Top Ten Current Underrated Actors
Underrated… What is underrated? Is it not winning awards? Is it not being on the cover of magazines? Is it not being filthy rich? I assure you that everyone on my list is doing well in the wealth department, but that doesn’t matter to me. To me… underrated is doing all the hard work that is required of your job, and not getting all the credit you deserve. Although most of the people on my list have won awards, are rich, and a few have been on the cover of magazines… I just don’t feel like they are all getting the credit they deserve. So I am taking a moment to look at all the actors I think deserve way more credit than they are getting.
10. James Caviezel
James Caviezel, I assure you, is a name most people probably recognize at this point in time, but he has done so much more in acting than people may give him credit for. He makes my list for his disregard of selecting movies based on what it will do his career. For him… it doesn’t seem to matter. He always picks challenging roles, and they are always different than the ones he picked before. Outlander, a man from a different planet crash-lands during the time of the Vikings and has to help them fight an alien. A disillusioned man in Déjà vu, and Jean Jacket in the film Unknown. A man talking to his son in the future in Frequency, and my all time favorite for him, Edmond Dantes in The Count of Monte Cristo. The list goes on and on, and I could go on for pages. He has done so much for film in the last twenty years, and I just don’t feel like he is getting the credit he deserves. Just check out his massively awesome list: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001029/ .
9. John Turturro
Sure, John is pretty well known now thanks to the Transformers movies, but he was doing awesome performances long before they were even a live action film concept. His unique ability to pick and portray strange characters makes him a perfect fit for my list. Det. Larry Mazilli in Clockers to Jesus Quintana in The Big Lebowski, John Turturro takes every role he is given, and turns it in to an over the top awesome performance. The butler In Mr. Deeds to the extremely creepy performance he put on as John Shooter in Secret Window, he just amazes me every time he touches the big screen. Just look: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001806/ .
8. Emile Hirsch
Emile Hirsch is just one of those people that lights up the screen every time he is on. He has only been movies for the better part of ten years. That makes him one of the younger people on my list, but man has he made an impact. From The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys to the not so great Speed Racer… the boy is everywhere. No matter what he does, the characters he plays always have an impact on how I view the film. The Emperor’s Club, The Girl Next Door (blew me away at how good it was compared to what I thought going in), Imaginary Heroes, Lords of Dogtown, Alpha Dog (although a bad movie), Into the Wild (AMAZING!), Milk, and Taking Woodstock all pop in to my head. The guy is everywhere and judging from his IMDB page… he isn’t going anywhere. The list keeps building: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0386472/ .
7. Giovanni Ribisi
Oh boy was I excited to talk about this one. Aside from The Other Sister, Giovanni Ribisi is damn near flawless. With a heavy background in TV growing up, it is no surprise that Giovanni worked his way in to film quickly. SubUrbia is the first film that comes to mind where I remember seeing him. It has only grown from there. He has gone on to have strong performances in Saving Private Ryan, The Mod Squad (guilty pleasure), Boiler Room (which is amazing), Gone in 60 Seconds, The Gift (which he is phenomenal), Basic, Lost in Translation, a unique performance in Flight of the Phoenix, Middle Men, Public Enemies, and most recently Avatar. He has had so many amazing performances on TV and film, but he doesn’t seem to get the credit he deserves. Just look: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000610/
6. Justin Timberlake
I know what all of you are thinking, Justin Timberlake isn’t an actor, but that is entirely untrue, and I am squashing this rumor before it even begins. Justin is hands down the rookie on my list of underrated actors, but he is here because he deserves to be. Putting aside that he isn’t a half bad singer, and a much better dancer that I could ever dream of, he is actually pulling the Will Smith triple threat here. Yes I am counting him being the best SNL host in the last ten years as a TV Show. Recently he has been putting out quality performances left and right, starting with his most recent film Friends with Benefits. In Time, coming out this year also looks to be a film worthy of my liking. Sure he has a few things that I could live without, cough cough, Yogi Bear, cough cough, Shrek the 3rd, but other than that he has done amazing and shocked the hell out of me after every good performance. I started believing in his talent when I saw the relatively unknown film Edison, to which he held is own alongside solid performances from the greats, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey. From there he has only gotten better with great small roles In The Love Guru and Bad Teacher. He was also great in The Social Network, The Open Road, Black Snake Moan, and Southland Tales (confusing movie), while doing an OK job in Alpha Dog. The man is going to have a solid career in film and his track record shows it: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0005493/ .
