Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Essential Dennis Farina Watchlist


R.I.P.
Dennis Farina
1944 - 2013

Yesterday, July 22, 2013, Denis Farina passed away at the age of 69.  Farina, a famous "that guy!" actor, is a former Chicago police officer, who turned to acting in his 40s after working as a police consultant for director Michael Mann.  Farina was an entertaining character actor, known mostly for his work as tough guy cop and mobster roles.  The Essential Films presents a watchlist of his best films, in his honor:


THIEF
1981 • Michael Mann
Role: Carl

Dennis' first onscreen work was for this Michael Mann film as a mob enforcer.

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MANHUNTER
1986 • Michael Mann
Role: Jack Crawford

Will Graham: I gave it up! Till you showed up with pictures of two dead families, knowing God damn well that I'd imagine families three, four, five and six. Right?
Jack Crawford: You're fucking right I did! And I'd do it again!

Before The Silence of the Lambs, there was Manhunter.  Chronologically it takes place before Lambs (later remade as Red Dragon in 2002) and follows the story of the FBI trying to track down the serial killer the press has named "The Tooth Fairy."  Farina plays Jack Crawford, five years before Scott Glenn steps into the role.

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MIDNIGHT RUN
1988 • Martin Brest
Role: Jimmy Serrano

Is this moron number one? Put moron number two on the phone.

In this classic 80s "buddy/road" movie, Robert DeNiro plays a bounty hunter hired to track down Charles Grodin, an accountant who embezzled $15 Million from a Chicago mob boss: Farina's Jimmy Serrano.

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GET SHORTY
1995 • Barry Sonnenfeld
Role:  Ray "Bones" Barboni

I'm from Miami-fuckin'-Beach and you wanna show me the ocean, huh? And what about sun, does it ever shine around here, or is this smog around all the time?

Farina's Ray "Bones" Barboni is a Miami gangster who flies out to California to track down Hollywood-obsessed Chili Palmer (John Travolta) and get the money he feels is owed to him, one way or another.

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OUT OF SIGHT
1998 • Steven Soderbergh
Role:  Marshall Sisco

Hey Ray, do you ever wear one that says "undercover"?

In another Elmore Leonard adaptation, Farina plays the father of FBI agent, Karen Sisco, who's on the trail of George Clooney's bank robbing Jack Foley.

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SAVING PRIVATE RYAN
1998 • Steven Spielberg
Role:  Lt. Col. Anderson

Lt. Col. Anderson: What about *our* casualties? 
Captain Miller: Well, the figures were, 35 dead, times two wounded. They just didn't wanna give up those 88s. 
Lt. Col. Anderson: It was a tough assignment, that's why you got it. 
Captain Miller: Yes, it was. 
Lt. Col. Anderson: John, I've got another one for ya... 
Captain Miller: Yes, Sir. 
Lt. Col. Anderson: This one's straight from the top...

Farina has a small, but pivotal role, in this Spielberg classic.  Farina plays Capt. John Miller's (Tom Hanks) commanding officer and gives him the orders to go on the "public relations" mission that is the basis of the film.

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SNATCH
2000 • Guy Ritchie
Role: Cousin Avi

Customs official: Anything to declare? 
Cousin Avi: Yeah. Don't go to England. 

Cousin Avi is an American Gangster/Jeweler that flies to London to reclaim his stolen merchandise in this farcical gangster comedy.

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