A Collection Of Underrated Actors
Standout Roles: Walk The Line, Signs, Quills, Gladiator, Clay Pigeons, Signs, 8MM, Return To Paradise, U-Turn, and To Die For
Reason Underrated: Strangely overshadowed by his co-stars which are often bigger bills like Russell Crowe in Gladiator, Geoffrey Rush and Kate Winslet in Quills, Reese Witherspoon in Walk The Line, and Nicole Kidman’s tour de force performance in To Die For. What does this tell you? Either Phoenix is one of cinema’s greatest muses or he is good enough to be recognized for his phenomenal and still young career. I believe he is one of the greatest actors of this generation and we’ve yet to see the full extent of his potential. I wait in great anticipation to see it fully utilized.
Standout Roles: What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Basketball Diaries, The Beach, Marvins Room, The Aviator, Titanic, Gangs Of New York, Catch Me If You Can, Body Of Lies, Revolutionary Road, Blood Diamond, and The Departed
Reason Underrated: DiCaprio had the unfortunate backlash of becoming a “teen idol” after Romeo and Juliet, and then the overwhelming popularity of Titanic. After already proving himself with What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Basketball Diaries, and Total Eclipse as a dynamic and talented actor he defied the odds and continued to make important films with staggering roles. He is one of the few actors of his generation that continue to push the envelope in every role he plays. He is one of the few actors making film today that I will watch in any movie simply because he is on the billing. While he has occasionally been acknowledged by the Academy, he’s still yet to be acknowledged with a golden man. He still also battles the teen idol conception, but seems to slowly be escaping that has plagued him for years. Even with the lack of acknowledgement, he’s too good to be going anywhere anytime soon.
Standout Roles: Of Mice And Men, Dangerous Liasons, Empire Of The Sun, In The Line Of Fire, The Portrait Of A Lady, Con Air, Mary Reilly, Shadow Of The Vampire, Rounders, Knockaround Guys, Burn After Reading, and Being John Malkovich
Reason Underrated: Christopher Walken and Samuel L. Jackson get the respect and acknowledgement for the same thing that Malkovich does with roles. The three are character actors that are constantly elevating roles to a higher level and giving films a textured feel that makes them entirely unique, and at the very least, the scenes they are in compelling. JohnMalkovich even had a film made and named with him in mind, but somehow his actual talent seems to go unnoticed and not utilized. In his early career he was one of the most dynamic and powerful actors around, and today nothing has changed, except for the way he is viewed in pop culture. He has played roles that range from villain, to hero, to victim, to comedic genius. His range is limitless along with his talent.
Standout Roles: Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Attack Of The Clones, Revenge Of The Sith, The Island, Trainspotting, Moulin Rouge, Black Hawk Down, Big Fish, and Angels & Demons
Reason Underrated: Ewan has become popularly known as Obi-Wan Kenobi thanks to the new trilogy of the Star Wars franchise, but even though he brought levels of integrity to the role, and was one of the best aspects of the new trilogy, his talents as an actor continue to go unnoticed, and some of the roles that launched his career have been forgotten. His role in Trainspotting is still one of the most invigorating performances to grace the screen in the past two decades. His range from action star in The Island, to handsome love-sick hero in a musical inMoulin Rouge, while still fitting comfortably in the fantastical world of a Tim Burton creation in Big Fish is a grandiose display of his ability to be a chameleon in the category of acting. I truly don’t believe he has any limitations, and is one of the most unique and compelling young actors out there today.
Standout Roles: Dracula, The Dark Knight, Harry Potter and The Order Of The Phoenix, Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, Harry Potter And The Prisoner OfAskaban, Batman Begins, The Fifth Element, Air Force One, Basquiat, Immortal Beloved, Sid And Nancy, and True Romance
Reason Underrated: Without question Gary Oldman is one of the most diverse and most talented actors available today. In today’s pop culture he’s played the iconic roles of Commissioner Gordon in the new Batman series, while also playing Sirius Black in the Harry Potter series, making his face recognizable again. He may be in these popular films in roles that though are supporting have been highlights in each of the successful series, but his abilities are very seldom acknowledged. A career that includes one of cinema’s greatest performances as Sid Vicious in Sid and Nancy, and Count Dracula is Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation of Bram Stokers novel, changing the way vampires were perceived, paving the way for many films that came after in the genre. While he has been busy with his work in series these past few years, it would be nice to see that work acknowledged and perhaps more roles that give him the chance to show what he’s fully capable of in the future.
Standout Roles: Pulp Fiction, The Incredible Hulk, Funny Games, Planet Of The Apes, Reservoir Dogs, and Four Rooms
Reason Underrated: Tim Roth isn’t a household name in the United States unless that household happens to be a huge fan of the works of Tim Burton. Nonetheless Tim Roth should be a household name. He is probably one of the most dynamic actors in the world today. There isn’t a role he isn’t capable of, yet somehow most people don’t even know who he is. Perhaps with his new role in newly released “The Incredible Hulk” he may be recognized, though hopefully won’t be subject to the pigeon holing of aCGI bad guy. Though he plays a meticulous villain, and has done work with makeup and costumes before in Tim Burton’s: Planet Of The Apes (and was unquestionably one of the rare highlights in the movie) his work as an actor goes much deeper than that. With a small, yet possibly most memorable role in Pulp Fiction he showed his abilities as a shocking yet almost likable villain, while in Four Rooms played a character completely a victim of circumstance. If our audiences ask for him enough, he might do more American film’s……….if he feels like it.
