My Favorite Cast Against Type Performances

Tools    





21.


Sandra Bullock, Crash (2005)





Sandra Bullock was surprisingly effective in a VERY unsympathetic role in this 2005 Best Picture Oscar winner featuring an all-star cast. Bullock is the pampered and arrogant wife of a politician who is a bigot, even though she doesn't realize it but a minor household mishap has her changing her tune. It was so bizarre seeing the new millenium Doris Day playing such a nasty character.



20.

Christopher Walken, Catch Me if You Can




This might seem to be an odd choice for this list, but think about it for a minute. First, think about all the demented weirdos and psychos that Walken has played in his long career and think about this character, a gregarious and charming salesman, husband, and father whose wife walked out on him but he has no ill will toward her. His son (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a criminal being pursued by the FBI. He doesn't condone what his son is doing but he offers the FBI no help in finding him either. The beauty of this performance is in its simplicity...Walken puts away all the acting trickery that usually comes with his performances and still provides a three dimensional character who we love from the beginning of the movie to the end.



19.

Jennifer Aniston, Cake





Jennifer Aniston hits the list again in this raw nerve of a performance that definitely raised eyebrows in Hollywood and earned her a Golden Globe nomination. Aniston plays a woman who becomes obsessed with the suicide of another woman in her chronic pain support group (Anna Kendrick), an obsession that eventually leads her into a squirm worthy relationship with the woman's husband (Sam Worthington) and her son. Aniston really scored playing this woman with a questionable moral barometer.



18.

Michael Douglas, Behind the Candelabra




A remarkable performance from the two time Oscar winner which added an Emmy and a Golden Globe to his trophy case. Douglas lights up the screen in this HBO TV movie playing the flamboyant Las Vegas entertainer who fooled millions of female fans into thinking he was heterosexual who would eventually enter into a toxic affair with a young dog groomer (Matt Damon). Douglas disappears inside this role, clearly like nothing he had ever done before. I love the scene where Lee and Mark meet for the first time...Douglas looks at Damon like he's a hot fudge sundae.



17.

Henry Gibson, Nashville



The late actor first gained attention as part of the comic ensemble on the classic variety series Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, but director Robert Altman seemed to know exactly what he was doing when he cast Gibson in this role that earned him a Golden Globe nomination and should have earned him an Oscar nomination as well. Gibson turned in an intense, almost chilling performance as a legendary country and western singer who is seriously thinking about throwing his hat in the political arena. Can't believe this was the same guy who recited poetry on Laugh In carrying a giant flower in his hand.



16.

Alan Alda, Crimes and Misdemeanors




Alda was robbed of an Oscar nomination for his on target performance playing a totally slimy character. Alda plays an arrogant, self-absorbed television star/producer who becomes the subject of a cinema verite' piece being made by his brother-in-law (Woody Allen) who is so full of himself that he doesn't see his assistant (Mia Farrow) falling for his brother-in-law. This was probably the first time I truly despised a character played by Alda. One of Hollywood's most likable actors playing one of cinema's most unlikable characters.



15.

Christopher Guest, The Princess Bride





Christopher Guest totally blew me away with this performance that just drips venom...under the skillful direction of Rob Reiner, who also directed Guest as Nigel Tufnel in This is Spinal Tap, Guest created a totally hissable villain in Count Rugen, the number one henchman to Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon) who has a fateful showdown with Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin). I still can't believe this was the same actor who played Nigel Tufnel.



14.

Eddie Murphy, Mr. Church




Murphy blew me away in this warm-hearted melodrama playing a gourrnet cook who is sent to the home of a woman dying of cancer (Natasha McElhone) and her young daughter (Britt Robertson) after his employer passes away. There's nary a hint of Axel Foley or Billy Ray Valentine in this characterization. This is the first time I've seen Murphy play a character completely devoid of anything resembling ego...and he nails it.



15.

Christopher Guest, The Princess Bride





Christopher Guest totally blew me away with this performance that just drips venom...under the skillful direction of Rob Reiner, who also directed Guest as Nigel Tufnel in This is Spinal Tap, Guest created a totally hissable villain in Count Rugen, the number one henchman to Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon) who has a fateful showdown with Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin). I still can't believe this was the same actor who played Nigel Tufnel.

I don't know if I've seen Christopher Guest in any other movies, (including This is Spinal Tap), but I loved him in The Princess Bride.
__________________
.
If I answer a game thread correctly, just skip my turn and continue with the game.
OPEN FLOOR.



13.

Michelle Pfeiffer, Hairspray (2007)



Yes, she nailed the Catwoman in Batman Returns, but I've never really thought of Pfeiffer as a comic villainness. In my opinion, she just about walked off with this 2007 film version of the Broadway musical based on the John Waters movie as the venemous owner of a television station who squares off against pleasingly plump Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonski) when Tracy starts stealing the spotlight from her own daughter (Brittany Snow).



12.

