Step Aside, Bruce McGill December 4, 2008Posted by Mike in Stephen Root, top fives.
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Your time has come and gone, and I’m declaring a new winner for Best That Guy Ever. Sure, much of this is due to the fact that in the space of an hour last night, I saw him guesting on Pushing Daisies as evil Dwight Dixon, then while flipping through channels saw him on HBO on TrueBlood as a gay vampire and get shot in the chest in “No Country for Old Men” and heard him voice Bill Dautrive on King of the Hill. Just by reading those roles, you know that today’s hero possesses one of the most overlooked qualities in today’s actor: the ability to act. Unlike the guys who basically play themselves in every movie (which we’ll get to in #3) below, our featured guest actually has the rare ability to create new characters for new roles. It’s almost… too simple, isn’t it?
Simply put, he’s unstoppable.
So we salute you, Stephen Root, the greatest That Guy of all time, with your five most memorable roles. Think I missed one? That’s adorable. Bite me.
5. Bonus fun fact: He was cut out of both “Anchorman” and “Kindergarten Cop”! What might have been. A true tragedy for American cinema.
4. Judge Hank “the Hangman” BMW, “Idiocracy”
Say you haven’t seen this movie? Then your shit’s all retarded. Remember: it’s got electrolytes, and that’s what plants crave.
“You shut up! Now… I am fixin’ to commensurate this trial here. We gonna see if we can’t come up with a verdict up in here.”
3. Gordon, “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story”
“Dodgeball” was a criminally underrated movie. You’ve got sports, a hot blonde girl, men beating up Girl Scouts, Vince Vaughn playing Double-Down Trent for the 40th time, and Ben Stiller playing one of the three characters he knows how to play – this being Evil Ben, in addition to “adorable dimwit” and “Derek Zoolander”. What more could you want? You take your “believable plot” and “realistic character development” – I’ll take Stephen Root portraying the mild-mannered obscure sports fan who has a murderous rage against his mail order bride. L for love!
“Since I’m here, I’m gonna go ahead and probably do some abs, gonna shock it up, gonna let it go.”
2. Milton Waddams, “Office Space”
Thought this was a slam dunk number one, didn’t you? Didn’t you?! Don’t get me wrong, Milton’s a classic. The Red Stapler, the anger at not getting a piece of cake, the constant abuse of what appears to be a mentally disabled person by the general community. It’s really the American dream!
“Sir? I’ll take my traveler’s checks to a competing resort. I could write a letter to your board of tourism and I could have this place condemned. I could put… I could put… strychnine in the guacamole.”
At number one… the greatest character from the most sadly underrated comedy of all time.
1. Jimmy James, NewsRadio
Jimmy James. Billionare. Eccentric. Ladies’ man. Macho Business Donkey Wrestler. Need an example of the greatness of Jimmy James? Listen to him explain to you the concept of advertising:
Not yet convinced? How about listening to him read from his autobiography… which was translated into Japanese… and back into English.
You know what? If you haven’t already seen NewsRadio, you’re hopeless. I can’t help you.
“Hell, I haven’t read a comic strip ever since I realized Beetle Bailey wasn’t actually going to shoot anybody.”
“Glorious sunset of my heart was fading. Soon the super karate monkey death car would park in my space. But Jimmy has fancy plans, and pants to match.”
Jimmy: I wanted a house just like Xanadu, but without a dorky name.
Lisa: So what did you call it?
Jimmy: Fort Awesome.
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We all love action movies from the past few decades, but some of the best lines and characters are around the edges – mostly there to give a couple of one liners and then die in some horrific fashion. The more times you watch these movies, the more you recognize and care about the guys who ultimately end up in a bloody pile or have been forgotten about at the end of the movie. So without further ado, our lists of the top five minor characters in 80s/90s action movies.
5) Benny (Total Recall)
Profession: Cab Driver
Rules Because: Have to love the fast talking mutant Martian cab driver who you know ultimately sells out Arnold and then of course gets impaled by Mr. Governor for his services. Plus, how can you fault a character who takes Arnie to his fateful meeting with the three boob chick?
Memorable Quote: “Baby, you make me wish I had three hands.”
4) Cooke (Commando)
Profession: Mercenary Bad Ass
Rules Because: The dude who plays Cooke is one of those random actors that you recognize in every movie, and can never remember what you have seen him in. Thankfully in Commando, he gets to steal some sweet one liners from Arnold and ultimately fights Arnie to the death in a hotel room. Arnold never told him he was going to kill him last, so he didn’t have to lie. (Yes, I know that picture is of him from Predator, so go fuck yourself – it’s the best I could find, and it’s basically the same movie anyway.)
Memorable Quote: “You know what I like best about this car? The price.”
