Friday, March 15, 2013

Top 5 Films Featuring Jim Carrey

Disclaimer: This list is in no particular order. 

These are just some of my favorite films that Jim Carrey, the actor and one of the stars of the new film "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" has been in over the years that I enjoyed either based solely on their performance or it was just a generally well made and enjoyable film that they happened to part of in a supporting capacity.

Jim Carrey is one of the greatest comedic actors working today. His physicality and ability to stretch his ligaments in unnatural ways and willingness to throw himself into a role with a 110% commitment have helped separate him from all other comedic and dramatic actors alike. When he first burst on to the scene as a bit player in the comedy sketch show "In Living Color" he instantly became one of that show's biggest attractions. That was just a jumping off point however for what would become an amazing string of films and a roller coaster ride of a career. It's safe to say Carrey owes most of his stardom to one person in particular and that person is "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective". While both Ventura films aren't necessarily great films, they perfectly showcased the actor's many talents and from that point forward he would take on a slew of comedic roles with films like "The Mask" and "Liar Liar" as well as an inspired turn as the Riddler in "Batman Forever" until he began getting that itch for more dramatic fare. Then began the turbulent years of Carrey's career where he still put out great films every now and then ("The Truman Show" and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind") but he gave us more misses than hits ("The Number 23", "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "Fun with Dick & Jane"). But regardless, even with his celebrity identity crisis he is still one of the funniest actors out there and these are the top five films that best illustrate his genius.

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This could quite literally be one of the funniest movies of all time. Every single joke, gag and performance just works perfectly. By the time this Faralley brother comedy came out we had already grown accustom to the ways of Carrey, but it was the casting of Jeff Daniels as his counterpart that was a masterstroke of genius. It is also one of the most quotable movies in history, nearly every line of dialogue can be (and often is) spoken on the fly by both fans and non-fans alike. When was the last time someone couldn't remember a name and DIDN'T think of Samsonite? What about the immortal line of crossbreeding a bulldog and a shitzu to create a bullshit? This was the crowning achievement of the Farrelly brothers and a film that can honestly say it only gets better each time you watch it.


What would you do after an ugly break up with a loved one if you had the choice to have every single memory of that person erased from your mind forever? At first it would seem like a great idea, erase the memories to erase the pain. However, what about those good memories? The ones that affirmed why you loved this person in the first place? Would it be worth losing those beautiful memories just to ease your pain? That's not even mentioning how we need that pain to remind of us of who we are and of our mistakes. These are the topics that the filmmakers responsible for the cult classic "Being John Malkovich" tackle with this off beat and wonderfully strange film about a man who wants to forget everything about his girlfriend but just when his memory starts to get wiped he realizes that he wants to keep those memories, both the good and bad ones. Jim Carrey is astonishing in the lead role here, possibly one of his best performances of his career. Kate Winslet is equally as fascinating to watch as the woman being erased from his memory. There are just so many amazing things about this little indie film that cannot be summed up in this tiny paragraph. This is easily one of the best romance/love stories ever put to screen that focused squarely on how relationships shouldn't be taken so lightly and neither should our memories of them.


Before reality television was a reality, before we were on pins and needles in anticipation if someone would be evicted out of the Big Brother house or kicked off the island in Survivor, there was "The Truman Show". A film that was both ahead of its time and that could never be released at a better time. Unfortunately, the film's greatest asset was also it's greatest weakness (at the time), its star Jim Carrey. Fans were unwilling to accept the actor in a dramatic role and non-fans were unwilling to accept him regardless of how perfectly he fit the role of Truman, a man whose entire life is broadcast to the entire world while he remains completely oblivious to the fact that his life is nothing more than a television show. The concept was brilliant and despite the over abundance of reality television we have now, the film still has a lot of social commentary that seemed far fetched a decade and a half ago but now seems a little to on the nose. Regardless of the film's legacy, it remains one of Carey's most heartfelt performances and one of the best films of his career.


Jim Carrey went dark for this little comedy about a poor schmuck (Matthew Broderick) who unwittingly befriends a mentally disturbed and hopelessly lonely cable guy when he asks him to hook him up with some free cable channels. While it wasn't too well received upon it's release (audiences still wanted the more fun loving Jim Carrey), this Ben Stiller directed black comedy seems to only get funnier every time you watch it. There are some classic Carrey moments sprinkled all through out it. From the game Porno Password, to the basketball game and finally the scene at Medieval Times, there are some classic moments in "The Cable Guy" that have not only stood the test of time, but have only gotten better with time. Be on the lookout for some early appearances by then unknown actors such as Jack Black as Broderick's friend and a very brief appearance by Owen Wilson who gets the crap beat out of him by Carrey in the bathroom. If you saw it when it first came out and haven't seen it since, check it out, you might be surprised at how well it has held up over time.


This was Carrey's first real push to be taken seriously which any actor with strong comedic roots will tell you is a difficult proposition. But director Milos Forman's biopic on Andy Kaufman, arguably one of the greatest comedians that ever lived, was the perfect role for Carrey to tackle. Aside from his own personal infatuation with Kaufman's exploits, Carrey is the only person who could have pulled this role off and he does not disappoint. It takes only a few minutes of seeing Carrey on stage performing Kaufman's infamous "foreign man" until you no longer see Jim Carrey, all you see from that point forward is Kaufman and what a bizarre genius he really was. It's easy to understand why so many people, both fans and fellow actors didn't get it, didn't get what he was trying to do. While it can be argued that he didn't know when to stop, you can't argue with the results. The film loses some points for not really delving into who Kaufman the person was but easily makes up for it with a magnificent performance from Carrey and a fascinating examination at his many questionable choices that helped shape the career and eventual downfall of one of the world's most notorious comedic personalities.



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