a few priests thrown in for good measure. It’s slow moving but terrifically quirky, and the two leads have undeniably good chemistry. And as you know, good chemistry equals good banter.
Choice Dinkscemi Bit: “She says she can’t get enthusiastic about it anymore. I said, ‘who needs enthusiasm? You think I haven’t had sex when I wasn’t enthusiastic about it?’”
Saint John of Las Vegas
A modern day adaptation of Dante’s Inferno, this film stars Buscemi as John, a gambling addict now working as an insurance fraud investigator. His latest case sees him paired with fellow investigator Virgil (see what they did there?), on a trail that will lead them straight into the heart of Las Vegas, much to John’s chagrin. Dinklage plays his douche-bag boss Mr. Townsend. Sarah Silverman plays John’s love interest who’s obsessed with the “Have a Nice Day” happy face, and Romany Malco plays Virgil. Malco is effing awesome in this, by the by.
Choice Dinkscemi Bit: “Whoa! We just ordered cocktails. You know you gotta get me drunk before you start to molest me.”
Pete Smalls is Dead
Another meta movie about the film industry, this neo-noir finds Dinklage in the lead as former screenwriter K.C. Monk, with Buscemi supporting. A loan shark kidnaps K.C.’s dog Buddha, but meanwhile he needs to travel to LA to attend the funeral of an old industry friend (Pete Smalls, unsurprisingly). Once he’s back at the old stomping grounds with his old cohorts, K.C. works at drumming up the ransom for his kidnapped pooch. Alexandre Rockwell directed both this and 13 Moons, incidentally. Keep your eyes peeled for Game of Thrones’ Lena Headey (Cersei) as Buscemi’s girlfriend.
Choice Dinkscemi Bit: I’m sure there is one, but I can’t remember any off the top of my head and couldn’t find any clips on YouTube where they’re actually talking to each other.
Bonus Vid: Tiptoes Trailer
Choice Bit of Entire Movie: “So you had a circle jerk with a bunch of little people? I would love to see that!”
Runner-up: Any part where Peter Dinklage is drunk and sports a super shitty French accent. So you know, any time he’s onscreen.
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