Monday, October 12, 2009

Lithgow loony again

I don't like Dexter. But I do like John Lithgow playing crazy people, so I'm tuning in for its fourth season. He plays the Trinity Killer, who murders in threes according to a carefully maintained pattern, and has done so for years. He's set to cross paths with Michael C. Hall's serial killer vigilante, who with a wife and kids to support is feeling restive. I find the premise of the show distasteful, dislike the clammy Hall (I wasn't over the moon about him on Six Feet Under, either), and fast-forward through everything involving the negligible supporting characters (except for returning guest star Keith Carradine, who looks great in his tailored suit and brings the right gravitas to his role of a not-so-retired detective tracking Trinity).

But mostly I'm watching for Lithgow, a favorite actor whose Broadway appearances are usually top-notch (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) and who often plays eccentric, as on his long-running TV hit 3rd Rock from the Sun. No one plays out-and-out insane like him, though. Blow Out, Twilight Zone: The Movie,Buckaroo Banzai (pictured), Ricochet, Raising Cain, Cliffhanger--I love them all. Thus far he's shown an interesting reserve on Dexter, even when slashing a woman in the tub and forcing another off a ledge, but after all those years away I'm sure he's just picking up the scent again.


Arbogast said...

It's funny to see Lithgow and Christopher Lloyd in the same picture because I have the same reaction to both actors: when they're good they're very, very good (30% of the time) and when they're bad they are horrrrrid (70%). Lithgow is brilliant in Banzai but I couldn't abide a frame of him on 3rd Rock, which to me was as insufferable as his soup ads. Ditto Lloyd, so funny on Taxi and the Back to the Future films but ever catch his act in Quicksilver Highway? A-gon-y.

Robert Cashill said...

I was never a constant Third Rock watcher, but the ensemble cast was very good even if Lithgow was twee. (I bet he was as surprised as anyone else to see him become a "family entertainer," a mantle that never quite fit.) With Carradine out of the way he's come onto his own on Dexter, a show I just don't care for; I zip through a 50-minute episode in half that time just to see him.

Agreed about Lloyd, but it's been a long time since I've seen him in anything significant. He's in Piranha 3-D.