After watching Little Miss Sunshine last weekend, I was reminded of how much I enjoy watching Alan Arkin in movies. He gets many of the best lines in Little Miss Sunshine, but that's nothing new. Arkin's first big film role was in the 1966 Cold War comedy, The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming! for which he received an Oscar nomination. Since then, Arkin has appeared in a variety of films, from thrillers (Wait Until Dark) to dramas (The Heart is a Lonely Hunter), but mostly comedies. He had a regular role on Sesame Street for a couple of years, he played the title role in the obscure Inspector Clouseau, he voiced a part in the animated The Last Unicorn. He had the title role in one of my little brother's favorite films, The Return of Captain Invincible.
The above image is from the 1970 film Catch-22, in which Arkin played that carzy bombadier Yossarian. I liked Arkin in the role even though I didn't like the movie much (I'm much fonder of MASH). More recently, you might have seen Arkin in Slums of Beverly Hills ("C'mon, kids, we're going to Sizzler!") -- he's also had smaller roles in Grosse Pointe Blank and Edward Scissorhands. I've been dying to see him in Richard Rush's wacky 1974 buddy-cop film Freebie and the Bean with James Caan, which isn't on DVD. I especially like watching Arkin when he's just that little bit crazy. Or a lot crazy.