5. Willem Dafoe
Everyone should know this name by now. Willem Dafoe is a legend! Ok, that might be my opinion, but I’m sure there are a lot of people out there that agree. He is amazing no matter what role he touches. He was perfect casting as Norman Osborn/Green Goblin in the Spider-Man movies. The guy is everyone and it is only now that people are starting to recognize his work. Unforgettable performances include, but not limited to, Antichrist, Daybreakers, The Boondock Saints 1 and 2, Inside Man, American Psycho, Mississippi Burning, and of course no one could forget Speed 2: Cruise Control! Oh there are so many more, but he deserves to be recognized as one of the greats in American cinema. Hopefully someday he gets what he deserves. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000353/
4. Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is one of those actors that everyone knows, but until recent years has been overlooked by many, or still viewed as the kid from 3rd Rock From the Sun. That is not the way to look at him… he was ridiculous on that show, and it certainly didn’t help him showcase his talents. Now he is a superstar, but I think that people still underestimate his acting ability. As a kid, the TV series Dark Shadows was one of the first places where he really got a foothold in the business. I really hope he gets a cameo in the upcoming film adaption. There have been so many films that he is absolutely amazing in, and it shows his acting talent. He has done Angels in the Outfield, The Juror, Halloween H20, 10 Things I Hate About You, Brick (which is amazing), Havoc (also amazing and not just because Anne Hathaway gets nude), The Lookout (one of my favorites), Stop-Loss, Miracle at St. Anna, Killshot (probably his best performance to date), G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Inception, and a slew of other amazing films. The guy is on the up and up to becoming a great in the film business. I just hope people start to recognize his talent, and not just his memorable face. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0330687/
3. Paul Dano
Now we are getting to my top three, and it is an awesome Top 3. Paul Dano is one of my favorite actors. Even if you follow the actor, you still don’t know what movie he is really going to be in. He is one of those actors where I start watching a movie, and start thinking…”Holy Shit! That’s Paul Dano!”. He does such a great job at playing different characters, and I was only reminded of it this past weekend, when I spotted him in an unforgettable Cowboys & Aliens performance. He seems to pick his roles very carefully, which is uncommon for someone his age. Usually actors his age are throwing themselves in everything just trying to get their name out there. This tells me that he is just an amazing talent who truly enjoys his job, and wants to continue doing it for the right reasons. The first time I remember seeing Paul was in the amazing film The Emperor’s Club. Such a great film, and he has gone on to make lots of amazing films. He has picked such unique roles, such as Klitz in the previously mentioned underappreciated film The Girl Next Door, his CREEPY CREEPY role as a deranged kid in Taking Lives, Thaddius in The Ballad of Jack and Rose, powerful performances in Little Miss Sunshine and There Will Be Blood, and catapulting on to the scene recently with Knight and Day and Cowboys & Aliens. From the looks of IMDB, he seems to be continuing his ascending trend to stardom, and I truly hope he gets there. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0200452/ .
2. Sam Rockwell
Sam Rockwell is without a doubt a recognizable name at this point, but even as little as three or four years ago he wasn’t as well known. He is always so good at playing different characters that people often overlook him. Since this is a horror site, there might be some people here that might remember him as a boy all they way back in 1988’s Clownhouse. I know I remember it… how could I forget… frickin clowns. There are a few things he does for the next few years, but I want to fast forward to 1994, and the next performance that I remember very well. A little known Film comes to mind, one called The Search for One-Eye Jimmy. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should. It has a whole bunch of great actors in it, including the previously mentioned John Turturro, and also includes Samuel L Jackson and Steve Buscemi. Sorry to do this again, but it is the only way I can point out a few of his amazing performances is to fast forward. He has so many! The year is 1999, and the AMAZING Frank Darabont puts out a film called The Green Mile. A film based on a book by my favorite author and idle, Stephen King. It is here that we see Sam’s unique ability to really play characters outside the box. He takes on the role of a child rapist/killer/crazy man/whatever else “Wild Bill” Wharton. He really struck a chord with me on this one. From this point on it is one amazing performance after another with Galaxy Quest, Charlie’s Angels, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Matchstick Men, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (which his is fan-frickin-tastic in), The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Choke, Frost/Nixon, The Winning Season, Iron Man 2, Conviction (Riveting performance), the recent Cowboys & Aliens, and who could forget my favorite new movie Moon. He continues to amazing me at every turn, and I look forward to seeing more of what he can do. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0005377/
1. Ben Foster
Ben Foster is without a doubt THE most talented man in Hollywood right now, and yes I am aware that that is an opinion. It is also an opinion that I can back up. Ben Foster as an actor SO good that people often don’t recognize he is in a film. I am aware that he is probably one of the youngest people on my list, but man he is deserving of this title. Ben Foster has come a long way from being Tucker James in the Disney Show, Flash Forward, back in the late 90’s. Now that I think of it, there aren’t many people who have done as well as he has coming out of Disney, other than maybe Shia LaBeouf. Flash Forward was such a good show, but didn’t necessarily launch Ben in to a promising acting career. He went on to play the nerdy kid in the film Get Over It, which wasn’t much of a reach from his TV days. It wasn’t until 2002 where he just began to do one good film after another with Big Trouble, Bang Bang You’re Dead, Phone Booth (although uncredited), 11:14 (unique and fun film), The Punisher (yes he was the dude with all the piercings), Hostage (yes he was Mars, the deranged psychopath lighting the walls on fire with Molotov cocktails, great movie), Alpha Dog (not a great movie, but another unique performance), X-Men 3 (unrecognizable as the way underused Angel), 30 Days of Night (as the creepy stranger in jail worshiping the vampires), The Messenger (an outstanding performance in a strong emotional film), 3:10 to Yuma (amazing and unrecognizable as the ruthless right hand man of Russell Crowe), Pandorum (a fun film, and a great performance), and most recently The Mechanic (unrecognizable and opposite Jason Statham in probably his most memorable character to most because of being essentially and equal lead to Jason). That is one HELL of a list, and he continues to WOW me over and over again with his ability to dive in to every character he plays and do it to the point where Ben Foster no longer exists and he is someone completely different. I think his is most definitely my favorite actor currently in the business, and I look forward to seeing what he comes up with next, especially since he is in the Alien prequel Prometheus! Oh yeah… and he and his brother Jon Foster (Stay Alive – horror movie) are from Iowa bitches!!! WOOT WOOT! Sorry… had to represent. Probably the best actor to ever come out of Iowa, and yes that includes Ashton. WAY BETTER! http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0004936/
I hope you enjoyed my list, and I look forward to hearing who you might think is an underrated actor. Please let me know in the comments if you can think of anyone.