Lost in the Movies: Anthony Sinclair (TWIN PEAKS Character Series #50)

Anthony Sinclair (TWIN PEAKS Character Series #50)

The TWIN PEAKS Character Series surveys one hundred ten characters from the series Twin Peaks (1990-91 on ABC and 2017 on Showtime as The Return), the film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992), and The Missing Pieces (2014), a collection of deleted scenes from that film. A new character study will appear every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday although patrons will have immediate access to each entry a month before it goes public. There will be spoilers.

A dishonest insurance agent who inspires contempt in almost everyone he encounters, Anthony is nearly driven to murder before he breaks down.

Monday, September 26, 2016
In the conference room for Lucky 7 Insurance, Anthony Sinclair sneaks up on his dazed, lime green-jacketed co-worker Dougie Jones, horsing around and loudly teasing him about his lost weekend...while more discreetly whispering that he "covered for your ass." But Dougie doesn't have much of a reaction, which Anthony finds curious. More alarming still, when Anthony offers his weekly report to boss Bushnell Mullins - including a payout for a broken main in Littlefield (where the inspectors ruled out arson) - Dougie calmly replies, "He's lying." Both Anthony and Bushnell are incredulous and indignant at the accusation.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016
However, the next morning Anthony hears Bushnell call out to Dougie, and sees his newfound enemy march into the boss' office with arms full of files. Anthony walks to his window to observe with concern. That afternoon, he pays the absentminded Dougie a visit and questions why his former friend won't talk to him anymore, wondering what he was discussing with Bushnell. Dougie, as always, does not respond - he's content to doodle on his desk as Anthony watches. Another colleague walks in to inform them that the police have arrived to question Dougie, so a worried Anthony skedaddles.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Anthony waits in the corner of crime lord Duncan Todd's large office, approaching the desk when he's called but warned not to sit down. Duncan sternly informs Anthony that he must involve the notorious Mitchum brothers in an effort to take out Dougie (if this fails, Anthony will have to kill the co-worker himself). So Anthony heads over to the Silver Mustang Casino, endures a lengthy non sequitur weather report from the Mitchums' daffy assistant Candie, and finally meets with the two gangsters themselves. He's stunned by how casually they accept what he has to say - that Dougie was the one who processed and denied their $30 million insurance claim due to a personal vendetta.

Thursday, September 29, 2016
Nervously - and briefly - lingering outside Bushnell's office to watch Dougie enter, Anthony slinks away to await the results of his actions.

Friday, September 30, 2016
The next morning, Anthony hears strange music and is horrified to discover a conga line weaving its way through the cavernous Lucky 7 corridor, consisting of the Mitchums, their three pink-skirted assistants...and a cheerful, very alive Dougie. Apparently the plan failed miserably, so Anthony calls Duncan to inform him. He's told he has one day - not the expected two - to finish the job. Anthony visits Detective Clark with the Las Vegas Police, begging him for poison that will be quick-acting but difficult to trace. The corrupt cop calls Anthony "a weak fucking coward [who it] makes me sick just to look at" but promises he'll get the product he needs that evening.

Saturday, October 1, 2016
On the edge of a breakdown, Anthony practices his awkward smile as he waits to meet Dougie in their office building's lobby. He watches, baffled, as Dougie whacks his head on the glass entry door (a passerby finally helps him in) and then the two sit down for coffee. When a distracted Dougie stands up and wanders into a nearby bakery, Anthony anxiously grabs his colleague's cup, pours and stirs the poisonous powder, and puts it back into place before Dougie returns. But instead of sitting down, Dougie stands behind Anthony and slowly massages his dandruff-covered shoulders. This finally breaks Anthony, who grabs Dougie's coffee, races into the bathroom, dumps its contents into a urinal, and then trashes the mug itself ("That bad, huh?" wonders a restroom companion). Sobbing, a penitent Anthony shouts his apologies to Dougie downstairs; upstairs, he faces a furious but ultimately forgiving Bushnell. "I haven't slept in days," Anthony gasps, "I've been vomiting blood." He confesses his various crimes against Lucky 7, commits to testifying against Duncan and even the crooked police, and promises to be a better man. And he thanks Dougie profusely for saving both of their lives.

Characters Anthony interacts with onscreen…

Agent Cooper

Bushnell Mullins


Mitchum Brothers

Detectives Fusco

Impressions of TWIN PEAKS through Anthony
At a glance, Anthony might appear to be as far from the spirit of Twin Peaks as his dry desert world is from the misty town in the woods. Upon closer inspection, however (an advisable route in anything Mr. Sinclair is involved with), Anthony is a classic Peaks archetype: a middle-aged, ostensibly respectable man caught up in a larger scheme that proves more than he can handle. Think a slightly less cartoonish version of Ernie Niles or Emory Battis, characters as weak, cowardly, and obsequious as they are crooked. But while Emory ends up dead and Ernie has to be arm-twisted into helping up the good guys - a task he promptly fouls up - Anthony pulls himself back from the abyss...well, at least after a little prodding from Cooper in full-on Dougie mode. In concert with a variety of other Vegas characters - indeed, almost every single person that crosses Cooper's path directly (aside from Ike and poor Burns, the casino manager) - Anthony escapes a cloud of negativity thanks to the presence of this strange man transported through an electrical socket. As such he's a key piece in the whole Dougie/Vegas storyline, helping to bring it to a close before Cooper's official return. Anthony is also connected, perversely, to coffee, one of Peaks' most persistent motifs; he subverts this comfy icon first by sprinkling poison into his companion's cup and then by emptying its contents into a toilet.

