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Don't Be That Guy
May 30, 2007 11:34 AM   Subscribe

Hey! Isn't that the guy from that movie? The 20 best "that guys" of all time -- according to Cracked. (via)
posted by fallenposters (157 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Said it in the comments there and I'll say it here again - no "that guy" list is complete without Mike Hagerty.
posted by hypocritical ross at 11:40 AM on May 30, 2007


Ha! I love that guy!
posted by fallenposters at 11:41 AM on May 30, 2007


Cracked is the poor man's Mad
posted by cazoo at 11:42 AM on May 30, 2007 [5 favorites]


I like when That Guys become Big Guys, or famous or whathaveyou: like Vincent D'Onofrio. Dafoe, Buscemi, Walken, all That Guys at one point. That Guys are the best. They also beg the question: who are the That Ladys?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:43 AM on May 30, 2007


That was entertaining, despite the fact I reconized about two of them.
posted by slogger at 11:45 AM on May 30, 2007


Major omissions: Bruno Kirby, Bolo Yeung.
posted by phaedon at 11:45 AM on May 30, 2007


I was a fan of Buscemi when he was still That Guy but regretted that he made the transition into a more well-known actor.
posted by vacapinta at 11:45 AM on May 30, 2007


#17 is actually a poor man's William H Macy.
posted by horsemuth at 11:47 AM on May 30, 2007


They also beg the question: who are the That Ladys?

Amanda Plummer

Illeanna Douglas
posted by Prospero at 11:48 AM on May 30, 2007


They left out a lot of great "That Guy"s from the past, which makes me wonder if they were using "current" as a criteria. If so, then they are sadly unaware that Lane Smith is no longer with us.

I can't argue with their choice of Cromwell, by the way, after his bravura performance as Archie Bunker's work buddy Stretch Cunningham.
posted by evilcolonel at 11:49 AM on May 30, 2007


And Lily Taylor.
posted by cortex at 11:51 AM on May 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'd like to nominate the chronically underused Will Patton.
posted by EarBucket at 11:52 AM on May 30, 2007


Cracked is the poor man's Mad

That isn't true anymore. Cracked has its own identity now --- it even features articles from Mike "MST3K" Nelson.

My favorite That Guy: Brion James. Some may argue that Bladerunner lifts him from that status, but outside the sci-fi world he is That Guy.

(And I love James Cromwell -- Dudley Smith!)
posted by Bookhouse at 11:56 AM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


A trio of those guys from Deadwood:

Brad Dourif, William Sanderson, Jeffrey Jones
posted by tula at 11:59 AM on May 30, 2007


Is this in some way related to fametracker's Hey, It's that Guy!? Because if not, that's just blatant plagiarism.
posted by craichead at 12:00 PM on May 30, 2007


Also, Salon did I nice tribute to "Those Guys" a few years back, including this spirited defense of Chris "Shooter McGavin" McDonald.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:01 PM on May 30, 2007


Oh wow, I forgot about Jeffrey Jones. A very serious looking that guy.
posted by fallenposters at 12:01 PM on May 30, 2007


David Morse doesn't belong on that list, he's too good of an actor.
posted by Skygazer at 12:02 PM on May 30, 2007


Glad someone mentioned Brion James

Dont forget Brian Thompson...

I'm sure I'll think of others.
posted by elendil71 at 12:05 PM on May 30, 2007


#17 is actually a poor man's William H Macy.

Before I read the text, I thought it was Macy.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:05 PM on May 30, 2007


cazoo writes "Cracked is the poor man's Mad"

It used to be. This incarnation is not related to the former magazine.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:06 PM on May 30, 2007


I love all these guys.

Zefrem Freakin' Cochrane, man!!!

But hey, what about David Warner? He's got three roles just in Tron alone!
posted by zoogleplex at 12:06 PM on May 30, 2007


There've been so many great character actors... Three of my favorites (at least from the 70's on) are Vincent Schiavelli (RIP), Brad Dourif and William Atherton. Nice to see the 2 living guys are still working steady.

And lest we always remember him as a villian, there's James Cromwell as the stoic Yankee pig farmer in Babe.
posted by maryh at 12:07 PM on May 30, 2007


That was surprisingly entertaining.

And cortex-

THERE IS NO FUCKING WAY THAT THE BRILLIANT YET SUBTLE, QUIRKLY YET COMPELLING, QUIET AND ENDLESSLY COMPLEX LILI TAYLOR IS A "THAT GUY"!!!! SHE FUCKING RULES SO BACK OFF DUDE! (You're just bitter because she played such a shithead on Six Feet Under.)
posted by serazin at 12:09 PM on May 30, 2007


I don't know about #10... can anyone be a poor man's Tim Allen? Isn't Tim Allen the poor man's Tim Allen?
posted by papakwanz at 12:10 PM on May 30, 2007 [7 favorites]


Funny how many of these guys were on 24 and Prison Break.

