Written by / 3/27/2014 / No comments /

TEN THANKLESS ACTOR ROLES

1) MURRAY HAMILTON (JAWS)
“Look, fellas…” Murray’s portrayal of the financially stressed Mayor of Amity lets the main characters and that great white shark get all the credit, but without this land-antagonist goading the Sheriff to keep the beaches open, there’d be much less of a problem and hardly a movie at all...
2) ALBERT HALL (APOCALYPSE NOW)
This might be Willard’s mission but it's the Chief’s boat… Yet he takes the backseat to a character with almost the same nickname, Chef, and the other crew including an acidhead surfer and a trigger-happy gunner… But Chief’s always in charge and his perpetual reluctance keeps the audience on constant edge...
3) KIRK BALTZ (RESERVOIR DOGS)
“He was so good in that scene,” Michael Madsen wrote of Kirk Baltz (in a Cult Film Freak interview from 2010), whom Madsen’s Mr. Blonde tortures in Quentin Tarantino’s first movie. “Sometimes someone can be so good you don't even see it.” And that’s the epitome of a thankless role… Kirk’s rookie cop Marvin Nash gets beaten to a bloody pulp while his ear gets the Van Gogh treatment, and not many people know the actor's name...
4) BARRY NELSON (THE SHINING)
With all the axe-wielding fun, and the bloody REDRUM, the wordy setup to this Stanley Kubrick horror masterpiece gets lost in the mix… Providers of exposition are often forgotten, but Nelson spouts so much information about the Hotel’s bloody backstory, he should land a promotion…
5) GARY LOCKWOOD (2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY)
With prehistoric apes throwing objects that "turn into" spaceships, and another guy in charge of the mission to Jupiter named Dave Bowman, played by Keir Dullea and not Gary Lockwood… And of course that computer Hal 9000 that, voiced wonderfully by Douglas Rains, steals the Stanely Kubrick space odyssey... second in command Frank Poole deserves credit for staying fit, instigating the failed Hal shutdown, and flying hopelessly into space…
6) ALLEN GARFIELD (THE CONVERSATION)
Originally intended for Timothy Carey, Garfield plays the role as surveillance expert Moran with sleazy ease, and his input keeps the second act of the Francis Ford Coppola minor classic rolling and bugging competitor Gene Hackman on his toes…
7) MICHAEL BOWEN (JACKIE BROWN)
Hey that’s Michael Keaton as the guy busting Jackie Brown, but who’s the dude next to him? Cinema fanatics know the answer: Michael Bowen, known for playing handsome jock jerks in 80’s films like VALLEY GIRL, THE WILD LIFE and NIGHT OF THE COMET (and since this post was written, appeared as a lethal Nazi in BREAKING BAD) is the cop who comes on strong during the first interrogation of the put-upon stewardess…
8) DON GORDON (BULLITT)
Besides waking Frank Bullitt up with early-morning orange juice, and then drinking some of it, Don Gordon’s Officer Delgetti is always by his partner Steve McQueen's side through the entire investigation…And Don can also be seen as "Cappy" with McQueen in TOWERING INFERNO and plays second fiddle to Dennis Hopper in THE LAST MOVIE and OUT OF THE BLUE...
9) SULLY BOYAR (DOG DAY AFTERNOON)
The epitome of a character-actor, Sully plays the bank manager in this classic film starring Al Pacino and John Cazale with the patience of a man under pressure, keeping his employees safe without being a hero and hardly raising his voice... The stout character-actor also runs the funky CAR WASH a year later...
10) SCOTT THOMSON (FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH)
“I hope you had a hell of a piss, Arnold!” shouts Brad Hamilton (Judge Reinhold) at his nerdy friend Arnold, who’s often hard to notice when Sean Penn’s pot smoking surfer, Phoebe Cate’s smoking hot babe and rest of an ensemble cast get more screen time than the one guy who knows the secret sauce at Bronco Burger is “Ketchup and Mayonnaise.”
THANKLESS ACTOR ROLES LIST BY JAMES M. TATE
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