Fellow movie-oholic Ruth at FlixChatter has thought up a great idea for a blogathon. It’s simply titled “Small Roles, Big Performances”. The idea is to draw some attention to great supporting performances from actors or actresses that seldom get the love that they deserve. These are performers who haven’t received a lot of notoriety or major awards but nonetheless are incredible talents. I love it! FlixChatter will be highlighting many contributors to the blogathon so be sure to check there regularly. I know I will.
This project really took a lot of thought because there are so many actors and actresses known for their small roles that I adore. I mean these are the people who often times provide the backbone of a picture. I just had to figure out which person I wanted to single out. After much thought, it came to me – Ray McKinnon. Anytime I see Ray McKinnon appear in a scene, he gives a sensational performance. Well, maybe with the exception of “The Blind Side”. His feature film career dates all the way back to a small role in “Driving Miss Daisy” all the way to his performance in Jeff Nichol’s “Take Shelter” from 2011.
But the performance I want to focus on is his incredible work in the 2009 film “That Evening Sun”. It’s a story of Abner Meecham, an elderly man (Hal Holbrook) who feels forgotten by his family after being placed in a nursing facility. He escapes the home and heads back to his farm only to find that his son has sold it to a young family. Abner will have none of it and makes himself at home in the small cabin right next to the farm house. McKinnon plays Lonzo Choat, the new owner of the farm. He doesn’t take kindly to Abner’s presence on his property which triggers several confrontations that soon get way out of hand.
McKinnon is wonderful at creating a character that we don’t know what to make of at first. He has every right to the property since he bought it fair and square. But he’s also a boozer who verbally abuses his wife and even physically assaults his daughter. McKinnon sells this guy perfectly and you can’t help but to hate him. The movie is set in small town Tennessee and McKinnon’s deep and true southern accent, course mannerisms, and rough redneck appearance is absolutely perfect for the part and key to making many of the film’s strongest scenes work. He and Holbrook square off multiple times and it’s McKinnon who often steals the scenes. He’s detestable and frightening – a perfect movie antagonist and you’ll never doubt the authenticity that McKinnon brings to the role.
Ray McKinnon can be seen next year in Jeff Nichols’ next film “Mud”. In the meantime, check him out in “Driving Miss Daisy”, “Apollo 13”, “O Brother, Where Art Thou”, and of course “That Evening Sun”. Thanks again Ruth for providing a forum for talent like Ray McKinnon to get a little love. And as I mentioned, visit FlixChatter to learn hoe you can join in on the blogathon.