Brad Pitt’s Top Five Film Performances…

Posted by on August 21, 2011

A couple of days ago I saw a trailer for Moneyball, the film based on Billy Beane and the Oakland As.  It looked intriguing, partly because its an interesting story, but largely because Billy Beane will be played by Brad Pitt.  It doesn’t seem like this would be the most logical role for Brad Pitt, and that got me thinking:  What have been the best Brad Pitt performances in a film? (“film” is an important distinction, because he has a long history of acting in some fairly crappy TV shows over the years).  So in reverse order, here is the list:

5) Thelma and Louise - I don’t feel great about this movie making the list, as I think that Thelma and Louise is a movie that doesn’t really stand the test of time (if you see it now, it seems remarkably dated).  However, it was Brad Pitt’s first legit movie role, and even though it was quite small, he put in a solid, memorable performance as the young cowboy who seduces the cougar (either Thelma or Louise, I can’t remember which).

4)  The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – This was an odd, and under-rated movie.  Pitt really delivered in a challenging role as the lead character who “youthens” as the film progresses.

3) A River Runs Through It – This was a visually beautiful film that juxtaposed two different brothers in the mountains and rivers of Montana.  Pitt was remarkably believable as the fun-loving, nature-loving brother whose charm would repeatedly get him in, and out, of trouble.  A signature Pitt scene:  late in the film when Pitt latches onto a massive trout and, refusing to let go, floats down the river’s rapids with the fish, finally landing it when they both end up in calmer water.

2) Inglourious Basterds – “We in the killin’ Nazi business – And cousin, business is a-boomin’”.  With that line (and many others) Pitt delivers a riveting performance in this very good WWII Tarantino film.

1) Fight Club – As opposed to Thelma and Louise, this is the Pitt film that truly stands the test of time.  It is a very good film, driven in large part by Pitt’s raw and powerful performance.  And as with most Pitt performances, it comes with some great memorable lines – “The first rule of Fight Club, don’t talk about Fight Club”.  When Pitt, or any good actor, really delivers, he doesn’t look like he’s acting.  And in Fight Club, you believe Pitt is Tyler Durden.

That’s it.  Honorable mention goes to his performance in Se7en (I struggled with putting in Thelma and Louise instead of Se7en, but I need to stand by my decision), as well as the Ocean‘s series of movies.  However, my issue with Oceans is that, while they are fine movies, all of the actors in these films look a little too smug for their own good.  A bit of an attitude of, “we’re all really cool, and since we’re all in a movie together, it’s automatically good….”

Thoughts or comments anyone?


Missing:  Se7en, and the Oceans series