Anthony’s journey
Anthony has about as redemptive an arc as Twin Peaks offers any character, although he must be humiliated in the process. When his story begins, he's a cocky jerk - confident in his ability to remain on top while secretly undercutting the very person offering him praise. In every subsequent scene, he's worried and at least slightly pathetic, eventually emanating waves of desperation and panic as his position slips. The decline is gradual and as much a matter of revelation as it is of escalation, as we (and perhaps he) learn how much his collaborators in crime have always despised him. Whatever respect Anthony thought he could command crumbles into dust over the course of the week, leaving him perfectly vulnerable to Dougie's gesture. Anthony must be made weak before he can possibly emerge intact. Over a similar timespan to Leland Palmer in Fire Walk With Me, the degree of Anthony's criminal culpability is unveiled for the audience as an escalation from smooth professional to sweaty cheater trying to cover up his crimes to manipulated servant of greater forces to frantic murderer of one of our heroes - except Anthony, unlike Leland, is stopped short before the final act. His own weepy confession is more overtly comical than Leland's given the ridiculousness of his scenario. But that's not to say there isn't a poignancy here as well, especially given the baggage viewers might be expected to bring to this performance (as well as how differently a similar arc played out in the real world)...

Actor: Tom Sizemore
Before researching this bio, I thought I had a pretty good grasp of Sizemore's dark trajectory: success in the nineties, downfall in the zeroes, slow comeback climaxing with (and reflected in) Twin Peaks, and then a shocking, almost immediate second downfall - due to one more ghost from his past, and this time he'd never return. As I looked into this more deeply, however, I found a more complicated and often bizarre story, with many more ups and downs that continue to this day. A rising talent in his thirties, the actor was cast in modern classic after modern classic by some of the era's biggest directors. He had memorable supporting roles in Oliver Stone's Born on the Fourth of July and Natural Born Killers; Kathryn Bigelow's Blue Steel, Point Break, and Strange Days; Tony Scott's True Romance (written, like Natural Born Killers, by Quentin Tarantino) and Enemy of the State; and Martin Scorsese's Bringing Out the Dead. His two most famous roles of the decade were in Michael Mann's Heat and Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan; he also played John Gotti in the TV movie Witness to the Mob. In the zeroes, he'd play Pete Rose in Peter Bogdanovich's Hustle and continue to work for prominent filmmakers like Ridley Scott in Black Hawk Down and Michael Bay in Pearl Harbor. Already notorious for his drug use, Sizemore crashed into a wall in 2003 when he was prosecuted and convicted for beating his girlfriend Heidi Fleiss (herself an infamous tabloid subject in the nineties when she ran a high-profile prostitution ring). Sentenced to six months in jail in addition to rehab, anger management, and years of probation, Sizemore's career could have evaporated but instead he went into overdrive; to this point, he had fifty credits over fourteen years; the subsequent fourteen years would yield a jawdropping one hundred twenty-eight additional films and TV shows. But the scandals also kept coming (including another arrest for domestic violence), alternating with declarations of hard-won sobriety and press clippings touting his various comebacks.

Prior to Twin Peaks, in addition to stints on reality shows like Dr. Drew's Celebrity Rehab (which awkwardly reunited him with Fleiss), Sizemore had guest spots on popular series like Entourage and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia as well as recurring roles on Hawaii Five-0 and The Red Road (though his film career never quite returned to its former heights). He was also on The Shooter, until he was fired and sued by a stuntman for running him over in an unplanned and allegedly drunken pedal-to-the-metal moment. Then, in the fall of 2017, in the midst of the #MeToo wave sweeping Hollywood after Harvey Weinstein was exposed, the Hollywood Reporter shared an allegation from the 2003 production of Born Killers/Piggy Banks accusing Sizemore of molesting of an 11-year-old while they were shooting a scene. Sizemore vehemently denied the accusations but the accuser brought a lawsuit, which a judge eventually dismissed - likely due to a technicality, since recent court decision overturned the Utah legislature's expansion of the statute of limitations for such cases. (Relevant details of the whole episode are gathered here, here, and here in order of reporting, and other relevant information is linked within those articles.) I'd assumed Sizemore stopped working around this time but in fact he has remained prolific, if occasionally erratic and frequently eccentric (I defy you to read the IMDb episode synopses for Barbee Rehab and make heads or tails of them). In addition to the aforementioned fifty and subsequent one hundred twenty-eight credits, the actor has gone on on to appear in another fifty titles in the past five years. Plus his resume lists a whopping thirty-three projects in various stages of pre-production, production, and post-production (six are listed as filming, which can't possibly be concurrent - so I have to assume they've been interrupted, likely for good). Meanwhile, drug arrests have continued as well, with the most recent in 2020.

