Picking at the bloated carcass of geek culture...occasionally!!!

Monday’s “That Guy:” Jonathan Banks

In Movies, That Guys on September 1, 2009 at 12:06 am

Sorry about last week.  It was my first week off from my summer job and it didn’t dawn on me that it was Monday until it wasn’t anymore.  So I skipped last week but I have a doozy to make up for it.  This guy is the perfect guy to cast if you are looking for a world-weary, no bullshit, often grumpy, and probably sleep deprived son of a bitch.  Maybe an exhausted police detective who has no interest in the case, just in busting the balls of the protagnist.  Or perhaps an under appreciated henchman with a mean-spirited sense of humor.  For this type of role, you not only want, you need Jonathan Banks, my “that guy” of this week.

Everytime I see this guy in a movie, I feel like he wants to kick someone's ass but doesn't because it would involve too much energy.

Everytime I see this guy in a movie, I feel like he wants to kick someone's ass but doesn't because it would involve too much energy.

Like many people on this list, he seems to do the majority of his work on TV, getting guest star stints on pretty much everything.  I mean, this is why you feel like you recognize “that guys” in the first place.  You seem them everywhere but can’t put a finger on it.  Mr. Banks is no exception.  Many may know him from his role on Wiseguy, a rare regular role for him as Ken Wahl’s superior fan.  Besides that, however, he is on almost everything, yet no Law & Orders that I can see.  This doesn’t seem possible.  Maybe he accidentally ran over Dick Wolf’s dog.  Actually, replace “accidentally” with “repeatedly” and “dog” with “son.”  But now that we have that out of the way, let’s dig into some films.

First film that comes to mind is Beverly Hills Cop, which I watched today and inspired my choice for the week.  He played the evil lieutenant to the movie’s art dealer/smuggler/drug pusher main bad guy.  He was the dude whom executed Axel Foley’s friend and really set the movie in motion.  If only he had bothered to put a bullet in Pluto Nash’s head, he would have saved the entire 90210 from all kinds of banana-inspired hijinks.  He has a great scene where he gets thrown into a buffet by Eddie Murphy and has to finish the rest of the scene dripping with food.  There is no way to look cool in such a scenario but Banks never loses his pissed off intensity.

That’s the one I saw today, but here comes the kind of embarrassing part.  I was hard-pressed to remember him from my head from other projects.  He was so familiar; so recognizable I assumed I would recollect another film project.  When that didn’t happen, I cheated by checking imdb.com.  Would you believe, no really good memory jogs for me.  Sure, he was one of the cops in Gremlins, which I can now remember.  Or one of the evil henchman in the best forgotten Freejack.  And I kinda remember him as one of the corrupt cops in Dark Blue.  But this is a tough one for me to admit.  I really can’t expand much on how you know this guy.

So, this is awkward.  You might have come here to learn more about actors you might recognize and I have let you down.  I considered starting from scratch and picking someone else but A) it’s late, B) I’m tired, and C) maybe some people just need to remain “that guys.”  Their careers resist any easy clarification or explanation.  I mean, I can picture this guy playing a type of character, but it’s tricky to pin down the specifics.  So…maybe my failure is the best compliment I can give to Jonathan Banks.  Maybe he’s the best “that guy” so far.  Or maybe I just wasted your time.

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  1. Nope, that’s a great that guy. If that guy stumps the expert, then he is truly a new breed of “that guy”

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