Pop Rocks: The Problem with Dylan Baker, and Others

So I'm being forced to watch The Good Wife last Sunday, and I see that Colin Sweeney, a semi-recurring character Alicia once defended for murdering his wife, was apparently involved in testifying for Alicia's firm for one reason or other (give me a break, the entire hour was me wrestling the remote from my wife and trying to click over to Game 4 of the World Series).

Anyway, the character of Sweeney is played by Dylan Baker. Baker is one of those many actors you've seen in dozens of things and probably never knew his name (that, or you mistakenly called him "William H. Macy). He's played Dr. Curt Connors in the second and third Spider-Man movies, Robert McNamara in Thirteen Days and has probably been on every iteration of Law & Order or C.S.I at one time or another.

But Baker is forever ruined for me because of one of his earlier roles. The character of Sweeney is fairly unsympathetic, it's true, but he could be Santa Claus crossed with Buddha and it wouldn't matter. Because Baker is one of those actors who was so effective as a villain in a former role, I can never see him as anything else. It's such a pervasive phenomenon I've dubbed it "The Pollute of Happiness" (for the movie that started it all), though Baker is far from the only actor involved.

Dylan Baker Recently Seen In: Spider-Man 2 and 3, Secretariat Sinister Former Role Tainting All That's Come Since: Pedophile next door Bill Maplewood in Happiness

I think anyone who's ever seen any of his movies would agree Todd Solondz has some issues. Having said that, I admire anybody capable of writing a character as chillingly repugnant as Maplewood. And while I couldn't embed the scene that really brings Bill together, here's something a bit...milder.

Glenn Close Recently Seen In: Damages. The Shield Sinister Former Role Tainting All That's Come Since: Bunny boiler Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction

Thanks for driving that last nail in the coffin of the free love generation, Adrian Lyne.

David Patrick Kelly Recently Seen In: Flags of Our Fathers, Louie Sinister Former Role Tainting All That's Come Since: Bottle clanging gang leader Luther in The Warriors

Admittedly, until recently Kelly rarely played anything but crazy-eyed psychopaths ("I saw Enter the Dragon 87 times!"). The menacing, deranged and ultimately wheedling Luther will always be the best, though.

Clancy Brown Recently Seen In: A Nightmare on Elm Street, Cowbys & Aliens Sinister Former Role Tainting All That's Come Since: Sartorially challenged immortal the Kurgan in Highlander

It's weird what movies have a lingering effect on you. I mean, by most objective measures, Highlander wasn't that great, but to a 17-year-old Queen fan, it was (briefly) the coolest fucking movie of all time. And the Kurgan, with that sword he carried around in his briefcase? Shee-it.

Ted Levine Recently Seen In: Monk, Shutter Island Sinister Former Role Tainting All That's Come Since: Gender confused seamstress Jame "Buffalo Bill" Gumb in The Silence of the Lambs

Sure, his scenes were almost self-parody, but Gumb's dungeon and the whole "making a suit out of human flesh" thing is pretty horrifying.

But again...the tuck.

Steve Railsback Recently Seen In: Eh...not much; The Mentalist and The Devil's Rejects, I guess. Sinister Former Role Tainting All That's Come Since: Misunderstood peace activist Charles Manson in Helter Skelter

So what does he do? After clawing his way back into visibility with roles in Lifeforce and The X-Files? He plays the title role in Ed Gein, a movie based on the inspiration for Norman Bates, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and our old friend Buffalo Bill. Capital idea, Steve.

Kurtwood Smith Recently Seen In: 24, Cedar Rapids Sinister Former Role Tainting All That's Come Since: Hyper-violent crime boss Clarence Boddicker in RoboCop

Surely I wasn't the only one who initially watched That '70s Show in the hopes "Red" Forman would kneecap Kelso and Fez, drop a grenade on the basement table and walk away.

Angela Lansbury Recently Seen In: Mr. Popper's Penguins, Nanny McPhee Sinister Former Role Tainting All That's Come Since: Loving mother Eleanor Iselin in The Manchurian Candidate

In terms of parental figures cynically exploiting their own offspring for a nefarious agenda, I'd have to rank Mrs. Iselin somewhere between Billy Ray Cyrus and Dina Lohan.

Paul Reiser Recently Seen In: The Paul Reiser Show, all seven episodes of it. Sinister Former Role Tainting All That's Come Since: Dutiful company man Carter Burke in Aliens

In all honesty, I can't decide which was worse: Burke's attempts to infect Ripley and Newt with xenomorphs for the Weyland-Yutani company, or the entirety of Mad About You.

Alan Rickman Recently Seen In: Harry Potter and the Bottomless Pit of Money Sinister Former Role Tainting All That's Come Since: "Exceptional thief" Hans Gruber in Die Hard

Flawed husband in Love, Actually? That's nice. Alexander Dane in Galaxy Quest? Swell. Even Severus Snape pales next to the sheer villainy of Gruber.

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