3) Harry Ellis (Die Hard)
Profession: Investment Banking Cokehead
Rules Because: No 80s movie is complete without the yuppie cokehead douchebag, babe. He is like Dennis Miller without the overly complicated self satisfied jokes. Too bad Hans saw through his schtick and shot him in the face while he was drinking a Coke.
Memorable Quote: “Hey babe, I negotiate million dollar deals for breakfast. I think I can handle this Eurotrash.”
2) Captain Koons (Pulp Fiction)
Profession: Being John McCain, but cooler and less insane
Rules Because: Listen, if you need someone to talk about carrying a watch up one’s ass, of course the first person you go to is Christopher Walken. Actually if I ever make a movie, I’m casting Walken as every character.
Memorable Quote: “The way your dad looked at it, this watch was your birthright. He’d be damned if any slopes gonna put their greasy yellow hands on his boy’s birthright, so he hid it, in the one place he knew he could hide something: his ass. Five long years, he wore this watch up his ass. Then when he died of dysentery, he gave me the watch. I hid this uncomfortable piece of metal up my ass for two years. Then, after seven years, I was sent home to my family. And now, little man, I give the watch to you.”
1) Blain (Predator)
Profession: Most Awesome Person Ever Born…err..or some Army dude.
Rules Because: He might have the best lines in the movie and he carries a mini gun. If you don’t agree, then you are probably a slack jawed faggot.
Memorable Quote: “I ain’t got time to bleed.”
5) Harry Temple (Speed)
Profession: SWAT Explosives Expert
Rules Because: Here’s the thing. Speed came out at just about the same time as Dumb & Dumber, and in each movie, Jeff Daniels played a guy named “Harry”. Tell me that every time Daniels spoke in Speed, no matter how brave his character was, you didn’t see him as the dog-grooming idiot from D&D? When he realizes the house is rigged with explosives and he’s about to die (above), they really should have just let him wear the powder blue ruffled suit.
Memorable Quote: “You shot me, I can’t believe it. They’re giving you a medal for shooting me, you little prick!”
4) Iceman (Top Gun)
Profession: Fighter Pilot, Awesome 80s Aviator Sunglasses-Wearer
Rules Because: He thinks Tom Cruise is an insufferable douchebag, and I can get behind that. Also, he was the one who cut off Maverick, causing Maverick and Goose to fall into a dead spin, and indirectly leading to Goose’s death. Why does this rule? Because fuck Goose, that’s why. Plus, come on – the ridiculous “click my teeth in defiance at you” move.
Memorable Quote: While Maverick is explaining that during his manuever he was inverted, Iceman coughs, “bullshit!”
3) Miles Dyson (Terminator 2)
Profession: Inventor of Skynet
Rules Because: Ostensibly a “good guy”, he’s responsible for the deaths of about three billion people on Judgement Day, and then for good measure blows up a building full of cops on his way out. Truly, history’s greatest monster.
Memorable Quote: Ahh-heh… ahh-heh… ahh-heh… ahh-heh… ahh… heh… ahh….. heh… ah… *boom*
2) Marvin (Pulp Fiction)
Profession: Small-time Crook, Bullet Magnet
Rules Because: It’s really less about anything Marvin does, than what he sets up for other characters. Really, Marvin does two things in the entire movie: his only line of “it’s over there” sets up Jules for one of his best lines, “I DON’T REMEMBER ASKING YOU A GOD-DAMN THING!”. Then, of course, he get his head blown off, which leads to Jimmy asking if his house has a sign that says “Dead Nigger Storage!” Marvin gets so much from so little.
Memorable Quote: Not by Marvin, but by Vincent Vega: “Oh man… I shot Marvin in the face.”
Bonus: Phil LaMarr, who played Marvin, is the voice of Hermes Conrad on Futurama. My manwich!
1) Theo (Die Hard)
Profession: Terrorist Computer Expert
Rules Because: Not only is he a terrorist, he’s a sarcastic asshole who seems to generally enjoy being a terrorist. He cracks jokes (see “The quarterback is toast!” after his cohorts bomb the police armored car) and there’s also an incredibly subtle moment that’s really easy to miss: after Hans repeatedly asked Mr. Takagi for the computer codes to no avail and ended up shooting him in the face, you can see Karl (the tall blonde terrorist) looking disappointed and slapping a $20 in Theo’s palm. They bet on whether Hans would shoot someone in the face! Now that‘s badass.
Memorable Quote: “Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring… except for the four assholes coming in the rear in standard two-by-two cover formation.”
Bonus: Do you like Die Hard? Do you like football? Well, why don’t you click here to see the stupidest yet greatest thing the Internet has ever vomited up. Make sure you have the audio on.