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Archive for the ‘That Guys’ Category

Wednesday’s “That Guy:” Maury Chaykin

In Movies, That Guys on July 29, 2010 at 12:08 am

I haven’t done one of these in a while and I know it’s not Monday, but I was I had heard that Maury Chaykin had passed away and it made me wonder why I had never hit on him before in my “that guy” analysis. Who is Maury Chaykin? This is:

Where to start with this legend? Well for me, there is only one. “Mr. Potato Head, Mr. Potato Head! Backdoors are not secrets!” his amazing line reading from WarGames is maybe my #1 referenced line that no one ever gets. Playing Matthew Broderick’s tech savy pal, his rage-filled scolding of Eddie Deezen is legendary. It demonstrates one of his best and most effective talents: bringing the anger quickly and dangerously with little to no provocation. Maury Chaykin seemed just, plain pissed off all the time and when he brought the rage, he was one of the most intimidating performers around. Not because of the threat of danger the anger signaled, but the anger itself had this palpable power.

He brought a sense of no-nonsense menace to many roles. He was a common criminal after Danny Devito in Twins. He was the kinda sketchy, sweating army officer in Dances with Wolves. Hell, when he was defending his grits in My Cousin Vinny, I expecting him crush with Joe Pesci with his inherent hostility. He would appear all the time and just knock it out of the park everytime.

A few years ago, I remember having the role of some movie producer on the show Entourage and being glad to see him returning to form as the overweight yet screamingly hostile badass you would never, ever want to cross. It was an excellent return to form for him and I just wanted to acknowledge the passing of a great that might not have gotten a ton of attention.

P.S: You know what my favorite part of about Entourage? Adrien Grenier plays Vincent Chase, a somewhat spoiled movie star. So, Adrien and Vince basically have the same job, actors. And they share the same face and body, right? So how come one of them (Vince) is a movie star and one of them (Adrien) is a would-be movie star playing a movie star on a TV show. Adrien Grenier gets paid , and I’m sure paid very well, to be a more successful version of himself on TV. I think that is awesome.

Also, for your entertainment:

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Monday’s “That Guy:” Peter Greene

In Movies, That Guys on April 13, 2010 at 1:20 am

The other day I was watching the new Timothy Olyphant cop show, Justified. In the opening scene, Olyphant’s U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens has a showdown with a Miami crime boss. This scene, which is great, really sets the tone for the whole show. This two actor scene needs someone who can bring the intensity to match Olyphant (whose intensity is already legendary to you Deadwood fans. Anyway, who was the actor but Peter Greene. Greene isn’t maybe the best known, but I always find his performances mesmerizing. He has this sheer natural talent; this completely natural delivery that makes me upset that he isn’t more well known. The man may be a little limited, at least in what I’ve seen, in the roles he can play. He has criminal lowlife down so well, however, he should be in every crime movie. Let’s look at what Peter Greene, my “that guy” for the week, has done. I’m sure you will agree with me soon.

The first time I ever saw Greene was in a small movie called Laws of Gravity about some small time Brooklyn hoods whom get in over their heads. The acting, simply stated, is phenomenal. Greene was one of the leads and, after just a few scenes, I wanted to see more this guy. The movie is so gritty, it almost hurts to watch. It portrays a world I don’t want to live in. Hell, I have a hard time even visiting. I’m not sure if this movie is even available and I’ve only ever met a few lucky people who ever saw it. Anyway, this movie put Peter Greene on my map.

Zed's afternoon takes a turn for the...well...just terrible.

He had a string of very strong roles in the 90’s. To start, he was the immortal Zed in Pulp Fiction. He brings such a creepy, yet believable vibe to that role. Why he has never appeared in another Tarantino film is beyond me. Besides that, he was Redfoot from The Usual Suspects. Again, playing a fence was right in his wheelhouse and when he flicks a real lit cigarette at Stephen Baldwin’s eye…what else can you say? Finally, he was the main villain in Jim Carey’s The Mask, bringing a well-realized reality to a movie that had no need of it. It seemed like Peter Greene’s star was on the rise at the end of the last century.

And then he kind of disappeared. He had some roles, for sure, like in Blue Streak . He showed up briefly in Training Day and had a role on the short-lived Black Donnellys, but his exposure has been very low. I’ve heard rumors of personal problems and maybe that contributed to me not seeing a lot of him. Whatever the reason, I think we all need some more Peter Greene in our lives. I hope his brief but important part in Justifiedmeans I’ll be seeing more of him soon.

