William H. Macy: Top Five / Bottom Five

Everybody loves William H. Macy, and with good reason: He's frequently the best thing in movies that would be unquestionably good even without him, so much so that reducing his best work to a mere five films is tough. And fortunately, the flip side is that finding five terrible movies featuring him is also tough. (Though we imagine that Marmaduke will soon be added to that list.)

Top Five

Fargo

As the unlikeliest kidnap conspirator ever, Macy is a mass of sweaty nerves and comic bureaucracy.

Mystery Men

In this underrated spoof, Macy shovels well -- he shovels very well -- as the unsuperpowered crime fighter with his heart, and his gardening implements, in the right place.

Cellular

No, really. It may be a one-note thriller, but that one note is damn exciting, and Macy brings an unexpected dignity to what could have been a throwaway part.

Welcome to Collinwood

An awesomely stylish heist flick, with Macy as a sad-sack no-good loser bum you can't help but love.

State and Main

In this wonderfully bitter satire on Hollywood and self-involved celebrities, Macy's neurotic filmmaker barely holds himself together ... which makes him a lot more sympathetic to us mere mortals than you'd expect.

Bottom Five

Wild Hogs

It's bad enough that this is a big-budget sitcom, but even Macy cannot overcome the cardboard stereotype that is his nerdy computer programmer. What might have possessed Macy to appear in this junk remains a great unsolved mystery.

Shorts

In this loopy-for-loopy's-sake kiddie flick, Macy's nice mad scientist is stuck in a scenario that's a giant booger joke. Avoid unless you actually want to feel sorry for Macy.

Happy, Texas

A deeply creepy movie about a couple of escaped convicts who pretend to be a gay couple who end up tutoring kiddie beauty pageant contestants. Macy's small-town sheriff is the butt of much of the film's attempt at humor: He's gay, see, and is attracted to one of the fakers. Ugh.

Doogal

This charming British animated movie was re-edited, rewritten, and redubbed -- by American actors, including Macy -- for American audiences for reasons unknown to humanity.

Psycho

A pointless shot-for-shot remake of the Hitchcock classic; even Macy's presence as the private detective (played by Martin Balsam in the original) does not elevate this to even consider-seeing status.

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MaryAnn Johanson critiques well -- she critiques very well -- at FlickFilosopher.com. (email me)