Tom Waits For No One
In recognition of Tom Waits newest album Bad As Me, released earlier this month, Pigeonholed Press felt like they had to do something. But what? How can you even begin to build the shrine of your dreams to one of America’s most unique and talented voices? Eventually we realized a shrine wasn’t really necessary, a little weird even, but a list of some of Waits best movie and television moments might be just as good! Or even better. Over the years Waits has released an unprecedented amount of amazing music, so in honor of that music here’s some video, where a great portion of his inspiring contribution has been captured.
1. The 1995 release Smoke is an amazing film as a whole. But it’s most poignant scene comes at the end and is a story within a story, all played to the song Innocent When You Dream from Waits.
2. Over the years Waits has worked closely with director Jim Jarmusch on numerous projects, from working on the musical scores, creating music videos, to taking leading and minor roles. Down By Law is just one of Jarmusch’s many incredible movies and puts Waits front and center. In this scene Waits, John Lurrie, and Roberto Benigni do a little song and dance while imprisoned.
3. To stick with Wait’s work with Jarmusch, we’ve added a moment from Mystery Train, another Jarmusch film, where Waits can be spotted (or rather heard) on the radio as the local dj.
4. Wristcutters is a fantastic film, from the beach littered with used needles and condoms to Will Arnett as a sort of cult leader, this state of purgatory is one we’d return to, especially if that means helping Tom Waits rescue his dog. In this clip, Tom’s character, the sort of leader of a small encampment of magic and wonder, gives a lecture/pep talk to some of those who live in the camp.
5. Waits played a small role in the 1999 cult classic Mystery Men in which he takes the role as a mad scientist who specializes in non-lethal weaponry and lives in an abandoned carnival. This clip is a deleted scene, and needs no further explanation.
6. In the The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Waits plays Lucifer. The director, Terry Gilliam has been quoted as saying that he knew all along he wanted Waits to do the part and that none other could do it justice. We believe him.
7. From the late Robert Altman, a great of the film world, as well as the late Raymond Carver, one of the best writers of the 20th century, Shortcuts is a collaboration of both minds. Altman based this epic film, staring a slew of amazing actors, on numerous short stories from Carver. Waits was given the role of Earl Piggot, limo driver and lover of Lily Tomlin. We often fantasize about living in a trailer park with these two as neighbors. Lots of strange sounds, we’re sure.
8. Fishing with John was an early 90s television series created by and staring John Lurie. Lurie and Waits worked together in the films of Jim Jarmusch (as seen in Down by Law) and so Waits was an obvious guest for Lurie’s show. The show consisted of fishing trips made by Lurie and friends. William Dafoe and Dennis Hopper are a few other names who graced the stage. The show didn’t last long but it did develop quite the cult following.
9. The role of R.M. Renfield in Bram Stockers Dracula and Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 depiction of it, was like many of Tom’s roles over the years, a perfect example that when asked to take part in film, the film’s creators seem to have Waits in mind from the beginning. We think it rare, that so many roles mesh so well with the individual who is asked to play them.
10. There are countless priceless interviews with Tom Waits that have occurred over the years. He’s always exceptional on Letterman and his moments with Conan aren’t bad either. But this little gem is from a while ago and it’s the best we’ve ever seen. Then again, he did just release an album. Hopefully more to come!
Aside from our list, here’s a great little compilation made by a Youtube user, it includes some that we left out and some that we couldn’t find clips to, like Fisherking and Rumblefish and Paradise Alley.
Listen to the new album Bad As Me on grooveshark.