Monday, January 6, 2014

Master Cast: The Right Stuff

Every now and again, you watch a movie with an amazing ensemble cast filled with up and coming actors who are just a few years from stardom and recognition.  From 1960's The Magnificent Seven to 1983's The Outsiders to 90's flicks like Dazed and Confused and School Ties, you'd be hard pressed to try and wrangle the then mostly unknown casts five years after their seminal establishing work.

Today we're going to look at 1983's The Right Stuff, which I picked up for a buck from my latest adventure at a Blockbuster closeout sale.  Based on the true story of the group of college educated test pilots turned astronauts of the Mercury 7 program to put a man into space; Stuff was written and directed by Phillip Kaufman, who helped give us The Outlaw Josey Wales, Raiders of the Lost Ark and mother fudging Rising Sun with Sean Connery, Wesley Snipes, Mako, Harvey Keitel, Ray Wise, Tia Carrere, Steve Buscemei  and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa!  Guess he still has the touch...

Let's look at the cast of now familiar faces, Oscar winners, voice actors and TV dads:

Sam Shepard - Oscar nominee and playwright, appeared in Steel Magnolias, The Pelican Brief, Black Hawk Down, The Notebook and Safe House.  Seems to be cast opposite Brad Pitt, Val Kilmer and Denzel Washington frequently.

Scott Glenn - The Original Man on Fire, The Silence of the Lambs, Backdraft, Training Day and The Bourne Ultimatum.  Up next is Endangered, a thriller about a rampaging bear with a killer, low-watt cast featuring Thomas Jane, Billy Bob Thornton, James Marsden and Piper Perabo.

Ed Harris - Multiple Oscar and Saturn nominee, director and all around intense method guy.  The Abyss, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Rock, A History of Violence, Pain & Gain (!) and Gravity.

Dennis Quaid - Saturn, Golden Globe and Blockbuster award nominee seen in Enemy Mine, Wyatt Earp, DragonHeart, Any Given Sunday, The Rookie and G.I. Joe:  The Rise of Cobra.

Fred Ward - Earl from Tremors and Remo Williams in Remo Williams:  The Adventure Begins!

Lance Henriksen - While he didn't get much love in Stuff, he still managed to claw his way into genre fame with roles in Aliens, Hard Target, Disney's animated Tarzan and TV's Millennium.

Jeff Goldblum - Super young and playing the idiot but redeemed in The Fly, Jurassic Park, Independence Day and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

Harry Shearer - The voice of Kent Brockman and dozens more on The Simpsons since 1989, The Shear has also popped up in human form in This Is Spinal Tap, Wayne's World 2 and Godzilla.

William Russ - Yup, the dad from Boy Meets World pops up as a greedy test pilot early on.

We could go on and on with some of the secondary characters but hey, keep it moving.

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