For the month of February, we’re doing something special here at Biff Bam Pop! Each week our writers and correspondents will be compiling lists of their favorite things. After the jump, Leiki takes a look at her five fave performances by comedians in serious roles, check it out.
1. Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004). Was it already ten years ago that this gem of a movie was added to the landscape of brilliant screenplays by Charlie Kaufman? It could be released today without seeming dated. Riddled with notable performances, that of Jim Carrey seemed like the biggest coup for the comedian known for over the top and wildly hilarious roles. Though not the way his fans prefer to see him, nobody could deny his vulnerability and gut-wrenching pain as he poured his heart out.
2. Louis C. K. in American Hustle (2013). Lost in the wardrobe, wigs and award-winning performances is a quietly sincere performance by Louis C.K. in the role as Bradley Cooper’s boss. Despite leaning on his honed comedic timing in telling an ice fishing story, it’s his frustration and attempt to maintain workplace ethics and professionalism that shows he has decent acting chops. He definitely has earned his place among this A-list ensemble cast.
3. Patton Oswalt in Young Adult (2011). It’s difficult to steal moments, let alone scenes from Oscar-winning stunner Charlize Theron, but Patton Oswalt does just that in this Jason Reitman directed, Diablo Cody written flick. As an unassuming and forgettable classmate of Charlize’s character, he’s the only one in the film able to communicate honestly to her about her weaknesses and actually get through to her. A wonderful performance.
4. Robin Williams in Dead Poet’s Society (1989) was one of his finest performances. Known to riff extensively in interviews and improvise on set and in voice-overs, this performance as a private school teacher who catches their attention with impressions and one-liners as a means to inspire his students to Seize The Day! and live a life with meaning. The younger generation may point to his Oscar-winning turn in the impressive Good Will Hunting (1997) but they would do themselves a service to check out his turn in this earlier work.
5. While the role was a small one, I thoroughly enjoyed Billy Connelly in the cult classic The Boondocks Saints (1999). Humble and relatable in his stand-up comedy, his viciousness was entirely believable in this pivotal character. It’s always interesting to see how far an actor can stretch and this character was likely fun to play for the Scottish icon.