Name your Institution here

Discuss all the finest actors, living or dead -- their films, their talents, and their weird, drug-related escapades.

Name your Institution here

Postby Doc Holliday on Mon Jan 16, 2006 6:09 am

The non-beautiful people, character actors, household names, Institutions - call them what you will, this underclass of actor has been underpinning film since the 20th century began. Now's your chance to separate them out from their peers and celebrate their work!!

If you find yourself naming the Tom Cruises of this world, you've missed the point. Likewise the Patrick Swayze's - he DID make it, once upon a time - no matter how much he frittered his chance away (kudos for Donnie Darko though)

.....the idea is whoever you name, they should have a sense of having made it, without ever really making it. They will amost certainly be universally accepted in film-lovers circles as not just good but great at their craft...but for whatever reason (physical appearance/laziness/poor choice of film at a formative time in their career and so on) they never broke through to "A" status or leading man.

So no, no Gene Hackmans either. Philip Seymour Hoffman was on course - until Capote. his old running buddy John C Reilly fits the bill. McGinley definitely - and no, Scrubs doesn't ruin his application "Taking time out from the phone not ringing to star in a sitcom/made for TV movie" is practically a prequisite. There is even a case to be made for someone of The Guz's stature to be included - listen, I think The Guz is cool as hell....but whose phone will be ringing off the hook when the next big role (tm) gets cast? Eggs-ackly.

So enough already. I'll start - Brian Dennehy. For those who don't recognise the name, the man was a stalwart - particularly of any formulaic movie made between 1980 and 1992. An absolutely enormous man, he can now be found slumming it in "Jack Reed 45: Badge of LiverSpots". And despite starring against so many big big names (and often acting them off the screen too - Presumed Innocent anyone?) it will perhaps be his oft-reprised divorced, haunted cop persona for which he will most be recognised. Got an old wooden desk, with a bottle of Jim Beam in one draw, badge and gun another, and a faded picture of your son/daughter (folded over to conceal the ex-wife)....then Dennehy was and still IS your man.

Check his filmography out and then let me know your favourite Institution of the modern day big screen.....
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Postby Seppuku on Mon Jan 16, 2006 6:15 am

Shady Acres.
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Postby Seppuku on Mon Jan 16, 2006 6:24 am

William Katt. After a sweeping early start, being featured in Carrie, and then later staring in the wonderful Big Wednesday (that's some purty water), he ended up being resigned to the TV Bin, with his appearances in Perry Mason and any number of TV movies. There was a moment though when it looked like all three leads of Big Wednesday were going to become institutions, and who'd have figured it would be Gary Busey who'd go on to have the most fame, even though he too would probably qualify for this thread.
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Postby Doc Holliday on Mon Jan 16, 2006 6:36 am

seppukudkurosawa wrote:William Katt. After a sweeping early start, being featured in Carrie, and then later staring in the wonderful Big Wednesday (that's some purty water), he ended up being resigned to the TV Bin, with his appearances in Perry Mason and any number of TV movies. There was a moment though when it looked like all three leads of Big Wednesday were going to become institutions, and who'd have figured it would be Gary Busey who'd go on to have the most fame, even though he too would probably qualify for this thread.


Good Call! Was it HOUSE 2 I'm remembering him from? Worth it for the Zombie Nam Vet if nothing else....kudos for getting one of the Capitaine's of the genre in so quickly - Gary Busey! Silver Bullet was his finest hour heh heh heh
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Postby wharto on Mon Jan 16, 2006 6:42 am

Brian Dennehy is an absolute legend.
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Postby Seppuku on Mon Jan 16, 2006 6:49 am

Katt was the star of the original House, which is still a solid film, and I'm sure he was in one of the sequels. All I remember from it is that he was killed off in the first ten minutes or so. Man it's been some years since I caught the House movies, I might have to have a Vietnam Vet film screening soon (in my living room of course), and include House amongst the venerable likes of First Blood, The Park is Mine and Rolling Thunder.
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Postby Seppuku on Mon Jan 16, 2006 6:52 am

Just thought of another actor who makes the grade, Bruce Mcgill. Damn institution that man, his career plays out pretty similiarly to Denehy's actually.
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Postby ThisIsTheGirl on Mon Jan 16, 2006 7:17 am

I love Gary Busey!

