Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Max Gillies

I think Max Gillies is an actor. I sort of remember seeing his name in IMDb credits while I was researching other people.

Lord Wiki says I'm right. Gillies is an actor.

He was born in Melbourne on November 16 1941.

Lord Wiki doesn't have much to say about him. There's just a few short paragraphs here. I'll probably be spending most of my time on IMDb.

In the 1970's, Gillies was part of something called the Australian Performing Group. Now that's a clever and creative name. Here's a website with Gillies talking about it. I'm going to read that. Actually, it seems to have biographical stuff as well. I think I'll just say adios to Lord Wiki now, and read this instead....

Gillies went to the University of Melbourne. He planned to do architecture, but there was some scholarship issue, so he couldn't do it. He went for an art teacher training route, but someone advised him not to do it. They said it would get him nowhere. They suggested he take an art course instead. That's what he did.

Interesting. I would think the teaching art path would be a safer bet. That way if art doesn't work out, you can fall back on teaching? Maybe that's more of an American thing? And maybe they're talking about art in a general sense. I was picturing visual or performing art. But maybe he's talking about art as in Bachelor of Art.

Who knows.....

Gillies ended up doing a teaching thing anyway. He went to Monash, and then to Secondary Teacher's College. While in school, he did some theater stuff.

He says in the late 1960's, there was all the revolution stuff happening. Included in this, were students deciding they didn't need school. They dropped out of the university. Gillies took that path as well. No wait. He didn't drop out as a student. By this time, he was already teaching. He dropped out as a teacher. As an unschooler, I love hearing stuff like this.

Gillies busied himself with the APG (Australian Performing Group). They worked at something called The Pram Factory.

I'm having a hard time following the rest of the writing. It's hard to explain. Maybe I'll say it feels like it was written more for people who were part of APG? I have that feeling you get when you're sitting with people and they're all talking about a camp they used to go to. They're not really talking to you, or explaining anything. So you kind of just sit there quietly and wait for the conversation to change....

The ABC website has something about the Pram Factory. I might understand it better. Okay. The group was called the Australian Performing Group (APG). The building they worked in was called the Pram Factory.

The theater movement was seen as being radical. David Williamson was involved with it. I wonder why I didn't see that when I researched him a few days ago. Helen Garner was involved too.

Now I'm going to move over to IMDb. Max Gillies has been in a lot of stuff. His first movie was in 1971. This was when the whole Pram Factory thing was going on. He was in Stork, which I talked about a few days ago. This was based on a play written by David Williamson. It was Williamson's first film as well. Gillies played a character named Uncle Jack. His name is last in the credits, but I'm doubting that means it was a tiny part.

In 1973, Gillies was in a film called Libido. This was one of those movies that are divided up into segments, each written by a different writer, and directed by a different director. Gillies was in the "Family Man" segment which was written by David Williamson. Lord Wiki says it's about a man who's wife is in labor. While she's pushing and screaming, he arranges, with a friend, to take two women to a beach house. Lovely.

Also in 1973, Gillies did a movie called Dalmas. Isn't that stuffed grape leaves?

Oops. No. I'm thinking of dolmas. Ooh, now I'm kind of hungry for that.

I have no idea what Dalmas is about, but an IMDb user gave it an awful review. He says, It's quite good for about the first five minutes, after which the plot is abandoned and we see a lot of the cast and crew in some sort of communal house discussing how things should develop. Apparently they eventually decide to spend the rest of the budget on LSD, and the final scene features the cast on crew lying around on a hillside tripping - "man this acid is really weird". Trust me, there are few things more boring than watching hippies tripping.

That's pretty funny. But I'd agree with him. If that's what the movie is all about, I'd be bored too.Link
In 1974, Gillies was in a TV show called Flash Nick from Jindavick. That's a cute name, at least. An IMDb user says it was a sitcom about bushrangers. It didn't last long.

Also in 1974, Gillies was in that Peter Weir film. The Cars That Age Paris. This is the one about the small town that purposely causes car accidents, and makes money that way. It's a dark-comedy.

Here's a trailer. I'm not sure whether or not Gillies will be in it. Is that him at 1:03?