Standout Roles: Of Mice And Men, Forrest Gump, The Stand, Apollo 13, Ransom, The Green Mile, Truman, and CSI: Miami and NY
Reason Underrated: His talent in theatre and in his early career was unquestioned, but in the early 2000′s he made a group of bad films including Mission To Mars, Reindeer Games, and TheImposter , that while he performed well, were bad choices in films even though they offered him the option of top billing, they also ended his career for the time being in film. He’s now switched over to the showCSI and found a home there. While he does substantial work on the show his obvious talent is not being utilized to his obvious capacity. He may not be the standard for handsome, drop dead gorgeous leading man, but brings a quiet confidence and integrity to every role he plays, whether villain or hero, or supporting actor, he has the capacity to make each scene he’s in give the focus to him, and the character he’s playing. I hope to see him back on the big screen doing something important again.
Standout Roles: American Beauty, The Bourne Identity, This Boys Life, October Sky, The Patriot, Seabiscuit, Adaptation, Capote, and Breach
Reason Underrated: Unfortunately Chris Cooper has lingered in the back round until the last decade where he has finally made his mark and let his presence known, but still isn’t a common name when the best actors around are referred to. Cooper brings such a subtle performance that carries such an intensity and weight with it that it may not jump out at you like some of the other actors I’ve included here, but his performances resonate deeply bringing a real textured depth to the roles he plays. No matter how far fetched or fantastical the ideology behind the worlds they are created to exist in, Cooper manages to make them tangible to the everyman. He makes them palpable enough to believe you could actually run into each of them on the street. The gift he has for this makes them not only interesting but empathetic. Hopefully filmmakers continue to make movies with roles for his rare talents, and maybe others will start to acknowledge his talents as well.
Standout Roles: Happy Accidents, Full Metal Jacket, Steal This Movie, Adventures In Babysitting, Mystic Pizza, Dying Young, JFK, Ed Wood, The Newton Boys, The Cell, and Law and Order: Criminal Intent
Reason Underrated: He is an extraordinarily talented actor and has proven it in various roles, but like Gary Sinise has found his way on a popular television show. The role that fully defines his talent as an actor was in Steal This Movie as Abbie Hoffman, one of the Chicago Eight. His was Abbie Hoffman reincarnated. He fully implemented his insight, his brilliance, his motivation, and his charisma, which was what got people to listen to him in the first place. It is one of my favorite performances of all time, and while the film itself isn’t as powerful, his performances makes it worth watching over and over. His early career starting off in an iconic performances in StanleyKubricks “Full Metal Jacket” as Pvt. Gomer Pyle is a role constantly referred to when film aficionado’s talk movies and movie quotes. He’s made himself a huge part of cinema’s over the past three decades and though is resolved in playing on his very popular television show, I hope movie producers find a role that’s right for him and bring him back to help bring his amazing talent back into movies.
Standout Roles: Dracula 2000, Saving Private Ryan, Two Guys a Girl and a Pizza Place, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Serenity, Slither, Waitress, and Castle
Reason Underrated: Probably from his successful career in television shows he’s been overlooked for a film career, but his few roles in feature films have proven beyond comparison and unique charisma and charm that is lacking a great deal in film today. Take MatthewMcConaughey out of the romance roles and put Fillion there and you’d strike gold. His masculinity is simmering on the surface, but his kinetic energy is undeniable and irresistible. Even if he were to be in fun science fiction movies, he’d be great. He’s even proved he can play a sinister villain, and somehow be likable. His talent goes beyond the remarkable writing ofJoss Whedon , and while he’s found a home on the new show “Castle” I’m ready to see him in more light hearted, fun movies that are made to simply entertain.
Standout Roles: The Harry Potter Series, Dogma, Galaxy Quest, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street, Quigley Down Under, Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves, Die Hard, Rasputin, Love Actually, The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, and Sense and Sensibility
Reason Underrated: He may be able to play a maniacal villain like few others, but he’s proven time and again that he has the range to play roles in the comedy genre, dramatic roles, and simple character roles that have little to do with “good” guy or “bad” guy. Though he’s talents range far beyond villain, there is no question AlanRickman can play a bad guy like few others in the business. There is a cold exterior he brings that has a coolness and quiet confidence but also diversifies itself into the different roles he plays, making each character unique, even though each share a common bond through him. He is very unique in what he does, and an actor that has worked consistently and done consistently good work over the years, hasn’t necessarily been given the opportunity to push the envelope he is clearly capable of pushing.