Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Performances Ripe for Rediscovery: Michael Paré in THE VIRGIN SUICIDES

***Sofia Coppola has guided some of the greatest performances in all of modern American film.  Career best turns from the likes of Kirsten Dunst to Bill Murray to Scarlett Johansson to Elle Fanning have helped shape Sofia's films.  These actors and performances have gotten a lot of due acclaim for their work but I wanted to highlight a few others who delivered mesmerizing turns for Sofia without ever getting the notice they deserved.***
Kirsten Dunst's unbelievably haunting performance as Lux Lisbon in The Virgin Suicides remains one of the most devastating performances of lost youth ever captured on the screen.  Dunst's work is in fact so captivating that it is easy to overlook the fact that The Virgin Suicides is filled with incredibly powerful performances from a number of players.  One of the most astonishing is delivered in just a matter of minutes but those few moments have stuck with me strongly since I first saw the film during its theatrical run over a dozen years ago.
A screen veteran with nearly a hundred film and television performances to his credit Michael Kevin Paré is still probably best known for his iconic 1983 performance as lost rocker Eddie Wilson in the cult-favorite Eddie and the Cruisers.  Paré had just passed his fortieth birthday when he made his surprising cameo as the aging Trip Fontaine in The Virgin Suicides.  Despite the fact that he is only on the screen for a few moments, Paré makes the most of his time and his performance as the fractured adult Fontaine now in rehab trying to recall just why he left Lux Lisbon on that football field after prom is absolutely heartbreaking.  I can think of few performances that so quickly, and potently, communicate middle-age regret and self-rage as well as Paré does for Sofia Coppola in these few moments.  It really is spellbinding to watch. 
And as suddenly as he appears he is gone.  Led to a 'group meeting' to deal with his addictions, demons and memories with other similarly haunted men who have lost their youth.  The beautiful Michael Pare playing yet another lost man on the dark side and playing it so incredibly well. 
-Jeremy Richey, 2013- 


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