Top List Thursdays – Top ten actors who ate all the scenery

9 min read
9

Every now and then, you get a film that showcases a stunning performance from an actor. Think Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight, Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook or Daniel Day Lewis in everything ever made. And then you get that one performance that is so mental, so insane, that it’s genius.

Here’s ten such performances where the actors involved chewed more scenery than Julius Malema blaming everything on a conspiracy.

Extras-bullet-points-micro3 Jeremy Irons – Dungeons and Dragons

Ham

There’s no denying that Dungeons and Dragons was a TERRIBLE film, even by my exceptionally low standards. But it did have a few bright spots.  Like Marlon Wayans dying. A point in the film that I’ve rewatched so many times already, that my DVD has a permenant laser burn in that particular sector.

And then you’ve got Jeremy Irons, who goes from reserved and cunning, to completely batguano loco towards the end of the film. How over the top was he? He had a blue-lipped henchman with Japanese marital aids coming out of his ears standing right next to him, and he was still hogging an entire movie collection of golden dragons.

Dammit, Irons should have won an Oscar for his gloriously over the top speeches in this turkey of a movie.

Extras-bullet-points-micro3 Christopher Walken – A view to a kill

Ham (1)

It takes a special kind of actor to upstage an over the hill Roger Moore, WWE Champion Grace Jones, gadgets and a ridiculous plot that borders on Moonraker levels of lunacy. Fortunately, such an actor exists, and his name is Christopher Walken. A View To a Kill is the kind of Bond movie that just would not have worked without having a decent villain to focus the attention on.

And as the Zeppelin-driving mastermind behind a scheme to bomb the ever-living chips out of Silicon Valley, Walken was priceless. “YES…MR BOND! A VIEW…TO A KILL!

Extras-bullet-points-micro3 Glenn Close – 101 Dalmations

The Kobal Collection

There aren’t that many people out there that have starred in adaptations of popular cartoons. And when you factor in the fact that they’re even more outlandish in the live action version than the animated version was, then you know that you’re either dealing with a great actor or a madman.

Like Glenn Close in not one, but two 101 Dalmation films. For her Cruella, the DeVil was most certainly in the details.

Extras-bullet-points-micro3 Raul Julia – Street Fighter

Ham (2)

YOU DARE TO CHALLENGE A GAAAAAAAAAAAAWD? There is absolutely nothing that is not flawless about the final performance that Raul Julia gave for the 1994 Street Fighter film. Battling through stomach cancer, an illness that would claim his life later on, Julia still managed to upstage Jean Claude Van Damme and a host of other insane actors during the process of filming Street Fighter.

Just look at that performance. The energy, the enthusiasm the sheer charisma! I’m telling you, if Raul Julia’s M Bison was real, I’d demand to be paid in Bison Dollars and make plans to move to Bisonoplis, just so that I could pledge my allegiance the Pax Bisonica way of life.

Vaya con dias Raul Julia.

Extras-bullet-points-micro3 Julias J Carry III – The Last Dragon

Ham (3)

When I say Sho Nuff, you stand up and pay attention! The shogun of Harlem! The meanest, the prettiest, the baddest mofo around town! Without Sho Nuff, there’s not a chance that The Last Dragon would have been as popular today, as it was back then. Bruce Leeroy was a capable hero in the film, but Sho Nuff was the Joker to his Batman, a badass who had mastered the glow and completely dominated throughout that film. Hell, he made a regular action suchas opening a garage door look cool.

And I so wanted to be him, growing up. To the point that I attached red neon tubes to my hands. Totally worth the third degree burns.

Extras-bullet-points-micro3 Tom Cruise – Tropic Thunder

Ham (4)

Any movie that manages to keep a surprise in check for the audiences, deserves a gold star in my book. Which is why I absolutely hated it when this gem of a performance was leaked during the filming of Tropic Thunder. That aside though, if you had been living under a rock, then you were in for a treat when this dynamite performance rolled around.

Take  a step back from your TV screens, because Cruise  pretty much nailed this role. From being loud, angry and obnoxious, to possessing the flyest dance moves ever, we forgot about all his personal crap that had invaded his career over the years, and setlled down for one solid performance instead.

