‘Ah, that guy!’ – This is the thought that usually crosses the mind of the common movie watcher or occasional movie goer, when seeing a film starred or co-starred by Sam Rockwell, or one in which he has a supporting role. Generally underrated, especially by the industry Award-givers, the character actors, however, represent all that is genuine in the fake landscape of the movie world. They are the film lovers turned to storytellers, the cinematic surgeons turned to celluloid-art wizards, the ever curious souls turned to emotion sculptors. They are not concerned with making millions nor they thirst for the idolization of the masses. Their goal and drive is one and one only: Bringing the story to life, so other film lovers, as well as the public at large, can, for an average of 90 min. submerge into a parallel dimension brimming with possibilities, where they can either escape and trivialize their existence or better understand it, as well as be moved, inspired and even challenged by the infinite tapestry of other humans’ existence.
Does this mean that we should ‘believe’ movies? Hell, no. No art, or even science, is conceived to indoctrinate. Though, for the easily influenced, anything can be assumed as a doctrine. Film, as the subject we are focusing on right now, is not an entity of sorts, fueled by certainties and possessed to impart absolutes. It’s just a medium reflecting back to us the boundless nature of our own personal universes. The keyword here being: boundless.
There will be movies you like and movies you don’t like, for your own very personal reasons. And that’s just fine. Don’t let anyone or anything, no ticket sales or lack thereof, no marketing, no awards, no critics, no ‘industry insiders’, and definitely no media 😀 make you believe that you are wrong on whatever it is that a particular movie makes you feel. And this is even more so when we take into consideration that some movies were or are made precisely to make you feel uncomfortable in some way. Thus, in the following guide, you are going to find a very eclectic collection of movies from a wide range of genres, some of which you have heard of (or seen), some you’ve never heard of, some blockbusters, some box office flops. The true film lover doesn’t care about any of these, but about the art and science of film itself, meaning, how well the professionals involved in each movie execute its particular vision.
And that’s why this ‘guide’ exists. In recognition of an outstanding professional, another true film lover, who has dedicated his life to develop and perfect the craft of touching people’s minds, hearts, souls or simply their eyeballs, with an unquenchable passion and a chiefly uncompromising spirit when it comes to this purpose. Humble as they come, he never entertains the notion of having any kind of ‘born-ability’ in being able to portray such an array of diverse characters as he has portrayed during his career, with the fluidity and uncanny authenticity he does and for which he’s famous and widely admired. Oh, famous in the movie world and widely admired by fellow true actors and actresses, as well as directors, writers, producers and other film lovers at large he is. His talent is, simply, undeniable. But he deems it all to hard work, and hardworking he is, too, without a doubt. He takes every role as seriously as the one before, no matter how big or small, or what medium it is for, studying and preparing each with conscious method. And he certainly has not stopped working during the 26 years of his professional film acting career. This piece occupies four pages! And it doesn’t even cover his work in theatre, which is plenty, TV, some of his work in short films, cameos, appearances in documentaries, or very small early film roles.
Awe-inspiring is also his courage in seeking and pushing himself beyond any limits of self by choosing and accepting roles and characters that may elicit anything but warm and fuzzy feelings, as well as the personal sacrifices he has made along the way in favor of retaining some of what makes this medium deserving.
This doesn’t mean that he boxes himself up into any labels or unchangeable path. What makes Sam Rockwell, both as an actor and as a person, absolutely fascinating is his own personal mental freedom.
So, whether you are an occasional movie goer, a film lover or even a movie hater, this guide just offers you the chance to either discover, or celebrate, the pure embodiment of what is called, yet not always duly acknowledged, TRUE ACTING, as an integral part of what FILM really is, and be both inspired and empowered by it (our passion and purpose, too).
THE FILM LOVER’S GUIDE TO SAM ROCKWELL
2015 Onwards: New Movies Starring Sam Rockwell
IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, from NEWEST to OLDEST:
MR. RIGHT (8th April, 2016)
Action | Comedy | Romance
Director: Paco Cabezas
Writer: Max Landis (screenplay)
Stars: Sam Rockwell, Anna Kendrick, Tim Roth, Anson Mount
Plot Summary: A girl falls for the “perfect” guy, who happens to have a very fatal flaw:
he’s a hitman on the run from the crime cartels who employ him.