I nominate Treat Williams
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Mon Jan 16, 2006 7:29 am

I hereby give this thread the Phantom Zone Seal of Approval!.

Brad Dourif...cocksuckers!

Linda Hunt.

Michael Ironside.
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Postby Tubbs Tattsyrup on Mon Jan 16, 2006 8:38 am

Jeffrey Combs.

Love the guy, love the guy. Been in some cult horror movies, and had recurring roles on various Star Trek series. He fit the bill?
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Postby Doc Holliday on Mon Jan 16, 2006 8:53 am

Tubbs Tattsyrup wrote:Jeffrey Combs.

Love the guy, love the guy. Been in some cult horror movies, and had recurring roles on various Star Trek series. He fit the bill?


Nice one dudes - you're all hitting the spot! Jeffrey Combs - perfect. Even if he'd stopped at Re-Animator 2 he'd be a shoe-in IMO. Still remember getting all excited about his cameo in FORTRESS. At the time it felt like the first movie he'd done since Bride of Reanimator, which itself had felt like 8 years earlier (both these facts are disproved wholly by IDMB...but hey, perception...reality).

To his credit - and in the fine tradition of this thread...he'd been on screen over a minute before I realised it was him...and I was actively looking out for him!.. That dude has a killer sense of humour...there's just been too many one-liners and quizzical eyebrows for it all to have been his many, many directors alone.

Last I saw him in was that Geoffrey Rush House on Haunted Hill I think (?) - but laughed when I saw "Hammerhead: Shark Frenzy" on his filmography (2005). He's billed as Dr Preston Kent - I'd like to think he appears briefly in Act I for expo reasons and gruesomely fails to make it beyond Act II - anyone watched this little unsung "classic?"
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Postby buster00 on Mon Jan 16, 2006 9:02 am

CURTIS ARMSTRONG has given life to so many of the greats!

Miles in Risky Business.
Booger in Revenge of the Nerds.
Charles in Better Off Dead.
Ack Ack in One Crazy Summer.

I'm haven't even got around to Clan of the Cave Bear, "Moonlighting," or the fact that he played THE JOKER in an OnStar commercial or two.

Now, go ask the average person in the street who Curtis Armstrong is. Where is the love?
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Postby Doc Holliday on Mon Jan 16, 2006 9:09 am

keepcoolbutcare wrote:I hereby give this thread the Phantom Zone Seal of Approval!.

Brad Dourif...cocksuckers!

Linda Hunt.

Michael Ironside.


What can I say? I'm your Huckleberry! :D

Michael Ironside is just as excellent an example. I had first seen Ironside in the original SCANNERS movie, but was too young in my film-geekery to register either film or actor as important (oh shut up - I was 9 at the time).

I think the first film that put him on the map for me was TOP GUN - and I knew, just knew I had seen THAT GUY in about a hundred different things by that point. I was wrong of course - back then all the Frank Lupo, Stephen J Cannell and Glen A Larson vehicles invariably had bad guys with a receding hairline, shades/mirros and a pony tail....which was a definite Ironside look at the time.

No matter - he was in my consciousness from that point on (of course, these days I have him discreetly take out innocent hostages as Sam Fisher).

I still think his early turn in ER remains one of the better visiting cameos....and other fave moments would be proving how armless he is in Total Recall (well, it IS Monday) and how armed to the teeth he can be as Lieutenant Jean Rasczak in STARSHIP TROOPERS.

But, in amongst over 100 bodies of work since the early eighties there are some absolute TURKEYS too! Red Scorpion 2, The Next Karate Kid, Highlander II - he is on a one-man crusade to keep sequels truly inferior!

Perhaps the best tribute I could pay him is I had long ago given up on Seaquest (then in its DSV guise) on being anything like a decent riff on Trek but underwater. When I heard it had been recast and rebadged as a more miltaristic program (Seaquest 2090 I think?) then I tuned back in. I stuck with it, basically because of the man himself (honourable mention to Ted Raimi as well) - but let us have it said - the programme was a poor mans STARGATE.

And I don't say that lightly either.....
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Postby Doc Holliday on Mon Jan 16, 2006 9:13 am

buster00 wrote:CURTIS ARMSTRONG has given life to so many of the greats!

