Apr 20, 2008

Remember when you played that guy, um, in that movie...

...that was great!

So here I am earlier in the week...watching Robocop for the first time in about forever when I started to think about how certain actors will always be associated with a defining (or not) role from early in their careers. And no, I'm not talking about Peter Weller as the titular cyborg cop, but don't you just love the word "titular"?

I'm taking about Kurtwood Smith, everyone's favorite mean dad from That 70's Show. The guy has over one hundred credits on his IMDB page. He's been in a Rambo movie, a Star Trek movie, a John Woo movie...even that movie with a way too young and topless Alicia Silverstone. But for me, the guy will always be Clarence Boddicker from Robocop. Whenever I see him, I think to myself "Hey...Clarence Boddicker!" Maybe because it was one of the first times that I ever saw him, or maybe because he was such an interesting baddie. Or maybe I just like the name Clarence Boddicker. I dunno, but there it is.

There are a bunch of other actors who fit the bill as well. They may have had great successes later or earlier in their careers or they may have faded into obscurity, but whenever I see them it's "Hey...Brundlefly!" or "Hey...Melina!" Some actors never outgrow a role, at least for me.

Here are a few more:

Ted Levine - He's been in a whole mess of movies as well as a co-starring role in TV's Monk, but for me (and I'm assuming for a whole lot of you as well) he will always be Buffalo Bill. C'mon guys...admit it. You've tried the whole "tuck routine", right? Maybe not as an adult, but as a kid. You know, just playing around. Um...just me? Fuck!

Natalie Portman - For some it's her role as the uncomfortably young hottie in Beautiful Girls, but for me she will always be the even more uncomfortably young Mathilda from Leon (The Professional). The game she plays with Leon is creepy even for a dirty old man like myself. What? You liked that scene? Perverts!

Robert Shaw - Yeah, I know...most of you probably will jump to his role as Quint in Jaws. Maybe even a few of you will think of Doyle Lonnegan first from The Sting. But I doubt anyone else but me will immediately think of him as King Henry VIII in A Man for All Seasons. I don't know why, but whenever I see him I picture him screaming "I HAVE NO QUEEN!!!" at Paul Scofield. I'm planning on elective brain surgery to correct this condition.

Tom Noonan - Here's a name you might not be familiar with, but he has about 60 credits on IMDB. Just like Ted Levine in Silence of the Lambs, Noonan will forever be remembered by me as Francis Dollarhyde from the first film version of Thomas Harris' novel "Red Dragon", Manhunter. And if you haven't seen it, this adaptation was light years better (huh?) than the Ed Norton/Anthony Hopkins film from a few years ago.

Rutger Hauer - Let me be plain about this...I'm a Rutger Hauer fan. His name, which sounds like not just one but two different type of guns, is reason enough. Add in fantastic movies like The Hitcher, Soldier of Orange, The Blood of Heroes (weird post-Apoc film with amazing cast), Blade Runner and Buffy, the Vampire Slayer and he becomes immortal. But the role I will always associate him with is, of course, the natty terrorist Wulfgar in Nighthawks. And in my head, it's Stallone yelling "WULFGAAARRRRRR!!!" for an added bonus. I think I even lip-sync it with my bottom lip curled ala Sly. It's a sickness, people.

Joan Cusack - She's had a bunch of memorable roles. Who can forget her as John Cusack's sister in Say Anything? Or howabout her turn as John Cusack's assistant in Grosse Pointe Blank. Then there she was again as John Cusack's friend in High Fidelity. All fun roles. But she will forever in my heart be Geek Girl #1 in Sixteen Candles. The dance moves, the bib, the neck brace/retainer apperatus. Sigh. Oh yeah, her brother was in that one as well. I sense a pattern.

There are a ton more, but you get the idea. Who do you got?

PS - Mindlessly violent newness over at MovieGrenade for you to ignore. Go get 'em, kids!


Avitable said...

I remember seeing Kurtwood Smith shopping in a Virgin music store when I lived in LA and I just kept thinking "Clarence Boddiker!"

