Flipping channels, I caught the last part of Jeff Daniels accepting his award for "The Newsroom." Man, has he been around. I remember not buying the premise of "The Purple Rose of Cairo" when I saw it at the age of thirteen. But I recall him as a fresh face. A few years later came "Something Wild" with him again front and center and in a crazy movie with the edgier Melanie Griffith and Ray Liotta. That was 1986. In 1990 came "Arachnaphobia" where again his wanting eyes--this guy needs attention and could be in danger at any moment, or any second, he's on screen. He mirrors our insecurity of what-to-say. I'm not sure what he did in the early '90s, only that I saw him in a supporting role, again with that look on his face when he's about to be blown up, in "Speed" (1994). Will this guy persist? Or could he walk away from acting? Last year he was in "Looper" opposite Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. No, apparently not. He's like Willem Dafoe--he just keeps showing up, though in more mannered roles, and I remember first seeing Dafoe in "To Live and Die in L.A." (1985) and in "Platoon" the following year. Some actors just have it, though Daniels won the starring role in "The Newsroom" and the Web was all a-blur today on what a huge upset it was. In some ways, yes. In others, this guy shows that persistence pays off. He even passed through Madison as a musician last year. Ah, he's branching out, that's where he's headed. Nope, it was just before his prime. And wasn't that him in "Terms of Endearment?"