Farina, a Made Mensch

Dennis Farina
Dennis Farina
Dennis Farina, February 29, 1944 - July 22, 2013, is an American actor of film and television and former Chicago police officer. He is a character actor, often typecast as a mobster or police officer. | Photo: | Dennis Farina, Actor, Police Office, Cop,

Dennis Farina's zen and his memorable mantra

Perhaps like me you long to see this talented seemingly regular guy (often labeled 'wise guy') in at least one more role; sadly, what follows must serve as his swansong. You, his audience, deserve more than the standard obituary, so, with you indulgence and with deepest regard for his body of work, let's entitle this vehicle of tribute 'OBIT', with much of his just-right comedic flair for good measure.

And, with that, we may take his measure, this accidental artist, one who caused us to see our world and its inhabitants differently, and without taking ourselves too seriously---both through and as a medium for---what we call entertainment. So, let us, Zen-like, contemplate this gifted 'denizen' of that particular space whose occupant for too short a time was our wisest guide, to and through it. Now, then, Denizen Pictures, Ltd., presents... 'OBIT', starring the late, great Dennis Farina.

Act One: Chicago P.D.
We find ourselves witnesses at a Chicago crime scene sometime in the late '70s/early '80s.

Patrolman: (chuckling) What've we got here, sire, the usual salami sandwich?

Det. Farina: (beat) More like f-ing antipasto salad, spoiled... sendin this one back, to the morgue.

Other Det.: Hey, F-man, they're lookin fer ya back at the precinct.

Det. Farina: Bet the freakin Mayor's wife's lost her freakin poodle...

Other Det.: Sorry, no such luck; somethin 'bout a movie---ya know, glamorous gals and guys, sun, swimmin pools, movie stars...

Det. Farina: Yeah, but these guys 'n dolls are IN cement... freakin ponds.

Det. Farina: (on phone) you're kiddin me, right?

CalPal: No BS, you'd be what these monkeys all a 'technical advisor'.

Det. Farina: Sounds alot like sanitation engineer...

CalPal: 'Cept this ain't gar-bage... you get name creds, and serious scratch.

Det. Farina: (laughing) Do I get to shoot somebody?

CalPal: That's the director's job, you know, with a camera.

We're on the set of his first film, as technical advisor.

DFarina: So, how'm I doin?

Director: Not good enough...

DFarina: You sound like my freakin wife, on freakin...

Director; I want more...

DFarina: Like I said...

Director; (hands script pages to Dennis) You're Tony...

DFarina: (smiling)... and you're... Oscar... material, I mean; thanks, does this mean um a made man in the Hollywood mob?

Director: F-in A, all you gotta do is act naturally...

DFarina:(smiles) Bada bing, what could be a more natural thing than f-in, Ringo.

Act Two: Hollywood & Beyond---London Calling, Etc.
We tap into a long distance call from London.

GRitchie: Oy, Denny, Guy Ritchie 'ere, want ya fer me next pick-cha, mate.

DFarina: I'm flattered, but my agent tells me it's, ya know, got all Brits in it.

GRitchie: S'all roit, Denny, you're gonna ploy en American relay-shun, mate.

DFarina: (laughs) 'Mate', that mean um gonna be in some steamy sex scene with, whaddya call her, Twiggy?

GRitchie: Oy wuz gonna say me ex-wife, but oy doan think ya'd be up fer it.

DFarina: Not touchin that... I mean... anyone called Madonna, that's freakin sacreligious, or somethin, starts with 's', any who...

GRitchie: Me neither, mate...

DFarina: Glad we got that settled; so, where's it shootin?

GRitchile: London.

DFarina: London? You mean fish, chips, cup a tea, bad food, worse weather, freakin Mary Poppins?

GRitchie: (laughs) Crikey, bloody great----gonna put that in the script!

DFarina: 'Snatural, the way I talk, I mean.

GRitchie: Doan freakin believe this---that's the name a the bloomin flick, 'Snatch'!

DFarina: Mr. R., you, my friend, are a very... wise guy; um gonna do this, tellin my agent to delay another picture, somethin 'bout some short guy.

GRitchie: Oy guess that makes me ling, eh?

DFarina: Between you and your lady friend, you'll pardon my wise ass sense a humor...

GRitchie: (laughs) Call me Guy, wise guy.