In 1975, Gillies was in The Firm Man. It was directed by the guy who'd later make The Year My Voice Broke. That's a classic Australian film, isn't it? An IMDb user says the movie has become a victim of obscurity, but that future movies seem to have been inspired by it. Or at least coincidentally, they seem to have the same type of style. The IMDb user says the movie is about an executive who goes to work for a secret firm where he plays with toys all day. Gillies plays a managing director in the movie.

Without seeing the film or knowing exactly what the IMDb User is talking about, I have this sense that I know what kind of style he's referring too. I may be totally wrong though. And I can't really think of movies that have this style. MAYBE Being John Malcovitch to some degree....

Also in 1975, Gillies was in The True Story of Eskimo Nell. I've encountered this film before. Why? I'm looking through the cast credits, and I'm not seeing any names I recognize. Well, that is weird.

It's a western-comedy. Here's the trailer.

Oh! I know why I might have seen it. I think at one point, I had this thing of looking at a list of famous Aussie movies, and watching YouTube clips. I think Eskimo Nell was one of those movies. Yeah. I need to remember that I actually have a life outside this blog. I actually see, encounter, and learn things when I'm NOT researching and writing.

There's more movies for 1975. We have a sport comedy called The Great MacArthy. Barry Humphries was in it too. Here's the trailer.

Oh! I just found a trailer for Stork! I've looked for it before, but couldn't find it. I guess I didn't search for the right keywords. But it's listed as a related video for The Great MacArthy trailer. It reminds me of that fairly recent American movie that was popular here. What's it called again....

Napolean Dynamite. I've never even seen the movie though. I'm basing my assumptions of similarities on posters, trailers, short clips, etc.

Gillies was in Pure S, otherwise known as Pure Shit. It was written and directed by the same guy who did Dalmas. A IMDb user says the movie is about people in Melbourne trying to score drugs. Yeah, I guess that might be interesting to some people. I doubt I'd be one of them. Lord Wiki says the initial response to the film was negative, but now it has become an underground classic.

In 1976, Gillies did another movie with the guy (John Duigan) who directed The Firm Man and The Year My Voice Broke. This was The Trespassers. I can't find much about it, so I'll move on to something else. Oh wait. Here's something. Judy Morris from Mother and Son was in the movie.

In 1979, Gillies did yet another movie with Duigan. I guess they liked working with each other. This movie was Dimboola. I like the name. Oh! It's a place in Victoria. The movie was filmed there. The town is about five hours north-west of Melbourne.

Here's some scenes from the movie. IMDb says it's about a country wedding.

From 1978 to 1981, Gillies did four episodes of a TV show called Tickled Pink. It looks like there were only four episodes in total. Maybe it was a show in which they had an episode once a year?

It looks like Gillies disappeared for a few years....at least from film. I'm assuming that means he did theater, or maybe he suffered from some depression. That seems to be the typical reasons for film people disappearing for awhile.

Then in 1984 he came back with The Gillies Report. Judging by the title, I guess I can assume he was the star. The show featured him doing impersonations of various famous people. These include: Bob Hawke, Gough Whitlam, the queen, the pope, William McMahon, Menzies, Kerry Packer, etc.

In 1986, the show won a Logie award.

I'm going to watch some clips from it. Here's one about Whitlam and the dismissal. It's an opera version of the story. I like the part around 1:22. Gillies plays Whitlam, Kerr, the queen, and Fraser.

The queen part is great. We should not like to interfere. Our role was never very clear.

Here's a clip about a conservative Christian minister. His accent sounds like a Boston accent sometimes. Tim says that the Australian accent has similarities to Boston. I think he's right in this case.

The abortion stuff is pretty funny.

In 1985, Gillies was in The Coca-Cola Kid. I heard of that movie, but never realized it was Australian. I associate it with its star....Eric Roberts. The trivia page says the movie was made without the permission from the Coca-Cola company. But since it was a fairly positive depiction of the company, Coke took no legal action against them.

Lord Wiki says the movie is about a marketing executive from Coke who comes to Australia to see why Coke isn't selling well in some small town. From what Lord Wiki says, the movie doesn't seem to be entirely positive about Coke. Maybe the corporation realized they'd just look bad if they tried to sue.

