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Jul 21, 2008

The FF-UN HOF

No, I haven't gone acronym wild. Or poll wild. Well, maybe a little bit.

Before I go about showing you more familiar faces whose names are unknown, I thought it was high time to induct a few members into the FF-UN Hall of Fame. In other words, you should already know the names of these guys. Some have remained character actors their entire careers, but many others have gone on to bigger and brighter things - starring in their own films, larger co-starring roles, directing, etc.

Using the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame voting as a loose template, I'm decreeing that a potential member must receive 75% of the votes to be inducted. Below you'll see 10 choices for this first entry class - you can vote for up to five members. We could have as many as five inductees or as few as zero - it all depends on how the voting goes. Candidates that receive fewer than 5% of the votes will be removed from future ballots. These are the cream of the crop, so I'm really hoping no one gets dropped off. I had a list that included some lesser names, but wanted to be sure this class started off with the best, so I nixed them. Expect a new voting class in a few months.

The credentials for each candidate should speak for themselves, but I'll give you some more just in case:

Steve Buscemi
Favorite role: Carl Showalter, Fargo
Additional all-star appearances: Billy Madison, Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Big Fish, The Big Lebowski
Comment(s): a shoo-in first ballet HOFer. Has been used as a character so much to the point where it has hindered his effectiveness as a character actor (distraction). Has moved on to starring roles (Interview) and directing.

Gary Cole
Favorite role: Bill Lumbergh, Office Space
Additional all-star appearances: The Brady Bunch Movie, Dodgeball, Talladaga Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby, Breach
Comments: Makes up for a lack of quantity with a high, high dose of quality. His Bill Lumbergh is one of the most quoted characters of all time.

William Fichtner
Favorite role: Burke, Go
Additional all-star appearances: Contact, The Dark Night, Armageddon, Equilibrium, The Longest Yard
Comments: His role as Burke stands as one of my enduring favorites. So creepy, so effective. A personal favorite, and thanks to my mother's love of As the World Turns, an actor I've been familiar with for much of my life.

Clint Howard
Favorite role: Tobias Lehigh Nagy, Seinfeld (I never knew that character, the serial killer, even had a name)
Additional all-star appearances: Too many to mention.
Comments: Not a personal favorite, but the 49-year old brother of Ron Howard has nearly 200 credits to his resume. Like Buscemi, he's bordering, if not totally past, the point of saturation, but he certainly adds a spark to whatever project he shows up in.

William H. Macy
Favorite role: Little Bill, Boogie Nights
Additional all-star appearances: Fargo, Mystery Men, Pleasantville, Thank You for Smoking
Comments: Points are definitely deducted for Macy after his way-too nude turn in The Cooler, but even that can't negate an all-star career.

David Paymer
Favorite role: Leo Devoe, Get Shorty
Additional all-star appearances: Payback, City Slickers (x 2), Ocean's Thirteen, Quiz Show, Crazy People
Comments: A bit of a one-trick pony (weaselly schleppy guy), but he does it so well that it doesn't even matter. If you haven't seen his memorable Crazy People turn ("Hello"), you're missing out on a great one (and a forgotten, underrated comedy).

Stephen Root
Favorite role: Milton Waddams, Office Space
Additional all-star appearances: Idiocracy, O Brother Where Art Thou?, Dodgeball, Newsradio, No Country for Old Men
Comments: This TV vet remains wildly underutilized and underrated. Tremendous range. The one-two punch from Newsradio's Jimmy James to Office Space's Milton ought to tell you enough.

J.K. Simmons
Favorite role: Vern Schillinger, Oz
Additional all-star appearances: Spider-Man (x 3), Juno, Thank You for Smoking, Law & Order, The Cider House Rules
Comments: If you've seen his character on Oz, or even better, if you were introduced to him via Vern Schillinger, you know how shocking it was to see him turn up in the Spider-Man films as the brash, outspoken, angry-yet-cuddly Jonah Jameson, or even more so as Juno's sweet, caring father. If you haven't seen Oz, just watch an early episode featuring his character - if it weren't for the bald head, you might not recognize the actor.

John Turturro
Favorite role: Barton Fink, Barton Fink
Additional all-star appearances: The Big Lebowski, Do the Right Thing, Box of Moonlight, Quiz Show
Comments: Like Buscemi, a Coen brothers favorite, utilized in almost all of their films. Also like Buscemi, has so many credits to his name that he can be a distraction (see: Transformers). A favorite of Spike Lee as well, and capable of playing way too many ethnicities.

J.T. Walsh
Favorite role: Happy, Blue Chips
Additional all-star appearances: Pleasantville, The Negotiator, Red Rock West, Breakdown, A Few Good Men
Comments: The godfather of the slimy bad guy, perfected time and again. Walsh was unfortunately taken from us too soon, dying in 1998 of a heart attack at age 54. His role as the narrow-minded Big Bob in Pleasantville (co-starring Bill Macy) was a perfect role to go out on, though.


11 people have chosen wisely: on "The FF-UN HOF"

Dead Pan said...

I like your list...I think they should make an ocean's 11 type film with only character actors in it, and these guys would be the perfect guys. =)

Michael J. Mendez said...

No love for Stephen Tobolowsky? Ryerson! Ned Ryerson! Ned the Head! Dated your sister until you told him not to!

Fletch said...

@ Dead Pan - as a bonus, Paymer already has one Ocean's flick under his belt.

@ Mike - if it makes you feel better, Tobolowsky was on the short list of 18 that I narrowed to 10 (which I had to because Vizu wouldn't allow more than 10 answers).

I love Tobolowsky. And his bald cousin (kinda) John Carrol Lynch (Fargo, Drew Carey Show, etc). Needle Nose Ned. Ned the Head. BING!

Nick said...

I voted for Fitcher (sp) because he's really the only one who was a familiar face, but unknown name.

Fletch said...

Wow...13 votes in and no love for Paymer. Poor little guy. At this point, only Buscemi would enter the Hall.

Nic Cage said...

Brilliant idea Fletch!

Thank you for putting JK Simmons and William Fichtner on the list. Vern Shillinger is terrifying and Mr. Confederated Products is great.

I like Paymer too, but this competition is tough...RIP JT Walsh, same reason for not voting on him though.

Fletch said...

Thanks, Nic. How sad - you've only worked with two fo these guys. I don't know how that's possible, but it's true - J.T. Walsh in Red Rock West and Buscemi in your best film (Con Air, of course).

By the way, in case you don't remember (you were probably high), Red Rock West is actually one of my favorite films of yours, made back when you were still an actor. Great noir co-starring Dennis Hopper and Lara Flynn Boyle (pre-toothpick phase).

THN said...

I was so ready to act indignant because you didn't list JT Walsh's role in Blue Chips, yet you had that as the favorite. Though I never said anything bad about you, I was getting ready to.

So I will say my bad, and well done on the list.

elgringo said...

Comeon, David Paymer, come on!

elgringo said...

Alright everybody, Paymer's got to at least beat Clint Howard!

THN said...

For the record, I also remember Fitchner as Josh/Rod Landry/Strickland, too.