That this has proven one of the longest actor profiles (even after I whittled it down from the initial draft) seems appropriate not only because of the length and prominence of Sizemore's filmography, but also and especially due to the very public travails which contribute to his notoriety and likely fed directly into his casting in Twin Peaks. The pathetic, disrespected Anthony is a far cry from the tough guy parts that made Sizemore famous but almost perfectly on-the-nose in terms of Sizemore's troubled, ever-seeking-redemption public image. ...And then, one more grim turn in the biography. After I wrote the above, and the rest of this entry, back in January, Sizemore became the latest Twin Peaks alumnus to pass away (merely in his sixties, like so many of the others). Not long after a brain aneurysm sent him into a coma, his family revealed that end-of-life decisions were being made. Sizemore's condition, described by his manager, was clipped into a somber epitaph for headlines around the world: "No further hope." (film pictured: Heat, 1995)

Part 5 (Showtime title: "Case files.")

Part 6 (Showtime title: "Don't die.")

Part 7 (Showtime title: "There's a body all right.")

Part 10 (Showtime title: "Laura is the one.")

Part 11 (Showtime title: "There's fire where you are going.")

*Part 13 (Showtime title: "What story is that, Charlie?" - best episode)

Anthony is onscreen for roughly twenty-three minutes. He is in eleven scenes in six episodes, taking place over six days. He's featured the most in part 13, when he tries to poison his co-worker. His primary location is the Lucky 7 office. He shares the most screentime with Cooper. He is one of the top ten characters in parts 5 and one of the top three in parts 10 and 13. And he is the tenth-highest ranked character introduced in the third season (unless he's bumped out of that top ten by Diane, whom we're considers an original series character - given the dialogue addressed to her).

Best Scene
Part 10: Anthony's reluctant attempt at assassination is dissolved by a massage.

Best Line
“You have an enemy in Douglas Jones.”

Anthony Offscreen

Part 5: An indignant Bushnell calls Cooper/Dougie to his office after the morning meeting and asks how he can call Anthony, who is Lucky 7's best agent, a liar: "He closes more cases in a week than you do in a month!"

Part 6: Although Anthony is never referenced directly in the conversation, Bushnell is impressed by Cooper's scribblings on the case files and begins to re-assess the Mitchums' supposed arson.

Part 10: The Mitchums spy Anthony on a security camera and refer to him as "that insurance fuck," and "[indistinguishable adjective] bastard," and Bradley says "I could throw a car farther than I'd trust that rat fuck." They send Candie out to get him and then watch, incredulous, as she takes her time talking to him on the casino floor. Later that night, they mull over Anthony's revelations with a deepening fury.

Part 11: Anthony's plan proceeds as Bushnell tells Cooper that the Mitchums want to meet him. But because Bushnell and Cooper have determined that the arson report was falsified and they deserve their payout, the Mitchums will wine and dine the man they know as "Douglas Jones" rather than killing him.

Part 13: After Anthony goes back inside, Clark tells his partner that Anthony is cracking and wants to poison someone. The partner says he'll call Duncan.

Part 15: Duncan calls Roger into his office and asks if they've heard back from Anthony (they haven't) and demands that he be found. Within seconds, however, both men are shot dead by Chantal.

Additional Observations

• Unlisted among character interactions due to their minor status, Anthony does spend significant time with both Duncan and Detective Clark - certainly more than he spends briefly inquiring about Clark's whereabouts with the Fuscos (characters who do, unlike those two, have more than ten minutes of screentime and thus their own official entry in this series).

• During his long, steadily downward decline, Anthony may have only one moment where he keeps his cool and remains in control of the situation. When the frustrated Mitchums press him on what Candie was talking about for so long, Anthony calmly shrugs and - with a touch of indignant irritation - defers to her rather than cower before the two mobsters. When she finishes repeating the same ludicrous monologue she delivered to Anthony himself, the smug insurance man smirks at the baffled brothers. It's just a flash of the player he used to be, but he appears to relish it. Then, of course, the dynamic shifts right back in the other direction as soon as the Mitchums (appear to) brush off his big important news. From then on, until his final shattered sequence, it's back to freefall mode for the haplessly washed-up con artist.

Next (available now): John Justice Wheeler
Previous: Bill Hastings

To immediately read a month of upcoming entries, updated weekly to stay a month ahead...

(at the time of publication, this includes full entries on new or revised characters among #49 - 36)

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