Miles in Risky Business.
Booger in Revenge of the Nerds.
Charles in Better Off Dead.
Ack Ack in One Crazy Summer.

I'm haven't even got around to Clan of the Cave Bear, "Moonlighting," or the fact that he played THE JOKER in an OnStar commercial or two.

Now, go ask the average person in the street who Curtis Armstrong is. Where is the love?


True. True. He is hereby admitted - I can never choose between Booger (Bush. We have Bush) or Miles (That was bullshit Joel; I expect you to know the difference) as his finest hour!

His courting of Miss Depesto kept me watching Moonlighting during infamous "Season without laughs" (the penultimate season).

Was in danger of forgetting him completely until Dodgeball came along.

Curtis Armstrong - WE SALUTE YOU!
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Postby havocSchultz on Mon Jan 16, 2006 9:16 am

Clint Howard... brilliant... and i hear his brother might try directing one day... hmmmmm....interesting...
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Postby magicmonkey on Mon Jan 16, 2006 10:19 am

Gotta go with Thomas F. Wilson.

He plays the best assholes, up their with Michael Keaton and Joseph Pilato.

He brings joy to the role of Biff and an almost joy to April Fools Day as Arch Cummings.
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Postby Doc Holliday on Mon Jan 16, 2006 10:38 am

magicmonkey wrote:Gotta go with Thomas F. Wilson.

He plays the best assholes, up their with Michael Keaton and Joseph Pilato.

He brings joy to the role of Biff and an almost joy to April Fools Day as Arch Cummings.


For me, he will always be "Maniac" from Wing Commander 3.

Damn you - you've reminded me I fell for the 3DO's marketing and bought the big black plastic turd. Shame on me.
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Postby Keepcoolbutcare on Mon Jan 16, 2006 10:57 am

Michael Rooker...frankly I'm shocked he got any work after Henry.

Danny Trejo is always a welcome sight.

Bolo Yeung...he was 50 when they filmed Bloodsport.
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Postby Doc Holliday on Mon Jan 16, 2006 11:21 am

keepcoolbutcare wrote:Michael Rooker...frankly I'm shocked he got any work after Henry.

Danny Trejo is always a welcome sight.

Bolo Yeung...he was 50 when they filmed Bloodsport.


NO WAY! But I guess yeh, he must've been given how old he looked in Enter The Dragon......

And yes, my old running buddy, McMasters himself. My own favourite spell for the Rooker was the late eighties/early nineties.....Mississippi Burning, Cliffhanger, Sea of Love, JFK - and the role he made his own - ROWDY BURNS, from DAYS OF THUNDER.

"You run good - Now go get your own car and we'll see how you do in a crowd"
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Postby Shane on Mon Jan 23, 2006 2:02 am

how about Peter Coyote would he count?
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Postby Nachokoolaid on Mon Jan 23, 2006 3:10 am

Jonathon Pryce for me, please. He's always good.
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Postby minstrel on Mon Jan 23, 2006 3:36 am

Michael Rooker - yes! I've only seen him in JFK, but he just ruled every scene he was in. Terrific actor.

Does Tim Curry count? He's my nomination. I can't think of anyone more watchable who isn't a huge star.
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Postby minstrel on Mon Jan 23, 2006 3:39 am

And yes, Jonathan Pryce! Especially in "Barbarians at the Gate", in which he plays ruthless corporate raider Henry Kravis. He was FAR more evil and scary in that role than he was in that dumb Bond film he was in.

He was also memorable as the villain in Ronin.
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Postby the man with no name on Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:09 pm

William Katt, great in the Big Wednesday and of course Jan-Michael Vincent
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Postby Seppuku on Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:15 pm

Tom Berenger...He went from being Sgt Barnes in Platoon to being Tom Beckett in Sniper 3.
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Postby cap on Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:23 pm

Although known more for his voice work, specifically on the Cartoon Network...

