Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday Similar Standards: Robert Downey, Jr.

Welcome to a semi-regular weekly feature here at Movies with Abe. On those weeks where reviews are sparse, I’ll be taking a look at an actor or actress whose body of work boasts many roles that may not be as diverse as those taken on by other actors or actresses. This is hardly a judgment on their abilities; rather an analysis of the kind of parts they play so well.

Robert Downey, Jr.

After getting clean following drug problems in the early 2000s, Downey has returned with a massive career resurgence and a stunning ability to deliver exceptional performances as fast-talking, brilliant, irresponsible, and more than occasionally impolite egomaniacs. It’s earned him one Oscar nomination this decade and the chance to play the exact same part on a number of occasions.

The Singing Detective (2003): Downey played a sickly novelist with delusions of grandeur who imagined he was a great detective who frequently burst into song in this adaptation of a British series.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005): Downey oozed charisma and fake charm as a criminal pretending to be an actor to better get away with his crimes.

Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus (2006): Downey was eccentric in a different way as a man whose whole body was covered in hair and had an interesting influence on the artist played by Nicole Kidman.

Zodiac (2007): Though he was merely a supporting player, Downey still stole scenes as a fast-talking reporter with a penchant for pushing the envelope in pursuit of the truth.

Charlie Bartlett (2007): Downey was just as wild as the film’s title character as the alcoholic principal exuding bad influence in this high school drug-dealing comedy.

Iron Man (2008): Downey made Tony Stark a hilariously self-centered and immensely watchable character, and he’s now had the opportunity to reprise the role three times, and he’ll do so again in the upcoming “Iron Man” and “Avengers” sequels.

Tropic Thunder (2008): Downey had fun playing a method actor so into his role that he played an African-American man, and was commended with an Oscar nomination for his individualistic nutty efforts.

The Soloist (2009): For once, Downey was the less showy character, though he still made an impression as a down-spiraling reporter who discovers a homeless musician in this relatively forgettable drama.

Sherlock Holmes (2009): Downey took home a Golden Globe for his energetic and entertaining portrayal of the classic detective, and his onscreen banter with Jude Law and Rachel McAdams was magnificent. The sequel was a hit too, and a third film is unsurprisingly on the way.

Due Date (2010): Downey paired up with Zach Galifianakis to roll his eyes and shout wildly at his partner’s stupidity in this wacky road trip film in which he had plenty of opportunity to insult and demean his new friend.

Anything different?

Well before the 2000s, Downey earned an Oscar nomination for playing Charlie Chaplin in the 1992 biopic.

What’s next?

Literally, more of the same, with three separate sequels on the way.

The verdict?

Downey is extremely hot right now, and the fact that he can get away with being so outrageous and relatively rude in his parts is a testament to just how popular he is. There’s a reason that his films keep commanding sequels, and he’s likely to have a long and prolific career if he stays clean and keeps making entertaining movies.

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