Thursday, September 28, 2006

My Favorite Billy Bob Roles

Or, This Is What Happens When I Take A Sick Day

School For Scoundrels open this Friday, and
reading about it in the USA Today made me start thinking about the various roles of one of my favorite actors, Billy Bob Thornton.

Sure, Billy Bob seems a mess in his personal life. All of it--the five wives, the bizarro-marriage bonded by blood vials with Angelina Jolie, the odd phobia he talks openly about having for antique furniture...Sheesh. But, as an actor?

Brilliant. Genius.

There are a handful of actors that will make me see a movie just because they are in it. Edward Norton and Phillip Seymour Hoffman are two of those. Billy Bob is another.

That's not to say I like all his stuff. I thought
The Alamo, in particular, sucked. (Although Billy Bob was fine in his role as Davey Crockett.) Friday Night Lights didn't wow me either, although it was a solid movie, and it was interesting that he modeled the character a little after his Dad.

A great actor, with a great career. Here are my favorite of his movies:

Bandits: Billy Bob plays Terry Lee Collins, a hypercondriac con who, along with Bruce Willis' character, is one of the "Sleepover Bandits." They target rich bank managers, stay overnight with their families and then go to work with the managers the next day to rob it from the inside. Works well for a while, until they run across the wrong family. Funny dialogue, some intense acting and a unique script.

Monster's Ball: A few months ago, I wrote a post titled "5 Films That Changed My Life." I forgot to add this one. And I should have.

Cause it did.

Sling Blade: Karl Childers had me at "Some folks call it a sling blade, I call it a keyser blade." I reckon Karl was letting us know off the bat that he knew he was different, and had learned to live with it in order to find some peace. The best performance I can recall from an actor.

Bad Santa: Sweet Jesus, this movie made me laugh so hard I didn't walk right for two weeks. Especially the first 45 minutes. I laughed so hard that I could barely control some of my more basic bodily functions. Bad Santa has now replaced National Lampoons Christmas Vacation as the X-mas Eve viewing at the Film Geek's house (after the kids are tucked away, of course).

Man, I hope School For Scoundrels is just as good.


Reel Fanatic said...

I'll never the first time I saw SLing Blade .. my brother and I were in New York, and he suggested we see it, saying only, "trust me, it's gonna be great." .. it was, of course, and Billy Bob was even better in it .. my favorite performance of his, for sure

Stanton said...

My Bill Bob fave is definitely Ed Crane in "The Man Who Wasn't There." Captivating performance in a role that redfined the term "understated."

The Film Geek said...

Stanton: "The Man Who Wasn't There" is one of my favorites, too. I struggled between icnluding it or Bandits. Went with Bandits cause I liked that whole movie a bit better.

Reel: It was a fun surprise, huh?

Jackie Lantern said...

I agree with all of your choices, but I have to point out you forgot his scene-stealing farrow dealer in Tombstone. How he didn't get best-suporting actor for that I'll never know.
I've also considered that it's possible I'm not 100% sure what qualifies somebody for a best-supporting actor nod. That's always a possibility.

Kelly said...

I thought he was hilarious in The Bad News Bears.

The Film Geek said...

Jackie: I didn't know he was in Tombstone, I'm sorry to say. I'll check it out again (maybe). LOL.

Kelly, me too.

Stitching Barbie Girl said...

My favorite was Bad Santa. Hilarious.

Billy Bob is hot in a skeevy, dirty sort of way.