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.”

Monday’s “That Guy:” Ewen Bremner

In Movies, That Guys on January 19, 2010 at 1:28 am

Ah, Monday again.  When picking someone to write about, I usually look for someone I have seen recently on TV or a movie who has reminded me of his or her existence.  Usually, this works well for me, due to the large number of random films, flicks, and movies I tend to take in on a regular basis.  Recently, however, this has not been the case.  Why?  Working hard, maybe?  Getting a lot of reading done?  Finally getting to work around the house?  Screenplay that’s been sitting on a shelf for half a decade?  Um…no.  How about a combination of video games and British spy thriller TV shows (or show, actually).  My replaying of Dragon Age and viewing of MI-5 have been my source of entertainment for a couple weeks now and that doesn’t give me much access to random “that guys” to write about.  Then, upon watching a new episode of MI-5, I recognized this Monday’s “That Guy,” Ewen Bremmer, and I knew I was in luck.

Ewen Bremner entered my consciousness, along with a lot of other people’s, in Trainspotting as the one of the main characters, Spud.  The first thing you will notice about this dude is that he majorly Scottish.  Not one of those Scottish, LOTR dwarfesque, parodies of Scottish accents accents, but the real kind where you rarely have any idea of what he is saying and almost believe he doesn’t either.  Bremner’s accent is so spectacular to listen to, even if I tend to have a difficult time understanding what is being said from time to time.  What can I say?  I’m American and have a particularly bad ear for language, even when I’m listening to the language I speak.  The other great thing about Bremner is that he has an amazingly, one-of-a-kind faces.  The dimensions of his grill are off-the-chart nutty.  I’m not sure you could recreate it with all the sliders from Fallout 3, Elder Scrolls IV:Oblivion, and Mass Effect combined.  I could call him ugly, but ugliness still exists on the human plane of experience.  His face is outright otherworldly.  So weird it kind of becomes good looking again.

I never knew heads came in that shape. God Bless the United Kingdom for constantly redefining facial characteristic expectations.

I then started seeing Ewen Bremner a lot during the end of last decade and in the early ’00’s.  He became a common face (if such a thing were possible for him) in military movies, appearing in the Pearl Harbor and Blackhawk Down, both times playing the likeable and sweetly goofy “aw shucks” American soldier in both movies.  He was also in the completely underrated and extremely entertaining action movie, The Rundown. He played Declan, one of my favorite movie stereotypes of all time: the wild, plays-by-his-own rules, pilot whom flies the protagonist to wild locations in a beat-up, outdated airplane.  I have NEVER run into one of these people in real-life, but they are a growth industry in the movies.

As of today, Bremner is still getting tons of work.  He was in AVP: Alien vs. Predator, the movie with the most honest tagline ever: Whoever wins, we lose.  I lost time from my life and the suffered the loss of not one, but two beloved franchises.  He was  in Match Point, which has been a splendid movie for seeing many of my favorite new British actors.  He has been in tons of TV, both British and American.  But he has not been in as movies as I was expecting him to be in based on his early appearances, and that is a problem.

Why?  Because in addition to his modern-art-masterpiece mug, he is extremely charismatic.  He always has me rooting for him, hoping things will go his way.  He seems like a fun guy; a good guy to hang out with.  This is his value as a “that guy.”  He doesn’t need a lot of backstory or exposition to get the audience to go along with him.  He can do a lot with a little, whether it be screen time or script.  Ewen Bremner is an excellent “that guy” that I hope we continue to see excellent work from.

Monday’s “That Guy:” Titus Welliver

In Movies, That Guys on January 12, 2010 at 2:15 am

Another Monday, another “that guy.”  I usually try to write this column with my small audience in mind; trying to find familiar faces that most people will recognize.  This week’s “that guy” is a little different, however.  While he has plenty of TV and movie appearances, he is more of a “that guy” of the future.  He is someone to keep an eye out for in the future if you don’t know him yet.  I feel like you will.  His name is Titus Welliver and he is my “that guy” of the week.

While the show took place in the 19th century, I assume Titus Welliver looks like this all the time.

