Alec Baldwin Sets Standard for Small Roles With Big Impacts
It only took the "30 Rock" star eight minutes to become the most memorable character in "Glengarry Glen Ross." Here’s a list of other actors that stole show with minimum on-screen timeJuly 27, 2015
Theater director Constantin Stanislavski once famously said, “There are no small parts, only small actors.” Sadly, the Moscow Art Theater founder died 52 years before his saying was solidified by probably the greatest small role in cinematic history – Blake in “Glengarry Glen Ross.”
For those who aren’t familiar, GGR is a magnificent play-turned-movie about four real estate salesmen who are desperate to not get fired after a corporate trainer puts the fear of God in them if they don’t start selling the company’s overpriced and underwhelming properties. And as great as the movie is, the only scene everyone remembers is with the aforementioned trainer played by Alec Baldwin.
The movie is full of iconic talent like Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Alan Arkin, Ed Harris and Kevin Spacey but in less than eight minutes of screen time, Alec not only steals the show, but then he bangs it in an alley and leaves it for dead. After all, if you don’t read the credits then one would assume Baldwin’s character is aptly named “Fuck You,” since that is how he introduces himself.
Needless to say, his performance is legendary and we think he should’ve gotten a golden statue that year. And as good as the oldest Baldwin brother was in that movie, there is a small list of other actors who have come screamingly close to pulling off that same feat.
We ranked everyone by how long they were on screen. Finish reading this before grabbing a coffee.
Tom Cruise – ‘Tropic Thunder’
Screen Time: 9 minutes 57 seconds
He’s been cranking out box office smashes since 1983’s “Risky Business” and has never looked back. When he was 14 years old, the future “Top Gun” star enrolled in the seminary with aspirations of becoming a priest. Well, we’re pretty sure 14-year-old Tom Cruise would be rightfully confused at his decision to take part in Ben Stiller’s wildly ludicrous action comedy war epic “Tropic Thunder,” in which Cruise plays the ultimate sleazebag Hollywood agent, Les Grossman.
Matthew McConaughey – ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’
Screen Time: 7 minutes 32 seconds
The epic penny stock scam flick introduced a new side to the Oscar-winning actor, who, at one point in his career, was most notably famous for playing laid-back stoner types and being constantly shirtless in his private life. Just a few months before his award-winning performance in “Dallas Buyers Club” and his riveting portrayal of Detective Rust Cohle in HBO’s “True Detective,” the bohemian Texan was beating his chest while giving Leonardo DiCaprio primo advice on how often to jerk off while high on cocaine.
Gary Oldman – ‘True Romance’
Screen Time: 6 minutes 5 seconds
He inspired a generation of dreadlocked, Caucasian pimps and for that we must honor Gary Oldman on this list. When we first meet Drexl — in a movie dripping with great cameos from Val Kilmer’s Elvis to Brad Pitt’s Floyd — he makes eating Chinese food about as repulsive as it gets, sucking down remnants of Kung Pao chicken off his fingertips. Seven minutes later he’s been shot both in the nuts and the face for good measure and is gone from our lives as quickly and grossly as he entered it.
Bill Murray – ‘Zombieland’
Screen Time: 5 minutes 10 seconds
Bill Murray is probably the most respected comedic actor today. He deserves all the praise in the world because, truth be told, he really doesn’t make bad movies. Except “Garfield.” That was bad. But if you take away all of his stellar leading man performances, he’s still left with an ungodly impressive resume. Murray has mastered the art of taking small roles in big movies like “Caddyshack,” “The Royal Tenenbaums” and “The Little Shop of Horrors,” and making them feel gigantic. In “Zombieland” he shows up playing himself donning zombie makeup so he can blend better with the undead. And just as we all start getting excited that Bill is here to stay, he gets killed off by a shotgun blast to the chest by the dude who created Facebook. Seriously, they really need to create a “dislike” button.
