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

Monday’s “That Guy:” Mike Starr

In Movies, That Guys on January 26, 2010 at 2:10 am

Today’s “that guy” is such an excellent pick, I’m ashamed he wasn’t my idea. This one comes from my sister-in-law. I usually am reluctant to use other people’s “that guy” picks; not because they are not good ideas but because I am afraid I cannot do the recommendation justice. But this week’s lucky guy, Mike Starr, is not only amazingly prolific, instantly recognizable, and a part of some of my favorite films, he was in a work of entertainment I have seen recently. This perfect storm of factors make him the perfect “that guy” for this week. I’m just ashamed it took me this long to get to him. I blame it on the distraction of working on my recent Senate election.

Maybe he's so happy because he is one of the few, besides American Gladiator commentators, that can pull of the T-shirt/sportscoat combo.

I saw Mike Starr recently on an episode of The Office and, as usual, I was glad to see him. A very talented comedic actor, Starr brought something much more to the role of the sales person mistaken for a mafia wiseguy. He brought a level of violent physicality; a touch of dangerous menace that made accented the humor perfectly. This is what Mike Starr does in almost anything he does. Be it drama or comedy, Mike Starr never seems like someone to be trifled with. Why? Well, for starters, he’s an enormous ogre of man. Besides being built like a bull, his face has an amazing capacity for expressing the full spectrum of anger, from the annoyance of a chronic curmudgeon to the roaring rage of a berserker. But, I don’t know, big and angry just doesn’t do justice to this guy. Let’s take a look at just a few of his many great roles.

Well, for one, he’s in Goodfellas in a pretty minor role as the inside man on the Lufthansa heist. While not an enormous opportunity to reveal his talents, when your “that guy” is in one of the best, most rewatchable films ever, it needs mentioning. That same year, he was also in one of my favorite movies of all times, Miller’s Crossing, as the dumb goon Frankie. While also a relatively small role, he is a huge part of one of the best scenes of all times and his body language and line delivery make it something special. It involves Gabriel Byrne hitting him with a chair and it’s pretty fantastic. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, get up and go rent that movie right now. Seriously, stop reading this and get on that immediately.

Okay, so what next? It’s hard to decide. He has been in so much stuff for TV and film, both good and not so good, that I am hard-pressed to narrow it down to just a few. For me, though, it has to be his part in Dumb and Dumber. He is the hitman whom, with an oddly cast Karen Duffy, are charged with killing our mentally challenged protagonists. Unfortunately for him, he is killed due to an accident involving the medication for his poor health and a prank-gone-wrong. For all his many roles, I can’t tell why this is the one that comes to mind.

So, I want the rest of you to figure out your favorite Mike Starr moments. I’m sure, with a resume as long as his, many of you have many of your own favorites. Please, let me know so we can do justice to this excellent “that guy.”

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