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Entries in Summer of Sam (1)

Tuesday
Jul 22 2014

Happy 50th to the Inimitable John Leguizamo

Happy 50th to the enduring character actor and one man show trouperJohn Leguizamo.He has his first (film) hit in years this summer as part of the ensemble ofChefand he's arguably even its secret weapon;his cheerful sideline energy helps cut the sometimes sour taste of the movie's vaguely offputting self pitying / self aggrandizing central character business featuring Jon Favreau.

But Leguizamo has been doing that for years,significantly boosting or even altering the energy of pictures he was fourth or fifth or,you know,twelfth billed in.It's true that his brand of sideline showmanship often teeters towards hardly altruistic hamminess;he's an unrepetant scene stealer.But it was a treat to see him again,I raedily admit,and so shortly after I happened to watch his most recent one man show "Ghetto Klown"on cable or streaming or something (I forget) wherein he talks about this impending 50th birthday,the disintegration of his film career and trying to get things back on track.

That story has a happy ending given that it's hard to miss his earnest but unforced exuberance inChefand wish him well on future gigs.Especially if you have any fond recollection of past gems like...

From top left:Summer of Sam,the most all-around underappreciated of Spike Lee's quality joints,gave him a rare leading role as Vinny the hairdresser;he was wonderfully too much and Golden Globe nominated as Chi-Chi inTo Wong Foo,Thanks For Everything!Julie Newmarlike an excited drag puppy that couldn't stop peeing;and of course there's his unrequited romantic highly-fictionized version of Toulouse Lautrec in the classicMoulin Rouge!.These are his greatest film roles and it's just perfect that two of them have exclamation points in the title since he's that kind of actor.

I only speak the truth ♫ I only speak the truth "

What's your fondest memory of Leguizamo's career?