I think Danny Trejo is the most recognizable name on the list, I think he's just a tad above "that guy" status among even casual cinema fans. Actually not a bad list even though they left off some of my favourites like James Hong and Julian Richings.
posted by bobo123 at 12:11 PM on May 30, 2007


You beat me to it, craichead. Fametracker was a great site; sorry to see it on "hiatus."
posted by hawkeye at 12:11 PM on May 30, 2007


#4 -- Stephen Tobolowsky. There's a film -- Stephen Tobolowsky's Birthday Party -- about his life in show business, often as a supporting actor. Trailer here.
posted by ericb at 12:12 PM on May 30, 2007


Fred "I'm Running For President" Thompson should be one of those guys, too. He was always in freaking EVERYTHING as the fat and balding captain/general/admiral/bigwig. It's practically the only qualification he has to run for President -- Republican authority figure complex.
posted by briank at 12:12 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Lili Taylor is a That Lady, despite being fanfuckingtastic. She was in The Haunting, after all, a total That Lady role for her. High Fidelity, too. They can't all be I Shot Andy Warhol... which reminds me... Martha Plimpton! But I digress indie.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:13 PM on May 30, 2007


Brion James, ha ha! That guy rules.

There's nothing worse than having an itch you can never scratch.

He was great in "Tango & Cash" too. Sorry to heard he's passed on.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:15 PM on May 30, 2007


Whoa, zoogleplex! How could I forget David Warner? 189 credits?? And how did I miss all that animation voiceover? Also, I have a huge soft spot for Time After Time.
posted by maryh at 12:16 PM on May 30, 2007


James Cromwell as the stoic Yankee pig farmer in Babe.

Farmer Hoggett and Babe lived (and were filmed) in New South Wales, Australia, not Northeastern U.S.
posted by ericb at 12:18 PM on May 30, 2007


It used to be. This incarnation is not related to the former magazine.

Or at least "was used to be", since Cracked is dead again, for... the third time? I've lost count.

For humor magazines, there's really only MAD and the vanity GAG left, I think.
posted by unixrat at 12:18 PM on May 30, 2007


Plus, the immortal Soon Tek Oh, who played every Asian guy with more than two lines of dialogue on M*A*S*H* and a million other TV shows.
posted by briank at 12:18 PM on May 30, 2007


Seriously. I love Lili Taylor with all my heart, brillianlty played shitheel turn in Six Feet Under and all. But she's a That Lady, no question.
posted by cortex at 12:18 PM on May 30, 2007


Where's 'booger'?
posted by mctsonic at 12:18 PM on May 30, 2007


That Lady.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:18 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


There's some awfully good actors in there. JK Simmons was fan-fuckingtastic in "Thank You For Smoking".
posted by vito90 at 12:19 PM on May 30, 2007


Keith David has done voiceover work in a bunch of AAA videogames as well. He's omnipresent.
posted by aerotive at 12:19 PM on May 30, 2007


One might also include, in no particular order; M. Emmet Walsh, Bud Cort, Ray Wise, and Lenny Von Dohlen.
posted by elendil71 at 12:20 PM on May 30, 2007


Harumph.

I guess if you call (the old) Steve Buschemi a 'that guy' then folks like Plimpton, Taylor, and Illeanna Douglas are also 'that lady's, but I think they're too interesting to be 'that guys/ladies'.

Ya, they are character actors, but not every character actor is a 'that guy'. That guy to me is in everything, yet never makes a strong enough impression that you remember his name. That's why he's 'that guy' instead of 'Steve Buschemi the rat faced wierdo in all the creepy roles'.
posted by serazin at 12:20 PM on May 30, 2007


What, no Bruce Campbell? He's so 'that guy' that he's been in all three Spiderman movies as completely different characters.

And what about Lance Henriksen? Aliens, the Terminator, his own TV show; Millennium, and most people still have no idea who he is.
posted by quin at 12:23 PM on May 30, 2007


Ya bookhouse - that is indeed the archetypal 'that lady'.

I have no idea what her name is, I couldn't even tell you what movies she's been in, but she's instantly and intensely familiar.
posted by serazin at 12:24 PM on May 30, 2007


Luis Guzman had a long career as That Hispanic Guy before gaining name recognition (in Boogie Nights? Traffic?). Check out the credit as First Goon in Miami Vice!
posted by Bookhouse at 12:24 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've always thought that Zach Grenier would be awesome as David Paymer's evil, badass brother.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:24 PM on May 30, 2007


serazin, you have to account for the fact that your having taken particular notice of someone doesn't make them not That Guy to everyone who hasn't taken particular notice.