Keith David. He was in Pitch Black, Chronicles of Riddick, Article 99, many, many others.
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Postby John-Locke on Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:24 pm

Elias Koteas
Colm Meaney
M.C. Gainey
J.T. Walsh (RIP)
Michael Parks
John Saxon
John Hawkes
Terry O'Quinn
Brad Dourif

Oh and I did kinda do this thread before Doc

http://zone.aintitcool.com/viewtopic.php?t=1944

With a poll too!
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Postby MasterWhedon on Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:31 pm

The Smithsonian.
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Postby RockyDennis on Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:31 pm

Donald Sutherland (I know he might be a stretch) has never really carried a movie, but has always been entertaining.

John Cazale. He played Fredo in the Godfather. He has the best resume in movie history. He was only in five movies:

The Deer Hunter
Dog Day Afternoon
The Godfather: Part II
The Conversation
The Godfather
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Postby Seppuku on Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:32 pm

Not only are people stealing my choice for institutions (thanks man with no name, but that's cool great minds think alike), they're also stealing my jokes! Shady Acres is and will always be the greatest [mental] institution of all time.
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Postby Doc Holliday on Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:46 pm

Nachokoolaid wrote:Jonathon Pryce for me, please. He's always good.


Cool catch dude. He's done a film or two...but for me he will always be Norman from The Rachel Papers.

Brilliant!
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Postby Doc Holliday on Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:47 pm

minstrel wrote:Michael Rooker - yes! I've only seen him in JFK, but he just ruled every scene he was in. Terrific actor.

Does Tim Curry count? He's my nomination. I can't think of anyone more watchable who isn't a huge star.


The Rooster himself is one of those guys this thread was designed for - Nice one minstrel :D

Incidentally anyone seen him and Jason donovan in a Brit flick called Sorted? Fantastic Ham off the bone!
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Postby cap on Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:52 pm

Ron Dean - He's been in like every cop movie set in Chicago, usually plays a cop. (Fugitive, Above the Law, Code of Silence).
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Postby Vegeta on Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:53 pm

Geoffrey Lewis - Was in a bunch of Clint Eastwood flicks (Every which way...ect.) Lately he's been more bit rolling (The New Guy, The Devil's Rejects)

His daughter Juillette Lewis has been doing far better... especially early 90's.
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Postby cap on Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:56 pm

Joe Viterelli - Eraser, The Firm, Shallow Hal. Typically plays a real good mob guy.

This ironic... I was just discussing this type of thread with someone the other night.
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Postby Vegeta on Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:56 pm

Can't believe no one's said it yet... Bruce Campbell! He's led a bunch of movies, but by no stretch is he a big dog (except in our books)

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Postby Doc Holliday on Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:56 pm

John-Locke wrote:Elias Koteas
Colm Meaney
M.C. Gainey
J.T. Walsh (RIP)
Michael Parks
John Saxon
John Hawkes
Terry O'Quinn
Brad Dourif

Oh and I did kinda do this thread before Doc

http://zone.aintitcool.com/viewtopic.php?t=1944

With a poll too!


Damnation. Still, the hand of the executioner seems to be wavering, yet stayed over the thread so I post with trepidation :D

Colm Meaney, definitely. Too underused. Made a career out of saying "Aye Captain" in his early TNG days....I still haven't seen "The Englishman Who walked..."..but he turns up a treat in films like The Commitments and The Van just as much as does guilty pleasures such as Con Air.

Elias Koteas I saw I in The Prophecy and liked what he did. An early clone of Adrien Brody? heh. I must watch more of his stuff - seems an intelligent actor.

John Saxon...he really is an institution! When I first saw "Enter The Dragon" I thought he was more baadasss than Lee himself. Ooops! but testament to his acting nonetheless.

And never has small screen exposition been so interesting than when it trips off the silver tongue of John Locke himself in Alias, Mr Terry O'Quinn. And I think we all appreciate him a bit more these days, eh? And to think they used to say no man is an island, heh.....
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Postby Doc Holliday on Wed Jan 25, 2006 2:00 pm

RockyDennis wrote:Donald Sutherland (I know he might be a stretch) has never really carried a movie, but has always been entertaining.

John Cazale. He played Fredo in the Godfather. He has the best resume in movie history. He was only in five movies:

The Deer Hunter
Dog Day Afternoon
The Godfather: Part II
The Conversation
The Godfather


Brilliant. Donald Sutherland for me belongs to quite an eclectic and very small group of actors...who because of their non-standard looks rarely get given a heroic role...but when he does play a good guy, I find myself really rooting for him! Invasion of the Body Snatchers, sure. but who's going to forget his turn as Ronald in Backdraft? Burn'em all..

