Following on from this piece about actors giving performances that changed the way I thought of them, here are a few examples from readers – some good ones, too!
- Marlon Brando in Julius Caesar (1953)
- Cameron Diaz in Being John Malkovich (1999)
- Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense (1999)
- Sylvester Stallone in Cop Land (1997)
- Channing Tatum in 21 Jump Street (2012)
- Chris Pine in Hell Or High Water (2016) and Smokin’ Aces (2006)
- George Clooney in From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
- Will Ferrell in Everything Must Go (2010) and Stranger Than Fiction (2006)
- Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems (2019)
- Tom Cruise in Minority Report (2002) and Magnolia (1999)
- Joaquin Phoenix in You Were Never Really Here (2017)
- Jim Carrey in The Truman Show (1998), Man On The Moon (1999) and Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004)
Quite the run there from Carrey, which it could be argued began with The Cable Guy (1996) – a film with pretty dark themes that’s prevented to get too dark by a cartoony central performance, never quite settling on what it wants to be.
Just missing out on this list was Leonardo DiCaprio, because – as one tweeter pointed out – he “clearly went from teen star to seriously good actor at some point, but I’m not sure exactly which film did it for me”. That’s a really good point, and perhaps the transition from heartthrob to respected performer could be explored at a later date – but if anyone can point out exactly when DiCaprio levelled up, be sure to let me know!
As always, thanks so much to everyone who made a suggestion – you’re all alright in my book, and have given me a few more films to seek out!
Have you read our By The Decade series? Every Friday, I highlight a few of my favourite films from any given decade and ask for your suggestions to help me fill in some gaps in my movie knowledge. So far, we’ve covered the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s – you can find them all right here!