Eric Bogosian in “Talk Radio” (1988) dir. Oliver Stone

One of the most ferocious performances I have ever seen on film is Bogosian’s turn as talk radio host Barry Champlain in Oliver Stone’s film “Talk Radio.” Like Andy Griffith’s performance in Elia Kazan’s “A Face in the Crowd” and Ryan Gosling’s performance in Henry Bean’s “The Believer,” these are performances so frighteningly intense that they seem to come from another planet. Tellingly, none of these performances were ever nominated for any major awards.

Unfortunately, all I’m able to post here is the original trailer.  The stunning monologue / freak-out Bogosian does near the end of the film that I originally posted has since been taken down by YouTube.  To be fair to this trailer, this was one of the first uses of George Thoroughgood’s “Bad to the Bone” in a film (after its use in John Carpenter’s “Christine” and a film called “Slayground” from the mid-1980s) before it got overused during the 1990s.

Why Bogosian never became a bigger star is beyond my comprehension. If you ever have the chance to see him live, do yourself a favor and go. I saw him in 2001 in Albany, NY and it was one of the best live performances I’ve ever seen. Also recommended, his performance film “Wake Up and Smell the Coffee.”

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