By Daniel Wible | January 26, 2005

“The Last Days of Jonathan Perlo” is a short doc about the unlikely father-son relationship between a washed-out actor and an obsessive compulsive, delusional old man. Told from the perspective of the now-deceased actor, Scott Plank, the film is certainly some loony bit of business. So much so in fact, that its sheer spectacle value alone is probably worth a quick peep.

Scott Plank was a one-time Hollywood hopeful who scored bit roles in such varied fare as an episode of NYPD Blue, “Hurly Burly”, and a production of “A Chorus Line”. Whether his star would ever shine over tinsel town will never be known as Plank died during one of his frequent drinking binges, a classic Hollywood burnout. Before he met this fate, Plank befriended Jonathan Perlo, an oddly lovable, but moody old man whose presence would forever change his life. Though Perlo suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder and delusions of grandeur, he was a remarkably astute and even eloquent guy. When he wasn’t lounging about naked, collecting rubber bands, or placing 911 calls (at least 52, for which he would later be arrested), Perlo was playing father figure to Plank and warning him of the dangers of a reckless lifestyle. Perlo eventually passed away and Plank of course, would not heed his advice.

“The Last Days of Jonathan Perlo” consists of extraordinary footage shot by Perlo and assembled by Joe Warson. Extraordinary, in the sense that you’re not quite sure if you care or not about these people but are nonetheless compelled to watch for that fascinating True Hollywood Story vibe alone. For their parts, both men were equally compelling subjects: Perlo with his boasts of knowing everyone in the film business (!) and Plank with his self-destructive, self-deprecating attitude. While the film seems to lack something in form, or even necessity, it contains a number of priceless moments that tread the line between hilarious and simply depressing. The most memorable of these moments is video footage of Plank verbally lashing out after being apprehended for D.U.I. One’s enjoyment of this film clearly pivots on the level of entertainment value you place on such moments.

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