We all know that a movie role doesn't have to require tons of screen time in order to make a big impression. Just look at some past Oscar nominations, like Ruby Dee's nod for her role in American Gangster, which was brief but powerful. Or even some Oscar wins, like Judi Dench's score for playing Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love. Well, in this, the Age of the Top-Whatever Lists, The Onion has compiled a list of "19 stellar one-scene wonders" (why not an even 20? I don't know).
I'd forgotten about many of the listed "wonders," though once my memory was refreshed, I got chills from some of them. For example, Charles Fleischer's short performance in Zodiac as one of the men suspected of being the Zodiac killer gave me the shivers as I recalled Jake Gyllenhaal being led down to Fleischer's character's creepy basement. And I never considered how little screen time Vanessa Redgrave actually has in Atonement because obviously her performance has a tremendous impact.
And there are the funny ones, too, like David Bowie's appearance in Zoolander and Janeane Garofalo's turn as the "serving wench Melinda" during the Medieval Times scene in The Cable Guy.
Are there other small (or smallish) roles that still left you reeling, or gasping for breath? To check out The Onion's list,
- Alec Baldwin, Glengarry Glen Ross
- Ray Charles, The Blues Brothers
- Pamela Anderson, Borat
- Dean Stockwell, Blue Velvet
- Janeane Garofalo, The Cable Guy
- David Letterman, Cabin Boy
- Billy Ray Cyrus, Mulholland Dr.
- Ned Beatty, Network
- Chris Rock, I'm Gonna Git You Sucka
- Topher Grace, Ocean's Eleven
- David Spade, Reality Bites
- Sammy Davis Jr., Sweet Charity
- Vanessa Redgrave, Atonement
- Charlie Sheen, Ferris Bueller's Day Off
- David Bowie, Zoolander
- John Carroll Lynch, Zodiac
- Charles Fleischer, Zodiac
- Samuel L. Jackson, Kill Bill Volume 2
- William Hurt, A History Of Violence