Watching a documentary on mass murderer Jim Jones (the cult leader who initiated suicide among 913 of his followers in the tiny South American country of Guyana) reminded me again of the slickest actor ever to take a screen test: Powers Boothe.
Even his name is cool. I first became acquainted with Boothe's work as a child when I watched the TV movie treatment of the Jonestown massacre. P.B. was brilliant in the role, scary good. I'm not sure why the native Texan never became a bigger star: his squint would make Clint Eastwood cower.
Instead, he's been relegated to movies well beneath his talents. Boothe can currently be seen on the HBO series "Deadwood," which I haven't yet watched. Otherwise, his resume is pretty pedestrian, although one role in particular stands out (besides the Jim Jones portrayal).
Even though my people boycotted "Cruising" when it was released in 1980 --- due to its negative depiction of homosexuals (Pacino plays a cop who goes undercover in the gay leather scene to find a serial killer) --- its camp value is off charts. It marked Pacino's initial foray into serious over-acting, and it was one of Boothe's first films.
His role is small, but memorable. He plays the "hanky salesman" who gives Pacino's character an education about the meaning of differently colored bandanas: Yellow for watersports, etc.
Powers Boothe never got the career he deserved, but he has the unwavering respect of the Malcontent. I'll drink his Kool-Aid any day.