' ' Cinema Romantico: 5 Favorite Parker Posey Performances

Thursday, April 25, 2013

5 Favorite Parker Posey Performances

If you came of age in the 90’s then that means you came of age with Parker Posey. In the era when Sundance became a “thing”, Posey was bestowed the title “Queen of the Indies.” And yeah, she made a lot of (quality) indies. That title, though, may not have lasted as long as some realize.

In '93 she was part of the ensemble of Linklater’s “Dazed and Confused” but already by '98 she was the female companion of Tom Hanks in “You’ve Got Mail” standing in the way of Meg Ryan. She had grown up. She had moved on. She still appears regularly in smaller films, to be sure, and still routinely wields a wicked bat, but I often encounter movie viewers younger than myself who don’t seem to possess the same reverent awe for her.

A few years ago my friend Brad asked myself and a few of my friends and I for our Top 5 Actors We’re Always Happy To See. Posey was on my list and, if I recollect correctly, was in the Top 2. Thus, in that spirit...

My 5 Favorite Parker Posey Performances

Kitty Kowalski, Superman Returns. There have been better Posey parts and performances but I can still recall the way in which she, as villain Lex Luthor's right-hand woman, seemed to lift – for me, anyway – the air of this most recent cinematic Man of Steel venture every time she appeared. The scene in which she loudly stomps around solely in order for Lex to hear her stomping around is my favorite moment ever in a “Superman” movie (and if your favorite moment in a “Superman” movie involves the “Queen of the Indies”, well, obviously).

Miami, Kicking and Screaming. In Noah Baumbach’s acidic coming-of-age opus Posey is a little Elaine Benes-ish, but different. Her attitude allows her to fit right in with the guys, yet she is also able to stand outside their circle and recognize their shortcomings. There is no better demonstration of this than when the lothario Frederic is lecturing surly Max and Posey assumes a glint that both understands the ridiculousness of Frederic and embraces the hilarity she feels for Max’s epic disdain. It’s like she’s thinking three levels past the whole lot of ‘em.

Jackie O., The House of Yes. If there was ever a part that only one person could have played I dare say it was Posey assuming the role of a spoiled if mentally unbalanced young woman convinced she is Jackie Onassis Kennedy reincarnated. It’s absurd, of course, but Posey never comes across absurd even as her character’s plight devolves deeper and deeper into absurdity. She walks the line.

Meg Swan, Best In Show. In Christopher Guest’s mockumentary revolving around the Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show, Posey is one-half of a severely uptight yuppie couple who treat their beloved Weimaraner like Little Miss Sunshine. She puts the pedal to the metal, willingly playing harried and unlikable. Her freak-out when she is unable to locate her dog’s busy bee remains one of the absolute funniest things I have ever seen in a movie. “This? This is a fish.”

Mary, Party Girl. I would contend this is the ultimate Posey role. As a twenty-something librarian caught up in the bright lights of the big city she becomes the silver screen embodiment of Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"......but with a trickily tragic bent. (90's 4ever.)

---Please. My fellow Posey-ites (I know you're out there!), share your favorites below.


Anonymous said...

"After seeing 'House of Yes' it would not surprise me too much if Parker was someday the first (or only) actor to win a Nobel Prize.
She mixes the difficult things together effortlessly, and she seems to do it for mere laughs. Somewhere, a script is waiting..."

Alex Withrow said...

Ah, I just love Parker Posey, she's so damn unique and brilliant.

Hard to pick a favorite role. Meg Swan comes close, but I'd probably go with her Nora Wilder in Broken English. She really showed something new there.

Nick Prigge said...

pfeifferpfilms: Ha! That comment is absolutely brilliant. Thank you.

Alex: Broken English was one where I had problems with the movie itself but not with Posey. She just seemed older and wearier than ever before. I like that she's going more that way as her career progresses.

Candice Frederick said...

i think i love her most in Scream 3 and Dazed and Confused.

Nick Prigge said...

Scream 3 was another one where even if the movie as a whole didn't do much for me, well, how can you not love Parker Posey masquerading as Courtney Cox?

Dan said...

I'm not a big Parker Posey fan, especially in her recent roles. She always seems to be playing neurotic characters who are so closed off that they're barely living. Broken English is a good example, and her recent turn on Louie was similar too.

That said, I do think she had a lot of promise in the '90s and did some great work. My favorite is definitely in Kicking and Screaming, a movie that I'm surprised to hear so little about from movie fans. She's great for that part, and it's such a fun movie.

Nick Prigge said...

Yes! A fellow Kicking and Screaming fan! You have no idea how happy that makes me! I am a bonafide member of that film's cult. I have friends with whom I can communicate entirely in Kicking and Screaming quotes.

Dan said...

Awesome! Off the top of my head, here are some of the great quotes. I've probably butchered them.

"This guy would already rather be bow hunting."

"I just want to see if they get this stain out."

"Is that a pajama top you're wearing?"

"I thought it was Cougars."

"Chet. Chet. Chet."

The entire cow/mom choice discussion.

And my favorite random throwaway line from a side character:

"Have you noticed that bankrupt is coming up more on Wheel of Fortune lately?"

Just brilliant.

Nick Prigge said...

"Cougars!" I love how Skippy desperately tries to get them to call their group the Cougars and it just won't take. Cracks me up. The whole movie cracks me up.

"Otis, did you read this book?"

Dan said...

Can't believe I forgot about the book club. Love the indignation from Eric Stoltz as Chet. Nice!