It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
If he had not been an actor, Steve Buscemi could have been a paparazzi. But then you can keep saying that about Buscemi. If he had not been an actor, he could have been an incompetent kidnapper ("Fargo"), or a cynical journalist ("Interview"), or a gangster (Tony Blundetto on "The Sopranos"), or a coffee house owner ("Art School Confidential"), or a fanatic record collector ("Ghost World"), or a drunk ("Trees Lounge"), or a director (which he was on "Trees Lounge," "Interview" and "Lonesome Jim"). Here's an actor who has 104 movie and TV roles listed on IMDB, and he could have been any of those characters.
There is a needy intensity about so many of his characters. As infants, before they could speak, they were already mentally saying, "I'm walkin' here! I'm walkin' here!" They insist on their space in a world that has never welcomed them, and that is a definition of the paparazzi. "This is my spot!" they scream as they block off a foot of sidewalk to take one of countless millions of photographs of pitiful blond starlets emerging from limousines they screwed their way into.
Their dream is that one big picture. One like the shot that everybody has seen, of Sophia Loren gazing in amusement at Jayne Mansfield's wayward neckline. More often, however, Buscemi's paparazzo in "Delirious" gets shots like Goldie Hawn having lunch, or Elvis Costello not wearing his hat. For him, a big score is getting a photo of a star leaving the hospital after penile surgery. My advice: Take every shot you have of every actor leaving a hospital and say he just had penile surgery. How will it sound if he denies it?
"Delirious," by writer-director Tom DiCillo, has a special quality because it does not make paparazzi a target but a subject. It sees Les, the name of the Buscemi character, whose name itself tells you what you need to know about him. It watches him work, it goes home with him, it listens while he espouses his paparazzi code to a new friend named Toby (Michael Pitt). Toby is a homeless street kid, sincere and maybe a little simple, but willing to work for free, because he, perhaps alone among all the city's inhabitants, looks up to Les. But Toby is a handsome kid with a future, and his name tells his story, too: "To be." One of the first to figure that out is, appropriately, a casting director (Gina Gershon).