Thursday List – Top 5 Ben Foster Performances
This weeks list is written by Teri on one of her favourite and under rated actors, Ben Foster. Here are her Top 5 Performances from the star.
Ben Foster is infamous for being the standout supporting actor but never or rarely the star; he can make a mediocre film bearable, he is often the most memorable cast member in a group of many (see: Alpha Dog), and he has a filmography the length of my arm. Is his time in the limelight finally on the horizon? We hope so. With it recently announced that he would be starring in Steve Buscemi’s much anticipated take on William S Burroughs’ ‘Queer’, I decided to compile a handful of my favourite roles.
Berke Landers – Get Over It
An early film that nestles itself neatly but rather forgettably in the high school genre of the late 1990s/early 2000s; it was predictable, ultra cheesy but wasn’t without its novel charms either. Ben plays Berke, an unlucky in love teen just dumped by his girlfriend, on the mission to claim her back by auditioning for the same school play she is starring in. Part Glee, part Bring It On, this is probably most sane filmgoer’s idea of a worst nightmare, but hey – there have been worse crimes. Ben plays Berke with such awkward and vulnerable sincerity and is perhaps the only member in the cast who looks his age.
The Stranger – 30 Days of Night
Ben portrays the mysterious, nameless character who errs on the wrong side of madness, a small but pivotal role in this fun, stylish vamp flick. A lot of people had problems with this movie adaptation of the titular comic series – I thought it was awesome. It’s bombastic and corny but it has some of the most convincing onscreen bloodsucking monsters of recent years. Even Josh Hartnett manages to do more than your average woodland log.
Russell Corwin – Six Feet Under
Ben had a recurring role in the hit US HBO drama Six Feet Under for over two years, playing the hedonistic, whiny art student Russell and classmate of Claire Fisher. One thing that Ben does well is playing an unlikeable character, but ensuring that he is still recognisably human. Russell is at once tragic and amusingly cliche; the bisexual, struggling artist who falls in love with all of his friends, who tries so hard to be the user and always ends up the one being used.
Jay – Birds of America
I wasn’t overly impressed with Birds of America, Craig Lucas’ 2008 film starring Matthew Perry as the breadwinner in crisis when his strange and estranged siblings (Ben Foster and Ginnifer Goodwin) show up in need of a place to stay. They are both at crossroads in their lives, pointing in clouded directions that neither of them seem overly keen to step into. Jay is an eccentric, suicidal hippie who speaks in deadpan and insists that he needs to become one with nature. He is fragile but darkly dry, and his and Perry’s performances are the only saving grace of this rather bland Sundance fodder.
Jake Mazursky – Alpha Dog
This film is so bad that a) I love it, and b) my friend and I made up a theme tune for it. In falsetto Timberlake tones, of course. The cast is actually surprisingly brilliant – Emile Hirsche, Vincent Kartheiser, Amanda Seyfried, Chris Marquette, Anton Yelchin, Olivia Wilde, Bruce Willis, Sharon Stone, Lukas Haas, Justin Timberlake (personally I could give or take him in this, but I warmed to him after TSN) – and of course, Ben. It’s a melting pot of big names before they were really big (except Brucey and Sharon of course), ones to watch. Ben’s role was that of Jake, the tweaked-out half-brother of Yelchin who no one seems to like. And you can tell why – not only is he a total methhead prone to jittering his way into awkward fisticuffs, but he is covered in neo-Nazi ink and has absolutely no qualms about influencing his sibling. Ben’s so convincing in this and really elevates the quality of the film itself.
Honorable mentions: Charlie Prince in 3:10 To Yuma, Aaron Kreifels in The Laramie Project, Mars Krupcheck in Hostage.
Scott’s Addition…Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery
I know this is Teri’s list but I couldn’t let a list of Ben Foster performances go by without a mention of The Messenger. This is an amazing film that completely passed me by until recently. Ben Foster plays Will Montgomery a recently injured VET from the Afghanistan War, now re-assigned to be a Messenger for the army to let the loved ones of fallen soldiers know the bad news. Probably the hardest watch I have had since Blue Valentine, but for completely different reasons. Foster puts in an amazing turn alongside Woody Harrelson that will make even the hardest of hearts break.
What are your favourite performances of Ben Foster? Comment Below…