Memorable Movie Scene-Stealers

We take a look at the actors who made the most out of their parts.

by | October 16, 2008 | Comments

Feature films are supposed to all be about the headliners. The ones who get
the most buzz are usually the actors or the director, or whether the film’s cost
equaled the gross economy of a small Third World country. Hardly ever does
anyone pay attention to the secondary players (unless it’s Christopher Walken,
but that’s for another article), and chances are unless the film’s headed up by
a bunch of nobodies, supporting actors never really get their due.

Now and then a supporting actor catches a break and ends up a character with the
lion’s share of memorable one-liners or unique idiosyncrasies. That’s pretty much what happens with James Marsden in this weekend’s Sex Drive, and so we’ve rattled off
ten of the more memorable performances by supporting cast members we’ve had the
pleasure of viewing. Here are our picks.

Bill Paxton
as Chet,
Weird Science

Bullies on their own really aren’t that much fun to watch, but seeing them get
their comeuppance is where comedy gold undoubtedly lies. The threat of Chet’s
wrath loomed over Gary and Wyatt for the entirety of the movie, and when he
finally does make his appearance he indubitably makes his presence known. If it
wasn’t for Lisa’s magical talents (urged on by Chet’s piggish attitude), those
boys would’ve gotten the drilling of a lifetime.


William Scott
as Stifler,
American Pie

Who would’ve thought glorifying the meathead frat boy persona would churn out so
many laughs? While Jim’s loser attitude and the general middle-of-the-road
lameness of the main crew would somehow translate endearingly to audiences, it
was the hyper-hetero antics of Stifler that would eventually prove to be one of
the more defining moments of the film series. Three direct-to-video sequels
featuring Stifler spin-offs would further illustrate this character’s impact on
the series as a whole.

Christopher Mintz-Plasse
as McLovin,

Superbad already featured a host of eccentric characters, so it does say
quite a bit when much on an entire film’s notoriety ends up being hinged on the
shenanigans of a supporting act. McLovin may seem like the typical nerd
archetype that tries to make up for his inadequacies with overconfidence, but
his true limp-wristed nature would inevitably resurface whenever faced with
trouble (and yes, with hilarious results). Weakling that he is, he nonetheless
represents the ineffectual awkward teen in all of us, and that’s what we love
him for.

Rip Torn as
Patches O’Houlihan,

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

In an arena of washed-up has-been coaches in movies, Patches O’Houlihan still
offers us a reason to expect the worst in this explicitly underdog-glorifying
project. Seemingly ripped from the Disney vault of feel-good films, Dodgeball
was thankfully ribald enough to keep it from being too predictable. Patches has
a lot to do with the film’s success, and while we see through the sophomoric
humor of seeing dorks get beaned by work tools, his strange anecdotes and shady
backstory (not to mention Rip Torn’s spot-on delivery) made up for some of the
movie’s less effective moments.

Paul Rudd as
Pete, Knocked Up
Ironically enough, the jaded individual is frequently a source of comedic
material, and if there ever was a distinct example of this notion in action it
would be Knocked Up‘s candidly blasé Pete, played to the subtle hilt by
Paul Rudd. Honesty is apparently the best policy in Pete and his wife Debbie’s
home, since neither of them have any qualms whatsoever about preaching the evils
of marriage and parenthood. In addition to several scenes of precious
vitriol-laced banter between the couple, Pete and Ben (Seth Rogen) have a few
hilarious moments of male bonding as well.


as Aldous Snow,
Sarah Marshall

Excusing his less-than-stellar appearance at this year’s VMAs, Russell Brand
landed squarely in the public’s sights thanks to his turn as brutally-honest
rocker Aldous Snow in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Personifying the guy everyone
loves to hate, Brand nonetheless succeeded in taking the character a step
further by making him someone everyone can’t help but love regardless of his
attitude. Aldous never makes excuses for the kind of person he is, and despite
his utter bluntness, he will always be one of the coolest characters ever to
appear on the big screen.


Efren Ramirez
as Pedro Sanchez,
Napoleon Dynamite

The name the spawned a thousand shirts, Pedro Sanchez is Napoleon Dynamite’s
stoic yet affable best pal who shoots for the stars and becomes school
president. Granted, Napoleon’s shame-free hip-hop routine could have had
something to do with his victory, but we won’t take anything away from Pedro’s
judgment-free outlook on life lending a hand. Pedro, you and your awful bouffant
wig will always have a special place in our cynical hearts.


Alan Ruck as
Cameron Frye,
Bueller’s Day Off

What better way is there to offset the maniacally happy-go-lucky torrent that is
Ferris than to pair him up with an Eeyore-esque, hypochondriac best buddy like
Cameron Frye? He might have wheedled and whined his way through what could
possibly be the most awesome day of hooky ever, but at the end of it all he
probably had fun himself. Well, maybe not as much since his dad’s car ended up
getting trashed, but at least he learned a valuable life lesson from the


Gary Cole as
Bill Lumbergh, Office

The passive-aggressive manager to end all passive-aggressive managers, Bill
Lumbergh is the epitome of a bureaucrat. Obsessed with the minutiae of office
life, he micromanages Peter Gibbons to the point of hopelessness…which
thankfully we become witness to. If it weren’t for the scenarios expressed
through this character and this movie we would’ve never been treated to such
prime examples of abject office douchery.


Bill Murray
as Ernie McCracken,

Bill Murray’s Ernie McCracken is a clear example that cheaters can (and do) to
win. After sabotaging Roy Munson’s rising career (an act of falling from grace
that would later be penned as being “munsoned”),  Ernie goes on to take the
million dollar championship in a nail-biting one-pin win. Bowling skills aside,
McCracken’s sleazy demeanor, massive comb-over and tacky rose-embedded bowling
ball were no doubt what made the man. We may not have appreciated his victory,
but we couldn’t deny the effect his Reno-inspired duds had on our sensibilities.

Jack Black as
Barry, High

Who could ever forget Barry the Record Store Snob in High Fidelity? Jack Black
put himself on the veritable path to stardom as the snooty music lover who cared
more about the records in his store than the people who bought them. It’s a
performance memorable purely for the sheer amount of sharp wit his acid tongue
spat out at customers. Sure, John Cusack and Iben Hjejle carries most of the
film, but whenever Barry’s onscreen, everything else becomes background noise.

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