It's rare that I open my news feeds and am actually shocked by something in the "movies!" folder, but the news of Chris Penn's death this morning really shook me - and I can't imagine I'm alone in my affection for him. Though Penn made dozen and dozens of mostly unimpressive films, there was always something powerful inside him that, when called upon, could produce moments of greatness. From the bumbling buddy in Footloose to the brutally conflicted son in At Close Range; from the dim flunky in Reservoir Dogs to the out of control brother in The Funeral, his surprising, affecting performances made us regret all the crap that much more, and perhaps explain why so many of us were inexplicably on his side.

Penn was 40; the cause of his death is unknown.