Steve Buscemi is totally That Guy to anyone who doesn't really know who Steve Buscemi is. He's just that guy. So too Lily Taylor.
posted by cortex at 12:26 PM on May 30, 2007


Lots of great "that guys" (I was also thinking Brion James belonged on that list). Some more nominees:
Brian Cox
Chris Cooper

For "that lady" I'd nominate
Judy Miller
Swoosie Kurtz
posted by adamrice at 12:28 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Luis Guzman lives in Sutton, Vermont on his farm, Wild Orchard Stables with his wife and five kids.
posted by ericb at 12:28 PM on May 30, 2007


Brian Cox playing Hannibal Lecter before Anthony Hopkins did is enough to make him a "that guy" hall-of-famer.

My favorite would be that guy who played Clarence the angel in It's a Wonderful Life. I won't spoil by identifying that guy by his name.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:34 PM on May 30, 2007


So cortex, are you saying that all character actors are That Guys? Fine! Keep living in a FANTASYLAND!!!
< /massiveoverreaction>
posted by serazin at 12:37 PM on May 30, 2007


Hmmmmmm. I think Cromwell and David Morse are too well-known, honestly -- well, Cromwell is, at least. But I can totally get with Brian Cox taking the top spot.

(Ray Wise would qualify, but for some of us, he will always be Leland Palmer. I have to wonder how many cutesy father-of-the-bride type roles this association has cost him over the years....)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:40 PM on May 30, 2007


Almost forgot the multi-talented Tom Noonan, possibly best remembered as the Tooth Fairy serial killer in Manhunter, and ex-husband to "that lady" Karen Young.
posted by maryh at 12:41 PM on May 30, 2007


#15- poor man's Rosie Perez. yuk

I had to look up #1 because I was sure I had never seen him before. I did see The Queen last week but still didn't recognize him. Other than that, there wasn't anything on his list I was sure I have seen. So maybe I don't get out much, but at least I recognize John Heard. He's a 'That Guy'??
posted by MtDewd at 12:42 PM on May 30, 2007


So cortex, are you saying that all character actors are That Guys?

No, some of 'em are just shitty actors.
posted by cortex at 12:44 PM on May 30, 2007


William Fichtner is my personal favorite That Guy, the one I scrolled down looking for immediately, because he pops up in really affecting roles in a select few of my favorite movies: Strange Days, Go, Contact. One role like his in Contact can really light up an actor for you when you see him again, but they'll remain a That Guy unless they're a real character actor, which I would say Trejo and McClurg are. So much so, so precisely defined, that I knew how Sherrybaby was going to end when Trejo made his entrance.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:45 PM on May 30, 2007


How 'bout Mako?
posted by stinkycheese at 12:45 PM on May 30, 2007


Laurie Metcalf
posted by tula at 12:47 PM on May 30, 2007


A worthy list, nitpicks aside (come on, J.T. Walsh?). I respectfull submit an old favorite of mine, Nick Chinlund, aka Donnie Pfaster.
posted by Skot at 12:48 PM on May 30, 2007


Tony Shalhoub was a "that guy extraordinaire" before making his way to fame as Monk. And why hasn't someone posted the obligatory link to Peter Griffin dressed as Marlo Thomas?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:48 PM on May 30, 2007


MtDewd: That's not the best picture of James Cromwell. He's kinda double-chinning there. Babe and LA Confidential are his most memorable pieces, boyo. If you haven't seen LA Confidential, get to it. I wore black for a month when Titanic beat it to the Oscar. (not a challenge given my dress sense, but dammit a gesture nonetheless)

William Fichtner is curled up in the fetal position on The Cromwell’s face to make the nose. hahaha
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:49 PM on May 30, 2007


I was going to complain about Danny Trejo being on this list, but it occurred to me that when I try to explain who he is, it inevitably ends up being "He was that guy in Desperado who threw the knives, and he was that guy in Dusk till Dawn who played the bartender. Big guy, lots of tattoos."
posted by quin at 12:51 PM on May 30, 2007


Where's 'booger'?

At the Hollywood Farmer's Market every Sunday. It's weird to know that there's a semi-celebrity that I can pretty much count on seeing once a week.

It's also really surprising that the article doesn't mention the absolute ton of VO work Keith David has done. I think most people would recognize him just from that.
posted by hifiparasol at 12:52 PM on May 30, 2007


Danny Trejo is very close to breaking out of That Guy status -- and I hope he does.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:54 PM on May 30, 2007


The That Guy concept really eludes me here. I mean, what is the distinction between "character actor" and "That Guy"? Is James Tolkan That Guy? It's who I thought of, but he's kind of a specific That Guy, isn't he? Does that disqualify him? Please, someone enlighten me.
posted by darksasami at 12:55 PM on May 30, 2007


The That Lady I love best.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:57 PM on May 30, 2007


Oh! Oh! Let's not forget Robert LaSardo, professional menacing dude.
posted by Skot at 1:00 PM on May 30, 2007


Seriously? #20 David Morse? I always thought that was Russell Crowe.
posted by chillmost at 1:08 PM on May 30, 2007


How 'bout Mako?

