Mar 26 2012

Six Peculiar Performances from Christopher Walken

Published by at 11:00 am under Columns,Lists,Movies

From his animated mannerisms, to the odd cadence with which he speaks, there is just something enigmatic about Christopher Walken. It is also hard to deny he is one of our generations greatest actors, when he wants to be. Sometimes, though, it seems like he doesn’t want to be. From his obsession with playing the lead in a Puss In Boots movie, to starring in a film based on a terrible Disney ride filled with animatronic, singing animals, sometimes even his terrible movies are worth watching, just to see how much “Walken” he can squeeze out of the performance. Here are six movies you may not have known Chris Walken was in, but might feel slightly compelled to watch. Even though, in most cases here, his performances are typically delightful, the movies themselves are dreadful so watch at your own risk.

All American Murder

What makes it exceptional: It was directed by Potsy from Happy Days

I am sorry, I should have warned just how unfathomable some of the films on this list were going to be. Yes, this is directed by Potsy from Happy Days. When I found that out, I felt like I knew a cool secret no one else knew. So I had to tell the world. Or at least you guys.

This is a straight to video ( long ago, in a time before DVD players, there was a device called a VCR…) movie about some kid who likes to light things on fire but is somehow wrongfully accused of killing some college girl. Walken plays the grizzled detective “working” the case. And while all may initially seem lost as you watch this film, there are true Walken moments that stand out.

The funny thing is, he could be yelling anything into that bullhorn and it would sound awesome.

It is well known Walken is often allowed to improvise, because he is such a quick thinker and was raised doing theater, which often prepares you to react quickly to unexpected events that may happen live. That being said, it is not hard to detect the Walken improvisations from the script. This movie is no exception, with Walken having the wonderful line: I NEVER forget a face…especially if I sat on it.

Wha-huh?

Now to really understand how insane this line is, it should be said he never actually sits on anyone’s face during the movie, so what he is referring to only he knows for sure. I suppose that is what makes it so magical. I often tell people the day I found out Chris Walken sits on people’s faces was the day I became a man.

Brainstorm

What makes it exceptional: Natalie Woods last performance before she mysteriously died

First of all, to even SEE Chris Walken in this role is a little jarring. He wears giant glasses (now popularized by hipsters) and rocks a skinny tie through most of the film. God, I miss the 80‘s sometimes.

How the hell is this not a meme? Bio-Walken DISAPPROVES!

He plays a scientist who invents something called “The Hat“, which is a virtual-reality helmet that looks like it was built by a five year old out of glue and aluminum foil. The “hat” lets the person wearing it experience the feelings and memories and emotions of another person. I have to wonder why a brilliant scientist would name his invention after something that was already invented and has far less impact. That would be like finding the cure for Cancer, and calling it Ibuprofen.

While the concept for the film may sound original and ahead of it’s time (which Phillip K Dick would laugh at you for thinking), it is a bad film. It really is.

This photo MIGHT hint slightly at how things went drown that night. I mean down, how things went down.

The most notable thing about this film is it marked the beginning of the “relationship” between Natalie Wood and Chris Walken, who would later be one of two people present on the night she died. Some say Walken was brought onto the boat that night by her husband to be confronted about an affair the two had, a tense verbal exchange was had, and she was killed by one of the two men and thrown off the boat. No one made much a big deal about it again until late in 2011, when the case was opened again.

Truthfully, it only adds to the man’s mystery.

Puss In Boots

What makes it exceptional: It is a musical version of Puss In Boots, and Walken stars alongside Sean Connery’s son

So yes, this is a musical version of Puss In Boots that Walken did not get paid a penny for, and considers it one of his best performances. I have read Walken speaking so highly for this movie so many times, I honestly thought it was him, just messing with peoples minds, like he has a tendency to do. But actually, Walken, who adores cats in real life, just got an incredibly kick out of playing a cat turned into a human. This one is so good I have to share a clip. A musical clip. You’re welcome.

httpv://youtu.be/GEjKmsMkPKQ

 

“ I had my hair dyed red and I had a mustache and I looked like a cat. It was funny.” Yes, that is direct quote, but you need to imagine HIM saying it, and suddenly, the line resonates that much more. Go on, read it again, but read it in the Walken voice. Awesome, huh?

