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Friday, October 10, 2014

The Robert Downey Jr. Lists

Beloved by many, hated by few, the sometimes controversial, but always stellar Robert Downey Jr. has done just about everything an actor in Hollywood can hope to accomplish. He has conquered the box-office with multiple franchises, been nominated for two Academy Awards, won three Golden Globe Awards and turned in a ton of great work in the last three decades.

His latest film, The Judge, hits theaters today. Simple math will tell you: Downey plus Robert Duvall plus courtroom drama equals a must-see film. So it's time to revisit the career of one of the best around with . . .

The Robert Downey Jr. Lists

Dan's List

5. Sherlock Holmes
I really enjoy both of his Sherlock films.
Downey is the perfect blend of witty and mercurial, and easily ranks among the best Sherlocks ever.
It's been 3 years since he's solved mysteries with Dr. Watson, however a third Sherlock film has been announced so pack up the pipes and learn your olde-timey alchemy because Sherlock is coming for you!

4. Tropic Thunder
I still don't love this movie, but RDJ is amazing in it. Kirk Lazarus is one of those characters that could only be played by a master actor, in lesser hands it could be a career killer. If you watch this more than once it is because of Downey, not the Tom Cruise dance routine. It got him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor and gave us one of the great Commentary Tracks of all-time.

3. Less Than Zero
Downey's descent into drug hell is one of the great 80s angst roles.
Julian's is a cautionary tale and the scariest part about him: his life is even worse in the book.

2. Chaplin
In another year Downey may have won the Oscar for Best Actor, but he had to settle for a nomination after Al Pacino Hooah-ed his way to a big win. This career altering performance proved he could carry a film and launched him into the big time. This is a biopic that should definitely be seen and enjoyed.

1. Iron Man
I went into the theater expecting to laugh at attempt by Marvel to launch a lesser comic book franchise, but forgot that RDJ is the man and that Tony Stark is the perfect character for someone with his bravado.
After two more Iron Man films, The Avengers and cameos in other Marvel movies it is safe to say that Tony Stark will define Downey's career and cemented him as one of the biggest draws in Hollywood.

iron man animated GIF

Chris's List 

5 – Natural Born Killers
This movie. This freakin' movie. Oliver Stone's highly controversial, throw-everything-at-the-audience bastardization of an early Tarantino script. I almost hate that I love this so much. Almost. Downey, as an over-the-top, narcissistic tabloid reporter, is one of many fascinating supporting characters that make this film so bizarrely watchable. And it was a great preview of that spot-on Australian accent moviegoers will see from him again later.

4 – Iron Man / The Avengers
Studio blockbuster casting just does not get any better than this. A perfect match of actor and character. And just think, the now insanely popular and profitable Marvel Cinematic Universe completely hinged on this first film and eventually culminated in the Avengers crossover.

3 – Tropic Thunder
For my money, Downey's best performance, hands down. As hilarious as it is controversial, Downey as Kirk Lazarus elevated this movie to comedic and satirical greatness.

2 – Zodiac
I already professed my love for this film on our David Fincher Lists last week, but I am more than happy to reiterate it here. As the alcoholic, increasingly disillusioned and paranoid Paul Avery, Downey shines in just one of many terrific performances in this fantastically moody and atmospheric film. 

1 – Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
I love this movie. It is so damn funny and clever. It is no surprise Iron Man 3 was a big success after Downey and writer/director Shane Black proved they were a great team with this film nearly a decade earlier.

And finally, I can’t not mention Wonder Boys and Less Than Zero because they are adapted from two books I really, really like and Downey is great in them. Also, special shout-outs to Weird Science, which is ridiculous '80s movie, but I remember it fondly, and Sherlock Holmes, which I didn’t care for at first, but now have to watch every time it comes on TV (which is quite often), mainly because Downey is the man.

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