And for me, I just loved John Cazale as remembered by Jon Lovitz in City Slickers II.

"Fredo this, Fredo that...your older brother just wants some respect Mikey!"
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Postby cap on Wed Jan 25, 2006 2:02 pm

Danny Aiello - The Professional, Do the Right Thing. Always very solid.
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Postby MadCapsule on Wed Jan 25, 2006 2:02 pm

Does John Turturro count? I don't think I've ever been disappointed in his performances.
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Postby Doc Holliday on Wed Jan 25, 2006 2:03 pm

cap wrote:Ron Dean - He's been in like every cop movie set in Chicago, usually plays a cop. (Fugitive, Above the Law, Code of Silence).


Damn, that dude slipped by me. >blush<.

But you have reminded me of the Scrubs episode where JD sees the Janitor in The Fugitive (the same actor played a one-liner cop...the one on the train near the end of the movie)......that was cool.
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Postby Doc Holliday on Wed Jan 25, 2006 2:03 pm

MadCapsule wrote:Does John Turturro count? I don't think I've ever been disappointed in his performances.


Hell yeah! "Hello, my name is Jesus...."
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Postby Vegeta on Wed Jan 25, 2006 2:05 pm

cap wrote:Danny Aiello - The Professional, Do the Right Thing. Always very solid.


Good call Cap!

How about Dennis Farina, always excellent, but rarely a headliner. Great work in Snatch, Big Trouble, Midnight Run, Manhunter...ect.
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Postby Doc Holliday on Wed Jan 25, 2006 2:05 pm

cap wrote:Danny Aiello - The Professional, Do the Right Thing. Always very solid.


Definitely an Institution...the Aiello/Sorvani axis...for all your third generation Italian-American needs.....
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Postby Vegeta on Wed Jan 25, 2006 2:06 pm

Doc Holliday wrote:
MadCapsule wrote:Does John Turturro count? I don't think I've ever been disappointed in his performances.


Hell yeah! "Hello, my name is Jesus...."


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Postby Doc Holliday on Wed Jan 25, 2006 2:08 pm

Vegeta wrote:
cap wrote:Danny Aiello - The Professional, Do the Right Thing. Always very solid.


Good call Cap!

How about Dennis Farina, always excellent, but rarely a headliner. Great work in Snatch, Big Trouble, Midnight Run, Manhunter...ect.


I may just have to marry you for that Vegeta...Farina is exactly the kind of guy this thread is designed for. Sheer brilliance. I understand for the longest time he was a real-life cop...seen some bad shit too, lived the life...then got into acting! Remember him in the TV Show Crime Story? that show was a classic...and so many other familiar faces were in it...not least of all Buffalo "it puts the lotion on its skin" Bill.

I loved Farina in Midnight Run..LEGEND!
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Postby Vegeta on Wed Jan 25, 2006 2:20 pm

Doc Holliday wrote:
Vegeta wrote:
cap wrote:Danny Aiello - The Professional, Do the Right Thing. Always very solid.


Good call Cap!

How about Dennis Farina, always excellent, but rarely a headliner. Great work in Snatch, Big Trouble, Midnight Run, Manhunter...ect.


I may just have to marry you for that Vegeta...Farina is exactly the kind of guy this thread is designed for. Sheer brilliance. I understand for the longest time he was a real-life cop...seen some bad shit too, lived the life...then got into acting! Remember him in the TV Show Crime Story? that show was a classic...and so many other familiar faces were in it...not least of all Buffalo "it puts the lotion on its skin" Bill.

I loved Farina in Midnight Run..LEGEND!


Why, Doc Holiday, I do believe I have the vapors...
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Postby TonyWilson on Wed Jan 25, 2006 2:25 pm

Sam Rockwell fits in here I think, he was great in The Green Mile (whatever you think of the film) and Box Of Moonlight, and he was truly brilliant in Lawn Dogs.
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Postby doglips on Wed Jan 25, 2006 2:28 pm

Ronnie Cox.
James LeGros.
William Sadler.
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Postby Seppuku on Wed Jan 25, 2006 2:29 pm

Shiyaaat, nobody's said Fred Williamson yet.
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