Dick Miller isn’t just “y’know, THAT guy” from 101 different films. He is, in fact, the quintessential THAT guy. You’ll know him if you’ve seen any Roger Corman or Joe Dante movies. Seen The Terminator? He’s the guy who sells Arnie his weaponry. If you love sci-fi horrors from the 1950s then I won’t need to tell you how good it is to see him appear onscreen. If you haven’t already figured out exactly who he is then head off to check out his filmography immediately. This review will be waiting when you come back.
Featuring chat from the man himself, his wife of many years, his brothers, and many film-makers and actors who have worked with him over the years, That Guy Dick Miller is the best tribute to an acting legend that I can think of. It’s chock full of clips from the many movies that he’s starred in, it juxtaposes many moments nicely, and the whole thing has a wit and humility to it that’s entirely in line with the witty, and humble, main subject.
While it doesn’t go into absolutely every moment of Miller’s life, the documentary does sketch out, as well as it can, a journey through the years, from a childhood that saw his parents divorce, through a stint in the U.S. Navy, to his yearning to be a scriptwriter, and then his introduction to the world of acting.
While it can’t hope to be exhaustive, you will certainly feel as if you’ve gained some insight into this man by the time the end credits roll. Either seeing his loving relationship with his wife or hearing his very unassuming work ethic to acting, there’s a picture painted of someone who doesn’t seek praise, but deserves every ounce of it that he gets.
There’s a bit more time spent on his most beloved starring role, the lead in A Bucket Of Blood, and the last third focuses on his use in films as some kind of good luck charm. That’s fine, especially with so many people clamouring to share their love for his performances, in general, and his behaviour on any film set.
The fact that you get to see one or two bloopers, a selection of wonderful sketches drawn by Miller, and Corey Feldman being given a sharp dismissal while larking around on the set of The ‘burbs just adds to the pleasurable viewing experience. Miller IS one of the acting greats, a fact that’s easily forgotten when he’s so prolific and happy to steal scenes with performances that always sell the character, without ever being too over the top.
Personally, I can’t wait to revisit many of his movies, and to check out a few for the first time. Which makes That Guy Dick Miller a great success.
DIRECTOR: ELIJAH DRENNER
STARS: DICK MILLER, ROGER CORMAN, JOE DANTE, JOHN SAYLES, COREY FELDMAN, ALLAN ARKUSH
RUNTIME: 91 MINS APPROX