Dennis Quaid in Breaking Away. He turned 25 shortly before the movie opened.
Erik describes Mike aptly as "a Springsteen character without the guts" and uses Mike's own words to further the point
You know what really gets me, though? I mean here I am, I gotta live in this stinkin’ town, and I gotta read in the newspapers about some hot-shot kid, new star of the college team. Every year it’s gonna be a new one. And every year it’s never gonna be me. I’m just gonna be Mike. Twenty-year-old Mike. Thirty-year-old Mike. Ol’ mean ol’ man Mike! These college kids out here are never gonna get old, or out of shape, cause new ones come along every year.Mike is too gutless to stop the downward slide and knows it. He's tragically aware that his glory days are behind him and he's only 19. Dennis's best days, on the other hand, had just begun. This was only his sixth feature and first memorable breakthrough.
People often uncharitably view older stars as "has beens" -- I'm not saying people say this about DQ mind you. What do they say about him? -- but if you were working when you were in your early twenties and you're still working consistently in your mid fifties, this is a resounding success story for any actor, whether they're above the title or way down on the call sheet. It's a tough life and the odds are against success.
But back to Breaking Away... and Friday Night Lights (?)
Wasn't Quaid's Mike essentially Tim Riggins before there was a Tim Riggins? Or at least from the same character gene pool. Mike has more of a chipped shoulder and less of a golden heart.
Character intros: "Mike", former football star, is introduced singing, leisurely leading his friends to an afternoon swim in Breaking Away. He's all about killing time, responsibility is not a priority. "Tim Riggins", current football star, is introduced in the Friday Night Lights pilot, drunk and sleepy-eyed. Getting to football practice on time is not a priority.
Yes, this post has also been brought to you by last night's season finale of Friday Night Lights which was just marvelous. Speaking of FNL and Tim Riggins, can Taylor Kitsch, who came to fame playing him (coincidentally, like Quaid, just as he was turning 25), manage a movie career after Friday Night Lights? That's the plan. Dennis Quaid wouldn't be a bad role model at all in building an enduring big screen resume. And that's true not just for Kitsch, who is 29 now, but true for any other young actor who excels at aimless bad boys, charming devils and/or All American types approaching personal crises.
Kitsch has made six movies already but he'll get his first real shot at big screen stardom when John Carter of Mars, his seventh, opens in 2012. He's already done filming but the post-production will be long on that one.
<-- Dennis seen prepping for his role in Soul Surfer earlier this year
Dennis will next be seen (presumably) at the Emmy Awards on August 21st. He's nominated for playing Bill Clinton in the TV film That Special Relationship. Next year we'll see him as the dad of a shark attack survivor in Soul Surfer and (possibly?) in the bible-thumping John Lithgow role in the remake of Footloose (2011).