Monday, March 06, 2006

Underrated Stoner: Leonardo Nam

I've always loved a good stoner on the big screen. Few things are more chuckle-worthy than some smoked-out goof acting the fool while strung out on the bong. Done right, the role is a goldmine of comedic possibility.

From Sean Penn in Fast Times at Ridgemont High to Brad Pitt in True Romance to Matthew McConaughey in Dazed and Confused, burned out stoners have provided some of the most humorous moments in cinematic history.

Well, you can add Leonardo Nam to the list as Roy in The Perfect Score, a movie about six teens all plotting together to steal the answers for the SAT, which they each have varying reasons for needing to ace.

Yes, I actually watched it the other night. Don't laugh. Sure, it's a bit of a corny teen flick - sort of Breakfast Club-lite - but Scarlett Johannson is in it, so I was defenseless. I got sucked in and was trapped in her web and couldn't look away. I couldn't quit her.

The movie wasn't all that great. Decent, but not great. OK, it's pretty bad, but it had its attributes.

Most importantly, like I said, Scarlett. Sweet, sweet Scarlett. After much deep thought, and hour upon hour of careful introspection and surfing of this here web, I've come to the conclusion that Scarlett is, unequivocally, without doubt, the hottest woman on the planet at the moment. Her or Noemi Lenoir. Or maybe Melissa Theuriau. OK, I'm still not decided, but Scarlett is beyond beautiful.

Erika Christensen
plays a good girl and, despite being slightly eclipsed when onscreen with sweet, sweet Scarlett, is quite a fine, young thing herself, even if she is a Scientolgist in real life. Whatever. I'm not picky with all that religion stuff, though she might have a problem with all the meds I'm on. We'd have t come up with some sort of arrangement. I'm flexible.

Darius Miles is in it, playing a basketball star (there's a stretch, eh?) who is desperate to score high enough on the test to get into St. John's, which is fairly ironic considering the cat bolted for the NBA straight out of East St. Louis and has, at times, acted painfully petulant. The college route may have done him some good. (Incidentally, Mike Jarvis appears as himself briefly and acts as though he deeply cares about the future of Miles' character. So in other words, even as himself, it was a stretch. Maybe it's just me, but Jarvis always oozed slime.)

But Nam steals the show. Dude had me cracking up the entire flick as the slacker stoner who, behind the haze of smoke and ever-present grin, is actually brilliant.

And he is.

At one point, he says something insanely profound like, "Most people are scared of questions like this. But not me. These questions have answers."

Whoa. That's deep. I mean, it really is.

When asked by Christensen why he smokes pot, he replies, "Something to do."

And isn't that why we all do whatever it is we do? Eat, fuck, fight and everything in between.

Leonardo Nam, step on down. The Hall of Unforgettable Cinematic Stoners humbly opens its doors to you. Job well done, my friend, job well done.


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