Read  Loki and Scarlet Witch are getting their own TV series on Disney's streaming service

Extras-bullet-points-micro3 Willem Dafoe – The Boondock Saints

Ham (5)

Finding one Willem Dafoe performance to stand out from the rest of his howling mad career is one hell of a task, but I’m confident with this particular one. As the only person with several brain cells that actually functioned correctly in The Boondock Saints, Dafoe was dangerously close to busting the anti-heroes of this particular cult movie. And then lo and behold, THERE WAS A FIREFIGHT! Dafoe didn’t just want to meet the Saints, he wanted to help them in their crusade to cleanse Boston of evil.

Even if it meant dressing up in drag. Oh Dafoe, you are incredible.

Extras-bullet-points-micro3 Tom Hiddleston – Thor, The Avengers

Ham (7)

It pretty much sucks when you’re the black sheep of the family. And it double-sucks when you’re the bastard child of a Frost Giant king who was adopted as one of the very same people that just put the Asgardian boot to the icy ass of your native race. And then it triple-sucks when you realise that your older brother is the most popular guy in all the realms who gets all the ladies, thrones and super-awesome cool hammers.

Man, Loki never had it easy, but instead of being a background player who would vent his frustrations by buying Thor socks for Asgardian Christmas, he decided to be more creative. And by creative, I mean he tried to kill his adoptive parents and brother. And then he turned a giant laser matter transporter on the Frost Giant homeworld.

And then he invaded Earth, mind-tricked everyone, launched a full scale alien invasion and got bullied through a thick slab of concrete by the Hulk. Puny god? Maybe? But puny acting? Not when you’ve got Tom Hiddleston stealing every single scene that he happened to be in.

Extras-bullet-points-micro3 Ricardo Montalban – Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Star_Trek_II_Wrath_of_Khan_Ricardo_Montalban

There’s a rumour about the filming of Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan that says Montalban wore a prosthetic chest for the role. Not true actually. That was all Montalban, who was already pushing into the 60s when he donned the top that showed off his physique, and he took to the role with such passion, that he actually took a paycut for it.

That’s right, a paycut. Montalban may have never engaged with Shatner face to face on the project, but the joy he had in portraying the superhuman tyrant who was out for blood was more than evident in his performance. Secrets be damned JJ Abrams, because Montalban played the role close to his chest, and the fans loved his Moby Dick quoting chest because of it.

Extras-bullet-points-micro3 Al Pacino – Scarface

Ham (6)

Oh man, where do we even start with this kind of performance? When you look up Cuban drug pushing scumbags in the yellow pages, you get a photo of Al Pacino and the number of your closest DVD shop. Over the top, but somehow still realistic, Pacino was doing time and coke left right and center, while still maintaing a shakey monopoly on his entire drug trade.

Remorseless, cold and higher than Cheech and Chong, the final scene of the movie is still a classic to this day, as Tony Montana goes out in a blaze of glory, gunpowder and Columbian sugar. Damn cockaroaches.

Extras-bullet-points-micro3 Gary Oldman – The Professional

Ham (8)

Technically speaking, Leon/The Professional is a rather sweet movie.  The relationship that develops between Jean Reno and a very young Natalie Portman is adorable, even though Reno happens to be a contract killer with a mere shred of humanity left inside of him.

Which is a shred more than what Gary Oldman has, as corrupt DEA agent Norman Stansfield. And he’s the perfect foil as well, when you think about it. While Leon is cold and calm, Stansfield is maniacal, obsessive and constantly angry. He’s the real sociopath of this film, an unpredictable madman that somehow worked his way into a position of power on the side of angels.

And hell, after getting ignored for yet another Oscar award back then, it was inexcusable that the performance from Oldman was snubbed. In fact bring me everyone from that specific Oscar judging committee. I SAID EVERYONE!

Last Updated: May 2, 2013

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

Check Also

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross to score HBO’s Watchmen series

Recreating the incredible world of The Watchmen is going to be an incredibly tough feat fo…