Titus Welliver first appeared on my radar for his role of Silas Adams on Deadwood.  He was perfect for the role, displaying a sweet beard and a face that seems to belong in a different time.  You know what I mean?  When you look at photographs from the Civil War or from a 1950’s yearbook, you see faces that almost could not exist in our time.  Titus has a face like that.  Shit, even his name makes him sound like a Confederate general.  Anyway, Welliver played a lackey to Ian McShane’s Al Swearenegen, a competent lieutenant just a bit smarter and more capable than his peers.  I don’t know why, exactly, but I found myself rooting for him in his often immoral wheelings and dealings in the old mine town, hoping for things to go his way.  When that great show came to an end, I was sad to see it go but relieved Welliver’s Silas made it out in one piece.  I looked forward to seeing him soon, confident in his ability to be a great “that guy.”

So far, Titus has not let me down.  He showed up in a pretty minor role in Gone Baby Gone, as the brother to Amy Ryan’s victimized mother.  I was really happy to see him and he brought a lot of gravity to his role, breathing an excellent sense of conflict and disappointment into very flawed character.  He did quite a bit with a pretty little amount of screen time.

His character on Lost is called "The Man in Black." He must have some balls to take that name and not be Johnny Cash.

But since then, Welliver has returned to small roles on the small screen.  A Supernatural here, playing a Horseman of the Apocolypse, or a couple episodes of Life there.  The usual amount of guest star roles that pay a character actor’s mortgage.  But I feel like we will be seeing a lot more of this guy.  He’s got a ton of potential for a “that guy” and I’m giving you all an opportunity to get on board.  Why such confidence?  Well, one of his latest TV roles was the mysterious “Man in Black” on Lost. This character is a mysterious newcomer on the show whom I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of.  I feel like he’s going to be something pretty cool on the last season of that uneven but ambitious show, and I will be these to see what Titus Welliver does.

Monday’s “That Guy:” Brion James

In Movies, That Guys on January 4, 2010 at 10:44 pm

Well, a new year and another birthday in the books.  It is during this time of year I tend to get a little nostalgic.  On this Monday, I found myself thinking of “that guys” from my childhood that are now gone.  Specifically, I thought of this week’s “that guy,” Brion James.  He was a talent so unique, that I wonder how future generations will get by without someone like him in their movies.  There are two silver linings to this, however.  One, is that films will be around long after all of us are gone, creating immortal film icons that never die.  The other is that Brion James and other “that guys” like him will continue to surprise us for years, appearing in films we forget existed while we flip through cable.  This happened to me the other day, while watching Silverado.  Brion James came on the screen and I thought: “Damn, I forgot that guy was in this movie.”  It was weird, because Brion James is not the kind of guy your forget.

Brion James, even years later, was wondering what a tortoise is.

Brion James is probably best known as Leon from Blade Runner. In the first scene in the movie, his terrifying psych evaluation stands as one of the most memorable parts of an extremely memorable movie.  James’ performance is the main reason for this.  With his insane eyes, unstable behavior, and threatening physicality, the audience was just waiting for something terrible to happen.  And it did, of course.  Brion James entered my consciousness at an early age and I always been disturbed by what he does as an actor.

You might also remember James from a ton of other movies through the 80’s.  He was a regular in tons of genre flicks, often as an unhinged, crazy-looking, sadistic heavy ready to kill without provocation.  I remember that in Tango & Cash, he played this part quite effectively, despite a weird British/Australian accent and bizarre ponytail.  But he had a physical presence and those scary, scary eyes.  He always stuck out in every flick he was in, be they terrible or really terrible.  In Steel Dawn or Red Scorpion, if Brion James was on the screen, you couldn’t pay attention to anything else.

In the 90’s, James made a few turns that were a bit lighter.  He was one of those grizzled sailors in Chris Elliot’s Cabin Boy, a film that everyone should see just so I can be sure I didn’t only imagine something so bizarre existed.  He was also in The Fifth Element as kind of a comic-relief role as a soldier recruiting Bruce Willis for that one last mission.  He gets frozen comically in a refrigerator and you’re supposed to laugh when you see him emerge from the freezer with icicles and so on, but I swear being terrified of what he was going to do to Corbin Dallas.  Like, “that’s Leon, you idiot!  He’s going to kill you!”

I remember when Brion James died in the late 90’s.  I heard about it and thought to myself, “who?”  Then I saw his picture and thought “Oh, that guy.”  There can be no more fitting memory for someone of his talent.

Monday’s “That Guy:” Bob Gunton

In Movies, That Guys on December 29, 2009 at 3:03 am

I am back on the job.  In case you were wondering, I spent the last five months or so student teaching to finish getting my degree in teaching.  Now that I am finished, I can get back to doing this on a daily basis.  So…here we go.

