Adorable Grouchy Character Actor: Kurtwood Smith

I just finished watching Hitchcock for the second time. It is a respectable movie; Helen Mirren naturally conquers the film as Alma Reville, Hitchcock's wife.

Some of my favorite scenes, however, focus on Hollywood's censor, played by the talented Kurtwood Smith.

I adore Kurtwood Smith. He plays the dad, "Red" Forman in That 70's Show. That 70's Show is one of those sitcoms that I'll stop and watch if I see it in passing yet I never rent. My favorite episodes--the ones I stop for--are all "Red"-focused, and one of my favorite lines occurs when an exasperated "Red" barks, "Why is it, everywhere we go, all these kids come along?!"

Of course, Kurtwood Smith has done much more than play Eric Forman's father. His resume includes a deranged FBI agent (X-Files) and a slightly deranged but good-hearted ex-cop (Psych). He also delivers a tour de force as the complexly disturbed captain in my favorite Star Trek: Voyager two-parter: "Year of Hell." His character is a villain, yet a comprehensible one. His crew's loyalty is believable, and his desperate attempts to literally rewrite the past make for an excellent time travel problem.

Kurtwood Smith plays disturbed, kindly, captious, and, of course, grouchy! He is the type of actor who, while not disappearing into his part a la Gary Oldman, never draws attention away from the lines or plot. He does what is necessary, whether that entails a bravura performance, a subtle one, or a walk-on part: I imagine directors find this a great relief.

For his performance as "Red" alone, I must add Kurtwood Smith to my "Great Adorable Grumpy Old Guys" list.

No comments: