The ball buster

Celebrating the career of John C. McGinley
By RYAN STEWART  |  June 29, 2006

It's funny to watch how some Hollywood careers progress. For instance, you could make a convincing argument, particularly if you’re under 30, that John C. McGinley is better known for his role in Office Space, a cult comedy, than his role in Platoon, which took the Oscar for Best Picture. And without that turn as the Michael Boloton-loving consultant in Office Space, we're not so sure he would've gotten cast in Scrubs, which we're told is a sitcom on NBC that approximately 17 people watch every week. (Kidding, kidding.)

So we offer this career retrospective specifically to the kids out there who saw Office Space and had no idea who this "John C. McGinley" was or where he'd come from. A steady, consistent actor in the 90s, McGinley usually plays a smartass soldier, cop, or suit. And frankly, he's got an amazing résumé, so great that I had to leave some very good films off of it.

1. Sgt. Red O'Neill
Platoon (1986)
Red's kind of a kissass, and he just wants to get out of there. But because he believes in his commanding officer's methods, and he's such a good soldier, he never will. Therein lies the conundrum.

2. Bob Slydell
Office Space (1999)
He's playing a consultant here, one who's also a big Michael Bolton fan. He was prepared to put Peter in a position where he had as many as four people working directly below him. That would've been really funny if we'd done the hand gesture there.

3. Dr. Perry Cox
Scrubs (2001 to current)
This would be a good time to mention McGinley's charity work: he's closely associated with the National Down Syndrome Society and its Buddy Walks. His son, Max, has Down Syndrome. He wears a bracelet for the cause on Scrubs.

4. FBI Agent Ben Harp
Point Break (1991)
Think about this: his character is in charge of looking out for FBI agents played by Keanu Reeves and Gary Busey. A Herculean task if there ever was one.

5. California
Se7en (1995)
He plays a SWAT cop in one of the best films of the 1990s. Among other things, he's one of the guys who discovers the still-alive dude tied to the bed.

6. Macgruder
On Deadly Ground (1994)
He's one of the mercenaries, along with R. Lee Ermey, hired by Michael Caine to go after Steven Seagal and those who support him. Stupid, stupid men.

7. Marvin
Wall Street (1987)
He's more or less the other guy here. He starts out as a colleague of Charlie Sheen's, then watches his meteoric rise and dishes out sarcastic remarks.

7. George York
Identity (2003)
He's the dad who breaks down in front of the hotel. It's tempting to spoil the ending here, but I'll refrain from giving further details. Although, if you haven't seen it by now, you probably aren't going to…

8. Captain Hendrix
The Rock (1996)
He's another one of the Marines serving under Ed Harris and, last week's actor, David Morse.

9. Jack Rose
Any Given Sunday (1999)
The lesson from the careers of certain actors seems to be this: find a director who you like and likes you, and you'll always get some work. In McGinley's case, that man is Oliver Stone, who cast him here as a sportswriter. In addition to this, Wall Street, and Platoon, he was also in Stone films including Nixon, Born on the 4th of July and Talk Radio. What, he couldn't spare a week for JFK or Natural Born Killers?

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