Nobody knows your name

Steve Buscemi, Dermot Mulroney, Catherine Keener and James LeGros all starred in Tom DiCillo’s Living in Oblivion.

Buscemi, who also appears in Double Whammy, joined DiCillo May 22 at the Golden Age of Cinema Film festival to answer questions and discuss his work. An article on what he had to say will appear next week.

Mulroney is somewhat well known (when he’s not being confused with Dylan McDermott) because of roles in such movies as My Best Friend’s Wedding, which also starred Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz.

On the other hand, most people have never heard of Keener and LeGros, despite their impressive resumés. Keener starred in Being John Malkovich with John Cusack, for which she received an Oscar nomination. She has the soon-to-be released Lovely and Amazing, a follow-up to the cult hit, Walking and Talking, as well as Steven Soderbergh’s Full Frontal. Keener stands out in everything she’s in and is one of the best actresses in movies today.

LeGros, who is terrific as Living in Oblivion’s dim-witted pretty boy, Chad Palomino, starred in 1994’s Floundering, which film critic Leonard Maltin called “the most radical movie of the 1990s.”

LeGros plays an unemployed man beaten down by the insanity of the system in post-Rodney King Los Angeles. Haunted by insomnia, he tries to make sense of the alienation he sees out his window. He is tormented by the injustice heaped on the homeless and jobless. He winds up hanging out with the guys who assemble under his window every night to drink, take drugs and talk about what life will be like after “the revolution.” They make more sense than most people he runs into.

Floundering isn’t a great movie but it explores real issues and any film that ends with the entire cast (and then some) singing a song called “What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding?” is worth a look. Check out cameos by Buscemi, Cusack, Ethan Hawke and Billy Bob Thornton.

Although he is considered Mr. Indie by what Premier magazine calls his “adoring yet admittedly minuscule public,” LeGros realized he couldn’t raise a family on what he was earning in independent films. “It got to the point where I knew I had to pursue other avenues,” he told the magazine, explaining why he took a regular role on “Ally McBeal” and appeared in other TV shows like “ER” and a recent episode of “Friends.”

He went back to indie movies in 2001 with three back-to-back: Lovely and Amazing with Keener, Scotland PA, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth set in 1970s USA, and World Traveler with Billy Crudup and Julianne Moore.

Of his stints in TV-land, he said, “People always use that phrase: ‘It was a labor of love.’ ... And I believe them, but there’s usually very little evidence of it. But these films are made with such intense love that it really does come out in every frame.”

– Carolyn Rummel