Pick Five #2 – Kevin Spacey

It only took me two and half months to get around to it, but after the initial Tom Cruise back in April, we’re here again with a new Pick Five. This time it’s none other than Kevin Spacey, one of the finest actors of his generation. No doubt there will be some disagreement with my choices for what I think are my favourite five films that feature the man himself, but isn’t that what art is all about? Eye of the beholder? That type of thing.
Anyway, these are my five favourite films that Mr Spacey had at least a hand in. The list is below the cut, but you can watch the videos too on the Blogger version
 

5. Moon – GERTY (Dir, Duncan Jones)
Well, I didn’t say you had to see his face in the films, did I? Of all the movies I could have picked, this one will be the most controversial, if only looking at what I have left out of a list that could go on as long as your arm. These are my favourite movies with Kevin Spacey in them, not necessarilly the best five Kevin Spacey performances (though sometimes these two things collide). Here, in an odd twist, Spacey plays GERTY, a robot assistant that works with astronaut Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) whilst he lines the moon alone for valuable resources. Even when Spacey is asked to play something as one-dimensional as a robot, void of feelings and character, Spacey still manages to imbibe life into the lifeless. For many, an as yet undiscovered pearl. I wish I could watch it again for the first time.

4. Se7en – John Doe (Dir, David Fincher)
Both the films at number three and four here are rightly found in many top ten lists of the nineties. Few actors will appear so often in the decade’s finest cinematic moments and in the hearts and minds of cinema lovers the world over. Spacey followed up the number three film in this list with his portayal of a serial killer who liked to plan ahead. John Doe decided to carry out a grisly, imaginative killing for every one of the seven deadly sins and detectives Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt were nothing more than helpless onlookers until he decided to hand himself in. Not to admit defeat, of course, but for some thing far more sinister. Spacey’s insidious and boldly evil John Doe made audience hug each other that much tighter after spening an evening in his company.

3. The Usual Suspects – Roger ‘Verbal’ Kint (Dir, Bryan Singer)
1995 was an outstanding year in the career of Kevin Spacey, as like Se7en, The Usual Suspects was released that same year. Chances were, if you didn’t realise what a superstar Spacey was by watching one of them, you would have noticed him in the other. This feature came around first that year to cinemas and audiences were treated to Spacey’s fantastic portrayal of the limping, small time hoodlum ‘Verbal’. Spacey’s range is on show here for all to see and his denoument would not have become legendary in cinema without his faultless delivery of Christopher McQuarrie’s breathtaking script.

2. Glengarry Glen Ross – John Williamson (Dir, James Foley)
He may not have been important to even have his name mentioned in the credits, but you can see why, with the acting chops he was up against in the screen adaptation of David Mamet’s stage play of the same name. Here, Spacey played Williamson, the office manager that takes all of the abuse thrown at him and only begins to crack by the final act. In an ensemble that boasted Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Ed Harris, Alan Arkin, Alec Baldwin and Jonathan Pryce, Spacey was still pretty fresh out of predominantly television projects, but here he holds his own with some real cinematic heavyweights.

 

1. American Beauty – Lester Burnham (Dir, Sam Mendes)
Anyone that’s been with me for a couple of years will already know the appreciation I have for Sam Mendes’ American Beauty, seeing as it has appeared on the blog in the My Favourite Films section and still resides proudly (I would hope) in my list of the ten best films ever made. Without Sapcey, of course, this could have been a very different picture indeed. His straight-faced delivery of some of cinema’s best lines in the past few decades and his stunning performance of a middle-aged man in the midst of a mid-life crisis is a joy to behold. This is Spacey at his absolute best. But honestly, whilst he may have been seen in a few duff projects throughout the years, hasn’t everyone? What you cannot argue is that he has given everything for his art in every project he has undertaken. A true actors actor.

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