A Baldwin Retrospective

You know, a lot of people have been known to joke about the Baldwin's, and more than once I've had to step up and make the following assertion. Every Baldwin, every last one of them, gets one great movie. And that goes for everyone but Alec. Because he's got quite a few. Joke all you want, but a little bit of Alec Baldwin can add a lot of class to a production. And what with his new movie Brooklyn Rules being released this week, I thought I'd revisit just a few of my favorite Alec Baldwin films.

Saturday Night Live. Okay, not a film, but one of the best things Baldwin has ever done. Currently tied with Steve Martin for longest-appearing host (a running joke/feud on the show), Baldwin hosts once a season in what is always the must see episode of the year. The guy's funny. And to top it off, you can tell the whole time that he's having the time of his life. They just put out a best of Alec Baldwin. And yes, it is worth checking out.

The Good Shepherd, The Departed. Two of last year's best movies that also exemplify exactly what I'm talking about. Baldwin doesn't star as lead in either role, but I guarantee you remember his roles. He took just a few minutes of screen time in both and owned them but good.

The Cooler. This 2003 indie starring William H. Macy gave Baldwin the chance to play a cruel gangster abusing the ability of Macy's character to steal luck from anyone he touches. I highly recommend watching this one as a double feature with the film Intacto directed by the guy who just brought us 28 Weeks Later.

Glengarry Glen Ross. Say what you will about any of his other roles, but you can't argue against this one. This is a classic that will not die, and it has become the standard by which all other salesmen films are compared.

The Hunt for Red October. The man WAS Jack Ryan, and rumor has it that once Harrison Ford saw how good and successful the first was, he asked his agent to try to get him the role for the subsequent two films – which he was offered before Baldwin. To this day I still love Baldwin's Ryan better. This movie owns.

Beetlejuice. Come on, this is the Tim Burton classic that practically popularized the goth culture. And it's practically the one Burton film that no one disagrees on. Easily the funniest (intentionally) feature film Baldwin has starred in, this showed his penchant for comedy, as well as ability to play the straight man in most scenes opposite Michael Keaton.

C. Robert Cargill - - - Email Me


Austin-based Cargill, who not only loves but owns The Cutting Edge, writes on movies and DVD five times a week.