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Top Five Movies of Brooke Smith

I would have to think that every actor has a role like Brooke Smith’s “Sobbing Prisoner” in “The Man Who Wasn’t There.” I figure if a character doesn’t have a name, it probably isn’t a big part. Another way to check might be whether there’s a link to the character name on the IMDB page leading to the quotes. No quotes, probably means not very many lines because I swear every line in the movie has a link. Other character “names” from the same movie include the following: “Bingo Caller,” “Gatto Eater,” “Pie Contest Timer,” and “Flophouse Clerk.”

brooke2“The Night We Never Met” also has some great character “names.” The cast list includes “Yogurt-Eating Date,” “Less/More Cheese Lady,” “Excuse Me Shopper,” and “3rd Cheese Man.” “Bad Company” didn’t make Brooke’s list below even with a great cast that includes Chris Rock, Peter Stormare, Kerry Washington, Garcelle Beauvais and John Slattery, but more importantly, it has character names like “Dragan Henchman #4,” “Manicurist #2,” “Hotel Intruder #3,” and “Tourist #1.”

I want to go on to more very general character descriptions, names, or what have you, so let’s get to the best five movies from Brooke and I’m sure we can find many more “Sobbing Prisoners,” just not any more from Brooke.

5. Trees Lounge

The closest possible unnamed characters in this movie written and directed by Steve Buscemi are “Little Boy” and “Little Girl.” Maybe that’s part of being an actor first (I assume): making sure that every actor has a name on which to hang his or her proverbial hat.

4. Melinda and Melinda

I made this list of Brooke’s top five movies before I read Dylan Farrow’s open letter. Her haunting question of, “What’s your favorite Woody Allen movie?” makes me shudder as I look at this title.

3. Kansas City

This lesser known Robert Altman film (I’ll say lesser known to me, though I am familiar with the area where he filmed some of it) has a “Gas Station Attendant,” a “Hey-Hey Club Hostess,” a “Governor’s Park Butler,” and several Hey-Hey Club musicians identified further by their instruments.

2. Vanya on 42nd Street

There are only ten credited actors in this movie, so all have a name. Wallace Shawn plays the titular Vanya, and no matter what he does for the rest of his career, and I mean no slight to him, he will always be Vizzini, for that is the role of his that brought me the most joy and continues to do so to this day.

1. Silence of the Lambs

I think this movie has become somewhat of a camp classic in recent years. Though it was scary at the time, the number of impressions that have come from the characters within has made it more of a punch line in my head. Still, the scene from the angle of watching Brooke down in the hole, afraid for her life, still has the ability to scare me, as long as the movie is on mute. Looking at the unnamed characters, I can’t help but smile at the yin and yang “Friendly Psychopath” and “Brooding Psychopath.”

Agree? Disagree? Which movies would make your Brooke Smith top five?

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About Jason McClain Jason is an aspiring novelist, which means there is a lot of time to put off writing and watch baseball or go fly-fishing, hiking and traveling. By "a lot of time", Jason means "procrastination."

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