Actors’ Spotlight #67: Steve Carell

Steven John Carell (born August 16, 1962) is an American actor, comedian, director, producer and writer. Carell is best known for playing Michael Scott on the American version of The Office from 2005-2011, on which he also worked as an occasional writer, producer and director.

Carell was a correspondent on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart for about five years, and has since starred in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004), The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), Evan Almighty (2007), Get Smart (2008), Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011), The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and The Way, Way Back (both 2013). He has also voice-acted in Over the Hedge (2006), Horton Hears a Who! (2008), and the Despicable Me franchise (2010–2017).

Carell was nominated as “America’s funniest man” in Life magazine, and received a Golden Globe Award Best Actor in a Television Series for his work on The Office. His dramatic role as wrestling coach and convicted murderer John Eleuthère du Pont in the 2014 film Foxcatcher earned him several awards and nominations, including a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor. He also received acclaim for his roles in Little Miss Sunshine (2006) and The Big Short (2015), the latter earning him a Golden Globe nomination.

Carell is one of those great comedic actors who can always up a bad movie and usually will give a great performance no matter what the film is. Which makes the list for the best and worst Steve Carell movies a little hard to put together but here’s my best efforts starting with the best Steve Carell movies:

5. Foxcatcher

Carell gives one of his best performances as John Eleuthere du Pont in this and Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo are both equally as good in this one.

4. The 40 Year Old Virgin

Judd Apatow’s first big transition into becoming the top comedy producer/writer/director working in the business today and also a showcase for Steve Carell, who would later go on to be nominated an Academy Award for Best Actor in Foxcatcher, and it also helped people see Carell more on The Office, as the show was boosted not only by digital viewing but also from people seeing Carell in this movie.

And the movie was funny as hell, very funny, very well-acted, just a great, great comedy.

3. Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World

This film was a very unexpected surprise, I was hoping for something good and I got way more than I could’ve expected.

For one thing, the story and plot were very well done and fairly constructed to a tee. Plus, they managed to bring in a good mix of comedy and drama and fit in to the film to make it make sense.

Also, I liked Carell and Keira Knightley, these are probably their best performances that I’ve seen from them so far, especially from Carell. The supporting cast also worked well although, don’t be fooled by the ads saying that Rob Corddry and Patton Oswalt also play a part to the story. They only show up in the first half for a total of five minutes and then, they’re gone for the rest of the film. That being said, I liked both of them for the small parts they were in. I also really liked the rest of the supporting cast including Melanie Lynskey, Connie Britton, Derek Luke and Martin Sheen.

I also thought the dark comedy elements worked really well here as well as the crazy things people were doing from people going insane to newscasters saying ‘fuck’ on national television, and the Friendsy’s sequence. There was even a part near the end when I thought they were going to do a parody to the infamous Budd Dwyer suicide on national TV that happened in Pennsylvania in 1987 but luckily, they stepped away from that.

The best part of the movie is that they don’t pull some copout bullshit and say the world is ending in some other way. No, the world literally comes to an end at the end, it doesn’t cop out and the film ends with the world ending. That was the deciding factor to whether or not this movie would be good, they didn’t pull some bullshit like Swing Vote where it goes, “who do you think Kevin Costner chose?”, and just ends without a resolution. This movie doesn’t do that and it works because of it.

I honestly have no flaws with this movie at all. I can’t think of anything that I thought was a flaw that’s worth talking about.

This is one of the movies that is a strong contender for the best of the year list for this year and also a contender for one of the best underrated movies that came out in this decade. Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World will be up there with The Big Year, The Weather Man, and The Ice Harvest as some of my favorite underrated movies.

2. Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy and Anchorman: The Legend Continues

Yeah, I’m cheating putting both movies on here but you know what, I like both Anchorman 1 & 2 equally as much and Will Ferrell’s Ron Burgundy is easily the best character Ferrell has ever played on the big screen.

and the #1 best Steve Carell movie is…

Little Miss Sunshine

It’s a shame that the two directors, Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Farris, have not done too much directing work since, the only other effort has been the equally as enjoyable Ruby Sparks, but Little Miss Sunshine is one of the quirkest, funniest, and most heartwarming comedies of recent memory, you are definitely doing yourself a huge disservice by missing out on this.

Those are the best, now let’s look at Steve Carell’s worst movies, which was a lot harder than I thought it would be because let’s be honest, Steve Carell has rarely made a downright terrible movie, he’s made a couple but this was hard to put together:

5. Dinner For Schmucks

Kind of a generically bad comedy, Carell doesn’t really have much to do here except to just be Brick Tambland again and have no real character to him. The only funny part of the movie is the actual dinner but that means you’ve gotta sit through two mediocre acts before you get to that.

4. Alexander & The Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day

Just a really bad Disney clone of the Diary Of A Wimpy Kid movies with those godawful kids movie clichés we see too many of today. I know a lot of people liked it but I didn’t, I thought this was pretty bad.

3. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

Another generically mediocre comedy, Steve Carell trying to do a Will Ferrell Sports comedy-esque film centering around magic and while it does have a few funny moments, there’s just nothing that memorable about it.

2. Evan Almighty

The first really bad movie Carell ever made, there’s nothing wrong with giving Evan Baxter from Bruce Almighty his own movie but to turn this sequel into a PG rated family comedy with a huge ass budget of $175 million.

and the #1 worst Steve Carell movie is…

Sleepover

A generically bland and forgettable teen comedy when Alexa Vega was trying to break out of the Spy Kids franchise and make it on her own and Carell playing the stereotypical bumbling police officer and just not making it work on the whole.

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