Overlooked: Brad Pitt
I originally titled this write up as “Underrated: Brad Pitt” but felt that it’s not necessarily that he’s underrated, but that he’s overlooked and still seen as the “pretty boy” rather than an amazing talent. A guy that has so many fantastic films on his resume but not a single *Oscar to his name. Why is it that Pitt can deliver time and time again but is normally passed off as just the guy that ladies swoon over? Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s gorgeous and would put him up there among many of my other man crushes but that’s a whole other post for another day.
This all came about because I was watching Meet Joe Black the other night on television and found that I was smiling practically every time that Brad graced the film with his presence. Scene after scene he went toe to toe with Sir Anthony Hopkins and I was drawn to his performance every time. His smile, charm, and candor were impeccable yet if you mention Brad Pitt in conversation I bet that you’ll never hear anything about this movie or any of his other films.
Man that’s a lot of bullets to the chest!
Why is he so easily passed over without any hesitation? Is it due to his relationship with the ever popular Angelina Jolie? Brangelina seems to be a big thing with popular culture without ever mentioning that both thespians posses an extreme amount of talent and ability to take on a variety of different roles and personas with the greatest of ease. People get too caught up in the tabloids and seem to only discuss whether or not Brad & Ang are having any type of marital problems, if they’re adopting another child, or if their being philanthropic with some third world country. I bring this up because the movie Mr. & Mrs. Smith was actually a lot of fun and not your typical “spy” movie. Yet, because of the media frenzy surrounding the two leads, the movie never got a chance to shine nor portray Brad in any good light. I wouldn’t put this up as his best performance of a lifetime, but it was certainly his effortless part in the film that makes everything work seamlessly.
Let me highlight a few movies scenes that I feel showcase Brad at his finest…
Meet Joe Black
This is arguably one of my favorite clips of all time. (at least when I’m talking about Brad Pitt) The way that Joe discovers and tries peanut butter for the very first time is just perfect. There’s a sense of innocence and true bewilderment that Pitt delivers as he licks the peanut butter awkwardly from the spoon. He does this so well that you begin to see him more as a child and it allows you to forget that his character is actually DEATH.
In Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys, Pitt plays a character that I bet no one would’ve ever guessed he could play – at least at that time. The best part is that you don’t quite know if he’s truly crazy or if he’s just playing crazy. (I’m referring to the character Jeffrey Goines) The way that Pitt bounces around the room and acts like a complete loon is fantastic, but he has some words of wisdom to bestow upon Bruce that might be more important to actually pay heed to.
I wonder just how much Pitt ad-libbed for these scenes. I’ve probably watched Snatch at least a dozen times by now and every scene Pitt happens to be in ends up being some of my favorite ones. Listening to him deliver what appears to be nothing more than useless jargon while making it halfway translatable is supremely entertaining. “Do you like degs?” … Even funnier is how he subtlety shows after he’s completed a line that he expects the person listening to actually understand him. I can’t think of anyone else who could’ve come close to uttering these lines aside from maybe Robert Downey Jr.
The best part of finding scenes where Brad Pitt steals the show is that there are SO MANY of them to choose from. For the film Inglourious Basterds, it was especially hard trying to pin point which one to show the Unrealtors … so I went with the one where he tries to milk information from the German dude and just doesn’t give a flying _____ if he gives in or not. What I really want to point out here (and if you haven’t guessed it by now) is his uncanny ability at using different voices and nuances within his dialogue to really drive home the characters that he portrays.
Could someone else pull off Billy Beane, sure, but Pitt does it in such an alluring way that you just can’t help but root for the character. You want him to succeed and for me that says a lot because I’m not a fan of baseball … at all. The way that Pitt commands the team and the people that put that team together is sublime and easy to buy into. It’s one of those performances where he doesn’t have to do a lot of physical acting but he has to show a lot of raw emotion and I’m completely sold on it.
So, that’s me gushing over Brad Pitt. I apologize if this is all just fluff, but I think it’s safe to say that he is overlooked. Granted his first “big” role in a movie as J.D. in Thelma and Louise was mainly utilizing him as the “pretty boy” … but he’s so much more than that. He’s an actor that has played such a wide variety of characters because he has the ability to save himself from being typecast. I could’ve easily shown you scenes from 10+ movies but chances are you’ve all seen them and that’s impressive because he’s been in so many great films. I’d list them but that would be me rambling on for no apparent reason. If you disagree with me and think that the world revolves around Brad Pitt as an actor then by all means let me know. I think that he has the huge movie star status but that he’s seen more as the star rather than the actor. Maybe now that he’s hit the ripe ol’ age of 50 people will give him the credit he’s due.
Hey guys & gals, my name is Lucas Tetrault and if you like this post or any of the others I’ve done – please feel free to venture over to my Blog and take a gander at some other stuff I write about. I promise I don’t intend to waste your time.
I work as a Creative Director and spend time away from my job with my wife and son, writing for Unreality, and trying to be creative with my own personal projects.