We're tapping his phone, again, gets his juices going.

DFarina: So, Elmore Leonard, huh? Knows the freakin midwest mob types, give him that... Detroit's Chicago, with crappier real estate.

Agent: And you'll be working with Hackman, Travolta, DeVito...

DFarina: Dat short little freak---love that guy. Um in, besides, just got back from London---like I tole the Customs fella askin me if I got anything to declare; 'Yeah, don't go to London!'

Agent: Um, Dennis, I read the script, okay.

DFarina: (juiced) Good, then you remember this, page 46, Ray Bones advice: "I told 'em I was you, I acted real stupid and they believed me"---cabish?

Agent: What, no F word?

DFarina: Savin 'em up for later, which is now----"Let me explain something to you... when I speak for Jimmy, e.g., from now on you start showing me the proper f-in respect... "

Agent: Page 47, but, I think he says 'i.e.'...

DFarina: BS, that's short for ergo...

Agent: Speaking of short, Get Shorty, not me, ok?

Another tapped phone call. Let's listen...

DFarina: It's an honor to talk wit ya, Mr. Brest.

Director: Same, here... look, you'll be playing J. Serrano, form ChiTown, your old stomping grounds...

DFarina: Yeah, but on the other side of the street, so to speak; but I do like where he says: "You and that other dummy better start getting more personally involved in your work or I'm gonna stab you through the heart with a f-in pencil!"

Director; Ouch, I felt that!

DFarina: You know, so did I... (smiles)

DFarina: You know, so did I...

Act Three: Some Unsolved Mysteries & Infinity
Hi, just me, narratin, they call it; some guy, one who knew the streets, said the revolution would be televised; well, my 'Luck' on TV wasn't revolting, so they told me, and that includes my 'In-Laws'.

Me, always preferred 'Law & Order' on the street, seen too many 'Crime Stories' as a cop. Too many 'Unsolved Mysteries' from Chicago to LA, to NY & 'Miami... Vice'. But, hey, that's me, on and off TV.

Think about it---how much film have we all seen, from the inside and the outside? Lots. Bang, bang, chasin some 'Thief'(81) or dealin with some 'Code of Silence'(85),
we're talkin 'Street Crimes'(92), always 'Another Stakeout'(93), after some 'Mac'(92)---you're a 'Manhunter'(86), usually after so-called 'Men of Respect'(90)----and 'We're Talkin Serious Money'(92).

Bottom line, it's some 'Bad Seed'(00) you're tryin ta 'Snatch'(00), just 'Out of Sight'(98), but in 'Striking Distance'(93). But, when ya get 'em, you're not such a 'Knucklehead'(10), 'cause it's 'Purple Violets'(07). Okay, so 'Romeo Is Bleeding'(93)---it ain't nothin like what those heroes did 'Saving Private Ryan' (98). Now, that's 'Big Trouble'(02), not runnin from some 'Papparazzi' (04) or chasin down some small time 'Bag Boy'(07).

So, when you're off duty, you sometimes get 'That Old Feeling'(97) and, so, ya know, 'What Happens in Vegas'(08)... well, you freakin know.

No, whether they're under cover 'Mod Squad' (98) types or the 'Sidewalks of NY(01) or freakin 'Stealing Harvard'(02), to all those guys and gals, good or bad, i say 'You Kill Me(07).

After it's all said, done, you're either some 'Lucky Stiff'(13), living 'The Grand'(07) life, sleepin off some 'Bottleshock'(08), starin down at your cold 'Scrambled Eggs'(04), thinkin about quittin the 'Little Big League'(94), or writing a tell-all 'Author Anonymous'(13).

Me, now I'm into 'Reindeer Games' (00) with the grandkids, watchin 'em play tag---'Get Shorty' I think it's called---or going on some 'Midnight Run'(88) for some ice cream. Yeah, it's like that freakin Beatles song, 'get back, get back, get back 'Jo-Jo, Dancer... Your Life Is Calling'(86).

Hey, it's been a gas, all of it; I loved you all, and still do, so smile when you check out my 'Obit', and know I did it my way... who, gotta go, Gandolfini's callin me, ciao.

Dennis 'Freakin' Farina, Resting In Peace

Peter the Angel: 'Yes, he made it-----that's a made man.'

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Updated Aug 12, 2017 12:08 PM EDT | More details


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