David Bowie’s Zaniest & Most Underrated Film Role Is The Linguini Incident


David Bowie’s filmography is one crammed most sensible to backside with hits. Whether or not it’s the critically-acclaimed The Guy Who Fell to Earth, a short lived look in David Lynch’s Dual Peaks: Fireplace Stroll With Me, or his efficiency in Labyrinth that will make the movie a cult vintage, the Starman’s movie occupation is one that will closing just about so long as his musical one, culminating in over thirty roles throughout movie and tv that many bear in mind with nice fondness.

However whilst his movie occupation is outlined essentially by means of his sci-fi and myth roles, there are a cast handful of roles the place Bowie did the unthinkable, no less than relating to what he got here to be recognized for. There are a handful of roles the place he dared to problem the established order and be…properly, customary.


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That idea would sound dull should you had been somebody however David Bowie, who skyrocketed to status at the shoulders of Ziggy Stardust, the alien character he got here up with for himself that also persists to at the moment. Standard, for Bowie, was once out of the strange, one thing that different pop stars stricken with whilst he was once growing new faces and reinventing the musical wheel. As Brett Morgen’s new documentary, Moonage Daydream, proves, Bowie by no means stopped reinventing himself, and seldom, if ever, stopped to do the rest one would have thought to be usual for the time.

But it surely’s a kind of few usual issues in his occupation that stands proud essentially the most to me, as some of the items of his lengthy and storied occupation that I really like greater than the rest. Handiest two folks I do know have ever noticed it, and it stays most commonly extraordinary to at the moment: a easy, low finances romantic comedy from 1991 referred to as The Linguini Incident.

The Linguini Incident Is a Hidden Gem in Bowie's Filmography

Whilst the identify is somewhat unlucky, and has nearly not anything to do with the movie’s plot, The Linguini Incident is a hidden gem in Bowie’s filmography, a mild and carefree piece made for $2 million that I believe the most productive roughly cinematic convenience meals. It lies forgotten or overlooked by means of many a Bowie fan, who continuously make a selection to forget about the portion of the singer’s occupation when it was once launched, however is a unprecedented cut-off date the place Bowie wasn’t enjoying any individual unusual, or pushing the bounds of what was once imaginable in track and picture.

Touchdown at a time when Bowie was once making an attempt to “retire” a few of his older paintings at the Sound + Imaginative and prescient Excursion, the movie fell underneath the radar for quite a few causes, no longer least of which was once Bowie’s simmering standing as a public determine, each as a movie famous person and a musician. Now not but an elder statesman of rock, Bowie had fallen out of style with the general public after his 1987 album By no means Let Me Down, and was once simmering in what many (aside from cussed Gen Z children like me) believe some of the decrease sessions of his occupation. Whilst he had gave the impression in The Remaining Temptation of Christ in 1988 — an excessively, very complicated factor for a Catholic-raised, Labyrinth-obsessed 8 yr outdated, let me inform you — he wasn’t on most sensible of the arena the best way he were with Let’s Dance in 1983, and had settled again into running as a part of a band, hanging out two albums together with his crew Tin Gadget.

However while you’re born in 1998, properly after the peak of Bowie’s status, and grew up most effective ever observing his performances on YouTube or VHS, report gross sales or field place of business numbers don’t subject to you. You dig up the rest and the whole thing you'll to find to feed your obsession, and The Linguini Incident stays some of the standouts of Bowie’s occupation for me, no longer as it’s in particular just right, however as it’s amusing.

What Is The Linguini Incident About?

Directed by means of Richard Shepard, who co-wrote the script with Tamar Brott, the movie follows Lucy (Rosanna Arquette), an aspiring break out artist (sure, you learn that proper) who moonlights as a waitress at a cafe referred to as Dali, and is totally determined to flee the confines of her activity with its ridiculous uniform and much more ridiculous bosses, performed by means of personality actors Dollar Henry and Andre Gregory. Input Bowie as a slimy, but by hook or by crook endearing con artist named Monte who claims to be quite a few issues (together with Dali’s new bartender), prior to the target audience realizes that in point of fact, he’s only a gambler with a hefty quantity of debt to his identify.

In conventional rom-com model, two individuals who look like they must don't have anything to do with each and every different are thrown in combination, with Monte making an attempt to woo Lucy instantly out of the gate. However, as a substitute of embarking on some adventure of emotional discovery, the 2 of them come to a decision that the most productive plan of action is to rob their place of job, with an help from Lucy’s perfect pal Viv.

Sure, you’re nonetheless studying that proper. The catalyst of Bowie’s least common movie is a slapstick eating place heist. And it's impressive.

In The Linguini Incidient, Bowie Showcases His Goofy Facet

Bowie performed “attractive” roles quite a lot of his occasions over the process his occupation — The Starvation, Absolute Freshmen, even Labyrinth, should you had been of the awkward age the place he become your first famous person overwhelm — however at no different level did he ever lean into the goofiness that includes being a rom-com lead. Any gourmand of the style is aware of that, to be a just right lead a l. a. Hugh Grant or Richard Gere, it's a must to be only a tiny bit ordinary, no longer moderately respectable at speaking to girls and no longer moderately completely sexy or well-kept.

And whilst Monte spends a significant portion of the movie wooing ladies left and proper, he’s nonetheless the one that awkwardly monologues to an audition panel, and jumps out of his pores and skin when he thinks Lucy’s rabbit is consuming her head. (It was once no longer.) He’s were given Bowie’s signature crooked smile, and at one level, he means that the technique to Lucy and Viv’s issues is to do the “smart factor and all sleep in combination.” He’s the antithesis of even the level character Bowie was once acting with on the time, which concerned acting shirtless on The Arsenio Corridor Display and making a song songs with a lot heavier content material than he’d been recognized for.

