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November 18, 2009


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Am I the only person who thinks that Anthony Edwards is one of the best things about ZODIAC?

Tim Grierson

Bill, you are not. But then again, I think just about everyone in that movie is terrific.

Fabian W.

No, you're not. That little moment when Graysmith asks Toschi over the phone how to get in touch with Armstrong, and Toschi replies 'You don't.' always gets to me. God, I love that movie.


I love watching him ON THE PHONE in that movie. It's nuts how absorbing I find him. I'm tempted to say he's the most authentic movie cop I've ever seen.

Fabian W.

Yeah, wasn't that what Ellroy said, too? I have to say, I'm more of a Toschi guy myself, but really, everyone is great. Everything. Oh, what greatness.

Sam Adams

Sometimes, I refer to my daughter's tummy as her "Melvin Belly."


I know Ellroy was very keen on him, though I don't remember the specifics. But yes, everyone is outstanding. All these little roles are filled with recognizable faces, and it doesn't seem like a gimmick -- everyone gives really good, unflashy, straight-ahead performances. My favorite, outside of Edwards, is Elias Koteas. The look on his face when Toschi shows him the watch is fantastic.

Fabian W.

And Dermot Mulroney asking "What do you want...a hug?". And him staring at the screen during the DIRTY HARRY preview. And Clea DuVall's amusement at Graysmith's insistence on Rick as the nickname for the ominous stranger at the party. And...
I think you put it best, Bill, when you said: Fincher rocked my little world.

Fabian W.

Oops, that wasn't you, Bill, it was Michael De Luca, over at Glenn's old Premiere blog. My bad.


And don't think I don't love Toschi/Ruffalo as well. My favorite moment of his is when Graysmith tells him something about the proximity of Arthur Leigh Allen...shit, I can't remember the details, but he lays down a really startling bit of evidence, and Ruffalo looks at him with this sort of amazed, excited, but almost sad, expression and says, "Is that true?"

And of course John Carroll Lynch is just...

Fabian W.

I think he demonstrates the proximity of Arthur Leigh Allen's home to Darlene Ferrin's home, using a salt shaker, in a diner. And, save for Brother Mouzone, nobody rocks the bowtie like Toschi.

Glenn Kenny

"Arthur Leigh Allen...lived in his mother's basement on Fresno Street. Door—to door—that is less than fifty yards."

"Is that true?"

If "Premiere" were still around, this would make the "Classic Scene" page, for sure.

Fabian W.

Not being familar with this particular section (at all), I would vote for the scene when Graysmith tries to call Toschi, who's just been suspended, and, in his bathrobe, just hangs up the phone, with Miles playing in the background.


I'm watching this son of a bitch tonight. I don't care what the wife says. Okay, I do, so I hope she's cool it it.

Jordan Kerfeld

I always thought the close proximity of the two items was fascinating. And Zodiac is top shelf Fincher.

Fuzzy Bastarrd

He is indeed terrific. But contra bill, the most authentic movie cop is the police detective in Soderbergh's underrated BUBBLE, who really gets the balance of doing-my-job langour and moral seriousness that characterizes actual police detectives. But admittedly, he *is* an actual police detective, so it's sort of cheating.


Fuzzy, I'd forgotten about him. I would say that IS cheating, but still, he was wonderful. There was something about the way he said "okay" after every one of Martha's answers that made me understand what being questioned as a person of interest in a murder investigation must really be like.


My wife has a problem with violent movies these days (something to do with becoming a mother I think) and I tried to talk her into watching Zodiac saying "it's a smart police procedural, not a slasher flick!" then when she sat down on the couch to watch some of it guess what was the next scene...

I didn't even try to get her to watch Gone Baby Gone. That WOULD freak her out, great though it is.

Glenn Kenny

Well, the second depicted killing is particularly horrific, for as fast as it goes by. I watched the movie with my wife over the weekend and I thought that was going to be the make-or-break scene as far as watching the rest of picture was concerned. It's actually very clever, how it works; it's so awful that it stays with you like a stain throughout the rest of the movie, making you empathize with the obsessiveness of Zodiac's trackers—you hate the killer so much that you understand Graysmith, Toschi, and Avery in a way that they themselves don't even necessarily get.

But still. Man.

Aaron Aradillas

@Glenn: You left out the line of doalgue that makes that scene Great.

"Is that true?"

"I've walked it."

Interestingly, the same scene has the movie's worst line of dialogue.

"Just because you can't prove it doesn't meant it's not true."

"Easy Dirty Harry."

That Dirty Harry remark has always bothered me. It's the one line that feels "written."

STILL. Not being a mouth-breathing Fincher fanboy, I consider Zodiac to be the movie of the decade.

Soderbergh was obviously inspired by Zodiac when he cast Scott Bakula in The Informant!. Like Edwards, Bakula gives The INformant! a calm center that allows the viewer to accpet the nightmare that makes up the rest of the movie.

As for my man Brian Cox as Melvin Belli? Any true Manhunter fan got a special kick out of seeing the good Dr. Hannibal in a movie that rivals Mann's masterpiece in both intensity and insight. You also gotta love the trowaway Star Trek reference. And Downey wuz robbed of a Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

Aaron Aradillas

The daylight attack is like a deconstruction of every empty slasher film ever made. It takes the "fun" out of slasher movies. I think Elvis Mitchell one time pointed out that the scene mirrors the first killing in Friedkin's Cruising, another movie, for all its flaws, takes the taking of a human life very seriously.

Nothing says Movie Nite at the Kennys like Zodiac. Next week the Kennys will be screeing The New York Ripper.

The Siren

@LondonLee - I had the same problem after the birth of my twins and then it got worse after baby no. 3. The youngest is 3 now and I am just at the point where I can bear strong violence again to a small extent, but I still freak out over anything child-related. It's definitely motherhood. You look at the character and start imagining your own kids.

Not that anyone asked but my own favorite police procedural is Quai des Orfevres.


The lakefront murder also perversely invites you to laugh, briefly, at the victims. It invites you to even look down at them slightly, because he's maybe a little smug and goofy. But when the knife comes out, it's sheer horror, and we wonder who the hell were WE to laugh at HIM?

Steven Santos

To add to the appreciation for Anthony Edwards, I always found his final scene to be one of the most emotional moments in the film. And it's so effective because, as the rest of his performance, it's perfectly underplayed.

Owain Wilson

I find the above comment particularly insightful. Thanks!


We could go all day:

"What's that?"

"Similarities in the lower case r's..."

"And that?"

"It is you waiting in the hall if you speak again. I have to concentrate."


"'Sorry' counts as speaking."

Brought to you by the inimitable Philip Baker Hall.

Pete Segall

Jeepers, if we're going to go on about procedurals and authenticity, whose mortgage does James LeGros need to refi to get a little love around here? It's his implacable fustiness that makes the coda so chilling.


Pete, I just watched it again last night, and you're not wrong.

Owain Wilson

I could talk about all the big and little moments of Zodiac which go right through me but I haven't got enough pens. It's an incredible picture and I always find myself attempting to enlighten others of its greatness. Along with United 93, it must be one of the very best films of the last 10 years. For me, anyway.

As for my previous comment, I was referring to a spam message which (presumably) Glenn has since deleted. I thought I'd clear that up, in case the other guy thinks I'm being sarcastic about his comment.


A great movie but one that would've been quite a bit better with someone who could act in the lead role.

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