Tag Archives: Philip Seymour Hoffman

Attention Must Be Paid: An Interview With Director Mike Nichols

I heard this wonderful interview with Mike Nichols who is currently directing a revival of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. The cast includes Philip Seymour Hoffman as Willy Loman, Linda Emond as Linda Loman and Andrew Garfield as Biff Loman.

Mike Nichols: ‘Salesman’ By Day, Artist Always
Interviewed by Robert Siegel
National Public Radio, All Things Considered
March 9, 2012

Photo: Matt Sayles/AP

Verisimilitude: Furniture Guy vs. Mattress Man

Just who is Vinnie “T” Testeroni, the would-be daredevil spokesperson for “The Furniture Guy”? And why doesn’t “The Furniture Guy” appear in his own commercial? Whoever Vinnie “T” is, director Paul Thomas Anderson went to great lengths to recreate his character in the 2002 film Punch-Drunk Love. In fact, the main antagonist in the film, Dean “The Mattress Man” Trumbell, played here by Philip Seymour Hoffman, was based on the above commercial blooper for “The Furniture Guy.” Interestingly, this re-enacted scene, which inspired Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character in the first place, was deleted from the final film. Fortunately, this lovely re-enactment was found on the cutting room floor. Either way it served its purpose as muse to director Anderson.

The original “The Furniture Guy” commercial poses more questions, however. Does Vinnie’s middle initial “T” stand for Testosterone? Is he a real life honest-to-goodness guitarist or a stunt man? Or perhaps a stunt guitarist? Who knows? I searched high and low, but I couldn’t find any information about Vinnie “T” online. What we do know is that Mr. Anderson has an acute eye for the sincere detail, or “truthlikeness,” in every scene. To illustrate this, here is a list of details for this scene, showing their appearance in the original “The Furniture Guy” (FG) commercial and in “The Mattress Man” (MM) re-enactment:

Scene Description FG MM
Ambient white freeway noise X X
Unamplified perfunctory guitar strumming X X
Black leather jacket with flames on the sleeves X
Mop of hair/wig resembling a condemned rodent’s nest X
Mop of hair/wig secured in place by a Karate Kid black head band X
Phone number is 351-3900 X
Awkward hesitation before opening line of dialog X X
Sad parrot infested “Southland” palm trees in background X
Red racing trailer parked oddly across 6 parking spaces X X
5 mattresses piled on roof of early 1980s Stretched Lincoln Town Car X X
Awkward walking and talking tracking shot X X
“…got queen mattresses sets for 99 dollars” X X
“…and king sets for 129” X X
Sack of potatoes ‘Foley’ thump when body hits mattress X
Account Executive with gray pants and compulsory “power” suspenders X
Stretched gold Lincoln Town Car adorned with red flames along the front fender to driver’s door X
Short cast shadows suggest mid-morning or mid-afternoon video shoot X X
Full name is obscured on the side of racing trailer X X
Production Assistant in mandatory black polo shirt holding note pad X
Videographer with obligatory “correspondent’s” vest and requisite mullet hairstyle X
Account Executive’s first response is to pick up the guitar cord X
Videographer’s first response is to steady the guitar X
Production Assistant’s first response is to adjust/reposition the mattress X
Videographer: “Try your arm and stuff” X X
Production Assistant: “He’s wearing leather” X X
Fallen Protagonist: “Did you get it on film?” X X
Videographer: “Yea” X X
Fallen Protagonist: “Alright” X X
Total running time in seconds 40 50