Friday, September 13, 2013

Scene Stealers

My wife and I were watching a program last night where a contestant looked a lot like the character, Brenda from Adventures in Babysitting and that got me to thinking. There are a lot of great characters out there that chew scenery. Some are linchpins for their respective film and others are just bit parts but they leave you wanting more even though they're not the central character. Here are just a few of my favorites.

Penelope Ann Miller - Adventures in Babysitting
Brenda is definitely the linchpin for this film since she's the catalyst for everything. We just get snippets of her stumbling about and having an altogether awful time while the protagonists make their way to her.

Val Kilmer - Tombstone
Kilmer's Doc Holiday really chews the scenery and dominates whenever he's on camera. He balances recklessness with an eerie sense of calm. The film is about the Earps but you want to watch Holiday.

Sam Rockwell - Galaxy Quest
Rockwell is great in everything he does and you almost always get a sense that he didn't get the memo that he wasn't the star of the film. Perhaps it's a bit overacted but in the context of the film I think it works. Like Brenda, Guy is the linchpin in that he reminds us that they're not space travelers. While the rest of the characters handle their situation as if it's something that happens to them on a regular basis, Guy is clearly on the verge of a nervous breakdown as any normal person would be. Good on him.

Veronica Cartwright - Witches of Eastwick
Here's another character that like Rockwell's Guy, seems to be the starting point for writing. It's almost as if the film was written for the character. Cartwright nails the lack of dignity and insanity while being the only rational character in the film besides Nicholson.

Christopher Walken - Joe Dirt
I swear this part was written just so they could have Walken in their film. It's almost as if they just handed him a mop and said, "Walk around and do whatever you feel like doing. From the looks of it, that's exactly what they did. That being said, his character is so great, I'd watch Joe Dirt just to see it.