Well I sort of have a theory that film critic Roger Ebert may be a bigger fan of VDO than I am. I took a look around on his site and here’s how he rated various films that VDO appears in:
Chelsea Walls R (2002)
Feeling Minnesota PG-13 (1996)
Happy Accidents R (2001)
Men In Black PG-13 (1997)
The Salton Sea R (2002)
Steal This Movie R (2000)
Stuart Saves His Family PG-13 (1995)
Thumbsucker R (2005)
The Whole Wide World PG (1997)
I notice that Ebert’s scores for the films overall are different than how I would have ranked them — for example, no way would I call either ‘The Cell’ or ‘Strange Days’ 4 star films while I think ‘Full Metal Jacket’, ‘The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys’, ‘Happy Accidents’ and ‘Thumbsucker’ are all criminally underrated.
The VDO individual ‘score’ however Ebert gives VDO is relatively high — in only a few film reviews like ‘JFK’ and ‘Malcolm X’ does VDO get zero mention and probably deservedly so as his appearance in both those is mere silent seconds on the screen. A little more surprising is that Ebert doesn’t pick up on VDO’s performancesas Officer Burton Steckler in ‘Strange Days’ (perhaps because Steckler is a small time villain among many villains in the film?) and as the put-upon screenwriter David Kahane in ‘The Player’ (how could he miss this one — was he not in the theater for those scenes?!?!).
I notice that Ebert makes many comparisons of VDO to Orson Welles. Ebert is a Welles scholar (and fanatic), who is knowledgeable enough to do a DVD commentary for ‘Citizen Kane’. It’s not until you think about this, that you realize that Ebert (like I and a lot of other VDO fans) will put up with a lot from a movie if we know VDO is in the cast, so here we definitely have something in common (I like Orson Welles too, but I will definitely defer to Ebert’s knowledge of Welles, where he should defer to my knowledge of VDO’s career ;-).
Anyhow, the above ought to make for interesting reading. Any reviews that are missing are either films/projects Ebert never saw or film reviews that have not been added to his website yet. Enjoy them!