Here's the trailer. It almost looks like a commercial for Coke. Maybe now I can see why the company was okay with it.

I like Coke, but personally I'm not picky about soda. I'm not one of those people who insist on Coke over Pepsi. I'll drink either one, or another brand. It doesn't matter. I like soda, period.

It looks like a fun movie.

Here's a Coke commercial in the movie. It has a nice song. Lord Wiki has some trivia. He says the guy doing the singing is the brother of Neil Finn from Crowded House.

In 1988, Gillies did a science fiction movie called As Time Goes By.

This website has some information about it. It involves the outback and a time traveling alien. Gillies is the one who played the alien.

In 1991, Gillies appeared in a drama called A Woman's Tale. The movie is about an elderly woman dying of cancer. Lord Wiki says the woman in the film was played by an actress (Sheila Florance) who was actually dying of cancer in real life. The movie earned her an AFI award. She died one week after receiving it. Gillies plays a son-in-law in the movie. I'm not sure if his role is big or not.

Here's a trailer for the movie.

In 1992, Gillies did another show where he played a variety of characters. This was Gillies and Company. It had seven episodes.

In 1996, Gillies once again worked with the guy who directed A Woman's Tale...Paul Cox. This other movie was called Lust and Revenge. It was about the art world. An IMDb user says it also satirizes New Age cults and psychotherapy. Gillies plays an art critic in the movie.

In the next ten years, Gillies did a movie short, and guest starred on a TV show or two. He probably did some theater as well. Maybe. Then in 2006, he did a movie called Wil. The movie all takes place in an elevator, and it's supposed to represent what's going on inside a guy's head.

It sounds like a TV Show that was on several years ago. I forgot the name, but Lisa Simpson was in it. Oh yeah. Herman's Head.

This Melbourne website says that Gillies is currently starring in a Kevin Rudd-related show called Godzone. It's about religion and politics. It's playing at the Melbourne Theatre Company, and will be there until 20 January. From 18 January to 20 February, there's going to be a play starring Geoffrey Rush.

Here's a Talking Heads interview with Gillies. It was done in 2005.

There's some childhood talk here. In his first few years of life, his father was away fighting in the war. I'm sure that's common for people who were born in the early 1940's.

Gillies says when his father returned, the marriage between his parents was strained. They worked on it for three years, and then split up. His mom became a single mother. Like most families in this situation, there were financial restraints.

In his high school days, he spent a lot of time doing political cartoons and participating in debates. He also edited school newspapers and participated in school theater. It sounds like he kept busy.

Oh! He says Dimboola was originally one of the plays he did. Later it was turned into a movie.

He says the Pram Factory is now a food court, supermarket, and parking lot. That's sad. I wonder if their original building is still around, or if new ones have replaced it. This website says it was on Drummond Street in Carlton. I'm looking at Google Maps. The street is fairly close to the University of Melbourne. It's also parallel to a big cemetery. The website says the building was eventually demolished. So, there's my answer to that.

Gillies says that as a child he would entertain other neighborhood children by telling them stories. At first, he had to persuade them to watch. But soon they liked his performances, and WANTED to watch.

He says despite his family's financial situation, he doesn't remember being unhappy as a child. Jon Stewart had a great segment on his show the other day. It talked about how the Fox News people are moaning and crying about the good old days disappearing. Obama and his evil left wing army are gonna make us lose it all. The segment was brilliant. It showed images and reminders that proved the past decades really weren't so carefree and happy. We've had wars, discrimination, lynchings, sexism, poverty, etc. Then Stewart comes to a realization. The crying Fox News people are looking back to their CHILDHOOD. That's why they see it in such an idealistic way. I think most people, unless there was severe abuse and/or trauma in their early days, look back in a happy nostalgic way. We see the past as a simpler time because we were kids, and WE were more simple.

Gillies says that the Melbourne Performing Group spent a lot of time arguing. They would meet every Monday night and have a bunch of clashing egos.

The interviewer says that Gillies became a household name in the 1980's. I guess that would probably be due to the Gillies Report.

For most of the rest of the interview, Gillies is impersonating various people. It would probably be better if I could watch this, rather than read the transcript.

Anyway, I think I'm going to end this here.