One of the unexpected joys of this year's edition of Endless Awards Season has been the presence of the very funny, very talented Missi Pyle. She's kind of blink and you'll miss her as "Constance" the 'Lina Lamont' silent star archetype in The Artist. But she's been everywhere at the events. That's oddly appropriate given that she always seems to be blink and you'll miss her in movies but she makes the best of it. Often when I see her in that big ball of joy that is the cast and crew of The Artist (winning makes the joy part a lot easier) I think back to my favorite moment in her filmography to date.
She was the comedy MVP of the oft-delayed and then underseen and weirdly trashed Spring Breakdown (2009) which is much funnier than it gets credit for. Her MVP status says a lot since the three leads Amy Poehler, Parker Posey, and Rachel Dratch have been known to wring laughs from even the weakest material. Somehow Pyle steals the show out from under them.
Pyle plays Charlene a Spring Break junkie well past age appropriateness for the Endless Summer cruising and bingeing. She takes this trio of new girls under her drunken wing.
After a particularly booze-fueled night she stumbles home with her new friend Gayle (Amy Poehler) and goes all weepy pontificating drunk.
Every spring this place she flares up like a cold sore and I'm back for more, you know? The kids and the sex and the booze. And you think it'll go on forever but it's like one of those videos, you know, of a fireplace that you put on your TV.
And, like, no matter how close you get to the screen it's never going to warm you up."
Suddenly then, she's all nonsequitor.
Her moods tilt and slide around like formerly coherent thoughts sloshing around in alcoholic waves.
I just wanted to be a stylist to the stars.
[Suddenly high pitched] 'You think so?'
Oh hello there fine fella! Who is this?
She veers towards... a tree.
"Oh honey, that's a tree," Gayle tries to stop her but Charlene is already making her move.
[To the tree] My name is Charlene. What are you wearing?
[Glancing to the side. Suddenly crying] I love him!
[To Gayle] Don't touch me. Please touch me. Thank you.
Let's just stay here for awhile.
Pyle keeps this comic train hilarious, frisky and sharp even as it jumps right off the tracks careening towards its next blackout: Crying jags, weird bursts of horniness, pickled blood stream, and yet she's weirdly touching.
It's comic magic.
It's hot mess tragic.
Her name is Charlene. I love her!