This was the only role I saw him in before watching Criminal Intent. The bug was great – pretty amazing, in fact – but what really struck me, and stayed with me afterwards, was the perfectly drawn character sketch – accomplished with so little in so short a time – of Edgar, before the bug gets him.
In the hands of most actors – even with exactly the same lines – Edgar would have been a two-dimensional caricature of a dumb creep. Of course, he *was* a creep. But creeps of that type are made, not born, and the non-verbal aspects of D’Onofrio’s characterization reflect the kind of backstory that produces such men.
I spent part of my summers growing up with relatives among the working class and working poor in rural southern Virginia. I recognized Edgar – knew him all too well. His response, when he looks out to see what the noise was – his flattened affect, his summation – “Figures” – made him seem so real that I felt a bit guilty over my vindictive glee when the spaceship hit his truck, and over the fact that I laughed out loud in the theater at the bug’s priceless, perfect punch-line: “Your proposal is acceptable.”
Of course, the Frankenstein-like, big-hulking-monster-can’t-open-screen-door bit always gets a laugh out of me, too.
Last Edit: Apr 16, 2004 18:49:02 GMT -5 by Observer2
His response, when he looks out to see what the noise was – his flattened affect, his summation – “Figures” – made him seem so real that I felt a bit guilty over my vindictive glee when the spaceship hit his truck,
I'm so glad you mentioned that line, because I love how he delivers that. I actually wished the movie had a bit more with Edgar as Edgar before he turns into the bug. VDO just makes it so interesting...
Another really subtle aspect I like is after he's finshed drinking the sugar water and Edgar's wife points out that his face is hanging off his bones, Edgar does this quick turn towards the mirror and there's this water swishing sound. That just cracks me up every time. I guess that's more about the post-production audio aspect of the scene more than VDO's acting, but I really like the choices he made in those early scenes.
Damn, the guy is versatile.
Last Edit: Apr 22, 2004 2:57:48 GMT -5 by thosehands
yah, I also wanted just a little more of Edgar before bug morph; he did capture powlerless, angry, below average, selfish man very very well. There was no doubt - but as is said, you also had a twinge of sympathy for him when he lets you know with the inflection in ONE WORD that he is also a very sad and human man.
Post by janetcatbird on Apr 22, 2004 23:12:48 GMT -5
Yes, Hands, glad you're here!
I vaguely recognized D'Onofrio's name when CI first came on: they said "Men in Black" and I remembered the Bug Guy. So one summer day I very casually picked "MIB" at the video rental place, just to refresh my memory. Well, Mom saw it--"That's what's-is-face from Criminal Intent! How do you pronounce his name?" Dad didn't get quite as worked up, but he also thought it amusing.
We both (Mom and I) cracked up at the walk--I read somewhere it's modelled after vaudeville parodies and Frankenstein's creature--but did you notice how even as the Bug Guy he tilted his head to one side and raised his finger? Has any character of his NOT done that? Anyways, this was first season of CI so whenever we saw an episode we would burst out laughing, and do the finger/head-tilt. Yes, my family is so sophisticated...like I said elsewhere, I really haven't seen Mr. D'Onofrio in very much.
"If it's dangerous to talk to yourself it's probably even dicier to listen." --Jim Hightower
Thanks for the nice welcome, Metella and janetcatbird!
VDO, I think, is masterful at evoking sympathy and dislike at the same time when he wants to. Another character that kind of does this is his role in Feeling Minnesota—I actually found him likeable in that role. Oh sure, he shoots his wife, which you'd think is a dealbreaker in thinking whether someone's a good guy or not, but in the other parts of the movie he had kind of a clumsy sweetness that I really liked. I'm just kind of warped that way.
But what gets me is how hilarious VDO was in that role. The scene where he tries to remember the combination to the safe makes me laugh every time. I was forced to buy the DVD after watching it.
As for Edgar's walk in MIB, VDO mentioned in a Craig Kilborn interview that he put braces on his legs. He was egged on by Kilborn's audience to do it again, and he tried, but he didn't quite get it. He said he never wanted to do that walk again.
Come to think of it, he's great with coming up with walks. He also talked about coming up with the walk for Bob Howard in The Whole Wide World.
The day before yesterday I watched this movie together with a friend. I remember having watched it a couple of years ago, with my family, and I just couldn't remember the Edgar before he morphed into the bug. Well, my heart jumped with glee when I saw that redneck house with the truck and the cow in front of it, to make it complete. And a familiar voice shouting with rage. I felt, that I was home again. The house looked suprisingly like ours, only that we had more crap and junk in the yard. Animal skins spread apart on metal frames, old furniture, paint cans, ammo boxes, buckets with chicken food, chopped and yet to be chopped wood... that was my world. And an angry backwoods father, of course. Actually my father would throw insults even bigger at my mother and the other women in the household (the backwoods are a men's world, remember?). There were days when I whished he would get abducted by aliens, for sure. But it wasn't everything. He was our father, after all, and he could be quite cheerful, occasionally, and eventually even admitted, in a Homer Simpson like fashion, that if he could understand his daughter, whom other people claim to be highly gifted, he would act differently. I visit my family a little more often than twice a year. Always on Christmas, never on Easter, that's my iron rule. And when I get into our vehicle, I sometimes catch myself deeply inhaling the smell of corn, wheat, feathers... inhabiting it. I feel cosy among that crap in the "garden", because it's my home. I feel it's funny, if nobody in our family knows how many animals we have. Old story. Son1: "Daddy...in school they won't cease to ask me how many chickens you have." Dad (growls): "That's nobody's business." Rosemary: "Our animal desease insurance says you've got 15. But I think we have about 200 birds including ducks..." Dad: "I won't repeat it: NOBODOY'S BUSINESS!" Son1: "But you should know how many sheep you have. There bigger and easier to count." Dad (makes slapping gesture): "Also want to know how many cats we have?" Rosemary: "Four I think. Mitzi had two kittens on the last of August." Dad: "Or maybe forty? With our population of mice and rats we should have that many. Espescially if every week one gets run over." As much as my father *tries* to be nice, he transforms into a bug if he's drunk. But that's another story. He's my father and I love him, as much as our home. Everytime I want to get a broom to clean up our mess (a bit, if possible) I grab a rifle, because they stand in the utility room, in the left corner, together with the brooms. And the ammo is either on the washing machine or somewhere near the big window in the living room (wonder why?). I'm glad that there never were shooting-related accidents in our family. But thank God my brothers were all responsible.
Post by comedykicks on Jan 7, 2006 14:03:03 GMT -5
I spent part of my summers growing up with relatives among the working class and working poor in rural southern Virginia. I recognized Edgar – knew him all too well. His response, when he looks out to see what the noise was – his flattened affect, his summation – “Figures” – made him seem so real that I felt a bit guilty over my vindictive glee when the spaceship hit his truck, and over the fact that I laughed out loud in the theater at the bug’s priceless, perfect punch-line: “Your proposal is acceptable.”[\quote] -----------------------------------------------------------------------
My sister and I went around that whole summer quoting that dialouge between Edgar and the bug. It works for all kinds of situations! ;D That was my first VDO film too and I was distracted by all the slime in the movie. Grossed me out! I was still impressed though.