4. LIONEL DOBIE IN “LIFE LESSONS” - NEW YORK STORIES (1989)
“Life Lessons” is Martin Scorsese’s segment from the anthology film New York Stories. In it, Nick Nolte plays a brandy-swilling, Pollack-esque artist named Lionel Dobie. Based in part on Dostoevsky's novella The Gambler, Nolte puts the mad Russian to shame with his unkempt appearance and antisocial personality.
Nolte’s attempt to wear a tuxedo and rub elbows with high-society is the film’s highlight as it becomes painfully clear that he always looks borderline psychotic no matter what the wardrobe is. And like any true Nolte gem, he spends plenty of time shirtless, manic, and covered during this short film. Somehow the nude, paint-covered look makes him seem saner than the failed tux experiment.