Yes, the OTHER Asian go-to-guy whenever Soon Tek Oh wasn't available.
posted by briank at 1:10 PM on May 30, 2007


Without Wings Hauser, this list sucks.
posted by NationalKato at 1:11 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


69 comments and nobody's mentioned Jane Adams?
posted by Kattullus at 1:12 PM on May 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


Some of my favorite actors are on that list. I think that Danny Trejo and Peter Strormare should do a buddy cop movie together. Maybe a remake of Dead Heat, with Trejo in the Joe Piscopo role.

Two beefs with the list:

1. They left off Robert Loggia.
2. How can you list Keith David and not mention his roles in The Thing and They Live?!
posted by brundlefly at 1:14 PM on May 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


Bookhouse, not only do I agree with you, but so does Robert Rodriguez. If Rodriguez keeps his promise and makes a full-length "Machete" movie starring Danny Trejo and Cheech Marin, Trejo could be the 2000s' Charles Bronson. I'd love to see that happen.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:14 PM on May 30, 2007


I have some real problems with this list.

Okay, first of all, how could James Hong not make the cut? 312 IMDB credits have to count for something.

Second, J.K. Simmons was a good start, but they really should have taken him, Daniel von Bargen and Mitch Pileggi and listed them in one entry as the Hey! It's That Bald Guy! conjoined triplets or something.

And to mention Keith David without a nod to his key role in the greatest cinematic oeuvre of all time, namely, John Carpenter's They Live? Don't get me started...

I like when That Guys become Big Guys, or famous or whathaveyou

How about the opposite? I'll start the list with Orson Welles. I'm sure by the time he was shilling frozen peas half the people watching him had no idea he was once one of the greats.
posted by Opposite George at 1:15 PM on May 30, 2007


I can't believe they would try to get you to remember who Dylan Baker is without mentioning his role as the pedophile dad in "Happiness".

After seeing that movie, I have had no problem recognizing him or recalling his name.

Same with Jane Adams, actually, also in "Happiness".
posted by hermitosis at 1:16 PM on May 30, 2007


My favorite would be that guy who played Clarence the angel in It's a Wonderful Life. I won't spoil by identifying that guy by his name.

I always thought of the actor that played Uncle Billy in It's a Wonderful Life as an old school That Guy.
posted by kalimotxero at 1:17 PM on May 30, 2007


How can you list Keith David and not mention his roles in The Thing and They Live David Keith?
Also: Pamela Reed and *sigh* Judy Greer.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:18 PM on May 30, 2007


Opposite George writes "I'm sure by the time he was shilling frozen peas half the people watching him had no idea he was once one of the greats."

"Hello. I'm Orson Welles, and I'm here to tell you about Country Farm Green Peas. Country Farm: filled with country goodness and green pea-ness -- Who's writing this?! I quit!"

*walks off screen*
*walks back*

"Maybe a handful for the road."

*grabs some peas, walks off munching*
posted by brundlefly at 1:20 PM on May 30, 2007


Where's the love for Clancy Brown?
posted by O9scar at 1:24 PM on May 30, 2007


David Morse is a great actor to boot. First "that guy" I always think of is the aforementioned Bruno Kirby, and he was fantastic too.
posted by fire&wings at 1:29 PM on May 30, 2007


I dropped out of this conversation to watch my latest Netflix arrival, American Me, and hey ... William Forsythe!
posted by Bookhouse at 1:31 PM on May 30, 2007


Michael Ironside
posted by joseph_elmhurst at 1:33 PM on May 30, 2007


Hell yeah, joseph_elmhurst. I love Ironside.
posted by brundlefly at 1:35 PM on May 30, 2007


Trejo could be the 2000s' Charles Bronson.

Oh HELL yes.
posted by eamondaly at 1:44 PM on May 30, 2007


Pete Postlethwaite! 80 roles in the last thirty years including Kobayashi in The Usual Suspects.
posted by octothorpe at 1:46 PM on May 30, 2007


Hmm. Tom Wilkinson? Can you be a That Guy if you've been nominated for a Best Leading Actor Oscar?
posted by granted at 1:46 PM on May 30, 2007


I nominate Six Feet Under as the That Guy show of That Guy shows (does that make it That Show?)

Okay, first of all it featured both James "Hey, Arch!" Cromwell and Richard Jennings, both on the list.

