It’s Brad Pitt’s birthday! To mark the occasion, here are 5 of his overlooked or lesser-known performances. Check some of these out!
Guy Ritchie had an unenviable job when he was tasked with writing and directing a follow up to his debut smash Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Casting Hollywood A-lister Brad Pitt as Irish bare-knuckle boxer Mickey O’Neill was a bold move. And a touch of genius. Due to an extremely thick Irish accent, it’s practically impossible to decipher Mickey when he talks. Yet he still manages to steal the entire show. A unique role and one that he fully commits to, it remains my favorite Brad Pitt performance to this day.
Burn After Reading (2008)
One of the Coen Brothers less revered films, this spy comedy’s most memorable feature is Pitts performance as Chad. A personal trainer who is high in confidence but low in intelligence. After he and Linda Litzke (Frances McDormand) stumble across what they believe to be sensitive government information, the scenarios they find themselves in quickly spiral out of control. A more comedic role than we are accustomed to seeing Pitt in, it isn’t the greatest film in his catalogue, but certainly one of his more memorable roles. Hell, it’s worth watching if only for his meme worthy dancing.
Having zero interest in baseball, this wasn’t a film I was in a rush to watch. Thankfully no knowledge of the sport is required to enjoy what is a gripping and engrossing adaption of Michael Lewis’s non-fiction book of the same name. Moneyball follows Billy Beane (Pitt) who is general manager of the struggling Oakland Athletics. He attempts to assemble a competitive team by using statistical analysis in order to overcome their lack of funds when compared to the larger organizations. Pitt is magnetic from start to finish and sports fan or not, Moneyball comes highly recommended.
Thelma and Louise (1991)
Up until Pitt’s appearance, every male we see in Thelma and Louise is a sexist pig, idiot, or combination of the two. When his character J.D. appears on the scene it’s as if a knight in shining armor has arrived. Suddenly it seems that there are some good guys out there. That is until he also shows his true colors. While his on-screen time totals less than 10 minutes, this role in Thelma and Louise was a turning point in Pitt’s career and one that helped catapult him as a Hollywood sex symbol.
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)
A revisionist Western that features stunning cinematography from Roger Deakins and a dreamy atmosphere crafted by director Andrew Dominic. Yet the performances shouldn’t be overlooked. Brad Pitt’s steely cold turn as Jesse James is full of intensity and unpredictable volatility. He’s supported superbly by Casey Affleck’s Robert Ford, and the two have fantastic chemistry together. A flop at the box office but for me, a drastically underrated film that has never received the acclaim it deserves.
What are some of your favorite films to feature birthday boy Brad Pitt?