“If someone puts up $100 million on a movie, they’re gonna be concerned about whether they’ll get it back. So they’re not gonna make a movie about three girls, you know?” – Lili Taylor

It’s her birthday today.

Like most of my generation, Lili Taylor first made an impression on me in Mystic Pizza. She’s basically the third lead, and she’s great throughout, but her monologue at the end – if you’ve seen the movie, you will know what I’m talking about – is when I was like, “Oh my God she is GREAT.” She basically steals the whole film. Fan for life from that day forward. A Gen-X avatar, although I would never have put it that way at the time.

“Joe lies … when he cries …” is a classic of American cinema.

Her “turn” on Six Feet Under HAUNTS me. It’s so messed up, so upsetting, so perfectly done. The character shows up and Nate thinks he can be another kind of person – a good person, a responsible person – if he marries her. Naturally, this does not go well. But then … things go even further south.

The “fate of Lisa” haunts the rest of the series, and that is due, in large part, to Lili Taylor’s performance, her misery, her heartbreak, her love – love that Nate doesn’t feel and doesn’t want. It’s so so good.

Here are two pieces I’ve written that deal with Lili Taylor specifically:

For my Film Comment column, I wrote about Arizona Dream, starring Lili Taylor, Johnny Depp, Faye Dunaway, Jerry Lewis and Vincent Gallo. It’s a lost masterpiece.

In 2011, Matt Zoller Seitz and I discussed Nancy Savoca’s Dogfight, a film we both love. The comments thread to that piece is EPIC, and people continue to find that post and leave comments. They discover the movie and NEED to talk about it.

I read a profile of Lili Taylor recently and the writer called Dogfight “unwatchable.”

There is such a thing as a wrong opinion.

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4 Responses to “If someone puts up $100 million on a movie, they’re gonna be concerned about whether they’ll get it back. So they’re not gonna make a movie about three girls, you know?” – Lili Taylor

  1. Bill Wolfe says:

    I *love* Dogfight! It made me a Lili Taylor fan for keeps. Among many others, I enjoyed her performance in The Notorious Betty Page. (Regarding Nancy Savoca, True Love is another terrific movie by her.)

    • sheila says:

      True Love is such a good film. I am 95% certain it is completely unavailable – lost print? Savoca has talked about it in interviews. Maybe it’s Household Saints that was lost? True Love also has Ron Eldard, whom I just wrote about here!

      Yeah, 90s Lili Taylor was on fire. Plus the Valerie Solanas movie. I loved what she was doing then – she still picks idiosyncratic small projects – plus stage – she’s just great.

  2. Gem says:

    I remember seeing her in an Anne Frank miniseries, as Miep Gies. She was a very solid and soothing presence there.

    And no one disses Dogfight! How about that scene where she mimicks Eddie/River being rude to the waiter? Always makes me laugh.

    • sheila says:

      Oh I love that scene! I’m so thrilled that Criterion is bringing out Dogfight – I’ve been requesting it for like 20 years. Not that it’s all about me, lol – but still. It’s such a good movie.

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