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Wednesday, April 02, 2003

Sad non-war news.

Mr. Noodle is dead. My daughter loves that segment on Sesame Street, too.

Michael Jeter died at age 50, six years after disclosing he had HIV. Best known for the "Evening Shade" television show, for my money, his best work was in a film too few people saw: The Fisher King.

Jeter played a "Homeless Cabaret Singer" (so sayeth the credits, but I thought his character had a name) to tragicomic perfection. His scene-stealing moment involved his character delivering a singing telegram to the would-be lady-love of Robin Williams' character.

In drag.

With his thick Civil War general-style mustache.

Dancing on a desk.

Belting out a pitch-perfect impression of Ethel Merman.

Did I mention it was a Terry Gilliam film?

Well, it happens to be my favorite film of all time, so go out and rent it in tribute to an underrated character actor. For you Catholics (and others) leery of R-rated films (it earned it, for language and some non-gratuitous but disturbing violence), it involves the Holy Grail, a quest for redemption, and multiple examples of self-sacrifice. It's also side-splittingly funny in parts, to boot.

Go get it.

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