Archives for posts with tag: M. Emmet Walsh

It’s quite the trick to tell a story that is both anti-gun and supportive of stand-your-ground doctrine. I’m almost positive director Brad Bird was going for only one half of that equation in “The Iron Giant” (1999), but I’m going to stand my ground, too. Aside from the deep-thinky pacifist stuff, this stylish piece of children’s animation is the classic story of the (mostly) gentle giant who is (mostly) misunderstood by the townsfolk, government, etc. Except for the kid who befriends him, of course. It all gets magnified through a Cold War paranoia lens and leads to a dramatic climax.

The story itself is head-scratchingly absurd, like a beta version of “Forrest Gump.” Everything in it is funny or stupid or stupid-funny. Steve Martin’s “The Jerk” (1979) is so obliviously innocent, the edgier jokes and witty wordplay catch you with your guard down. “Did I just see that? Did he just say that?” Somehow, the rags-to-riches-to-rags story of a man who seemingly floats from one unrelated set of hijinks to another (gas station attendant, carnival barker, millionaire inventor) is able to get itself together by the climax in a way that many modern comedies cannot, while still delivering continuous gags.