Favorite Thespians #2 – Ryan Reynolds

Favorite Thespians - Reynolds

In honor of the great Deadpool-film, I’m moving my Favorite Thespians-schedule around a bit. This time it’s all about Ryan Reynolds! Favorite Thespians is a monthly opinion piece wherein I name one of my favorite actors or actresses. Favorite Thespians contains three separate sections: one section on the first film I saw the thespian in (“On My Radar”), another section on 5 films you need to see to know the thespian (“Homework”), and a section on my favorite performance from him/her.

Okay, I know what you’re going to say here. Thespian is usually something you call a great theater actor, a Shakespearian, but I’m using the term rather lightly in my recurring piece. While Ryan Reynolds isn’t a theater actor, he is a favorite of mine, and I really hate the hate he has been getting for years. Earlier in the month, Deadpool was released, and I absolutely loved it. So I thought I’d spend some time teaching you about some of Ryan Reynolds’s better performances.

Danny Leiner’s Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)

Okay, I know what you’re going to say here as well, so let me address it. TV Shows do not count in Favorite Thespians, so his performances in, say, Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place, or one of his guest appearances on The X-Files or Scrubs have to go unnoticed here. “Yeah okay, Jeffrey, but what about Van Wilder?” – Well, that’s a different story. I didn’t see Van Wilder until a couple of years after it came out. Probably in 2005 or 2006.

But I have to say that I love the Harold and Kumar-films, they are so much fun. He doesn’t really do much in the film, but he sticks out somehow. I wish I could say more about his performance in this one, but let’s just say that it set a tone for what he would be best at – comedy.

Walt Becker’s Van Wilder (2002)
Roger Kumble’s Just Friends (2005)
Rodrigo Cortés’s Buried (2010)
Marjane Satrapi’s The Voices (2014)
Tim Miller’s Deadpool (2016)

First off, I’m going to say that I’ll leave my comments on Deadpool in my review and for the Favorite Performance-sections, so the homework-section will be for the four other films. Outside of Deadpool, Van Wilder is the quintessential Ryan Reynolds film and role. He, as an actor, was made for those two roles, and while Van Wilder may not be the international success or as well-known as American Pie was, he is the only character in both of those franchises that has truly broken out of the cliche gross-out comedy genre. Even if it seems like Reynolds is returning to it with Deadpool somewhat.

Just Friends is probably my favorite clear-cut, straight-up comedy of his. The film had heart, he was allowed to be two different characters at once – both a womanizer and a man with a heart of gold – and thus continued his development as an actor a tiny bit. But Buried and The Voices probably contain the best pure acting performances in his career.

I remember seeing Buried in theaters on opening night. And I remember being alone in the theater… Everyone missed out on a really solid film, with a great performance. It’s a film like no other, and it expands on his talent by letting him be the only figure of representation in the entire film. The Voices is a film I predict will become a cult classic. It is a perfect mixture of Dr. Dolittle, Dexter, and Psycho.

Tim Miller’s Deadpool (2016)

I’m going to be completely honest here, Ryan Reynolds wouldn’t have been featured on Favorite Thespians for a long time, if Deadpool hadn’t been as great as it was. It was everything I wanted it to be, and much more. It’s been said to death, but Ryan Reynolds was born to play Deadpool. He gets to be as zany, crude, and immature as he wants to be, and that is something Reynolds absolutely excels at. If he is given an opportunity to go all the way in a comedy, then you just know that he will take it.

I don’t think I’ve laughed at, and with, a character in a comedy as much as I did in Deadpool, since I saw Ben Stiller in the original Zoolander. It is very much a fresh performance, and it may just be the single best portrayal of a comic book protagonist since Robert Downey Jr. in the original Iron Man.

Favorite Thespians will return at the end of March

– I’m Jeffrey Rex

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