All this to mention: Bowie made up our minds he sought after to be a rom-com lead, and he went in the market and nailed it on his first rattling check out.

There’s a zaniness found in The Linguini Incident that hardly seems in any of Bowie’s paintings previous to its premiere. That thread would pop up later, when he cameoed in Zoolander and did voices for youngsters’s motion pictures close to the top of his existence, however the whole thing as much as that time had no less than some stage of seriousness to it, a heft that nobody can declare is provide on this movie. It lands squarely in step with the airiness that ‘90s rom-coms would come to be recognized for, predating motion pictures like Clueless and My Best possible Good friend’s Marriage ceremony by means of a few years. One may just say Bowie predicted the craze, regardless that in point of fact, I feel it comes all the way down to his willingness to push himself, to check out new issues and to check himself simply because he may just.

The Linguini Incident Presentations Off Bowie's Appeal

A part of what makes Bowie so adorable as a performer is the attraction that’s provide it doesn't matter what he does, an characteristic that’s in full-swing from the instant he seems on display in The Linguini Incident. There is not any peculiar make-up to difficult to understand his smile, or unusual discussion to place you off from pondering he’s the rest however a really perfect fit for Lucy from minute one. (K, possibly one of the vital discussion is somewhat bizarre, however what do you are expecting, strolling right into a David Bowie movie? Bizarre is his logo.) Not like Jareth, or John Blaylock, and even Screamin’ Lord Byron, Monte is not anything however natural, unadulterated Bowie magnetism, enhanced by means of the similar house oddity that made all the ones different characters so memorable and amusing.

Shepherd described Bowie’s presence on set as a “beam of sunshine,” and that power displays in his efficiency. There’s nearly a giddiness to it, Bowie’s pleasure at attending to be one thing instead of a pop famous person or a person from some other global bleeding into his efficiency. You'll really feel his pleasure at attempting one thing new, and he’s all in from the instant he seems. Monte is sport for absolutely anything, even agreeing to marry Lucy and lend a hand her with an audition for an all-lesbian vaudeville act (sure, I do know), and also you get the sense that Bowie’s having the time of his existence on digital camera, which in flip complements the performances of his co-stars.

Monte Stays a Illustration of Bowie's Oddball Nature

Whilst Bowie stepped clear of the strangeness of his previous personas within the ‘90s (and would till he experimented on Blackstar simply prior to his passing), the oddball nature he’d come to be recognized for stays in Monte. It’s that skill at pushing previous the normal intercourse image nature of rock track that lends itself to being a just right rom-com lead, to creating cheeseball traces sound completely herbal popping out of his mouth, all the time wearing a grin. It complements his banter with Arquette, who stands toe-to-toe with him in some way most effective Jennifer Connelly ever in point of fact controlled prior to, and makes him adorable even though he’s seeking to marry Lucy for a inexperienced card. Being a wholly customary man is out of the field for a person with a occupation like Bowie’s, and that’s precisely what makes his efficiency so rattling nice.

There are particular moments of the movie that organize to outshine Monte’s aura — particularly Eszter Balint in her “self-defense bra,” of which I need no less than 4 — however for essentially the most section, even if The Linguini Incident is hinging on not anything however a trope and a prayer, it’s simple to lose your self within the grin Bowie’s were given plastered throughout his face. His enjoyment seeps in the course of the display and carries the movie, hopping from one off-the-wall second to some other like Sarah at the stones via Labyrinth’s Lavatory of Everlasting Stench. Even if the section wasn’t written for him — Shepard nearly insisted on giving him a supporting position — each second feels adapted to his logo of showmanship, a testomony to his talent to be successful by means of embracing the issues that challenged his talents.

And when the movie involves an in depth, and the romantic a part of the romantic comedy reaches a head, that showmanship coalesces into one thing that even leads in a few of cinema’s maximum iconic motion pictures can’t succeed in: making you imagine that Monte in reality cares about Lucy. Bowie is in a position to step as much as the plate simply, no longer losing the goofiness, however somewhat pulling its disparate bits in combination to create the type of guy who you wish to have to root for. Whilst this movie does no longer get what a chum and I unequivocally name “The Go” — which means that the 3rd act is certainly spurred on by means of severe miscommunication — Monte’s evolution from that time on is plausible sufficient that you wish to have him to get the lady up to you wish to have the lady to achieve the outlandish trick she’s been maneuvered into acting. (A trick which I will be able to no longer wreck, as a result of the place’s the joys in that?)

Perhaps it’s rose-colored glasses, or possibly it’s the truth that Bowie in point of fact had fallen in love at this level in his existence (his long term spouse Iman makes a short lived however hilarious cameo within the 3rd act), however my one rule for a a success rom-com is that the leads must percentage plausible chemistry, and boy, does Bowie have chemistry to spare. It spills over the perimeters of Dali’s large fish tank that he finally ends up diving into, and when he appears at Lucy, soaking wet on a staircase, and says, “I’m going to kiss you goodnight, and I don’t need you to panic,” you'll really feel the electrical energy coming via your tv such as you jammed your hand in a wall socket.

So sure, whilst Labyrinth and The Starvation would possibly proceed to most sensible the lists of Bowie’s perfect performances, I will be able to shove this movie at somebody who even such a lot as implies they wish to know extra about his occupation. It’s no longer best, and it’s on no account polished — the one manner you'll reliably to find it's by means of streaming DVD rips on YouTube — nevertheless it’s as just right a illustration of Bowie as an artist as another, and even perhaps greater than maximum. It’s earnest, and it’s amusing, and it does precisely what Bowie strived to do over the process his occupation: glide him simply out of his intensity, and provides him the danger to do one thing thrilling.