Harrison Ford, What Lies Beneath



For years, he was Hollywood's ultimate action hero, but this was the first time he went straight up bad guy. Ford is actually bone-chilling as research scientist who is trying to gaslight and murder his wife (Michelle Pfeiffer).



32.

Will Smith, Six Degrees of Separation



At a time when his movie career was just gaining some momentum, Smith took a real career risk taking the lead in this film adaptation of John Guare's play as a gay con artist who charms a wealthy Manhattan couple (Donald Sutherland, Stockard Channing) by telling them that he's the son of Sidney Poitier. Smith was very convincing in this role that proved he could actually act, though he did refuse to do the scene where he was supposed to kiss co-star Anthony Michael Hall.
He was surprisingly good.



11.

Bing Crosby, The Country Girl




The silver haired crooner was known for a series of comedies he made with Bob Hope, some classic musicals (including White Christmas) and won an Oscar for playing a kindly priest in Going My Way, but he took a real career risk that paid off in spades in this film adaptation of a play by Clifford Odets playing an alcoholic actor who has been offered a chance for a comeback and is terrified about it. For my money, the strongest performance of Der Bingle's career that earned him a richly deserved Oscar nomination.



10.

Andy Griffith, A Face in the Crowd



This is the performance that was the impetus for my doing this list and caused a spirited debate among Mo-Fo's before I even began. The argument was that this movie was made before Andy Griffith established his "good ole' Boy" image as Andy Taylor, but as I explained in the opening post, I don't think playing against type has anything to do with chronology. Whether you want to admit or not, when you think about Andy Griffith, the first image that pops into your head is that folksy sheriff taking his son Opie fishing. Yes, it happened after this film, but it is Griffith's established type, no matter when it happened and this character was NOTHING like Andy Taylor. Griffith plays a drifter from Arkanses who goes from a two day drunk in a jail cell to becoming a media sensation, using and abusing a lot of people on his ascent to the top. I swear my mouth hung open during most of the running time of this movie. This guy, Larry "Lonesome" Rhodes, was NO Andy Taylor. Griffith was robbed of an Oscar nomination for this blazing performance that actually sent chills down my spine.



15.

Christopher Guest, The Princess Bride





Christopher Guest totally blew me away with this performance that just drips venom...under the skillful direction of Rob Reiner, who also directed Guest as Nigel Tufnel in This is Spinal Tap, Guest created a totally hissable villain in Count Rugen, the number one henchman to Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon) who has a fateful showdown with Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin). I still can't believe this was the same actor who played Nigel Tufnel.
I've long said that Christopher Guest is a chameleon. I've seen him in things where I didn't even realize it was him. He had a short dramatic role in A Few Good Men as a military Dr. that was also a departure from his more satiric roles. Seeing as Guest is such a chameleon I'm not sure if this role was set against type, but I'm not going to argue!

https://www.movieforums.com/communit...istopher+guest



11.

Bing Crosby, The Country Girl




The silver haired crooner was known for a series of comedies he made with Bob Hope, some classic musicals (including White Christmas) and won a Oscar for playing a kindly priest in Going My Way, but he took a real career risk that paid off in spades in this film adaptation of a play by Clifford Odets playing an alcoholic actor who has been offered a chance for a comeback and is terrified about it. For my money, the strongest performance of Der Bingle's career that earned him a richly deserved Oscar nomination.

I have The Country Girl on DVD, but I just haven't found the time to watch it yet.



9.

Carol Burnett, Friendly Fire





After spending 11 years making people laugh on her classic variety show, Carol Burnett blew everyone away in this 1979 CBS TV movie playing the mother of a Vietnam soldier who learns that her son might have been killed during a training exercise instead of actual combat. Burnett's powerhouse performance in this fact-based TV movie earned her a richly deserved Emmy nomination.



8.

Michael Keaton, Clean and Sober





Michael Keaton gave a mind blowing performance that should have earned him an Oscar nomination playing a drug addict who is on the run from the police who decides to hide out in a rehabilitation facility. Before Birdman, this was the finest performance of Keaton's career unlike anything he had ever done.



7.

Dick Van Dyke, The Morning After




Dick Van Dyke turned in a memorable Emmy-nominated performance in this 1974 TV movie playing a public relations man who is methodically destroying his marriage and career with his alcoholism. If the truth be told, as incredible as the performance is, it wasn't much of a stretch for the actor because he was drinking very heavily at the time he made this movie.



6.

Meredith Baxter, A Woman Scorned: The Betty Broderick Story




After all those years playing aging flower child and passionate mother Elyse Keaton on Family Ties. Meredith Baxter was frighteningly unhinged in this 1992 ABC TV movie based on the true story of the pampered Beverly Hills wife and mother who couldn't handle it when her husband left her for another woman. He divorced her and remarried and Betty responded by sneaking into their new home and murdering both of them. Baxter was nothing short of bone-chilling in this movie.