RIP Robert Forster, one of the great ones, 1941-2019


Like millions of Netflixers, I was watching Robert Forster Friday night in what turns out to be his last “movie” role — as the “El Camino” vacuum cleaner salesman whose side hustle is what Jesse Pinkman is more interested in.

Forster played heavies and heroes and romantic leads, mostly on TV, until Quentin Tarantino rescued him from obscurity for “Jackie Brown.”

That’s the one I plan to re-watch today. Forster got decades or work out of that sparkling appearance, a bail bondsman who finds love in a stewardess doing bad (Pam Greer), a damned George Jones “He Stopped Loving Her Today” level performance. Pathos, understanding, humility and wit, that became his showpiece role. World weary, that was Max Cherry.

I interviewed him for his work in Mamet’s “Lakeboat,” a working class Joe playing a working class Joe — Joe Pitka, crewman on a Great Lakes freighter.

Classy guy, modest, everything you want in a movie star.

Deadpan or understated and earnest, malevolent or romantic, he made it look effortless, from “The Descendants” to the “Olympus has Fallen” franchise.

Classed up “El Camino,” and how.

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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