IFC

Who Does Ron Livingston Predict Is 'Ready To Snap' On Dinner For Five?

Rod Steiger uses his last TV appearance to drag Marlon Brando. Here for it.

The show's still getting the hang of good fivesome chemistry here in S01.E04, which is Rod Steiger's last TV appearance before his death three months later. The mixture of comedians, Jon Favreau's longtime colleagues, actors in their thirties, and Hollywood titans like Steiger doesn't always work, and it doesn't quite here; the rest of the table is very respectful of Steiger, and he's more interested in what they have to say than old dudes sometimes are (versus hearing themselves talk), and Lord knows I'll never turn down some shit-talking of Marlon Brando. But it's a little labored.

Some good dish, though, not counting Ron Livingston's tipsy prediction that Tom Hanks is about to lose it and go full heel turn.

How Dinner-ish is the episode? To the table!

Dinner For Five-esque Element Present?
The guests Livingston, Kevin Pollak, Sarah Silverman, Steiger
Rocky Marciano reference? In the service of reminding us all that Pollak starred in an Abbie Hoffman bio with Vincent D'Onofrio as Hoffman. Yee-iiiiiikes.
Mrs. Parker reference? Nope.
Swingers/Made reference? An extended reminiscence with Livingston, who I'd forgotten was in it, about doing staged readings of the script to raise money, and Favreau's note that, by the time they actually shot the thing, they knew their parts cold and felt very comfortable -- which was interesting, because it reminded me of that old saw about TV sophomore slumps, and the way that a writer/creator has spent years honing and shaping the first season of her show, but then only has a few months to prep a second season.
Booking bust Like I said, Steiger doesn't blend, but 1) his snarky memory of Brando blowing off helping Steiger with his part of a close-up, letting the script girl read his lines for him -- and then Steiger won the Oscar; and 2) his pointedly stirring his iced tea to step on Pollak's punchline mean he's a net positive.

Also, dig the rig:

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That's a lot of hardware. I like it.

I like Pollak too, but he's a little much here. In his defense, however, his Walken impression is perfectly identifiable to anyone who would watch D45 on purpose; this caption is condescending.

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Were we ever so young? Cigars again.
Industry dish Steiger dragging Brando for being a bad scene partner; Pollak complaining that JAG is lifted from A Few Good Men and that his cast analog is "such a frump"; The Usual Suspects getting turned down 28 times; and Pollak's note that Scorsese wants to control every inch of the frame -- design, lighting, etc. -- but whatever the actors want to do within that frame, he's open to it.
Lissen lissen lissen [hic] It's not that Livingston's assertion that Hanks is going to turn to his dark side is insane; this episode filmed on the eve of the release of Road To Perdition, which actually isn't THAT dark but for Hanks at the time was a departure. It's that he does a terrible job of articulating it, and also this is happening:

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And whoever lumped a former vice president in with off-limits game birds in the captions was also overserved.

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5 / 7
Final Score
71%
Dinner For Five
29%
Walken Tall
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