Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Top 5 Movie Guide: Paul Walker

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we turn our attentions to birthday boy Paul Walker. Walker turns 39 today, and while he hasn't had a career that most would salivate over, he has a certain bit of attachment to each of us here at Slackers Selection Productions, worthy of note. I'll try to avoid too lengthy a story, but years ago, we had one female friend who absolutely hated Paul Walker. We always thought he did a fine job and didn't deserve nearly the criticism he received, but she couldn't stand him. I'm not sure why - maybe it was just her outward disinterest for the star - but pretty much from that moment on he became our go-to guy for just about everything. We loved bringing him up just to spite her (in a playful way, of course). He became the standard for quality acting and good looks in our general conversations.


Along the way - and it's been an ongoing thing for probably five+ years now - I can't say he became a "favorite", but I think the jokes slowly turned to legitimate feeling, and now I believe most of us have much more interest in his career than we should have ever had. His persona as more of an icon or mascot for our group seems more apt than a favorite, however.

Needless to say, he has a longstanding history amongst our group, and once we saw his birthday pop up on a Top 5 day, we had to jump at it.

I apologize for not including any neat info on Walker's life and career as is usually featured in these posts, but the story needed to be told to describe the feelings we have towards the star. And on the positive side, if I'm not mistaken, I believe our constant hype of his screen presence has finally swayed our dubious friend, and she now sees the light just as we do!

In all serious, the over-hype we give Walker is a bit of an exaggeration, mostly as a joke between us, but at the same time, I think that there's a legitimate agreement amongst all of us that he does deserve a much better reputation than he's received so far.

Hit the jump for all of our picks!

Alex Schopp -

     1. Fast Five (2011)

Based on his presence in the movie mixed with the entertainment and quality levels of this film, it would be hard for me to truly justify any other film appearing in the top spot for Walker.
     2. Pleasantville (1998)
A minor role, but such an interesting movie that it gets a big bump on this list (and also because his filmography takes a big dip after this).
     3. Varsity Blues (1999)
I resonate the same sentiments that Nathan expresses below, but still, there is some powerful stuff happening in this movie, and Jon Voight's character is a great villain.
     4. Running Scared (2006)
I feel like I should like this movie more than I do. It's sweet how brutal and violent the picture is, but maybe it's too much? I'm not quite sure, but for some reason this one never fully clicked with me. Still a good, unique performance from Walker though, and one definitely worth noting.
     5. Joy Ride (2001)
Paul Walker-Steve Zahn team-up. 'Nuff said.

Ben Foutch -
When Paul Walker was just beginning his career, I couldn't stand the guy. Maybe that is just a testament to his skill as an actor, for portraying unlikable characters. Hopefully he can get involved in some better films...

     1. Fast Five (2011)

     2. Pleasantville (1998)

     3. Running Scared (2006)

     4. Joy Ride (2001)

     5. The Skulls (2000)



Derek Clem -
I've only coveted one thing in life... Paul Walker's looks.

     1. Pleasantville (1998)

I realize he isn't in this movie very much (though he has a major impact on the direction the film goes), but it's easily my favorite movie in his filmography so I've gotta put it at number one.
     2. The Fast and the Furious (2001)
I would say "Fast Five" is my favorite in this franchise, but I feel Paul Walker does his best work in this one. Overall great film (and franchise for that matter). It's Point Break on NOS!
     3. Timeline (2003)
I was a few years late getting to this movie. On a whim I grabbed it from the fifty-cent rental section and actually found it to be a nice little time travel piece.
     4. Varsity Blues (1999)
I didn't play high school football and still thought this movie was awesome!
     5. Joy Ride (2001)
Watch the movie then come back and read this next line... 
What's with Paul Walker's pants? baggy high waters? It's hard to pay attention to the movie once you notice them, and why I wanted you to watch it before reading this.

Nathan Hinds -
How has it taken us this long to do a Paul Walker list?! If it were up to me, I would do a Top 5 for him every week. In all seriousness though, I think he's received a bad reputation that he really hasn't deserved. Sure, he has some bad movies - so does every other actor in Hollywood - but he has quite a few awesome films as well.

     1. Fast Five (2011)

This is one of the best action movies in the last couple of years. It's easily the best film in the series, and I hope they can keep the momentum going from this film.
     2. Running Scared (2005)
This is one of my favorite crime/gangster films. I love the tone of the film, and it's brutal fun from start to finish.
     3. Joy Ride (2001)
Awesome thriller.
     4. Varsity Blues (1999)
If it weren't for James Van Der Beek in this film, it might have a shot at being one of my favorite football films. Despite how much I can't stand his character and the actor in general, I still like the movie as a whole.
     5. The Lazarus Project (2008)
I doubt too many people have seen this film. It's a really cool concept and one of his better acting performances in my opinion.

Andy Schopp -

     1. Fast Five (2011)

Normally such new movies don't make my Top 5 lists, but this was such a surprisingly awesome movie that I couldn't pass it up.
     2. Running Scared (2006)
I think this is truly when people started taking Paul Walker seriously.
     3. Joy Ride (2001)
This movie has appeared on multiple lists of mine and it's not on accident.
     4. Varsity Blues (1999)
I know he is a smallish part in the movie, but this was a pivotal film for anyone who was ever a high school student.
     5. Timeline (2003)
Gotta show my love for some Michael Crichton when I can; plus I really enjoy the conservation this insights between me and my girlfriend.

So that's what we're looking at this week. This wasn't the largest filmography to sift through, so it's no surprise that we saw the repeat selections that we did. Still though, an overall good variety of films to fit everyone's interests. I guess the first film needing recognition is "Joy Ride", as it was the only film to appear on all five lists. An argument can surely be made for "Fast Five" though, because while it appeared on only four lists, of those four lists, it was the number one selection of each. I think it's safe to assume that both of these are staples of Walker's filmography though, and both deserve priority attention when tackling the various films throughout.

Two other films appeared on four lists, "Varsity Blues" and "Running Scared". "Running Scared" might feature one of the best performances from Walker's young career, while "Varsity Blues" was surely a teen staple for most of us from this generation, whether you played football or not. Again, both solid selections that seem very worthy of the increased attention they received this week.

And we'll finish it off with the only other films receiving multiple selections: "Pleasantville" appeared on three lists (and grabbed the only other top selection), and "Timeline" hit on two lists and the only other film making multiple appearances.

Otherwise, plenty of quality selections to sift through. So as always, we hope that each of these film selections helps you to expand your knowledge of Paul Walker's filmography, and leads to better and more enjoyable all-around viewing experiences.

Happy watching!