I start back with a nice solid choice in terms of “that guys.”  I was watching cable recently and I saw this guy twice.  One of the movies I was watching was Demolition Man, the Sly Stallone, Wesley Snipes, Sandra Bullock, Benjamin Bratt, Rob Snyder, Dennis Leary sci-fi action movie from the early 90’s.  As you may remember, it was shitty as hell and features the guy who played Otho in Beetlejuice (Glenn Shadix)  Actually, I just read that Shadix was neighbors with Xander Berkley in the 80’s.  How about that?  Oh, the other movie was Broken Arrow, the movie when John Woo decided to show how much he counted on the natural charisma of Chow Yon Fat by depending on Christian Slater and John Travolta to support this turd.  So what do these films have in common?  You mean, besides being awful movies that I spent precious moments of my finite life watching?  Well, they both feature this week’s “That Guy,” Bob Gunton.

This is a picture taken from his role on 24. I don't watch that show because I never got over the Season 2 Mountain Lion Fiasco. Someone tell me if he's good on it.

Bob Gunton, like many character actors, makes his career by television.  He has the usual ton of TV appearances that obviously allow him to make his living as an actor.  But in Demolition Man, he plays the chief of police in the Utopian future, a enormous square dweeb who does not approve of Stallone’s John Spartan, a hardass cop from the 90’s thawed out from deep freeze to pursue the super criminal, Snipes’ Simon Phoenix, as he tears apart a future society unprepared for such lawlessness.  Did I mention this movie is pretty awful?  Anyway, Gunton really sells this thankless part, seeming to genuinely be a guy from a naive and clueless society unused to any criminal activity.  In Broken Arrow, he plays a square, dweebish guy who is financially supporting the nuclear-warhead heist masterminded by Travolta’s Vic Deakins.  As soon as he walks on screen with his arrogant demeanor and whiny sense of entitlement, you know that Travolta is going to kill him.  It’s just that kind of character.  Again, Gunton brings his all to this shitty-ass role in this shitty-ass movie, though it probably isn’t too hard a job to play a character whose sole job is to question if John Travolta is the right guy to be in charge.

And this is kind of the types of roles that Gunton plays.  Squares, nerds, creeps, etc.  He does, however, have one performance that is so excellent, so iconic, so freaking pitch perfect that it outshines all the rest of his work.  Gunton played the warden from The Shawshank Redemption. Warden Norton is one of those characters that really earns the hate you feel for him.  At first he appears to be an authoritative asshole; a potentially shallow stereotype of what one imagines a warden would be.  But as we are exposed to this dude, his malicious and selfish evil becomes apparent, bubbling under a veneer of law and order.  His hypocritical and criminal behavior continues through the movie, whipping the audience into a rabid frenzy.  Even the non-religious of us find ourselves hoping and praying that horrible things happen to this character.  And our prayers are answered, my friends, setting up one of the most satisfying movie endings that I have ever seen.  And I think a lot of this is due to Bob Gunton’s pitch perfect playing of that warden role.  His icy voice, dead stare, and ability to be madly obtuse create an antagonist you really need to get defeated in the end.

So, Bob Gunton is not a perfect “that guy.”  Despite his many film and TV appearances and his extremely recognizability, to many people he will always be “the warden in Shawshank.  Always.  But, if you are not a big Shawshank guy, he works fine.  And, if you had been watching Broken Arrow with me a few weeks ago, you might have said “Hey, its that guy from Demolition Man.” But for that to have happened, you would have to have watched Demolition Man with me the week before.  And if you are that type of person, then God have mercy on you soul.

Monday’s “That Guy:” Pruitt Taylor Vince

In Movies, That Guys on September 22, 2009 at 12:00 am

I know, I know.  I often bring up actors in this section whom have excelled at playing a certain type of character to a rare art form.  I feel like I have often showcased actors with the specific gift to play a certain type better than anyone.  Today, I feel like my “that guy” this week brings that to a whole new level.  Why?  Because his type involves a specific disorder, nystagmus.  This causes one’s eyes to move involuntarily and often very quickly.  Could this be a disturbing trait in a certain type of character?  Absolutely.  Does Pruitt Taylor Vince, the “that guy” of this week use this quirk to amazing effect?  Well, he wouldn’t be in this column if he didn’t.

A still picture really doesn't do this guy justice.  His prescence inspires an amazing mix of emotion.

A still picture really doesn't do this guy justice. His prescence inspires an amazing mix of emotion.

