Written by / 1/27/2013 / 2 Comments /

MOVIE ICONS THAT WERE ONLY USED SPORADICALLY

1) JOHN BELUSHI as Bluto in ANIMAL HOUSE
In each of these ten selections it goes without saying: without the iconic mascots, there wouldn't be a movie at all... But it's always surprising when the person you think will be the main star, isn't...  Or when those scene-stealing fan-favorites wind up in the movie less than you'd expect...

 Let's start with JOHN BELUSHI in the college party film where he’s first-billed in the credits, and he gets the largest percent of trailer and poster coverage, but it’s really Tim Matheson as Delta House's womanizing Otter who heads the pack... even fellow frat boys Peter Riegert, Tom Hulce and Stephen Furst have much bigger roles. (The same can be said of Belushi's maverick World War II flier Wild Bill Kelso in Steven Spielberg's 1941, who is used even less than Bluto.)
2) SEAN PENN as Jeff Spicoli in FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH
Jeff Spicoli is the ever-quotable poster boy, SEAN PENN receiving first billing and yet he’s hardly the main character. Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is the star – the Tom Petty song “American Girl” during the first day of school is all about Stacy. Her brother Brad, best friend Linda, and even Mark Ratner and Mike Damone have more screen time and importance to the overall story.
3) MICHAEL KEATON as Beetlejuice in BEETLEJUICE
Here’s the first of two examples of a movie named after a character who's not the lead: MICHAEL KEATON'S hilariously horny dead guy only shows up when main characters Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis and Winonna Ryder really need him.
4) THE HANSON BROTHERS in SLAP SHOT
JEFF CARLSON, STEVE CARLSON and DAVID HANSON we'll count as one, since they share the same brain, and they're the reason most people re-watch the classic sports comedy starring Paul Newman. As the foul-making/nose-breaking Hanson Brothers, these guys not only steal the show, they beat the ever-loving hell out of it… Although the boys aren't in the movie that much – after a few scenes setting up their eccentric personalities (which includes playing with toy race cars), the first time we see them kicking butt on the ice is during the 45-minute mark, usually the most important time-slot involving major plot-shifts.
5) STEVE McQUEEN as Hilts in THE GREAT ESCAPE
STEVE McQUEEN on a motorcycle or walking out of the isolation "cooler" with a devil-may-care grin (he’s even nicknamed The Cooler King) are iconic images in this war classic, but Richard Attenborough heads up the great escape plot and even James Garner’s “guy who can get anything” has more overall input. 
6) ROBERT DE NIRO as Al Capone in THE UNTOUCHABLES
Though far (very far) from a personal favorite role or movie, that infamous mobster ruthlessly wielding the baseball bat is extremely memorable. That's the iconic ROBERT DE NIRO as Al Capone but we’re only reminded of his lethal rule in various scenes between the main story centering on Kevin Costner’s Eliot Ness and his Untouchables, including scene-stealer Sean Connery and nerdy accountant Charles Martin Smith. (The same can be said for De Niro's turn as mobster Jimmy Conway in GOODFELLAS... Ray Liotta's the star and even Oscar winner Joe Pesci and Oscar nominated Lorraine Bracco have meatier parts therein.) 
7) JAMES DEAN as Jett Rink in GIANT
Since he died during filming, and became one of the most revered cinematic legends thereafter, it seems that JAMES DEAN would have a more of a giant role – but Rock Hudson and Liz Taylor are the real lone stars while Dean’s grungy climber Jett Rink goes from rags to riches along the way.
8) BRUCE BOXLEITNER as Tron in TRON
Another example of a movie named after a character that turns out not being the lead: yet what would TRON be if it were named after Jeff Bridge’s underdog video game programmer? FLYNN just doesn’t have the essential techie ring to it.
9) JEREMY BULLOCH as Boba Fett in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
One of the neatest looking villains in science-fiction history is barely in either THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK or RETURN OF THE JEDI. In fact, his exit in JEDI is so anticlimactic, authors of the Expanded Universe made sure he actually survived the sand pit creature… And we’ll have to see if monopolizing geek-guru J.J. Abrams revives the iconic bounty hunter in 2015.
10) JACK NICHOLSON as George Hanson in EASY RIDER
In the late sixties, JACK NICHOLSON went from an obscure b-actor to one of the biggest stars in Hollywood thanks to his performance as boozing Southern lawyer George Hanson, a role first offered to Rip Torn who (thankfully to Nicholson fans) didn’t get along with director Dennis Hopper.
GRAND PRIZE WINNER: PETER SELLERS as Inspector Clouseau in THE PINK PANTHER
 Oops, when filling out the top ten, this one, the biggest example, was forgotten, so we reserve a grand prize even higher than the number one spot: Probably the most important example of a character you'd think would be in the movie more than he actually is is Peter Sellers as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau... It's a shock to anyone watching for the first time that David Niven, Capucine and Robert Wagner as charming jewel thieves get way more screen time than the iconic Sellers, who wound up starring in the follow-up, SHOT IN THE DARK, and then every PANTHER movie throughout the 1970's...
MOVIE ICONS USED SPORADICALLY LIST BY JAMES M. TATE
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2 comments:

  1. Love this post! All of these are from my favorite films. All except SLAP SHOT, which being a hateful anti-hockey person I have never wanted to see. I'm not much of a sports movie fan either, so that would be doubling down on the "Not to Watch" list (and FIELD OF DREAMS with Kevin Costner playing catch with his dad...sorry yawn, my dad was my first baseball coach, played enough catch, thank you).

    Adding Bruce Boxleitner from TRON is a real smile-fest for me. More because, well, he's the MAN, in my favorite television show of all-time, BABYLON 5. Not bad in TRON, if you like that movie of course. Hey I loved the original video game!

    Great post Jim.

    ReplyDelete
  2. SLAP SHOT and FIELD OF DREAMS couldn't be more different. see SLAP SHOT. it's hilarious.

    ReplyDelete

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