An excessive exertion of effort

You know that feeling, when you can't remember an actor's name?  I think it happens a lot, because I've seen it joked about in several works.  (The ones that spring to mind are Family Guy and Instant Classic.)  It's painful.  I don't know why that is.  But it's incredibly annoying. In my last post, I embedded a video of a scene from the movie Wanderlust.  If you missed it, here it is again.

What I wanted to write about that scene was, "He slips through imitations of Dane Cook to ---------- to Andy Dick."  But that second name wasn't coming to me.  All I was getting was a mental picture.  A vivid mental picture.  An absolutely crystal-clear, full-frame shot of the actor's face.  It wasn't this one, but it looked a lot like it:

His name is Chris Cooper.  Paul Rudd sounded like he was imitating Chris Cooper, after imitating Dane Cook but before imitating Andy Dick, in the bathroom mirror scene in the movie Wanderlust.

I couldn't think of what movie the shot I was thinking of was from.  (I'm pretty sure it was the Bourne Identity, now.)  I couldn't think of any other movies I knew he was in.  I couldn't picture him standing next to any other actor.  It was just that one close-up mental image.

Google can only do so much -- do you know how hard it is to think of the name of an actor (like Chris Cooper) when all you've got is a memory of his face?

I started by browsing the names of major stars in every crime movie since 2000 on Wikipedia.  I was pretty sure he did a lot of crime movies.  (I was close -- he does a lot of government movies.)  No luck.  Then, I tried randomly clicking around, but that was also fruitless.  I tried to think of other actors who might have been in movies with him, but what I managed to think of was other actors who are a little bit like him, and so might be cast similarly.  (I still have tabs open for Gary Oldman and Mark Wahlberg.)

Then I tried IMDb's list of male actors.  All of them.  I sorted by birthdate.  After skipping over the first seventy thousand, I got stuck somewhere in the seemingly endless pages of male actors born in 1944 before giving up on that effort.

I started trying random lists on IMDb.  I searched for lists involving living male actors.  This one was no help.  This one, which clearly belongs to a crazy person who plans to make the FBI's job easy, is titled My Hitlist of living ACTORS, and is almost 300 items long.  Chris Cooper is not one of them.  Chris Cooper is, apparently, safe from IMDb user sype.  (Sype has 10 lists labeled "My hitlist of...," and one labeled "In Memoriam."  Eep.)

Finally, I checked IMDb user nisabine's list of 101 Top Living Male Actors.  It's two pages long -- Nick Nolte is all alone past the 100-item cutoff. Number 100, by the way, is Chris Cooper.

Here are some things I might try to search my blog for, if I forget this guy's name again:

  • That time I went crazy and spent all day googling for an actor's name so I could reference him in a joke about Paul Rudd
  • That guy who isn't Gary Oldman
  • That guy who's not in a bunch of crime movies
  • Midwestern American Actor
  • Born in 1951
  • From Missouri
  • Seriously though what was I thinking
  • His name is Chris Cooper
  • What was Chris Cooper's name again?
  • CHRIS COOPER