Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My Favorite Films of All Time: Barfly

One of my favorite films of all time - Barfly - remains out of print on DVD. What a joke.

It features Mickey Rourke in his career defining performance as writer Charles Bukowski (or Henry Chinaski as he's known here). An incredibly quotable film, Barfly made a huge impact on me when I was 16 or 17. I was reading alot of Bukowski at the time - I had found Women in a used bookstore and it really blew me away. So it was around this time that I discovered Barfly.

Barfly had been a part of that whole Bukowski/Tom Waits thing that my buddy Seth's older brother Tavis had been a part of. A whole lexicon of terminology and phrasing (tipping, etc) that I was unfamiliar with. Barfly quotes became currency - I once had a 6 hour talk with my friend Tim Braun which consisted almost entirely of direct quotations from the film. When I think about Barfly, I get nostalgic - it reminds me of late, late nights in Old Town Saginaw, the place of my birth.

Anyway, this whole post was spurred by the always excellent Sheila Variations. She has written an excellent treatise on Barfly that really says it all. Read it here. And rent Barfly on iTunes, the only place you can do so. A lost classic.

"This is a world where everybody's gotta do something. Somebody laid down this rule that everybody's gotta do something. They gotta be something. A dentist, a glider pilot, a Narc, a janitor, a preacher, all that. Sometimes I just get tired of thinking of all the things I don't want to do, all the things I don't want to be, all the places I don't want to go, like India, get my teeth cleaned, save the whale, I don't understand that." - Henry Chinaski, Barfly