Don Verdean (2015)
Director: Jared Hess
Writers: Jared Hess, Jerusha Hess
Stars: Sam Rockwell, Amy Ryan, Jemaine Clement, Leslie Bibb
Plot Summary: Biblical archaeologist Don Verdean is hired by a local church pastor to find faith-promoting relics in the Holy Land. But after a fruitless expedition he is forced to get creative in this comedy of faith and fraud.
Horror | Thriller
Director: Gil Kenan
Writer: David Lindsay-Abaire (screenplay)
Stars: Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, Jared Harris
Plot Summary: Legendary filmmaker Sam Raimi and director Gil Kenan reimagine and contemporize the classic tale about a family whose suburban home is invaded by angry spirits. When the terrifying apparitions escalate their attacks and take the youngest daughter, the family must come together to rescue her.
Great Movies Starred by Sam Rockwell
IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER:
Comedy | Drama
Directors: Geoff Moore, David Posamentier
Writers: Geoff Moore, David Posamentier
Stars: Sam Rockwell, Olivia Wilde, Michelle Monaghan
Plot Summary: A strait-laced pharmacist’s uneventful life spirals out of control when he starts an affair with a trophy-wife customer who takes him on a joyride involving sex, drugs and possibly murder.
Crime | Drama | Thriller
Director: David M. Rosenthal
Writers: Matthew F. Jones (novel), Matthew F. Jones (screenplay)
Stars: Sam Rockwell, Jeffrey Wright, Kelly Reilly
Plot Summary: The tragic death of a beautiful young girl starts a tense and atmospheric game of cat and mouse between hunter John Moon and the hardened backwater criminals out for his blood.
Sci-Fi | Drama
Director: Duncan Jones
Writers: Duncan Jones (story), Nathan Parker
Stars: Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey, Dominique McElligott
Plot Summary: Astronaut Sam Bell has a quintessentially personal encounter toward the end of his three-year stint on the Moon, where he, working alongside his computer, GERTY, sends back to Earth parcels of a resource that has helped diminish our planet’s power problems.
The Winning Season (2009)
Comedy | Sport
Director: James C. Strouse
Writer: James C. Strouse
Stars: Sam Rockwell, Emma Roberts, Rob Corddry
Plot Summary: A comedy centered on a has-been coach who is given a shot at redemption when he’s asked to run his local high school’s girls basketball team.
Comedy | Drama
Director: Clark Gregg
Writers: Clark Gregg (screenplay), Chuck Palahniuk (novel)
Stars: Sam Rockwell, Anjelica Huston, Kelly Macdonald
Plot Summary: A sex-addicted con-man pays for his mother’s hospital bills by playing on the sympathies of those who rescue him from choking to death.
Drama | Horror | Thriller
Director: George Ratliff
Writers:David Gilbert, George Ratliff
Stars: Sam Rockwell, Vera Farmiga, Jacob Kogan
Plot Summary: The arrival of a newborn girl causes the gradual disintegration of the Cairn family; particularly for 9-year-old Joshua (Kogan), an eccentric boy whose proper upbringing and refined tastes both take a sinister turn.
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002)
Biography | Comedy | Crime
Director: George Clooney
Writers: Chuck Barris (book), Charlie Kaufman (screenplay)
Stars: Sam Rockwell, Drew Barrymore, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Rutger Hauer
Plot Summary: An adaptation of the cult memoir of game show impresario Chuck Barris, in which he purports to have been a CIA hitman.
Safe Men (1998)
Comedy | Crime
Director: John Hamburg
Writer: John Hamburg
Stars: Sam Rockwell, Steve Zahn, Michael Lerner, Mark Ruffalo
Plot Summary: Two untalented singers are mistaken for a pair of major league safe crackers in Providence, Rhode Island. The two are pressed into service by the local hoodlums and quickly find themselves in conflict with their professional colleagues.
Lawn Dogs (1997)
Director: John Duigan
Writer: Naomi Wallace
Stars: Sam Rockwell, Mischa Barton, Kathleen Quinlan
Plot Summary: Newly arrived in an up-market housing development, quiet ten-year-old Devon doesn’t quite fit in. Ignoring the urgings of her social-climbing father, Devon chooses the company of Trent, who mows the estate’s lawns, rather than of the girls her own age.
NEXT… GREAT MOVIES CO-STARRED BY SAM ROCKWELL
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