This week’s library book is Bruce Dern’s memoir Things I’ve Said, But ProbablyÂ Shouldn’t Have.Â I’ve been a fan of Bruce Dern’s for ages, even though the years when it looked like casting directors were looking at scripts and saying “Whoo boy, this guy’s nuts–see if Bruce Dern is available.”
He made a pretty good career out of playing wackos and nut jobs, but two of my favorite films are “Support Your Local Sheriff” and “Middle Age Crazy” where he actually gets to be funny.Â And he’s just as good at comedy as he is at being nuts.
The book is a stream-of-consciousness kind of thing.Â He uses a lot of personal terminology that I sometimes find hard to figure out.Â He’s obviously intensely devoted to his craft.Â He’s known a lot of equally interesting people in his lifetime and sometimes I found myself wishing he’d talk a bit more about them. But it was the story of his life, after all.
One of the chapters I was most interested in was devoted to the movie “Tattoo.”Â Now, that movie has a lot of strikes against it.Â The plot is pretty sick.Â The tattoo sequences wouldn’t pass muster with anyone who’d ever set foot inside a tattoo parlor and watched for more than, oh, 30 seconds.Â The ending is absolutely, positively, anatomically impossible (don’t take my word for it, rent it and see for yourself).Â Dern’s character is even more psycho than most, and Maud Adams is gorgeous but she’s not much of an actress.
But ohhhh…Â the sequence near the end where you have two fully inked people making love…Â my god.Â I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything more erotic than that.Â I sat through the whole sick rest of it multiple times (in the days before personal movie players) just to see that scene.Â And that was many, many years before I got my own first tattoo.
Dern is candid about what did and didn’t happen when they were filming that scene (including the fact that he and Maud Adams had to walk around naked on the set for days on end because putting on robes would smear the painted-on tattoos).Â Â After reading what he had to say about it…Â I think I’ll put it on my Netflix queue and just fast forward to the end.