May 24, 2007

What a character

I was saddened last night watching the season finale of Lost.

Not because the season was over, that is sad, but because they killed off one of my favorite characters on the show played by one of my favorite character actors. Friendly Tom, played by M.C. Gainey.

I love this guy. He's a bit player in just about everything that he does, but he always shines. Whether he's playing the no-such-a-bad-guy Swamp Thing in Con Air, or the evil Earl (nice!) in Breakdown, or the film version of Roscoe P. Coltrane in Dukes of Hazzard...this guy is always good. And who can forget his full frontal scene in Sideways? Yikes!

I love me some character actors. They often get the shit roles in films, and they never get to appear on Letterman, but they often mean so much to the film.

Here are three of my other favorite unsung heroes:

Cliff Curtis - This guy is truly special. It doesn't matter that he is New Zealand Maori descent. He has played many, many different racial and ethnic types. He has played Arabs in Three Kings, The Insider and The Majestic, and Hispanics in Training Day, Blow and Collateral Damage. He first came to my attention as the Bully, the child rapist in Once Were Warriors...a truly brutal and incredible film. Unlike Gainey, he gets to play sympathetic roles on occasion as well. He was great in Whale Rider and in the TV mini-series "Traffic".

Dennis Farina - Yeah, he basically keeps playing the same character over and over again. The wise-cracking mob boss or the wise-cracking cop. But he does it sooooo well. I guess being a former Chicago cop helps out. He stole the show from Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin in Midnight Run, and he was perfect as Ray Barboni in Get Shorty. Always fun!

Alfre Woodard - An immensely talented woman who rarely gets the starring roles that she so deserves. From Grand Canyon to Passion Fish to Primal Fear to Star Trek: First Contact to Love and Basketball...she always shines. Gotta admit, I've had a bit of a crush on her for the longest time now. As Jason Lee's character in Mumford says "She's a good-looking woman".


badgerdaddy said...

Some of my favourites - some of whom have made it from bit parts to big-to-big-ish - are Paul Winfield, Bill Paxton, Elias Koteas, Dick Miller (of course), and the wonderful Darwin Joston and Austin Stoker, the male leads from Assault on Precinct 13.

Paul Winfield especially - not only did he succeed and have a very fine career, he was gay and black. Nothing now, but in the 60s... Well, can't have been easy. It does state on IMDB that he hid his homosexuality for many years, but I don't actually think that's true; I've read something contradictory but I can't remember where!

Two things I give Winfield utmost respect for - voicing Lucius Sweet on The Simpsons and getting an 'and' in his Terminator credit - 'And Pauld Winfield'.

D'you think an 'and' is the ultimate respect to a character actor? Or even better, an 'And... As...'

I'm rambling.

Kat said...

It's funny your mention of the character actors. As I watched the season finale I was thinking how every actor on the show is stunning. I think they are all character actors. But Ben and Locke are my favourites. Oh and who wouldn't want a piece of Sayid. Yum!

Slyde said...

my wife loves sayid as well, and my cousin is in love with sawyer.

me, i wouldnt mind having some time with juliet and that crooked little smile of hers...

and i never knew paul winfield was gay......

Verdant Earl said...

Badger - Paul Winfield was black AND gay. I didn't know that. Well, I guess I knew he was black.

Kat - Locke is by far my favorite character on the show. And the acting by Matthew Fox in that last episode was absolutely brilliant. He needs an award for that one.

Slyde - Yeah, I love me some crooked smiles. Ellen Barkin? Yum!

Kat said...

No shit. Especially because I had a secret hate on for Mr. Fox since party of 5. But for the first time ever he made me forget every bit of acting he's ever done before this episode. He was brilliant, finally stepping outside his box.

Mermaid Melanie said...

I am going to have to rent this program. I haven't watched one episode... :eyeroll: