(image from starpulse.com)
After watching Inglorious Basterds and loving Brad Pitt’s performance in the film (the Italian was riot), I decided to think back on the movies I’ve seen with him in them and put together two lists: the good, and the not-so-good. Because I’m in a pretty awesome mood right now, we’ll start with the movies where he showed some talent. Don’t worry- we’ll rag on him later. But for now…
The Best Brad Pitt Movies
1. 1. Burn After Reading
Although he played a small role, I think this is Brad Pitt at his finest. He and Frances McDormand make a terrific team and fit their characters completely. This was the first movie I had ever seen where Brad Pitt performed in a comedic role, and I wish he would do more. His timing was terrific, the same way it was in Inglorious Basterds. It’s a far cry from Troy, and honestly, I liked it much, much better.
2. 2. Fight Club (SPOILER ALERT!!!)
Now, there is no denying that this is Edward Norton’s movie. But there is something to be said about playing a character who is, in essence, another character, AND about playing him in a way that fools the audience into thinking he’s his own person when it actually makes perfect sense that the two would be the same. Sound tricky? Tell that to Brad Pitt, who played the alter ego of another actor’s character. In the book, if I remember correctly, Tyler Durden’s physical appearance (other than what he wears) isn’t ever actually described, so the writer has the upper hand over the reader in terms of fooling him about the multiple personality thing. In the movie, however, how do you play a character who is just one dimension of someone else? This is why I think this is one of Brad Pitt’s best movies.
3. 3. Babel
The first (and better) installment of the Brad Pitt/Cate Blanchett hookup, this movie is fantastic if you ignore the length. I think Brad Pitt shows real character here, but maybe that’s because when it comes to movies, I’m not so synical at ignoring the “that-would-never-happen” element. One of my favorite techniques used in this movie is the use of perspective in terms of time, and so the first time you see Brad Pitt’s character’s son on the phone, you think nothing’s wrong, and then later you realize that the scene you witnessed earlier was actually a pivotal one. Now, this is accredited to the director, but I thought Brad Pitt did an excellent job in making it believable that the little boy (whose perspective we witnessed before) could think that nothing was wrong, and that takes a good actor.
4. 4. Ocean’s Eleven
Yes, I know he was in all three movies playing the same role, but the first one is still the best. Again, Brad Pitt in a comedic role= a win. One of my favorite things about these movies is all the disguises, and he seems to pull them off pretty well (a fact that comes to light in the third movie when he mentors Matt Damon, who doesn’t do so well at disguise). So well, actually, that his suave demeanor throughout the film seems even more natural and not at all forced (if that makes any sense). The movie itself is definitely an ensemble piece, but as far as “Brad Pitt” films go, it’s a winner.
5. 5. Se7en
It takes a lot of guts to play an asshole, especially someone who takes on Morgan Freeman. As opportunist David Mills, we want to hate the way he is itching to take Morgan Freeman’s job the same way we instinctively want Morgan Freeman to change his mind about retiring (as is the case in most mentor-related films- Men in Black, anyone?). Now, it is undeniable that Brad Pitt’s acting has gotten better since this movie, but this is still one of my favorites because he’s just so honest throughout the entire thing. You can completely believe that his brand of Detective exists, maybe even more so than you can believe Morgan Freeman’s brand of Detective exists (don’t get me wrong- I still think Morgan Freeman’s the shit, I’m just remarking on the difference between their characters). What’s great about this movie is that in the end, you still feel bad for him.