Welcome to The Daily Cup a movie blog/writing project by Kyle B. Dekker, presented by Hot Chocolate Media. You can read series concept here. The basic rules, Kyle must watch 365 movies in 2018 and write about all of them. 292 of them have to be movies he's never seen before. Thanks for reading.
When you watch a ton of movies you often start to notice character actors that appear frequently in films. They aren’t the lead, their names aren’t box office draws, but damn if they can’t make some of the most amazing characters come alive on screen. One of the greatest character actors ever was Harry Dean Stanton. If you’ve watched a movie in the last thirty years you;ve seen him. Rarely do character actors get a chance to be the lead of a film, but it also exciting when they do. Paris, Texas (1984) gave Stanton a chance to take center stage, and he didn't waste the opportunity.
Stanton plays Travis Henderson, a man found wandering the Texas desert. His memory is gone and he barely speaks. His brother Walt (Dean Stockwell) goes to pick him up, Travis has been missing for over four years and is presumed dead. Walt brings Travis back to his home in Los Angeles. Walt and his wife Anne (Aurore Clement) have been raising Travis’s son Hunter (Hunter Carson) ever since Travis’s and Hunter’s mother went missing. Travis begins a journey of finding his mind and memories, and trying to bond with his son again. Eventually Travis and Hunter go out on a road trip in search of their long lost mother and wife, Jane (Nastassja Kinski). Their search is fruitful the and the mystery of Travis’s disappearance, and a darker past are revealed.
This film is an intense character study, and only works because of the insanely good performance of Stanton. Everything he does in this film is so good, the physicality, the emotion and the skillful use of silence create a complicated and damaged man in Travis. You are with him every step of his journey and you can never look away. It’s a mystery to me how Stanton didn’t win every damn acting award for this. Hunter Carson also does a fantastic job, delivering one of the better performances I’ve seen from a child actor. Nastassja Kinski is in only a few scenes, but she matches Stanton’s skill beat for beat in every scene she’s in. This movie has intensely long bouts of dialogue, and other spans of almost none at all. Sometimes that can doom a film but in this it works, making it feel like a dream or poem in film form. This is a credit to the script and its execution by these actors.
The poetic and dreamlike qualities of this film extend beyond the script and the acting however. The cinematography will blow you away. If you ever wanted to see how beautiful the wilds of Texas can be, this is the film to watch. Shot after shot looks like a masterful painting, the colors of nature and the harsh concrete of Los Angeles and Houston create a variety of visuals that will suck you in every time. Adding to these breathtaking visuals is a slide guitar score that is minimal but intensely impactful. Every time the scores comes in, it is at a emotional moment that is accentuates and enhances. It’s musical grace of the highest order.
When you combine the most emotional and beautiful performance of the greatest character actor of all time with phenomenal cinematography, and a moving score you get a masterpiece. Director Wim Wenders presents the audience with a veritable feast for your eyes, ears, and emotions.
Movies new to me watched: 45/292
Other movies: 10/73
Total movies watched: 55/365
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