I'm slowly seeing Ted Levine as Capt. Stottlemeyer more than Buffalo Bill, but just say "It puts the lotion on its skin" during a Monk episode, and I'll crack up.

Verdant Earl said...

Avi - Nice to know that I'm not the only one. I wonder how many creepy fans say shit like that to Ted Levine when they see him in public?

white rabbit said...

Not to mention Leonard Nimoy as Spock in 'Star Trek' - evidently people were surprised to discover he had normal ears in real life - much to his annoyance.

livesbythewoods said...

Rutger Hauer is always the scary mercenary leader from Flesh and Blood.

The guy who stars in Monk is always the spaced-out ex-actor in Galaxy Quest.

Donald Sutherland is always the dodgy professor in Animal House.

Hell, the entire cast of Animal House is always the cast of Animal House.

Dan Akroyd is always a Blues Brother.

Alan Rickman is always the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Verdant Earl said...

White Rabbit - what do you mean???

Lives by - Tony Shaloub will always be the taxi driver from "Wings", Donald Sutherland is always Hawkeye Pierce from "MASH", Dan Ackroyd is no one in particular for me and Alan Rickman...c'mon, he's definitely Hans Gruber from "Die Hard".

Artful Kisser said...

George Clooney is still always Booker from Roseanne for me. And Josh Brolin in 'the Goonies'. Lusted over him terribly in 'No Country For Old Men' but kept thinking "That's Brand! You can't lust over a 14 y.o."

Jon said...

I think I need to watch more movies.

And Spock had normal ears?!?!?

Verdant Earl said...

Artful Kisser - I'll leave the 14 y.o. comment alone, but I have to disagree with Clooney...maybe Dr. Ross from ER, but Booker? Really?

Jon - I don't believe the Spock rumor either. ;)

Slyde said...

clarance bodicker will ALWAYS be clarance bodicker for me... he was just so damn evil and creepy in Robocop, i always get a chuckle when i see him being a goofy day on 70's show...

Verdant Earl said...

Slyde - Yeah, I know...I think we've had this conversation about him before.

Seals said...

I've always felt the same way about Natalie Portman in those two films. She was just so adorable.

I think they played up her "sex appeal" more in Beautiful Girls but they were quick to dash it by portraying it as a harmless crush.

Leon (The Professional) was just awesome all the way around. Her adolesent sexiness was much more subtle.

At least that's how I remember it. I like my Natalie memories over-18. :)

Bruce Johnson said...

I would add Harry Dean Stanton and Studs Turkel to the list as well. Anytime I see their name associated with film, I tend to want to see them. Harry in the original Alien and Studs in Blade Runner are pretty defining roles to me.

Verdant Earl said...

ajooja - Did you ever see the full European version of Leon? There is an incredibly uncomfortable scene at a restaurant with two where she sits on his lap and asks to be his girlfriend. Creepy!

Lotus - I'm with ya on Harry Dean Stanton...maybe Repo Man as well. I don't think Studs Terkel was in Blade Runner though. Joe Turkel played Tyrell in it, but he hasn't done much since. Studs will always be Hugh Fullerton in "Eight Men Out" for me...as well as a pretty damn good writer.

limpy99 said...

Ted Levine has to be the poster boy for this group. Even watching him in "Heat" I kept waiting for him to stop in the middle of the firefight and ask "Would you fuck me? I'd fuck me."

Billy Dee Williams (Nighthawks is absolutely Rutger Hauer) is always Lando Calrissian, no matter how much Colt .45 he sells.

Elizabeth Perkins will always be Joan from "About Last Night" to me. And Belushi will always be Bernie, saying "Joan, if you didn't have a pussy there'd be a bounty on your head."

Verdant Earl said...

Limpy - Yeah, I think Billy Dee is stuck with Lando. And spot on with Elizabeth Perkins, but Jim Belushi will always be the drunk guy on the train at the end of "Trading Places" for me.

"Monkey? MONKEY? I'm a fucking gorilla!"

limpy99 said...

Excellent call on the gorilla. But it'll never replace his opening monolgue in "About Last Night"

"Y'know, those firemen make out like fucking bandits"