Tuesday, May 5, 2009

what rocks? (the brothers malina)

the amazing malina brothers!*^
(josh & alfred malina; more than just "actors")
(*not officially related)
(^also, alfred is actually a mOlina…but close enough).

why they rock: though neither is technically american (alfred is european, josh is intellectual), the brothers malina remain staples in the american film and television landscape, possessing what hollywood insiders, social outsiders and greek historians commonly refer to as "the midas touch." every project they touch turns to metaphorical gold. between them their portfolio boasts some of the best endeavors of the past couple decades. ever heard of indiana jones? what about a few good men? boogie nights, the da vinci code, spiderman 2, the larry sanders show, ladies man, sports night or the west wing ring a bell? a stellar roster indeed, but arguably more important is their lack of bombs, stinkers and duds. you’d be hardpressed to find either roaming through the backdrop of a bad project, a true rarity in this blockbuster age. the point is, if you’re watching a movie or tv show and one of the malina brothers prances across the screen, you’re probably going to have a pleasant viewing experience. and that counts for a lot. 

why else do they rock: because acting is a real ballbreaking business, especially when you constantly elicit the following response to some degree "wait, how do i know that guy? didn't we go to high school together? yeah, we did, i think, and didn't he date my sister. man, i was so mad at the time. why was i so protective of her? I mean, she was and still is a cute girl." not exactly the impression you hope to make as an actor or human being. and upon rereading that tangential quote i notice that it seems relatively condescending; to compare a lifetime of one’s achievement to a face from a high school year book. it isn’t intended as condescending, though. on the contary, actually. there is something immensely lighthearted about remembering acquaintances from yesteryear; they infuse us with comfort, nostalgia, and a sly private smile. and, in a strange way, that’s what the brothers malina do for us. we remember them, from somewhere, some time, someplace unknown. they make us appreciate that rare feeling of having a vague idea on the tip of our tongues. they are memorable, but not too memorable. 

seriously what's the deal with their rocking: the brothers malina live and act in obscurity. even their biggest fans are guilty of referring to them as “doctor octopus” or “that smart guy from sports night” (or, “that smart guy from west wing, no, that’s rob lowe, no that’s bradley whitford, no, the one that has glasses, no, toby didn’t have glasses…). obscurity isn’t typically a desired quality and I’m sure to some degree both wish the dice had rolled differently, that they had men with enormous pecks, blue steel expressions and leading man status. but I submit that if they did have these things, we would hate them. because that’s exactly what we like about them, everything that they are not while still being more than just anti-heroes. what makes the brothers malina so irresistible is their seeming level of attainability. every time they steal a scene or paralyze us with a magnificent monologue, we feel like we are the only ones noticing this greatness. we feel special, too, to notice their specialness and that makes them attainable to us. we get them, or at least we think we do. sure, we all acknowledge that clooney and pitt live in a different universe than us, but the brothers malina seem to inhabit our same confines of reality. we can’t help but feel as though our paths may cross. they probably won’t, but they might. and might counts for a lot these days. it’s very much like the recent shift in the porn industry; more and more people now prefer to watch a “regular” girl strip in front of a shaky handheld camera, than watch jenna jameson diddle the delivery boy and other such malarkey. the brothers maline are not Debbie Does Dallas; they are this girl whose name we think is Debbie from a place that looks like dallas and who, if we met on the street, we might just have a chance. 

are you an arrested development fan? Firefly? Freaks & Geeks? 
well clearly you enjoy the bandwagon of cancelled television shows. so if you haven’t seen “sports night,” check it out immediately. and, as a bonus, if you tell people you love it (regardless of veracity) you shall receive the same street cred as persons who say "bottle rocket is my favorite wes anderson movie."  
if you want the street cred without all the hard work, here’s a quick clip of josh in action: 

an incomplete list of american actors who the brothers malina should be more famous than:
-charlie sheen
-jonah hill
-keanu reeves
-george from grey’s anatomy
-anyone from the cast of heroes
-james van der beek
-jonah hill (intentionally included twice)
-llih hanoj (read backwards)

an incomplete list of italian actors who the brothers malina should be more famous than:
-robert benigni

an incomplete list of martian actors who the brothers malina should be more famous than:
-marvin the martian



  1. That is my favorite Malina moment and my favorite Sports Night moment.

  2. And yes I could pick a much more intellectual and meaningful scene for both of those, but there's something about this one and I love that it's what you picked to put up.