Does the name Jackie Earle Haley ring a bell?

He’s likely best known for his portrayal of chain-smoking Little League bad boy Kelly Leak in The Bad News Bears. But to me, he’ll forever be Moocher — the pint-sized Cutters compadre of Breaking Away cycling hero Dave Stoller.

I haven’t been much of a cinephile in recent years, but I’ll be tuned into the Academy Awards this evening anxiously awaiting the results for Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role. Jackie Earle Haley has been lying low acting-wise since the early 1990s, leading for all intents and purposes a humdrum life in San Antonio. But due to his portrayal of a “vile yet heartbreaking pedophile” in Little Children, he’s once again being acclaimed for his acting prowess. Mr. Haley has some particularly stiff competition for this award (other nominees include Alan Arkin in Little Miss Sunshine, Djimon Hounsou in Blood Diamond, Eddie Murphy in Dreamgirls, and Mark Wahlberg in The Departed), but if there’s any justice in the world then Moocher will emerge victorious…

…Because I doubt if any of Haley’s competition could have pulled off these sweet ‘cross maneuvers captured on film in Breaking Away:

1. Check out that mounting technique…Not bad for a 17-year old non-cyclist on a crappy bike that’s too big for Haley.

2. Now that’s some fine bike-handling…Doing a simultaneous high-speed powerslide/dismount on a cinders track.

3. Jackie Earle Haley…then and now. And who knew that Barry Wicks was in the cast of Breaking Away, too?

And the Oscar goes to…

[updated] Alan Arkin. Well, I guess a heroin-snorting grandparent teaching a pre-teen how to gyrate like a stripper trumps a convicted sex offender released back into the community. Those Academy voters can be so fickle.

Image sources:
Breaking Away stills: Screen captures from Breaking Away DVD
Jackie Earl Haley:

Comments (6) to “Moocher”

  1. Go JEH all the way!

  2. […] #1)Bobke Strutt points out that Moocher from Breaking Away is up for best supporting actor tonight at the Oscars. […]

  3. i hadn’t made the connection! thanks for the heads-up.

  4. Too funny! I did my what the hell is JEH up to websearch about a year ago and found his website (JEH Productions or something like that). Seems he was living somehwere in Texas directing commericals. Glad to see Kelly Leak back.

    Umm, he could handle a dirt bike pretty well, too!

  5. i totally agree.
    the quick-fist “cutter” is who he’ll always be.
    many thanks.

  6. I forgot about him in this movie

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