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.
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.
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.
“ 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.