Then there's:

The previously-mentioned Lili Taylor (love of my life.)
Ileana Douglas (who I will one day leave Lili for.)
Joanna Cassidy (a/k/a Zorah from Blade Runner)
Number one on casting directors' "Eastern European" speed dial: Ed O'Ross
Anne Ramsay - If she isn't a That Gal I don't know who is.

Plus: Robert Foxworth, Catherine O'Hara, Veronica Cartwright, Graham Jarvis and others I'm sure I've missed.

Maybe I'm wrong. I dunno -- Just sayin'.
posted by Opposite George at 1:48 PM on May 30, 2007


The Law & Order franchise has been fantastic for Those Guys. I wonder if you can even attain That Guy status these days without a long list of L&O appearances (as 2nd Cop; Defense Lawyer; Perp; Grieved Relative of Murdered Person; Judge; etc.). We often play "who Has This Guy Been In Previous Episodes? when watching reruns (and new eps, too).
posted by rtha at 1:49 PM on May 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


First of all, let me second (or third) that Fametracker wrote the book on That Guy classification. Literally.

In response to some of the above comments, being That Guy isn't an automatic crappy actor designation. And it isn't exactly the same as "character actor". Brian Dennehy is a character actor, but he's not a That Guy.

That Guy is an actor who has been in enough films to be immediately recognized, but doesn't have name recognition. I've seen every episode of Homicide, and up until this moment thought Zeljko Ivanek was someone else. But i would be the first to say "That Guy who plays the DA on Homicide is awesome"

The title of this post places a slightly misleading value judgement on That Guy status. I would argue that That Guys tend to be really great actors. Some of them eventually make the leap. A lot of them should be more famous than their immediately recognizable counterparts. David Morse should be WAY more famous than Colin Farrell. Then again, so should we all.

Fametracker has always included women in the That Guy ranks. My favorite female That Guy? Stifler's Mom. I don't know her name, and I'm not looking it up, thus honoring her That Guy achievement.
posted by billyfleetwood at 1:53 PM on May 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


A friend of mine, Bill Preston, played the decrepit drunken bum in the alley in a whole bunch of movies before he died in the late 90's. His best-known role is helping Jeff Bridges carry a case of beer up the stairs in "The Fisher King" (Bill played "John the Bum".) It was a good career.

To me, Douglass Dumbrille, who played mobsters who get one line and then get shot in about 100 movies, will always be a HITG to me. I think his best-known role was the villain in the Marks Brothers' "A Day At The Races", although he got some other sizeable parts from time to time.

And let's not forget Bob Desiderio.
posted by kyrademon at 1:53 PM on May 30, 2007


It is a problem that I knew 18 of these by name? I think I watch too many movies. Too many movie credits, anyway.

And, seriously, I thought James Cromwell was just plain famous now, and has been for a long time.

James Rebhorn should get special notice for actually playing a "That Guy" actor in The Game. Great casting.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 1:54 PM on May 30, 2007


Chris Cooper used to be a "that guy" but I think Adaptation really cracked the A list open a bit and Breach sent him right through the crack and into the "actually famous" category.
posted by Muddler at 1:54 PM on May 30, 2007


It seems to me that being a That Guy would be a decent way of going through life. You make a decent living, get to work regularly at something you enjoy, receive a modicum of recognition, and don't have to worry about the paparazzi tracking you down. It's not like InTouch Magazine is dying for candid photos of That Guy from Law & Order:SVU.
posted by kalimotxero at 1:56 PM on May 30, 2007


Hmm. Tom Wilkinson? Can you be a That Guy if you've been nominated for a Best Leading Actor Oscar?

And Cromwell was nominated for Best Supporting Actor. I really think an Oscar nod should move you off the list.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 1:57 PM on May 30, 2007


Word on the plagiarizing Fametracker. Cracked sucks.
posted by mckenney at 2:00 PM on May 30, 2007


Also not having Frank Vincent near the top of the list as the king of The Mafia That Guys is a glaring omission.

The Sopranos is like an Italian That Guy Hall of Fame.
posted by billyfleetwood at 2:03 PM on May 30, 2007


billyfleetwood writes "My favorite female That Guy? Stifler's Mom. I don't know her name, and I'm not looking it up, thus honoring her That Guy achievement."

She's also in Christopher Guest's stable of actors. Cool lady.
posted by brundlefly at 2:05 PM on May 30, 2007


I would argue that Terry O'Quinn was a That Guy until Lost.
posted by brundlefly at 2:07 PM on May 30, 2007


Nobody's mentioned Don Cheadle. That guy's been in every single movie ever made. (Though, like Wilkinson, he's no "that guy.")

