Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Top 5 Movie Guide: Russell Crowe

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we turn our attentions to actor Russell Crowe, one of the stars of the upcoming "The Man With the Iron Fists". Crowe, who was born in New Zealand but was raised in Australia, caught the acting bug at a young age. Both of his parents were film and television set caterers, who exposed him to the art early on. He started out with roles in Australian television shows, but - after briefly trying his hand as a rockabilly singer and musician after dropping out of high school - transitioned into film as a young adult. He appeared in a variety of notable Australian films after committing to the craft, but it wasn't until Sharon Stone suggested him for Sam Raimi's "The Quick and the Dead" that he got his first taste of American cinema.


A few years later, his role in 1997's "L.A. Confidential" brought him widespread critical and financial recognition. The film started an impressive run for Crowe, where, over the next six years, he would appear in five different films all nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture. "L.A. Confidential" was the first, and it was capped off with 2003's "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World". The other three films included "The Insider", "Gladiator", and "A Beautiful Mind", the latter two of which won the award.

Nominated for three Best Actor awards himself over the past 12 years (he won for "Gladiator"), you can make a case for Crowe being one of the most successful actors over the past two decades - even amid him turning down roles as Logan/Wolverine in Bryan Singer's X-Men series and Aragorn in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Both of those aside (and you can even argue that given his career arc, it wasn't the worst thing in the word for him to turn either of those down), he's put together a pretty strong filmography with plenty of great titles throughout.

So hit the jump for all of our picks of some of the best he's had to offer!

Alex Schopp -
Not that it would be considered much of a surprise, but Russell Crowe is one of a very small handful of actors of whom I'd watch anything they're in. I always enjoy his performances, regardless of the genre/styles of film.

     1. A Beautiful Mind (2001)

Where to even start with this film (other than with the fact that I'm probably ruining enshrinement chances for "Gladiator")? But it's one of my ten favorite films of all-time, and though I know others can find faults with it, to me, it's a near perfect film. I never get tired of it.
     2. Gladiator (2000)
I'm not sure why it feels so cliche having this title on my list, but it's just one of those films that everyone loves and knows how good it is. We get it. It's one of the most epic films in the last couple of decades. Seriously though, it's so great.
     3. 3:10 to Yuma (2007)
One of my favorite westerns, and the relationship between Crowe and Christian Bale's characters is great.
     4. Cinderella Man (2005)
I'm not sure why, but boxing stories always seem to make entertaining movies.
     5. American Gangster (2007)
Crowe and Denzel Washington's team-up at the end of this film made it for me. The rest was interesting even still, but the film really had a great final chapter.

Ben Foutch -
It doesn't matter if the film is campy or prestigious; Russell Crowe is always top notch.

     1. Gladiator (2000)

     2. A Beautiful Mind (2001)

     3. American Gangster (2007)

     4. The Quick and the Dead (1995)

     5. Virtuosity (1995)



Derek Clem -

     1. Gladiator (2000)

He's just so epic in this! I love his drive!
     2. Mystery, Alaska (1999)
I feel so lucky I saw this while it was in Theaters. When you go back and watch Crowe's body of work, this is when you realize he's one of the greatest working actors of today. You see him in epics, dramas, mysteries, etc; but it's in this hockey dramedy when you're like, "yep, this man can act".
     3. A Beautiful Mind (2001)
Amazing acting on Crowe's part; if I have any complaints, I'd say he's too thick. I think he should have lost a significant amount of weight for this role.
     4. Virtuosity (1995)
The visual concepts of the future in this movie are a fun watch.
     5. Cinderella Man (2005)
Not that we needed another one, but this is a nice underdog boxing story.

Nathan Hinds -

     1. 3:10 To Yuma (2007)

     2. Gladiator (2000)

     3. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)

     4. The Next Three Days (2010)

     5. L.A. Confidential (1997)



Andy Schopp -
Crowe is an actor of amazing quality who seems to have fun with each of the roles he takes.

     1. Gladiator (2000)

     2. A Beautiful Mind (2001)

     3. 3:10 to Yuma (2007)

     4. The Quick and the Dead (1995)

     5. American Gangster (2007)



So there we have it, folks. Some of our favorite Russell Crowe films. Most of the usual suspects are here, but there were a few unique selections. Plus it was cool to see seven different films receive at least two votes. We've seen more than that before, but not too often. As one could probably expect, the big winner today was "Gladiator", which was the only film to appear on all five lists this week. It received three top votes as well, further solidifying it as the highest regarded film of Crowe's amongst this group. No doubt that if there's chance you never saw this one, now would be a good time to remedy that. This film won Best Picture in 2000, and also earned Crowe his only Best Actor award to-date.

"A Beautiful Mind" was the only film that received four votes, and also received one of the number-one picks. This is another from Crowe's "Golden Era" that won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Crowe lost out on the individual award to Denzel Washington ("Training Day"), however. Two films received three selections: "3:10 to Yuma" and "American Gangster"; while three films received two selections: "Cinderella Man", "The Quick and the Dead", and "Virtuosity". We get into a few possibly lesser-known titles with that last batch, so hopefully if there is anything there that you haven't seen, you can now opt for them in confidence.

Plenty of great content to filter through though, and all of which we find as some of the best from the strong career that Russell Crowe has already put together.

As always, we hope that each of these film selections helps you to expand your knowledge of Russel Crowe's filmography, and leads to better and more enjoyable all-around viewing experiences.

Happy watching!