I don’t know what has so enamored me of him lately, but I’ve had David Patrick Kelly on the brain. He’s kind of an unassuming guy, and hasn’t had a very prolific career, but his performances always bear the mark of sincerity and intensity, the two traits I value most in an actor. He has studied mime under Marcel Marceau and worked with such illustrious directors as Clint Eastwood and Spike Lee, and while I won’t completely rule out the possibility of future Oscar glory for this man with 3 first names, I think this list will illustrate that his best work lies behind him.
“Yeah, I’ve been BUSY!”
I only watched 48 Hours yesterday, strictly for the purpose of completing this list, and the verdict is that it totally sucked. I’ve never seen such an inflated roster of C-list performers in one place before, let alone in some asinine 80s flick with little more to offer than racial epithets. That being said though, Kelly is perfectly placed as a scumbag loser who let’s his old confederates take off with his old lady.
“Blue bird! Blue bird! Blue bird!”
What struck me the most about this role was how old Kelly had gotten since The Crow. I’m sure the folks in makeup contributed to this a little, but I bought into his uncharacteristically understated performance anyway.
“Abashed, the Devil stood and felt how awful goodness is.”
I consider this to be my first David Patrick Kelly experience, and I went several years without seeing him in anything again. It never made sense to me. He was such a badass, had great stage presence, and could totally whistle so well. His mix of gangsterness, sudden outbursts of “fire it up!”, and quoting odd religious poetry while overseeing the rape and murder of a young woman managed to weave a whole new character that could have easily been rehash of something he’d already done before.
Matrix: Remember, Sully, when I promised to kill you last?
Sully: That’s right Matrix, you did!
Matrix: I lied. (Drops Sully)
He’s little more than a prop that let’s John Matrix deliver a one-liner, but what a line! For the death of a mere henchman, it doesn’t get much juicier than feeding straight lines to Schwarzenegger. Kelly dialed down the intensity and cranked up the sleaze for this one and left an impression with many fans of the film.
“Warriors! Come out to play!”
Kelly’s debut and most iconic performance of his career. As the leader of the Rogues, he’s the catalyst that sends the Warriors on their New York odyssey back to Coney. The coolest thing about this performance is that the line that the film is best known for (even if people don’t know the film) was totally improvised by Kelly himself when Walter Hill asked him to come up with something cool in lieu of what was scripted.
Honourable mention: After scouring every corner of the internet for photos, I came across a movie called Dreamscape that appears to feature DPK prominently. I’ll dig around and see if I can find it, and possibly switch out Luther from 48 Hours if it’s warranted.