I learned to love Lindo based on his performance in The Cider House Rules. I'd seen him before, and in retrospect I started to realize what a talent he is, but it was his work in Cider House that really did it for me. Unfortunately, there are no good clips with him on the tubes, but he and Erykah Badu are both excellent. It was Miramax's big Oscar movie for 1999, but they pushed Michael Caine heavily in the supporting actor category (the same category Lindo belonged in) and Caine ultimately won. The movie itself is a mixed bag--it would have been fine as a CBS movie event (except for the whole "abortion" aspect [spoiler alert]), but I thought The End of the Affair and The Talented Mr. Ripley were both far superior movie-wise.
I realized I'd seen him in the fantastic Get Shorty, the fun Broken Arrow, and the way under-appreciated A Life Less Ordinary. And Crooklyn. And Malcom X. And Ranson.
If you haven't seen Get Shorty, that's the first one to look for. Lindo's isn't a huge role, but there are so many rewarding performances, and it all fits together really nicely. John Travolta was on his way to an easy Oscar nomination, and when accepting a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy for the movie, he made a very public pitch for Scientology. The same year, at the same awards, Nicole Kidman, also on a fast track to an Oscar nomination, won Best Actress in a Musical/Comedy for To Die For, and also made a public pitch for Scientology. Both movies fell off the Oscar map faster than you can say L. Ron. But there's no pitch in the movie, so watch it.
I don't know why A Life Less Ordinary wasn't well received, much like the Coen Brother's The Big Lebowski (another quirky follow up to an indie hit film [Fargo]). Director Danny Boyle's follow up to Trainspotting starred Ewan McGregor, Cameron Diaz, Holly Hunter and Lindo. It's stylish, unexpected and fun. But for fans of Trainspotting's baby on the ceiling, its humor was likely not dark enough. The Big Lebowski wasn't well received either, but it's grown into a cult classic, so maybe there's hope for ALLO now that Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire won a shitload of Oscars last year.
Despite the presence of Lindo and Alfre Woodard, I'm reluctant to push Crooklyn on you. The soundtrack, however, is the shit: The Staple Singers, The Jackson 5, Curtis Mayfield, Jean Knight and The Chi-Lites to name but a few. Check that out from your library.
Anyway, I don't think I've seen him recently, so I will need to get a copy of Up since he does voice work there. Dear Santa.
Happy birthday dude! Rock on!