Prizzi's Honor. It starred Jack Nicholson and Kathleen Turner who played hired assassins/lovers who get wind of their newest targets--each other. It even had Robert Loggia (of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Armed and Dangerous fame)! Garnered Angelica Huston an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1986. Why am I mentioning this now? Well, Prizzi's Honor is Stanley Tucci's first credited role in a film. He played "Soldier," and there's absolutely no reason in the world why you should know this. But it's a great place to start when discussing this man's career.
Tucci went on in the following couple of years to star as such well-known characters as 1st Tenant and 2nd Dock Worker before finally landing a name for himself as Dr. John Wiseman in the 1988 thriller Monkey Shines, about a quadriplegic who is assisted by an evil monkey. (Seriously, I can't make this crap up--it's not even that bad of a film.) Of course, his real break came when he started playing on his Italian looks, and realized all Hollywood ever wants from Italians is gangster-like characters--hence, Quick Change, starring Bill Murray, Geena Davis, and Randy Quaid (Tucci: This ain't my dick in your back! Murray: That's a relief).
Okay, so he didn't strike it big in Quick Change. So sue me. So he found out he does bit parts pretty well. Okay, I guess that explains the movie Beethoven (1992), where he shines as a potty-mouthed dog-napper. He's on screen for less than 20 minutes, but at least he got to work with that paragon of political activism, Charles Grodin, and that must count for something. Right?
So, Tucci has begun to be a presence in Hollywood now, right? Well, sort of. Between 1992's Beethoven and 1999's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Tucci appeared in 22 films and TV spots. And that includes 1995's Jury Duty, a piece of absolute garbage if there ever was one. He also made some waves in 1998's The Imposters, a Marx Brothers-esque, Laurel and Hardy-like farce, which he starred in and directed. But let's focus on AMND for a few minutes--a terribly underappreciated movie. He appeared as Puck, and performed what I consider his absolute best performance (side note: In my younger years, I helped put on stage this same show, stealing the show as Oberon. In 1999's version, Rupert Everett played that role. I always enjoy it when big old homos like us get to play the King of the Fairies). Naturally, this show was dumped on by critics and audiences alike, because Shakespeare doesn't appeal to modern day
idiots Americans. But if you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor. Rent it, and pull out your dusty copy of the play.
And now we've reached the 21st Century with our friend Mr. Tucci. It's not really been a kind century to him just yet, but he is getting many more named roles, and that's a good thing. Notably, Road to Perdition with Mr. Tom Hanks, The Terminal with Mr. Tom Hanks, The Core, with a bunch of people you've never heard of, Hilary Swank and a Frenchman, and, of course, 2004's The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, appearing as Master Stanley Kubrick.
Upcoming projects include Spin (with a GIANT list of people you've never heard of), Peter Chelsom's Shall We Dance? with a slightly-older Richard Gere, and the highly-anticipated 2005's cartoon, Robots. No, he's not a household name. But he's great fun to watch on screen, and if you let him, he'll give you a performance worthy of renting at least twice.
More information likely available at http://www.imdb.com. As always, all commentary and mistakes can be directed to me.