The Small Roles, Big Performances Blogathon is exactly what it says on the tin. It is hosted by Flix Chatter. For a complete list of participating blogs, visit the host site.
Okay, so the truth is that because I was so caught up in the Urbanworld Film Festival, not to mention several other movies that I've seen lately, I didn't give this blogathon as much thought as I wanted to (sorry, Ruth). However, I did come up with a few selections that, though they stretch the definition of "big performances," they mean something to me personally because I've always enjoyed Kevin Smith movies. None of these roles are Oscar-caliber material, but they make their respective movies, in their own little ways, and they're memorable. To me, anyway. So here you go:
- Stan Lee in Mallrats. Yes, he takes too much credit for his role in creating the Marvel Universe, but if that's what Smith wrote, then surely that's more his fault than Stan's. We all know about the cameos Stan has made in the Marvel superhero movies, but this is his biggest movie role - as himself, who provides Jason Lee with the perspective he needs to go after Shannen Doherty - through comics, of course. Stan's public image has always been equal parts fact and fantasy - by his own doing; he's always been a shameless huckster! - and this version of himself certainly feeds into the Stan Lee myth. But that's the thing: if you're a Marvel Comics fan, who grew up with the Merry Marvel Marching Society and Bullpen Bulletins and FOOM and No-Prizes and all that, this is the only way we want to see Stan - and Smith knows this, because he's a comics geek too. So why shouldn't Stan be the one to help save the day in the end?
- Alanis Morissette in Dogma. I had a conversation with someone recently about musicians crossing over into film, and the point I made is that too often, Hollywood thinks that fame in one medium automatically crosses over into another, so they make star vehicles for musicians-turned-actors, thinking that, just like Ringo Starr sang, all they have to do is act naturally and they'll make a big pile of money. For every Bodyguard, though, there are half a dozen Glitters. Alanis Morissette was at the peak of her popularity when Dogma came out, and yet not only is her role a small one, she doesn't even get to speak, even though she plays none other than God. Hers is a deus ex machina appearance, at the end, right when it seems like the plan of renegade angels Ben Affleck and Matt Damon is about to succeed. She's the way you'd want God to be, if s/he actually existed: just, forgiving, yet sweet and playful too.
- Jay and Silent Bob in Chasing Amy. Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith, that is, but when it's the two of them together like this, one simply can't refer to them any other way. In Clerks and Mallrats, the two of them were simply mischief-makers, running around creating havoc and hitting on chicks, and it's a strong indicator of how different Amy is from those films in that they only appear in one scene here. While they're still funny, they also, like Stan in Mallrats, inspire the protagonist (Affleck in this case) into making a crucial decision. And Smith, as Silent Bob, even gets to break his silence in order to tell his story, one he tells without passion or prejudice. I love this movie with a great passion, and this scene is a great big reason why.