Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Top 5 Movie Guide: Ray Liotta

We're back in full-swing here at the Slackers Selection Movie Blog! We hope that all of you had a great Thanksgiving holiday and were able to share it with your friends and families, just as we were. Now that the fun is over though (okay, we still consider all of this plenty of fun), it's time for another edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide! With "Killing Them Softly" being the only real notable wide release this upcoming weekend, we decided to profile one of the actors from the film, Ray Liotta. Liotta studied acting at the University of Miami, but was already doing work in television shows by then. He continued with mostly made-for-TV movies after school, but eventually landed a part in his first feature film, "Something Wild" (1986), a film which garnered him rave reviews.


After his success with "Something Wild", a film in which Liotta first played a character "off his hinges", he decided to take a step back from the "psycho" roles to avoid being typecast. He instead worked on smaller films in the coming years, with titles such as "Dominick and Eugene" (1988) and "Field of Dreams" (1989). After "Field of Dreams", Liotta heard that director Martin Scorsese was casting for his upcoming gangster film, "Goodfellas". He'd always been interested in working on a film like this, and after reading the script, he lobbied hard for the part of Henry Hill, a role in which he eventually landed. With the film's incredible success, Liotta earned a new-found popularity which enabled him to land prominent roles in future films.

Liotta never quite achieved the success that many expected after his performance in "Goodfellas", but it's no question that he's put together a strong filmography, encompassing various types of roles over a multitude of genres.

Hit the jump to see which titles made our lists!

Alex Schopp -

     1. Goodfellas (1990)

I feel like I'm probably turning on "Field of Dreams" more often, but I think Liotta's character is better in this film. Plus, I'm sure I'll take a lot of flack for it, but I've always preferred this film to any from the Godfather franchise (if that's even something worth comparing).
     2. Field of Dreams (1989)
It continues to creep up on some of my Best Of lists. A great family tale that also involves baseball and ghosts!
     3. Cop Land (1997)
I'm not sure why we never talk about this film. Such an epic cast, and a great story. I feel like if it were commonly talked about more I might have it higher on this list (because I'd actually think about it more).
     4. Identity (2003)
A quality thriller with a great cast and much more interesting story/suspense than I expected.
     5. Youth in Revolt (2009)
While the film overall wasn't much more to me than slightly ironic, offering a few minor laughs here and there, Liotta's character easily stole the show, though only in a minor role.

Ben Foutch -
Liotta's filmography shows quite a wide range in quality. This is probably why I respect him so much.

     1. Goodfellas (1990)

     2. Cop Land (1997)

     3. Identity (2003)

     4. Something Wild (1986)

     5. No Escape (1994)



Derek Clem -

     1. Goodfellas (1990)

I would have thought Liotta's remarkable performance as Henry Hill would have catapulted him into becoming one of our greatest and sought-after actors.
     2. Cop Land (1997)
This is a top notch movie. Sometimes I feel like this movie is underrated, but when I ask people if they've seen it they're always like "Yeah! It's amazing!" - so maybe its not underrated.
     3. Field of Dreams (1989)
Liotta's eyes say so much in this movie. Remarkable acting.
     4. Operation Dumbo Drop (1995)
It's absurd that this is based on a true story. I saw this in the theater and that smallest bit of ridiculous nostalgia was enough to place it on my list.
     5. Blow (2001)
Small part but very effective... not effective enough in teaching Depp's character right from wrong though.

Nathan Hinds -

I love Liotta as an actor, and he has the best maniacal laugh in the business. I've always wondered what it would've been like to see him play The Joker.

     1. Blow (2001)

     2. Field of Dreams (1989)

     3. Goodfellas (1990)

     4. John Q (2001)

     5. Cop Land (1997)



Andy Schopp -

     1. Field of Dreams (1989)

     2. Goodfellas (1990)

     3. Smokin' Aces (2006)

     4. Hannibal (2001)

     5. The Son of No One (2011)



So there we have it, folks; some of what we see as the best titles Ray Liotta has offered over the years. There was a decent variety this week, but a couple of films really seemed to dominate (titles that you'd very much expect). "Goodfellas" was the top choice by far, earning a place on all five lists and managing the top spot on three. There's no doubt that Martin Scorsese's mobster flick is one of the best the director has ever made, and if you haven't yet checked this one out, now would be a good time to correct that.

"Field of Dreams" and "Cop Land" landed on four of the five lists. While Liotta's role in "Field of Dreams" is minor, his portrayal of "Shoeless" Joe Jackson is fantastic, and the film as a whole is a big winner. "Cop Land" is an impressive ensemble piece which lends it to being one of the better cop dramas/thrillers out there. Both seem like staple watches when perusing Ray Liotta's filmography. 
Otherwise, "Identity" and "Blow" were the only other films with multiple appearances, both making their way onto two lists apiece.

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

Happy watching!