Friday, August 05, 2011

Please, Oliver, We Want Some More

I’ve always liked Oliver Platt. He’s got that everyman quality that makes his onscreen presence so enjoyable to watch. He’s the definitive supporting player with surprising versatility, and despite his hulking frame and round, expressive face, he’s nabbed an array of movie roles in almost every conceivable genre – comedy, drama, period pieces, action-adventure and campy horror films. He’s excelled as a great character actor able to balance comedy and drama, and he’s shown that he can portray both detestable characters as well as endearing, unlikely heroes. Platt has appeared on Broadway and on popular cable TV shows like Huff and The Big C. It’s because of his appearance on stage and on the big and small screens and thanks to his colourful acting resume that he’s successfully defied typecasting to become a great supporting, character actor who triumphs onscreen no matter what the role.

Here is a look at a few of Oliver Platt’s memorable roles:

Married to the Mob
His first film role was in the mobster comedy Married to the Mob in which Platt played a wisecracking FBI agent.

In 1990, Platt starred in the ensemble death-defying thriller Flatliners opposite Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon and Keifer Sutherland.

Three Musketeers
Platt costarred with Keifer Sutherland again in 1993 when he donned a cloak and turned in a memorable performance in The Three Musketeers.

Executive Decision
Platt combined tension and humour wonderfully in a supporting role as a weapons designer on a team trying to rescue a hijacked plane in the action-thriller Executive Decision.

A Time to Kill
As one of many attorneys the actor would play, Platt starred as a pompous, alcoholic mentor to a young attorney (played by Matthew McConaughey) in the legal drama based on John Grisham’s bestselling book A Time to Kill.

Platt showed some great versatility as an actor when he starred as Warren Beatty’s drug-addicted campaign manager in the political satire Bulworth.

The Imposters
Co-starring opposite another of my other favourite underrated actors, Stanley Tucci, Platt portrayed a deadbeat actor during the Depression-era in the madcap improv comedy The Imposters.

Lake Placid
In the campy horror-comedy film Lake Placid, Platt played a wealthy and eccentric mythology professor and crocodile enthusiast alongside Betty White and Bill Pullman.

What Oliver Platt films did you enjoy most? Let us know in the comments section.


  1. i too love oliver platt. he certainly made lake placid watchable. i once dated a girl who had a full on crush on oliver platt. that was kinda odd.

    you did leave out frost/nixon but going over his resume i can see why this article is essential. you think he's a popular actor and then you realise he's hardly been in anything. more oliver platt in movies! but not more 2012 thank you very much.

  2. That's the problem with actors who work steadily in television - they have little time for movies. Since he began The Big C, I feel like we've seen less of him on the big screen (ditto for Laura Linney, and I absolutely heart her).

    He's fantastic in Please Give and Pieces of April. Loved him too on West Wing, and props to you for mentioning Executive Decision (one of the better 90's action flicks).

  3. One afternoon I was coming from a hard day at work. I don't remember specifics, all I recall was that it was a really crappy day and I was depressed and I needed something to take my mind off it all. So I went to see a movie: 'The Imposters.'

    Two hours later, I was feeling good again. (Though to be fair, it was as much Stanley Tucci's doing as Oliver Platt's.) For that alone I'll always have a soft spot for Platt.

  4. I love Oliver Platt. Such a great character actor.

    He was very good in last year's "Please Give" & "Love & Other Drugs".

    Also, in a little T.V. special called "The Bronx Is Burning"

  5. Man, I can't think of a bad performance from Oliver Platt except for Ready to Rumble. That film is without a doubt one of the worst films I had ever seen. As a wrestling fan, it was way too silly. Yet, it's the film that helped killed an entire wrestling organization.

    I also have to give props for mentioning Executive Decision and The Three Musketeers. The latter of which had him giving the best lines in that movie.

  6. I thought I was going to be the first to say "Please Give," but glad to know I'm not the only one that appreciates that movie.

  7. @blahblahblah Toby - a girl crushing on Oliver Platt? Must be because he's just so damn endearing and likeable onscreen, even when he's playing slimy lawyers and such.

    I left out some of his key films purposely to see what other films people would remember and share their thoughts about, so thanks for mentioning Frost/Nixon! I, too, would love to see Oliver Platt in some more movies soon. I searched around and it looks like he's got 2 films slated for release in 2012.

    @Dave - it's true what you say about some actors doing less film when they're busy working in television. As well as Platt and Linney, I haven't seen much of Glenn Close, Laurence Fishburne or Gary Sinise in movies since they began their stints on TV.

    I haven't seen Please Give or Pieces of April - I will add those films to my to-watch list.

    I had to mention Executive Decision - it's such a great action film and Platt is a real stand-out in the ensemble cast.

    @Rich – it’s amazing how movies have the ability to improve our mood, and I can see why The Imposters got you feeling better. It was a funny flick and Platt and Tucci are like a dream team onscreen. Along with Platt, I love Stanley Tucci (he's going to be the subject of another of these posts in the future.) I was watching Easy A the other day and just loved Tucci as Emma Stone’s liberal, easy going dad.

    @Duke - Love and Other Drugs is a movie I'd like to see soon too. It’s on my to-watch list. After writing this piece, I'm feeling like watching a few Oliver Platt movies and the comments here have given me a few great suggestions for films I haven't seen yet.

    @thevoid99 - I didn't see Ready to Rumble. I was a huge wrestling fan when I was younger, but something about that film, even from seeing the trailer, just made me want to avoid it.

    Executive Decision and The Three Musketeers are so entertaining and I think give us two of Platt's great comedic performances. Even though Executive Decision is an action-thriller, he provides some great comedic relief to lighten some tense moments in the film.

    @marshallandthemovies - I will have to check out Please Give.

  8. I have to agree with Dave on Pieces of April, Platt did a good job in it. Actually, the whole film worked for me.

    The less said about Ready to Rumble the better. Man was that ever a silly film.

    I would also like to give a shout out to Platt's voice-over work in the SSX Tricky video game. It is one of the few PS2 games that I still play on occasion.

  9. Platt is a good actor, although I remember him mostly for his TV work (excellent in Huff and The Big C). He's always so fun to watch, though, even from the sidelines. I don't even think his character in X-Men was named, but I still remembered him long after his unceremonious exit.

  10. @Andrew - I haven't seen Platt on The Big C or Huff, but his guest stint on Nip/Tuck was so fun to watch because it was, yet again, a different kind of character for Platt.

    I don't remember Platt in X-Men. I'm going to have to watch it again and pay closer attention.

  11. He did a great job in Diggstown. Also: He should have been in X-Men: First Class a little bit more.

  12. @Ty - Diggstown...gosh, I haven't seen that in ages. I think it's worth another viewing soon. I haven't seen X-Men: First Class yet. I like the idea of him in a comic book flick.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.