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!