Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Sun Days

Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project (2007)
directed by John Landis
rating: 3 out of 5 cravats
on DVD from Netflix

Interesting people, as a rule, don't say very much about themselves. You expect the usual talking heads in any documentary about a comedian, and the John Landis pedigree - I kid - spares us no one.

1. "Sarah Silverman, tell us about listening to Jewish stand-up as a teenager in New Hampshire."

That's the first part of Mr. Warmth, as ordinary as all get out.

2. "Debbie Reynolds, tell us about Las Vegas when the desert came up to the swimming pool in the back of the hotel and everybody in the city had three acts to choose from for entertainment each night."

That's where the documentary clicks, with celebrities as storytellers, reviving the Arabian Nights from the desert sands. Or the Sands. Sinatra was clearly one of these people, telling Jack Kennedy what Dean Martin did and Dean about the head-case actress that the President couldn't shake.

3. Enter Rickles and the photos of dead men on his wall.

Don Rickles comparing Burt Lancaster to Clark Gable is the perfect autobiographical anecdote - the workingman's secret when work is all that's left.