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March 22, 2010

Midnight Top Five - Tom Noonan Performances

If we were playing a game called "Things that are AWESOME", one of the things I'd probably mention is 6'6" actor Tom Noonan, one of my favorite character actors of the last few decades. And, since he's awesome, I figured I better do a Midnight Top Five listing some of my favorite performances from his career's jumps into the kind of films I love.Francis Dolarhyde/The Tooth Fairy in Manhunter - When the topic of Noonan arises, this is generally the place to start. I don't care that it's the first Hannibal Lecter film (Brian Cox is great, but that's a story for another day), the terrifying part of Manhunter is Noonan's turn as the vicious killer who makes Buffalo Bill seem normal. Even scarier are the moments of humanity that make him seem all the more likeable...despite the truth we already know.
Cain in RoboCop 2 - RoboCop 2 isn't anywhere near as impressive as its predecessor, but it's a far cry better than the third installment and the Sci-Fi Channel movies that followed. This is, of course, thanks to Noonan's turn as another psycho. This time he's Cain, the kingpin drug dealer who shows no mercy, especially once his beaten body becomes a new breed of RoboCop gone awry. Plus you get the added bonus of digital Noonan while in robo-form. That's a winner.The Ripper/Tom Noonan in Last Action Hero - There were several films that I absorbed repeatedly on HBO as a youngster, but this one has been one of the few that has stuck with me strong. A large part of that is my unhealthy obsession with all cinematic things Schwarzenegger, but it also remains a joy thanks to the spot-on look at action cinema of the era. Noonan's portrayal of the Ripper, as stereotypical a disfigured villain as can be conceived, is richly sinister while sticking with the cheese factor of the film. And, we get a bonus cameo from Tom Noonan....late in the film.Sheriff Decker in Knockaround Guys - Knockaround Guys is a middle-of-the-road action/comedy that's designed to be about a lot of young stars (Barry Pepper, Vin Diesel, Seth Green) playing off of established stars (John Malkovich, Dennis Hopper). But Noonan's supporting role as the small-town sheriff who gives up a passive role in the name of greed is easily the most interesting part of the film. Thanks to him, the film goes from average to enjoyable in a few simple scenes.Mr. Ulmer in The House of the Devil - I really wanted to fit a more heroic role into this list, but Mr. Noonan left me no choice but to include his subdued performance in last year's horror winner The House of the Devil. As the quiet man who sets the film's events in motion, Noonan's mannerisms and stuttering attempts to alleviate the lead's fears provide a spark to the uneasy feeling that fills the rest of Ti West's film.

That's five, but I assure that there's much more Noonan out there for you all to experience, like recent Midnight Movie of the Week The Roost and the '80s classic The Monster Squad. Have your own Noonan faves? Hit up the comments below!

1 comment:

forestofthedead said...

I did not know this much about this actor. Thank you for educating me!