First of all, I hate to sum up an actor’s entire ability into a neurological eye twitch.  He is an excellent actor with intense facial features and an intimidatingly lumbering physical quality that works amazingly.  I remember when I first saw him in Jacob’s Ladder.  He gives this really weird, dark grin right before the car he is in explodes.  I remember it being really chilling and one of the most memorable moments in a film filled with nightmarish images.

I also remember him from the cheesy thriller Identity where he plays the schizophrenic serial killer very effectively.  Watching his eyes dart around creates a tangible sense of imbalance.  The performance never feels gimmicky despite being in a movie that is actually all gimmick.

Vince was a regular on Deadwood, creating a special place for him in my heart forever right next to actors whom worked on The Wire, You hear that Dominic West!  You’ll never lose my affection, despite your many attempts to do so.  Also, Deadwood is the best counter that people in the past were not as dirty as they are often portrayed, Zach.

Oh, back to Pruitt Taylor Vince.  Sorry, “that guy.”  My inability to blog everyday is causing all my geek wires to cross and muddy the process of these posts.  I apologize for marring your time to shine, Pruitt.  The last movie I will mention is one that has gotten a lot of attention on this blog, Constantine. His portrayal as Consteanu’s priest ally, combined with Tilda Swinton’s Gabriel, makes me wish I could watch that movie again with them as the main stars.  I guess my fan fic will have to be enough…for now.

So, I recommend you check out Pruitt Taylor Vince and his amazing eyes at your earliest convenience.  You’ll be amazed to what he brings to any table.

Monday’s “That Guy:” David Paymer

In Movies, That Guys on September 14, 2009 at 10:23 pm

I apologize again for the slowdown in productivity on this blog in general and this category in particular.  I will be attempting to get back near my daily output but only time will tell if I will be successful in that pursuit.  This week’s “that guy” is an excellent choice, if I do say so myself.  After getting killed by Jonathan Banks a few weeks ago, I’ve been feeling down in the dumps about my ability to bring any insight into this topic.  I mean, I found myself struggling to remember Bill Paxton’s name the other day.  That’s when I knew I had hit rock bottom.  So, besides my student teaching, I have been hitting the obscure films from my past regimen.  I just finished a Dabney Coleman doubleheader, for instance, with The Man with One Red Shoe and Cloak & Dagger.  But this all has nothing to do with my choice for this week.  This week came to mind as I was bouncing actors off of projects, linking Michael Rooker from Tombstone to Michael Rooker in Slither to Gregg Henry in Slither to Gregg Henry in Payback to my “that guy” from Payback, David Paymer.

I would pay money to see this guy as an action movie star.  How transcendingly awesome would that be?

I would pay money to see this guy as an action movie star. How transcendingly awesome would that be?

Paymer is excellent at being some version of the same character.  First of all, he is the embodiment of the neurotic east coast Jewish cliche.  I can think of no one, Woody Allen included, that does it better.  He seems to excel in these roles, however, adding a degree of depth that a lesser actor would easily not include.  I do find that this is the one element he has never even attempted to take out of his roles.  He is typecast by his sheer natural talent for it.

Other elements of his work are more interchangeable, however.  First he does smart and competent pretty well.  The first thing I remember him from, City Slickers, allows him to very believably show himself as a success.  In Redbelt, as well, he comes across as the kind of guy in the know.  Someone who knows the rules of getting by by keeping his head down, not pissing off the wrong guy, and backing the right person.  Whether in Nixon, Amistad, City Hall, or The American President, he is the type of guy working behind the scenes, reacting as things bigger than him continue to happen.

Paymer also does pathetic very well.  The best example I can think of his role in Payback as the small timer continually getting between Mel Gibson’s Porter and a series of dangerous, motivated people.  A true bottom feeder, his role of Arthur in that movie is so sleazily pitiful that he really makes that movie for me in every scene he finds himself in.  Or, in Mr. Saturday Night, he seems so sad as the guy keeping the wheels on the cart as his brother steals his spotlight.  Or how about in Ocean’s Thirteen, when he is the neurotic (what a surprise) hotel reviewer whom gets abused by the gang to give Pacino’s (Whooa, I own a casino) place a shitty review.  He just seems so horribly uncomfortable and utterly powerless to escape the torment.  He does it so well.

So, like one of those excellent journeyman “that guys,” David Paymer does a very narrow type of acting really better than anyone.  I look forward to seeing him do what he does so well in the near future.  With the depth of his work, I know I will not be waiting long.

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.