Will Ferrell – ‘Wedding Crashers’
Screen Time: 4 minutes 43 seconds
The “SNL” alum is not one to shy away from goofy cameos, but his take on Chaz, the infamous party crasher who taught Vince Vaughn everything he knows about picking up chicks at weddings, is as close to comedy perfection as it gets. In a movie littered with memorable quotes and characters, Chaz doesn’t even first appear until an hour and forty minutes into the movie draped in a smoking robe with nunchucks hung around his neck. Wait, you still need more? Ok, so after cursing out his mom for some meatloaf, Chaz expertly shows Owen Wilson how to pick up a hot date at a funeral because, after all, “grief is nature’s most powerful aphrodisiac.”
Bob Barker – ‘Happy Gilmore’
Screen Time: 4 minutes 27 seconds
Although he began hosting game shows in the 1950s, it was the “Price Is Right” that made Bob Barker a household name. For a staggering 35 years, he invaded our homes with seemingly easy but addictive games like Plinko, Cliff Hangers and Five Price Tags. The only way things got heated up on the set of his game show was if an oven was the prize. But Bob’s cameo in 1996’s “Happy Gilmore” shed some light on the animal rights activists personality: He was a vicious, cheap fighter with the mouth of an illiterate pirate. Your move, Drew Carey.
Christopher Walken – ‘Pulp Fiction’
Screen Time: 4 minutes 18 seconds
What can you say about Christopher Walken that everyone doesn’t already know? He’s a genius actor, a classically trained dancer and apparently hates combs. His vocal delivery is so pristine, he could read the Want Ads section of a newspaper and make it sound hauntingly interesting. His charmingly thick New York accent is what really drives this small part home as he tells a young Bruce Willis where he kept his father’s watch while imprisoned in a POW camp for seven pain-in-the-ass years. How Walken wasn’t pegged as the spokesperson for Apple Watch, we’ll never understand.
Gene Hackman – ‘Young Frankenstein’
Screen Time: 4 minutes 15 seconds
At 85 years old, Mr. Hackman is now retired from acting and that makes us angrier than Kanye West at an awards show. How dare he only give us 79 glorious films and than just call it quits? Would it kill him to give us a nice round number like 80? Gene, we’re begging you, make one more flick. Our OCD is kicking into overdrive. Well, until that happens sink your teeth into this little talked about gem of a role Gene took in 1974’s “Young Frankenstein.”
Mike Tyson – ‘The Hangover’
Screen Time: 3 minutes 59 seconds
This technically qualifies more as a cameo than a small role but Tyson delivers a knockout performance regardless. It’s hard to discuss “The Hangover” without someone bringing up Iron Mike drumming along to Phil Collin’s “In The Air Tonight” moments before he lays out Zach Galifianakis with a perfect right hook. Oh, Bradley Cooper humps the champ’s prized Siberian tiger, too. So there’s that.
Neil Patrick Harris – ‘Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle’
Screen Time: 3 minutes 21 seconds
Before NPH was NPH, he was Neil Patrick Harris. And before that he was Doogie Howser, MD. This was not debatable nor, for a time, escapable. It would take a PR team the size of 4,000 Vinnie Delpinos to orchestrate the type of return to glory Harris has achieved over the past decade. And it all started with this odd cameo he made in “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.” His bit role was so strong that the eventual sequels made sure to include the “How I Met Your Mother” star as a prominent character throughout.
Michael Cera – ‘This Is the End’
Screen Time: 2 minutes 17 seconds
Let’s be honest, the “Arrested Development” star will be able to play a convincing 15-year-old well into his mid-30s, if not beyond. His soft boyish looks and comically awkward mannerisms are how Cera has made a name for himself in Hollywood. So when “This Is The End” hit theaters, it showed a side of him we had all been craving — a coked-up-paranoid-sex-driven-legend. We were sold after his character firmly slapped Rihanna’s ass but then it got better. Way better.