For the month of February, we’ve been doing something special here at Biff Bam Pop! Each week our writers and correspondents will be compiling lists of their favorite things. Leiki is back to take a look at her five favorite early performances that you may have missed, and well worth re-watching. Got it? Quite a mouthful, but a very cool list of February Faves, check it out after the jump.
1. Paul Bettany in After The Rain (1999). Two years before his Hollywood breakthrough performance in A Beautiful Mind Paul stole the film in this intense drama about relationships and apartheid that you would’ve likely only caught at a film festival. The film overall didn’t impress critics but his performance was magnetic and ensured his stardom was just a matter of time.
2. Natalie Portman in Léon: The Professional (1994). In her first feature film, Natalie exceeded expectations by holding her own against seasoned Jean Reno who had nearly twenty years under his belt at the time. Given her Oscar cred and impressive filmography since, it’s easy to forget, but this film reminds everyone of her innate and raw talent from her very first moments on screen.
3. Mariel Hemingway in Manhattan (1979). Director Woody Allen has been known to choose wisely in his female leads. Diane Keaton is the most obvious example. Mariel was another great casting choice. Despite her young age she effortlessly expressed the nuances of Allen’s dialogue to give the viewer the voyeuristic feeling scenes were occurring in real time.
4. Nicole Kidman in Dead Calm (1989) was unpolished, unknown and fabulously frizzy-haired. Way before she became daily tabloid fodder as Mrs. Cruise, she conveyed fear and moxy simultaneously with her steely stare keeping viewers invested and on the edge of their seats. Nicole proved in this film and from that point forward that she is a force to be reckoned with.
5. TIE: Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club (1985) and Charlie Sheen in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986). Both of these former feature film teen heartthrobs had commanding and charismatic performances in their respective films. Unfortunately, their film career decline since then means their strength onscreen is practically a vague memory. Remember and relish them in these timeless classics from the eighties.