Monday, April 19, 2010

Sam Rockwell, part 2: Hollywood breakthrough, (2002-2007).

We continue our look at the work of actor, legend, and former burrito delivery man: Sam Rockwell.

I first became a Sam Rockwell fan after watching Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, the bio pic/ thriller about Gong Show host Chuck Barris.  Rockwell stars as Barris in what truly is one the strangest bio pics ever made.  Based off Barris's memoir of the same name, the movie follows not only his rise as the father of reality TV, but also his supposed double-life as a CIA assassin.  Confessions was the directorial debut of George Clooney. Even though it bombed at the box office, it marked a shift in Rockwell's career. He began getting cast in mainstream Hollywood pictures as well as independent ones.

Welcome to Collinwood (2002).  Clooney and Rockwell first teamed up in this crime comedy, about five very stupid criminals who are planning the perfect heist.  This movie has a stellar cast including Patricia Clarkson, William H. Macy and Luis Guzman.  However, it was probably more fun to make than watch.  Rockwell is a pro at playing stupid criminals and he is very funny in his role.
Find it in the catalog!

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002).  Rockwell beat out big names like Johnny Depp, Ben Stiller and Mike Myers to play Chuck Barris.  Director George Clooney claims Rockwell resembles a young Chuck Barris, but I think he looks more like a boyish, sandy blond Johnny Depp.  Decide for yourself:

Nonetheless, Rockwell gives a stand out performance as Chuck Barris.  And Confessions is a fun, dark movie that one day might reach cult status.
Find it in the catalog!

Matchstick Men (2003).  In this caper, Rockwell plays sly con-man Frank Mercer. Frank is the protégé of obsessive-compulsive swindler Roy Waller (Nicholas Cage).  Frank loves the art of scamming people and longs for a big scam.  Meanwhile, Roy finds out he has a daughter (Alison Lohman) he didn't know about from his former marriage and begins to develop a relationship with his now teenage daughter. 
Find it in the catalog!

Robin's Big Date  (2005).  Rockwell plays an amusingly bawdy and annoying Batman to Justin Long's Robin.  Robin is trying to get a date with a girl named Kate, and Batman insists on acting as his wing-man much to Robin dismay.
YouTube Clip!

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005).  Sam plays the two-headed president of the galaxy, Zaphod Beeblebrox, who steals Arthur Dent's (The Office UK's Martin Freeman) lady love at a party.  Later on, Dent and his alien friend (Mos Def) hitch a ride on Beeblebrox's ship. Looking like the love child of Richard Branson and the lead singer of Nickelback, Rockwell's Beeblebrox is as charming and enthusiastic as he is dim-witted.  Beeblebrox's Texas drawl has hints of George W. Bush, but his attitude is pure rock star.  This movie can drag at time, but Rockwell and Alan Rickman (who plays a deeply depressed robot) make it worth watching.
Find it in the catalog!

Joshua (2007).  Do you believe that some kids are just plain no good?  Apparently, Vera Famiga does.  This is the first of her evil kid horror movies (Orphan being the second).  Sam plays Brad Cairn, earnest dad to possibly evil Joshua.  This is a rare straight-man role for Rockwell.  Writer/ director George Ratliff previously directed the documentary Hell House, which Sam watched in preparation for his role in Snow Angels.
Find it in the catalog!