I have to say, this was probably the hardest list I’ve ever had to rank. Mainly because I feel like any of the top four could actually be my number one depending on the mood I’m in. In fact, the margin of difference between them is probably thinner than a piece of paper. Nay, thinner… like an Olsen twin.
Spacey is somewhat of a Hollywood anomaly. He’s actually more of a character actor that managed to work his way into leading roles than a traditional leading man. This is very fortuitous for him because, since he’s a bit of a chameleon, it’s easy to toss his name out for any new role that pops up in Hollywood. He also has the distinction of being in some of my favorite movies as well as some of the worst, most forgettable movies ever made. Regardless, I end up seeing them all because Spacey is in them and I like the dude so damn much.
Before we jump in, let me just give a shot out to my friend Ann, who I have known since I was 11 years old. This topic was her suggestion. She admits to having a unexplainable crush on the man. So, Ann, this one’s for you:
HONORABLE MENTIONS: TOO MANY TO MENTION.
I will say that Working Girl is a damn fine film that was pretty much left off just because I haven’t seen it in years and don’t remember Kevin Spacey being in it.
10. THE REF.
This is another one I haven’t watched in years but, every time I do, it makes me laugh my ass off. Denis Leary brings the funny but the back and forth between Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis kind of steals the show. A great non-traditional Christmas movie to get you in the mood for the holidays.
9. A BUG’S LIFE.
Before Cars, this was considered by many to be the worst film in Pixar’s filmography. Of course, calling something a bad Pixar movie is like saying you had bad sex. Dude, you still got laid. I have never disliked this film as much as most people do. It certainly doesn’t match up to a Toy Story or Finding Nemo but it’s still a pretty solid animated film.
8. SUPERMAN RETURNS.
Let’s be clear… this film makes the list because it’s based on one of the most iconic comic book characters of all time. I’m a geek. Sue me! The film itself is riddled with issues. The main one being that the story seems based on more a filler issue of the comic series than any of it’s iconic moments. It also tried to play within the Donner film franchise instead of being it’s own thing. However, I do feel like this film gets shit upon more than it deserves. There is some good stuff here. I particularly like Brandon Routh and Kevin Spacey in it who do their best job channeling Christopher Reeves and Gene Hackman respectively. Come to think of it, Spacey reminds me a lot of Hackman.
Hey, it’s not my fault that some of Spacey’s best work comes when he simply lends his voice. Everyone that sees this film loves it and yet I still feel like it is criminally underrated. The film is the debut of director Duncan Jones (son of David Bowie) who should get a ton of credit for turning in this insanely good looking Sci-Fi film on a five million dollar budget. In it, Spacey channels his best HAL (from 2001: A Space Odyssey) to bring us GERTY. GERTY being the voice of the main computer on a moon mining base that’s home to just one man… or is it?
6. THE NEGOTIATOR.
This film is probably my hugest guilty pleasure outside of Road House. I have no other justification for it being this high on the list. Nor do I know why I have to watch it every time it comes on cable. C’est la vie. Definite showcase for a plethora of kick ass character actors.
I wonder how many of you would have this at the top of your list. It’s certainly loved by just about everyone that has seen it. I suppose it is a bit of a technicality since Spacey has very little actual screen time in the film but if you think I can ignore it for the list, you’re insane. It’s one of the most twisted murder mysteries out there. Taking the Jaws approach to filmmaking in that sometimes the scariest things in a film are the things you DON’T see. Certainly also nice to watch because it’s an example of a great filmmaker (David Fincher) beginning to find his stride.
THE DREADED TOP 4!!! I will say that, honestly, any of these next four could be my #1 depending on the mood I’m in. Here’s how I see them right now…
4. AMERICAN BEAUTY.
This is a damn good film. I feel like there was a bit of a backlash against it after it took home Oscar’s top prize but I felt it was very deserving. The themes in it are very real and very dark. I’m not a huge fan of all the story lines in it. The one I do love though is the one featuring Kevin Spacey. There is something so fun about watching someone become so unhappy with their life that they’re willing to let all of it go to truly be happy.
3. L.A. CONFIDENTIAL.
I have an admission to make. I have written hundreds of lists over the past several years and in time my opinions and choices change. Only once have a I had what I would call a true oversight and that was not putting Russell Crowe’s Bud on my favorite movie cops list. Phew! Felt good to get that out there. Oh, and this movie is just awesome from top to blossom, er, bottom. Also features one of my favorite movie shootouts. Expect that list in the near future.
2. THE USUAL SUSPECTS.
What is not to love about this film? Unfortunately, I can’t say much about it because I certainly don’t want to ruin it for anyone that hasn’t seen it. Let’s just say, it’s success hinges solely on a very good performance from Mr. Spacey!
1. GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS.
It’s insane how compelling this film about real estate sales can be. The cast is stellar featuring the likes of Al Pacino, Ed Harris, Jack Lemon and Alec Baldwin (doing five minutes of brilliant “take notes” acting in my favorite cameo of all time). David Mamet is considered by many to be one of the greatest working writers out there and this is him at the top of his game.
Remember, we here at Man, I Love Films don’t do definitive lists. We do our favorites and we want to hear yours. So, make sure and tell us about them in the comments section below.