The Under-Ranked: Due Date
This weekend Due Date, director Todd Phillips’ follow up to his massively successful hit of last year, The Hangover, will be released. The film stars two of Hollywood’s hottest commodities right now, Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis, and is likely to become one of the biggest comedy hits of the year. Downey plays a soon-to-be father rushing to get home to his pregnant wife before his child is born. In order to get home as soon as possible, he must get a ride from Galifianakis, a hopeful actor who drives Downey’s character up the wall. Due Date looks like the spiritual successor to Planes, Trains and Automobiles and with the talent involved, shouldn’t have any problems bringing the laughs. But before you run to the theatre this weekend to see Due Date, check out some of these other under-ranked films from the film’s stars.
Robert Downey Jr. has had quite a comeback in the last few years. Not only has he become one of the most beloved superheroes with Iron Man and its sequel, he’s also brought Sherlock Holmes to life and played a black soldier in Tropic Thunder, which he even earned an Oscar nomination for. But it is his role in Chaplin (available on Netfllix Instant), which he gained his first Oscar nomination for, it definitely one of Downey’s best. Downey plays one of the greatest comedians and filmmakers of all time, Charles Chaplin. Downey gets down all of Chaplin’s mannerisms and plays him to a level that would make The Tramp proud. The film follows Chaplin through his childhood, his success, downfall in the American studio system, all the way to his acceptance of an honorary Oscar. Downey is perfect as Chaplin through decades of history and shows how great a dramatic actor Downey truly is.
Speaking of comedians in more serious roles, Zack Galifianakis recently took a turn for the dramatic in this year’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story, based on the Ned Vizzini novel of the same name. Galifianakis plays Bobby, a patient at a mental hospital who befriends the teenager Craig, who self admits himself after the constant stresses of high school build up too much for him. Of course Galifianakis is hilarious in the role, but his occasional turns into a darker place add an interesting depth to his acting that is rarely seen, which helps him shine in this already great ensemble cast.
Juliette Lewis has been no stranger to the films of Todd Phillips. Lewis has made appearances in both Old School and Starsky & Hutch and will now pop up in Due Date. While she can definitely show her funny side, in last year’s Whip It, Lewis showed her badass side as roller derby star Iron Maven. In Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut, Whip It features Ellen Page as a young girl trying to find where she belongs when she meets a group of roller derby girls and decides to join up with their team. Whip It may seem cheesy, but its lesson of finding something you love and doing anything for it is one that resonates beautifully.
Danny McBride has become quite a success story recently as well. Not only is McBride insanely great in his HBO show Eastbound & Down, he has also starred in some great comedies in the last few years, including Tropic Thunder, Observe and Report and Up in the Air. For those who like McBride in Eastbound & Down should check out The Foot Fist Way, his first starring role. McBride plays a small town Tae Kwon Do teacher who wants to meet his hero after his life starts to fall apart. McBride is great at playing the crazy guy just ready to snap and The Foot Fist Way is a great look at what makes McBride such a great comedic actor.
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