Saturday, March 07, 2009

I Heart James Gammon

I love character actors. They are the supporting structure of virtually every good movie with a cast of more than a couple of actors (which is pretty much every movie of worth ever made). You can't name a great film without these smaller, character roles that give a film depth, tension, laughter, heartache etc etc. These are my acting heroes. James Gammon is a character actor of the finest kind. James Gammon is one of my favorite actors of all time.

The first thing you notice about Gammon is his voice. It's a wonderful blend of gravel and drawl. Gammon is not a handsome guy but his everyman looks have allowed him to play every sort of character in a career that dates back to the mid-1960s. Gammon, like all great character actors, makes a film better even though you might not realize just who he is. He can help make good films great and the dreck he has to do sometimes to pay the bills is always more watchable because of his presence.

Gammon is perfectly suited for westerns. If I was making a western, since Warren Oates is dead, the first person I'd call would be James Gammon and I'd ask him to grow a powerful mustache. No one tops Oates! I wouldn't make the film if Gammon wasn't in the cast. Gammon has been in westerns such as Silverado, Wyatt Earp and Cold Mountain. He can also do comedy as his gruff exterior offers great straight man possibilities--he's hilarious in the ribald baseball comedy Major League. Cast him in crime genres and he'll go to town in those as well.

James Gammon is just a great actor in anything, period.
Every time I see his name in the credits or see his face pop up on screen I get a little thrill something good is about to come my way. He's the glue, an honest, hardworking character actor. And that's a compliment.

7 comments:

Vern Snackwell said...

great post. james gammon is amazing. it's always a treat to watch him act.

Rumblefish said...

Warren Oates is my second favorite actor of all time. When I talked to Monte Hellman about Warren Oates, he told me some great stories. There's one scene in The Shooting which Oates insisted on doing as if he were reciting a Shakespearian sonnet. Hellman considered it a minor throwaway scene, but once he saw what Oates did with it, he was blown away.

Replicant said...

Rumblefish--who is your favorite if Warren Oates is #2?

Nadine Hightower said...

One of our favs too. My hubby barely recognized him in Appaloosa.

Replicant said...

Nadine--I noticed in Appaloosa that Gammon seemed to have lost a lot of weight. Hope he isn't ill but he did look a lot thinner.

Rumblefish said...

Daniel Day-Lewis is my favorite actor of all time. If we're just talking favorite character actors, it's Oates. Have you seen the Tom Sawyer musical in which he plays Muff Potter? It's magical.

Replicant said...

Well, if you've been reading CineRobot long--you know my esteem for DDL.