It’s been an argument of my buddy Nick that Val Kilmer is the best actor of our generation. And by our generation I’m referring to guys between the ages of 27-33ish. That’s a pretty bold statement because you’re pitting him up against the likes of guys like Ed Norton, Leonardo Dicaprio, and Matt Damon.
But then again, when I look at Val’s resume, it’s pretty damned impressive. And when you look at his best performances in movies, they are right up there with these other guys.
While I don’t think he’s necessarily the best, Kilmer’s had some damned good roles. Here are my top ten.
10. Nick Rivers – Top Secret
People might put this role higher up but you’re lucky I even put it on here. When you see this movie as an adult it’s just not that funny. I’m sorry. Still though, Kilmer definitely carries this film.
9 . Elvis/Mentor – True Romance
You might not see his face, but you certainly feel his presence.
8 . Simon Templar – The Saint
Very solid role and I know all you internet/techy movie people will want this role higher but it’s just impossible for me to put this role ahead of the ones you’re about to read.
7 . Madmartigan – Willow
People always forget about this role. Do you realize how cocky and awesome Madmartigan is in this flick? “You ARE great!” Guy can fight hoards of people while drunk and still take care of a little baby in one hand. He’s the man.
6 . Chris Knight – True Genius
Personally this might be my favorite role of Val Kilmer ever. No it’s not his best acting performance but anyone who knows Val Kilmer knows how awesome this role is. Not to mention the T-shirts!
5 . Ice Man Ted Kzinski – Top Gun
If you take out all the homoeroticism in this movie, Ice Man is a classic character that will always be remembered.
4. Chris Shiherlis – Heat
This is another role that goes overlooked. A broken down criminal who is addicted to gambling and is constantly pushing away his beautiful wife. Kilmer nails this role and you can tell the man definitely did his research and preparation for it.
3 . John Holmes – Wonderland
These last three roles is when you can tell Kilmer actually gets overtaken by his character. This is where you truly believe that Kilmer is the character you see in the movie. It’s pretty scary. And in all honesty these three placements could all be number one. Anyone who hasn’t seen Wonderland really should solely for Kilmer. Kate Bosworth is damned good too.
2. Doc Holliday – Tombstone
I thought Kilmer was amazing as Doc Holliday. Probably the best portrayal of Holliday by any actor. His detail in the alcoholism and sheer badassness of his gunfighting is truly a sight to see.
1. Jim Morrison – The Doors
The fact that Kilmer had to go to therapy after this role goes to show how far one will go to “get it right.” Amazing singing voice and there are parts in this movie where you have to think that Kilmer was actually on drugs. It was incredible.
*Honorable mention – That afterschool special called “One Too Many” where he gets hit by a car. That was awesome.