Red State Revisited: Remembering Michael Parks

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On May 10, 2017, the news broke that one of the most gifted and tremendously underrated actors to ever grace the screen had passed on from this world. With over 100 film and TV credits to his name, Michael Parks was and always will be a tremendous force that captured the hearts and imaginations of so many generations.

Upon hearing of iconic actor’s death, I popped in my copy of Kevin Smith’s 2011 action thriller, “Red State”, in which Parks plays the the lead. His character, the sinister Pastor Abin Cooper is loosely based upon the late Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps. In the film, Cooper is the head of the Five Points Trinity Church, a group of religious extremists who resort to terrorist actions to help rid the world of those they deem “sinners”, namely homosexuals. When the church’s true murderous intentions are revealed, all bets are off as the film transforms from a horrifying thriller into an action-packed shootout with the ATF.

While the cast consists of a slew of incredible actors including Academy Award winner Melissa Leo and Golden Globe winner John Goodman, Parks is the true driving force of this film. His delivery of Smith’s dialogue is nothing short of remarkable, converting a 12-minute sermon of pure hate speech into a force of poetic nature.

Smith had stated prior to the film’s release that he had hoped Parks would be considered for an Academy Award nomination and screened a week-long run of the film at the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles to make it eligible. Unfortunately the Academy overlooked Parks just as they have overlooked his many terrific performances in past years. While it is a shame the man never won an Oscar or any majorly publicized awards in his profession, Parks still took home the biggest award of all: the adoration of his fans, friends, family, and fellow actors and co-workers.

“Red State” is now available on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD.