Well, for one thing, Letterman probably was allowed to improv about half his dialogue, and that, along with knowing he only had to do the one little scene in an otherwise interminably unfunny script, imbued his performance with a weirdly endearing quality.
Besides, who HASN'T wanted to call Chris Elliott a "fancy boy" at some point?
Sometimes I have terrifying dreams in which David Letterman is my father.
This was made back when Dave had just left NBC for CBS and was on top of the broadcasting world. It's a great scene ("She's a dietician" cracks me up every time) but a sad reminder of how Letterman used to be aggressively and outlandishly funny whereas now he's resigned to being the elder statesman of... well, elder statesmen.
Cabin Boy was a GREAT movie. I'm probably one of those apologists you refer to, though. Get a Life rules, too.
i'd like to take this opportunity to promote the only good scene in "less than zero" where robert downey jr. charms a little girl out of her mommy's necklace. magic.
Right you are, @4! "Cabin Boy" is no one-scene-wonder. Talking cupcake. Nuff said.
@4 - I agree. Cabin Boy was great, as was Get a Life. I guess you've gotta be a Chris Elliot fan to appreciate it.
Elliot on Letterman was also brilliant, especially when he did his Brando impersonation:
"[to Paul] How's it going, Ringo?"
"David, don't drink the lemonade. It's not lemonade. Jakunta, you're in big trouble when I get back to the island!"
I haven't clicked over there yet, but I hope to find Vonnegut in the doorway in "Back to School."
@7 - I TOTALLY forgot about Chris Elliott's Brando impression. Thanks for the reminder. Time to hit Youtube.
I hate those damn apologists always disagreeing with my opinions.
I was always a fan of Elliott's "FDR: A One-Man Show" as well.
I LOVED Cabin Boy. A friend and I quote it on a regular basis (I was thinking we were the only ones who saw it).
"These pipes are clean!" Chris Elliot is a comic genius.
Ahem. Allow me to quote Cabin Boy here
Letterman also had some fun with this at the Oscars that year, showing a lot of actors supposedly auditioning with the "Do you want to buy a monkey?" line. Albert Brooks was hysterical, haranguing the camera with "Are you gonna buy the BLEEPING monkey or not?!?"
There were a couple of terrific moments in that movie. And that's all you can hope for in a sketch comedy film. The Letterman bit kicks ass. It's partly that letterman calling him a girl is so stupid, it's partly the insane anachronistic quality and mostly that these guys have great comic chemistry.
Most movies and most great movies have big problems. But movies should be judged like you judge a life by the wonderful moments not by the long boring parts.
it works because LETTERMAN'S NOT ACTING.
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