Joe Don Baker kicks ass. Seeing him strut around the BBC (in this week's TV pick Edge of Darkness) this week made me realize my deep appreciation for the man. As my list of beloved character actors grows, I am realizing I've actually seen very little of Baker's hailed and popular roles. Sure, now that you mention it, I remember his stint as a bad guy in Golden Eye and Tomorrow Never Dies, and I recall him vaguely as Babe Ruth when we watched The Natural in High School, but I am mostly a fan of the big guy from the work he might not want mentioned too often.
For starters he is just plain awesome as ma-ma-ma-ma-Mitchell, one of the greatest MST3K episodes ever. He plays, as Time Out said in their review of the film when it was released “a big lumpy cop” who (according to the New York Times review) “spends what seems to be the greater part of the film climbing in and out of automobiles, driving automobiles, chasing other automobiles, parking automobiles, and leaning against the body of automobiles that are temporarily at rest.”??br/>
Most importantly I have to give credit to his spectacular turn as an old guy who hates video arcades in the classic, our all time favorite, teen sex comedy Joy Sticks. I honestly admire these performances, and once you see Edge of Darkness, you'll agree that there is talent and charm under all that accent and beer weight. I plan to revel in more of his talents by putting Walking Tall and Charley Varrick on my netflix queue.