James Rebhorn will always be Beth's abusive dad on Guiding Light.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:16 PM on May 30, 2007


This thread is kickass. Bravo!
posted by zoogleplex at 2:17 PM on May 30, 2007


Cheadle's way beyond That Guy status. That was cemented with Hotel Rwanda.
posted by brundlefly at 2:22 PM on May 30, 2007


I would argue that Terry O'Quinn was a That Guy until Lost.

Absolutely, brundlefly. As was Daniel Dae Kim. Not to mention M.C. Gainey and (to a lesser extent) Nestor Carbonell. And whatshisname, Holland Manners from Angel.
posted by hifiparasol at 2:24 PM on May 30, 2007


What the fuck? Where's Dan Hedeya? Where's Wallace Shawn? Where's Paul Rudd? You don't even need to search for their films, they were all in the same goddamn movie together!

And Peter Riegert! Peter fuckin' Riegert, people! Who made this list? More importantly, Christ I shouldn't know all of these people!
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:24 PM on May 30, 2007


J.K. Simmons is who you hire when you want R. Lee Ermy, but don't want him screaming obscenities trying to toughen up Tobey McGuire.
posted by Gary at 2:31 PM on May 30, 2007


Paul Rudd: the only That Guy who could pull this off.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:32 PM on May 30, 2007


Argh. More. WHY DO I KNOW THIS?

Bob Gunton!

Glen Shadix! The portly patron saint of 80's That Guys! Good LORD, people!

I would say Jeffery Jones, Stephen Weber, and Ron Perlman, if it was like three years ago. They're all doing better now.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:33 PM on May 30, 2007


Apropos of John Heard: "with the exception of The Sopranos, which, of course, is the one drop-dead awesome show he’s been on".

The writer has plainly never watched "Battlestar Galactica".
posted by John Shaft at 2:36 PM on May 30, 2007


XQUZYPHYR writes "I would say Jeffery Jones, Stephen Weber, and Ron Perlman, if it was like three years ago. They're all doing better now."

Jeffrey Jones? Child porn conviction = better? It is nice to see Perlman doing so well, though.
posted by brundlefly at 2:42 PM on May 30, 2007


Also: Al Leong, aka any Chinese guy with a beard in any movie, ever.

Curtis Armstrong.

Kevin Dunn.

Frank Langella, aka the guy you get when you can't afford Christopher Lee.

Please, someone help me. I'm begging you.

brundlefly: Wow. I completely, completely forgot about that. Okay, wow. Faux pas.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:46 PM on May 30, 2007


What, no Clint Howard?
posted by space2k at 2:53 PM on May 30, 2007


Conchata Ferrell

And I agree that Cromwell has moved beyond "that guy" status.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:54 PM on May 30, 2007


Two words: Dennis Farina.

He's in the upcoming You Kill Me with Ben Kingsley as an alcoholic East Coast hit man who goes to San Francisco and enters AA. Plus HITGs Tea Leoni, Bill Pullman, Luke Wilson, and Phillip Baker Hall.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:08 PM on May 30, 2007


Michael Lonsdale?
posted by stinkycheese at 3:12 PM on May 30, 2007


For me, there's That Guy who was Max Fisher's headmaster/principle/whatever in Rushmore who was also in Erin Brockovitch. He may not be a That Guy, but I'll be damned if I can tell you his name.

Then there's his spiritual cousin who was the head military guy who hates mutants in X-Men 2 who was on his way to being That Guy, except upon looking him up I see that, holy crap, he was Hannibal Lecter in Manhunter? I've been meaning to see that. And of course, by winning an academy award he's definitely removed hisself from That Guy status.
posted by Green With You at 3:17 PM on May 30, 2007


Why not play the "Who's That Guy?" game.
posted by lubujackson at 3:19 PM on May 30, 2007


I'm dumb. Brian Cox was in X-Men 2 and as the headmaster in Rushmore. Albert Finney was in Erin Brockovitch, but not Rushmore. They should be in a movie together, that would really confuse me.
posted by Green With You at 3:25 PM on May 30, 2007


Ron Perlman

hifiminorcelebritystory #2: A few months ago I stopped myself from running into the street on a red light, moments before Ron Perlman would have smacked into me with his car. The strange thing is that a few weeks earlier, my girlfriend almost hit him with her car at LAX.

Living in Hollywood is great, because you get to see these guys all the time, just hanging out. A couple of weeks ago I walked past Neal McDonough, who has achieved the amazing feat of being a "poor man's version" of yet another That Guy, on Larchmont
posted by hifiparasol at 3:45 PM on May 30, 2007


John Heard's performance in Cutter's Way made me a lifelong fan. He will never be a "that guy" to me.
posted by vronsky at 3:45 PM on May 30, 2007


Two words: Dennis Farina

I just watched Empire Falls on HBO-On-Demand this past weekend. I enjoyed his performance in it.
posted by ericb at 3:45 PM on May 30, 2007


OK, grammatically the "on Larchmont" should have come after "a few weeks ago." Also there should have been a period. All these That Guys are making me too excited to write properly!
posted by hifiparasol at 3:46 PM on May 30, 2007


Fuckin' A yeah to all of the above. For the Academy's consideration, may I submit Mr. Saul Rubinek.

And how can we talk about Rushmore without mentioning the great Seymour Cassel?
posted by Opposite George at 3:48 PM on May 30, 2007


One thing my girlfriend likes to do is come up with movies where certain actors would play siblings, like John Heard and Ray Winstone, or Nathan Fillion and Donal Logue, or Laura Linney and Laura Dern, or Felicity Huffman and Edie Falco. It's fun.
posted by hifiparasol at 3:55 PM on May 30, 2007


hifiparasol: dude, you hang out on Larchmont? That's right around the corner from my place. I've lived near there for almost a decade now. We've probably seen each other there, ha!

And yeah, you see an awful lot of That Guy and That Girl down there. I've seen Neal McDonough down there too. Seems like one of the places stars (even pretty big ones) can go for pizza and not get bugged. I think a lot of That Guy types live in my neighborhood; Mr. Schiavelli was in a building on my street for many years, for instance.

th' Wood is a fun place. :)
posted by zoogleplex at 4:04 PM on May 30, 2007


Jeff Kober
posted by small_ruminant at 4:10 PM on May 30, 2007


Peter Stormare's career was oh-so-improved by that Volkswagen commercial.
posted by tehloki at 4:22 PM on May 30, 2007


That Lady: Beth Grant
That Guy: Fred Ward
That Guy: Willie Garson

posted by gatorae at 4:26 PM on May 30, 2007


Ages ago (early '70's) I had a book called Who Is That, a picture guide to the character actors of the 1930's and 1940's - Frank Cady, Whit Bissell, Una Merkel, Franklin Pangborn, etc, divided into categories like Busybodies, Gigolos, etc. A wonderful book for old movie buffs.
posted by QuietDesperation at 4:43 PM on May 30, 2007


One thing my girlfriend likes to do is come up with movies where certain actors would play siblings

For a good chunk of my life I've been at a loss as to why nobody's made a movie were Kurt Russell and Patrick Swayze play brothers.
posted by Kattullus at 4:44 PM on May 30, 2007


>That Lady: Beth Grant

She is etched in my mind saying: "Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion"

People like Kitty Farmer have been saying that to me all my life.
posted by spartacusroosevelt at 5:04 PM on May 30, 2007


Zoog -- my girlfriend is infinitely better at spotting character actors in public than I am, so I'm sure that, lots of times, I see semi-famous people and don't even know it. She's seen everyone short of Tom Hanks on Larchmont.

(Of course, she works in The Industry, so she sees famous people all the time, which often works out for me. The day she saw Nathan Fillion, I had the best sex of my life.)
posted by hifiparasol at 5:05 PM on May 30, 2007


Tom Wilkinson is too recognisable, too well known in Britain to be "that guy".
posted by jb at 5:11 PM on May 30, 2007


Can I get a shout out for Christopher McDonald? 124 movie/TV credits and counting... And just to confirm an earlier thesis, he *has* appeared on one of the Law & Orders -- SVU. Special bonus fact that I didn't know until tonight: he was the voice of the government agent guy in The Iron Giant.

Salon did a feature story on him a few years back. "But you probably don't know Christopher McDonald's name, despite the dozens of movies he's stolen from bigger stars."
posted by attaboy at 5:40 PM on May 30, 2007


Apparently Shooter McGavin is such a That Guy that even comments linking to Salon articles about him go unnoticed...

I think he might be my #1 That Guy. I always love his roles, but ten minutes ago I couldn't have told you his name, and hopefully by tomorrow that will be true again.
posted by pinespree at 6:12 PM on May 30, 2007


My favorite That Lady. And MAN do I miss JT Walsh.

Oh wow, I forgot about Jeffrey Jones. A very serious looking that guy.

Actually, Ferris Bueller aside, I think of him more as a very pervy-looking That Guy.
posted by miss lynnster at 6:47 PM on May 30, 2007


That Girl.
posted by hifiparasol at 6:55 PM on May 30, 2007


Robert Picardo. Everyone knows him as the China Beach guy or the doctor from Voyager guy....he's been in tons of stuff I am too lazy to link to.
posted by misha at 6:57 PM on May 30, 2007


The Quick and the Dead is a veritable "That Guy" fest: Tobin Bell, Roberts Blossom, Pat Hingle, Keith David, Lance Henriksen, and the late great Woody Strode.
posted by Devils Slide at 7:05 PM on May 30, 2007


One thing my girlfriend likes to do is come up with movies where certain actors would play siblings

Heh, same. Nick Nolte & Gary Busey, Ron Perlman, & Tom Waits.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:48 PM on May 30, 2007


I can't believe they paginated the article so that names were separated from profiles not once but twice.
posted by me3dia at 8:44 PM on May 30, 2007


There are definitely some that-guy's here. But I'm seeing a few definititely underrated, talented people.