Even as Puss In Boots, he is slightly terrifying looking.

He has also expressed on a few occasions displeasure that so few people have experienced his performance as the titular Puss. This was also a hint at Walken’s love for musical theater, which he has shown on multiple occasions throughout his career. And how can we NOT mention his brilliant turn in the “Weapon Of Choice” video, dancing his way back into everyone’s subconscious and further cementing himself as a legend.





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17 responses so far

17 Responses to “Six Peculiar Performances from Christopher Walken”

  1. Samon 26 Mar 2012 at 11:41 am

    Hmmm “peculiar Christopher walken roles”, What’s next, my favorite verne troyer roles where he’s a midget.

  2. Alexon 26 Mar 2012 at 11:58 am

    I’ve read somewhere before that the reason Christopher Walken is in so many questionable movies is because he never turns down a part if it’s offered to him. Apparently he considers it such a gift that he can make a living by acting that he feels it would be wrong to not take a part.

  3. Remy Carreiroon 26 Mar 2012 at 12:16 pm

    @ Sam, my next article is movies where Denzel Washington plays a black guy, stay tuned.

  4. Someguyon 26 Mar 2012 at 2:45 pm

    How is “Mouse Hunt” underrated? It was a bad rip-off of every Tom & Jerry trope from beginning to end. Walken was Walken, and that was fine, but that’s like saying a manure pile was underrated because somewhere in it was a silver dollar the cow happened to eat.

  5. Georgeon 26 Mar 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Shouldn’t it be “Cyber-Walken” instead of “Bio-Walken”?

  6. Remy Carreiroon 26 Mar 2012 at 3:03 pm

    You guys are adorable….honestly.

  7. Eileenon 26 Mar 2012 at 9:36 pm

    lol! Love this article! I suddenly have gotten the urge to watch Weapon Of Choice by Fatboy Slim’s music video with him in it ;) HAHA Thank you ;)

  8. Tomon 27 Mar 2012 at 3:57 am

    I liked “Brainstorm”!
    But I must admit, I was pretty young when I watched it. Anyway I think I have to watch it again ;-)

  9. zomgmouseon 27 Mar 2012 at 5:31 am

    I’m not sure why you’re saying Brainstorm’s terrible. I thought the concept was interesting, and the tone was just right. Okay, so it’s not the best thing in the world, but it’s hardly “terrible”.
    I was also lucky enough to see it in the cinema, where the effect of the increased aspect ratio during the brain sequences could be fully appreciated.

  10. Bobon 27 Mar 2012 at 10:34 am

    Stop saying “Streets ahead”.

  11. Remy Carreiroon 27 Mar 2012 at 12:44 pm

    @Brainstorm and zomgmouse, it actually wasn’t that bad of a film, I just think I never got past the helmet…

  12. bobafetton 27 Mar 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Suicide Kings.

    I still don’t know how to feel about his character in that movie. Good natured, and funny, and gives props to Ira, then…the end…

    “Between the boots and the bum, you’re down 3 grand!”

  13. B8ovinon 06 Apr 2012 at 7:06 am

    Great list. I might take out Brainstorm and insert “The Rundown” the The Rock vehicle in which Walken does demented Walken as the villain. Crappy movie, vintage Christopher.

  14. Demonicon 21 Apr 2012 at 2:39 pm

    You know what movie I have seen that was on this list was, Puss In Boots. It was very odd yet semi-entertaining. I was surprised when I first saw Christopher Walken in the movie though.

  15. [...] particularly strange movies starring Chris. Well, anything that stars Walken is pretty strange, but these are some of the strangest. I swear there is no way you knew that Chris Walken played Puss from a live action musical version [...]

  16. Nathanon 25 Dec 2012 at 11:38 pm

    Where’s the grrrrrrr…rrrrawr…..Hessian in Sleepy Hollow?

  17. Nathanon 11 Apr 2013 at 6:32 am

    I’m sorry but this is not a complete Walken list…not without Max Shreck or the Hessian.

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