::Literate Blather::
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Movie Swiping, Scene-Chomping Comedic Performances
8 Instances Where the Supporting Guy Brought Down the House

Less can be more and in the cases of these eight performances – they make all the difference to the comedies where they appeared. Small roles – even cameos -- can pack an enormous wallop and sometimes come to define a movie, especially a comedy (where one line can have an audience blowing Coke out of their nostrils).

Take Ben Stiller as the Hispanic anchorman Arturo Mendes in “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” (2004). Stiller, in an uncredited performance, utters one line: “Hola, bitches!” and it nearly brings down the house. Do you know anyone who talks about the movie and doesn’t use that quote?

And Ben Stiller didn’t even make the list!

So with further ado, DaRK PaRTY gives you 8 kick-ass performances from a supporting actor in a comedy.

Neil Patrick Harris
Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)

Self-parody has never been more hilarious. Neil Patrick Harris (i.e. TV’s Doogie Howser) plays himself as an arrogant, foul-mouthed, sex-obsessed Hollywood asshole – and it works like a charm. “Harold & Kumar” is a gem of a subversive, drug comedy, but it is Harris’ performance that pushes the movie into instant underground classic. The scene where Harold and Kumar pick Harris up hitchhiking is truly masterful. When Harold asks how to get back to the highway, Harris spouts off: “Dude, I don’t even know where the fuck I am right now. I was at this party earlier tonight and some guy hooked me up with this incredible X – next thing I know I’m being thrown out of a moving car. I’ve been tripping balls ever since.” Does it get any funnier than that? In fact, it does.

Will Ferrell
Starsky & Hutch (2004)

“Starsky & Hutch” was a disappointment. We’ve come to expect more from Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller (especially since the chemistry was so right between them in “Zoolander”). The shining, bright spot in this otherwise forgettable dud – is Will Ferrell’s uncredited performance as Big Earl – a homosexual convict. His telephone exchange with Vince Vaughn (as Reese Feldman) is laugh-out loud funny.

Big Earl: What are you wearing? Real quick, be honest.

Reese: What am I wearing? A silk flowered shirt and a vest. Why?

Big Earl: Oh, that’s gorgeous.

Reese: You sick son of a bitch!

Big Earl: Don’t hang up! Don’t hang up!

Ferrell doesn’t get enough screen time to save the film, but for those few moments you can forget about how bad the rest of the film is.

Bill Murray
Caddyshack (1980)

In an ensemble comedy filled with sparkling performances – Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, and Ted Knight are just a few – it was Bill Murray’s take on groundskeeper Carl Spackler that stole the movie. From his faux-masturbation scene while watching a group of blue-haired old women tee off to his biting into a chocolate bar everyone in the swimming pool thought was a floating turd, Murray chews up every scene he’s in. But his best line in the movie is when he tells Chase about being the caddy for the Dalai Lama in Tibet (“big hitter, the Lama”) that seals the deal.

Carl: “And I say, ‘Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know?’ And he says, "There won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.’ So I got that going for me, which is nice.”

Bruce Campbell
Spiderman III (2007)

There are few actors who can chew up a scene like a rabid wolf hound better than B-Movie King Bruce Campbell. But he ratchets it up a notch in the latest Spiderman thriller as the Maitre d’ at a ritzy French restaurant. Campbell completely gobbles up all the other actors when he’s on the screen – irritatingly directing and then stopping a band of musicians from moving in on Peter Parker’s table so he can propose to his girlfriend. The over-the-top performance can be appreciated from this brief snippet of dialog done in a terrible French accent:

Maitre d’: Ah, here we are. Table for two, Pecker.

Parker: Parker!

Maitre d’: That is what I said, Pecker!

Wallace Shawn
The Princess Bride (1987)

“The Princess Bride” has gone into the pantheon of classic movies, but would the movie have made that grade without Wallace Shawn’s outstanding, scene-ravaging performance as the arrogant Sicilian genius Vizzini? It’s inconceivable! With lines like “I’ve hired you to help me start a war. It’s a prestigious line of work with a long and glorious tradition” delivered with an irritated lisp, Shawn’s characterization dominates a movie filled with lovable characters. The best scene in the movie is when “The Man in Black” has a showdown of wits with Vizzini about picking a goblet of wine – one of which has been poisoned. It ends with this memorial line: “You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous is never get involved in a land war in Asia, but only slightly less well-known is this: never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!” And then, Vizzini drops dead.

John Turturro
The Big Lebowski (1998)

There are lots of problems with the Cohen brother’s comedy, but John Turturro as Jesus Quintana – the anally charged Hispanic bowler (and convicted sex offender) – isn’t one of them. Turturro brings a savage intensity nearly every role, but he takes vicious delight to this role – wearing a tight, baby-blue jumpsuit (with a bulge the size of kielbasa) as he commands the bowling lanes. With a sneer and a thick Mexican accent (and a constant tugging at his nuts), Turturro delivers nuggets like this: “You ready to be fucked, man? I see you rolled your way into the semis. Dios mio, man. Liam and me, we're going fuck you up.” It’s too bad there isn’t more of him in the movie.

Will Ferrell
The Wedding Crashers (2005)

This movie belongs to Vince Vaughn, but Will Ferrell throws a coupe and takes over the last part of the movie with a vengeance. In an uncredited performance as Chaz Reinhold, the legendary wedding crasher (who happens to live with his mom), Ferrell has viewers squirming in their seats with his ugly, but hilarious portrayal as a desperate, pathetic loser who cruises funerals to pick-up women in the throes of mourning. You don’t know whether to laugh or cry and that’s the beauty and power of this performance. At one point, Ferrell screams to his mother: “Hey, mom! Can we get some meatloaf! Mom! The meat loaf! Fuck!” with spittle flying from his lips. And then he’ll fall into a dead calm and mutter things like: “Grief is nature's most powerful aphrodisiac.” Wow.

Bob Barker
Happy Gilmore (1996)

“The Price is Right” host delivers one of the funniest scenes ever in an Adam Sandler movie. Sandler plays a hockey player turned golfer with a hair-trigger temper. Paired with Barker for a charity golf tournament, the two get on each other’s nerves until a melee breaks out and the elderly Barker beats the living crap out of Sandler. The scene is so over the top that it catches the audience in mid-gasp as Barker breaks through his own stereotype. It ends with Barker straddling Sandler’s chest as he punches him in the face and growls: “Now, you've had enough... bitch!” It’s a show stopper and nothing in the rest of the movie even comes close to topping it.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
wow, that was fucking retarded. Your pic at the top doesn't even match (Bruce Campbell as Ash?) Ben Stiller in Anchor Man?!? That was the best quote you could find? How about Steve Carell's lines? "LOUD NOISES!" "bears can smell the menstruation". Also, Starsky and Hutch was a great movie, much better than Zoolander, you'd have to be high on crack not to think so. Others thought so too, Starsky and Hutch netting 3 awards including the BMI film award and MTV Music award and grossing over $88 million compared to Zoolander winning the Teen Choice Award and Grossing $45 million.

I wont even bother explaining the rest of your picks, or the many things wrong with the line "There are lots of problems with the Cohen brother's comedy" referring to The Big Lebowski.

Who ever bothered to write this nonsense should be drug out, beaten, and left to rot in a cesspool of his own ignorance.

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