RIP, JT Walsh. Cause I don't think he was as pigeonholed as they made him out to be.
posted by ninjew at 8:49 PM on May 30, 2007


How was he not here? Come ON.
posted by ninjew at 8:53 PM on May 30, 2007


The ultimate That Guy of all eternity: Charles Napier.
posted by gimonca at 9:07 PM on May 30, 2007


It's really too bad JT Walsh is no longer alive -- he'd make an excellent Cheney in the inevitable movie.
posted by hifiparasol at 9:40 PM on May 30, 2007


A trio from 24: Xander Berkeley, Glenn Morshower- who's played every kind of cop, agent and member of the military, and Eric Balfour, who is on the young side to be that guy, but keeps popping up all over the the tv schedule.
posted by tula at 10:03 PM on May 30, 2007


Eric Balfour is an excellent choice for That Guy in training. My nominee for the next generation is Adam Goldberg.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:40 PM on May 30, 2007


Bah. Lili Taylor "fans" who don't cite her for Dogfight?

Yes, goddammit. I'm going to have the fucking poached salmon, with the son-of-a-bitching rice, and a dirty bastard salad with a shitload of Roquefort dressing. Thank you. And um, who knows what this asshole wants.

Of course, this list is really about people who's friends don't know movies. Thus take any young movie watcher and any old movie - It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World or Kelly's Heroes.
The test should be: those who you recognize but can't name, yet when you read their name you have no idea who they are.

Sam Rockwell was the ultimate That Guy till he started breaking out. Hell, he was That Guy in Galaxy Quest as the almost-nameless redshirt -- he was even named Guy!
posted by dreamsign at 11:09 PM on May 30, 2007


Oh, and while Chuck Norris has only two speeds, walk and kill, Danny Trejo is permanently set to awesome.
posted by dreamsign at 11:19 PM on May 30, 2007


A while back I entered Danny Trejo as my answer for who should take over for Bob Barker on The Price Is Right on grupthink.com. Somehow, that answer became a running gag on that site. I may never create a running joke on MeFi, but I have done it somewhere, goddamnit. Trejo is now Grupthink's patron saint.
posted by brundlefly at 11:27 PM on May 30, 2007


Brad Dourif can't be a 'that guy' due to his major roles in movies like Ragtime, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and his work in Deadwood.

I don't think Pete Postlethwaite is a 'that guy' either. He was a leading actor in the UK, before trading the size of his roles for the Hollywood booty. He was fantastic in Distant Voices, Still Lives and The Dressmaker (despite being from Warrington and pretending to be a Liverpudlian in both.)
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:29 PM on May 30, 2007


goddamn. whose.
posted by dreamsign at 11:30 PM on May 30, 2007


I'm not sure I completely get the "That guy" designation, as it depends how much of a film buff you are. My wife and I watch a lot of BBC productions, and they seem to have an even higher percentage of "that guy" screen time.

Jennifer Tilley, Feruza Balk, and Charles S. Dutton.

Ron Perlman is definitely not a that guy, I mean if you have a starring role in a widely released movie it should automatically disqualify you.

Stormare did three VW commercials, and they were his best work.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:03 AM on May 31, 2007


Also, William Fishtner seems more like a poor man's Christian Bale. He reminds me a little of Judson Scott, who is a little too obscure to even be a that guy unless you are really into sci-fi.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:25 AM on May 31, 2007


ultimate That Girl: Corinne Bohrer.
Give the poor woman a bloody show or something already. she's good.
posted by dong_resin at 3:42 AM on May 31, 2007


Corinne Bohrer

Indeed. From Police Academy 4 to Veronica Mars, I've liked her and never, ever been able to name her.
posted by Bookhouse at 7:15 AM on May 31, 2007


Surely when you see someone as odd as Feruza Balk, though, you IMDB the thing you saw her in just to figure out who she is. I did the same with Angelina way back in the "Hackers" days for the same reason. And Jennifer Tilly? Can you escape her impish infamy?
posted by dreamsign at 9:06 AM on May 31, 2007


A great that lady, you've seen her a hundred times playing a judge, doctor, police officer, person of authority and importance: CCH Pounder.
posted by tula at 7:17 PM on June 7, 2007


That guy is awesome!! Gary Busey, that is. Or is it Nick Nolte?
posted by a_s_m at 3:18 AM on June 11, 2007


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