Saturday, May 08, 2010

Top Five Fri…err…Saturday: Robert Downey Jr.

I got home rather late from Iron Man 2 last night so I am posting this a day later than I original anticipated. Anyways since this month’s LAMB Acting School 101 is on Robert Downey Jr., I thought I would look at the top five best and worst films that he was featured in. Look for my thoughts on Iron Man 2 to be up within the week.

The Best:


How he lost the best actor race to Al Pacino at the 1993 Academy Awards is still a mystery to me? Yes Pacino was good in Scent of a Woman, but Downey Jr. not only captured the essence of Charlie Chaplin. He also brought his only original take to the role and provided picture with a greater emotional resonance.


Including Iron Man on to this list would have been too easy. I was tempted to throw either Short Cuts or Wonder Boys in this slot but Downey Jr.’s roles were rather small in the grand scheme of those pictures. Instead I opted to highlight his subtle work in this brilliant, and often underrated, film.  My love for this Fincher flick grows more and more with each viewing.

Two Girls and a Guy

It was a toss-up between this film by James Toback and the flick Heart and Souls for this spot. Both are films that did not find a large audience upon their release, yet they each have a special place in my heart.

Tropic Thunder

Robert Downey Jr. stole this movie! Simple as that.  He took on an extremely risky role and made it memorable in a good way.

Natural Born Killers

Love it or hate it chances are you could not turn away from it. Oliver Stone’s ultraviolent look at the impact of media on our society would not have worked if it was not for Downey Jr.’s brazen performance.

The Worst:


Even Robert Downey Jr. could not save this leaky ship from sinking. The film had the cast, the director, and a decent premise. Yet all those pieces somehow found a way to produce the least suspenseful thrillers in recent years.

U.S. Marshals

The less said about this movie the better. Another example of Hollywood trying to wring every last dollar out of film, in this case The Fugitive, that was actually good.

Air America

I know Robert Downey Jr. and Mel Gibson are good friends in real life. So I can only assume they had a great time making this particular picture. Too bad I did not have the same level of enjoyment sitting through this awful film.

The Gingerbread Man

Some may question why Soapdish is not on this list? Truth is there is a campy charm to Soapdish that I enjoy. The film is not great, but I still consider it watchable. The Gingerbread Man, on the other hand, is an embarrassment for all involved. It does not even qualify in the "so bad it is good" category.

The Singing Detective

Putting this film in the worst section may be a bit harsh as I actually enjoyed The Singing Detective when I first saw it at TIFF. Unfortunately, the second time I watched this film it dawned on me that TIFF-induced sleep deprivation had played a huge part in my original assessment of this film. I have seen The Singing Detective a few times now and it gets worse with every viewing.


  1. His work in Zodiac was perhaps the best supporting performance of that year, Javier Bardem be damned.
    As for Chaplin he just lost because his bad boy past didn't help the fact that it was "let's finally give it to Al" day.

  2. @Jose - As much as I loved Downey in Zodiac, Bardem was the man that year. He created such an iconic character. I agree with you on the bad boy stuff regarding Chaplin though.

  3. I liked the Singing Detective...of course, I am generally an agreeable person when it comes to non-remake/teen-centric movies, so I suppose my opinion isn't valid.

  4. @Simon - You opinion is valid, in fact, I know a lot of people who really like the film. It just one of those films that does not work for me.


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