Movie Monologue Monday – Gary Busey in Surviving the Game

Let’s face it. Gary Busey has become somewhat of a punchline these days. We’ve seen his antics and bizarre behaviour on shows like Celebrity Apprentice and Celebrity Rehab. Much of this behaviour can be attributed to brain damage he suffered in a 1988 motorcycle accident.

How sad that he’ll probably be remembered more for his “craziness” than his terrific acting skills.

Case in point – this coming-of-age monologue from the little-known Surviving the Game.

The piece is very similar in function and in structure to the famous Robert Shaw USS Indianapolis monologue (Jaws) I covered on an earlier edition of Movie Monologue Monday. As in the Shaw monologue, the character has been asked about a scar on his body and the monologue is a description of the events that brought said scar about. I think that’s all the background you really need to appreciate the piece. Have a look:

Here’s what I like about this piece.

First, I’ve spent a lot of time on Movie Monologue Monday talking about economy of motion. Busey doesn’t have economy of motion. (Compare this to the Shaw speech I linked to above for an example.) The camera struggles to keep him in the frame (and in focus) particularly towards the end when he’s in close-up. But what he lacks in economy, he makes up for in purpose. His moves are purposeful. He physically re-lives the events of the day.

I love the acting he does between the lines. For example, look at what he does just after “Son, you’re gonna learn to control your emotions” at the 1:06 mark.

He uses a great deal of variety, especially variety in volume. At one point he’s practically whispering, the next he’s exploding the sound mixer’s eardrums.

Lastly, note how the last two thirds of the piece are in one unbroken take.

About the author

Craig Mason