Character actor Michael Shannon has been nominated for his second Oscar for his role in the 2016 thriller Nocturnal Animals. "No Small Parts" takes a look at some of the other characters he's played in the past.
Patrick Thomas McNulty, an obnoxious blow-hard who has an opinion for every possible situation and topic there is. People find him insufferable: his co-workers, the regulars at the bar he frequents, his boss as well. McNulty submits a grocery list of suggestions to really turn Cooper Corporations around. His boss, Mr. Cooper, dislikes his ideas wanting to keep his business simple. Cooper discards McNulty, along with all of his ideas. Patrick returns to his local watering hole. The bartender Joe has a talk with McNulty, trying to help him realize that the problem may be McNulty's personality, and the fact that he is responsible for alienating everybody. However, he doesn't drive everyone away tonight. There's one strange little man in a bar who seems as desolate and lonely as he is. A bizarre foreign man by the name of Potts. Well, misery loves company. Patrick buys him a beer. Potts is touched. These poor two seem to be made for each other. Patrick offers him the gift of friendship. ... Written by
Generally light-hearted entry, but with a jarring upshot. Erdman carries the half-hour as the irrepressible braggart, McNulty, who's always dispensing advice, want it or not. He always knows best, whatever the occasion, and it's a tribute to the actor's talent that he makes the character both humorous and not dislikable. McNulty's got nowhere to go after being fired from his job, and except for the gift of the stopwatch would end up an outcast, which ironically happens anyway.
The watch has a magical power to stop time and freeze everything in motion. Press the button again, and everything continues as though nothing happened. I'd never thought of that phenomenon, so right away I'm thinking what I'd do with that power. Anyway, it takes McNulty some time to figure out what he will do, but then there's that ironical upshot. I really liked the episode, though the latent humor is not typical of the series' appeal. But most of all, I'm wondering how they got all those people to freeze in motion while McNulty moves among them. Of course, digital wasn't available, so I'm still wondering. Anyway, kudos to that fine unsung actor Richard Erdman.
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