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The Three Best & Worst Movies Starring Brad Pitt

March 10th, 2008 2:00pm EDT
Brad PittToday's cinemaphiles have yet to come to terms with the career of one Brad Pitt. Dismissed by most as a Hollywood tabloid star, few have openly included him in the category "Best Leading Men Of All Time" where he deserves to be.

Too many have placed too much focus on his relationships with Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, rather than confronting that which we know deep down in our hearts to be true: Brad Pitt is a great actor.

He is so great that his performances in films like Snatch (2000), Ocean's 11 (2001) and Ocean's Twelve (2004) and 12 Monkeys (1995) don't make my top three list. However, Pitt, like most actors, has appeared in his share of stinkers. Bad films that did not make the bottom three include Kalifornia (1993), Sleepers (1996) and The Dark Side of the Sun (1989).

Brad Pitt


Most celebrities lack the acumen and talent to pull off a career of top quality films. Fortunately for film viewers everywhere, Pitt is distinct from that category.

The Worst

3. The Mexican (2001)

"The Mexican" was not well received by critics, although it made approximately $150 million worldwide and probably rightly so. Pitt plays Jerry Welbach, a wannabe gangster, whose ill fortune sets him on a path where he rediscovers his love for Julia Roberts' character, kills James Gandolfini's gay hitman and ultimately does right by mob boss Gene Hackman. While not the worst movie in the world, it certainly wasn't particularly funny or that charming, and Robert's gun battle at the end is, well, laughable. No one, not even an decently charming Pitt, could save this movie.

2. Troy

The major problem with "Troy" is that it looked bad, particularly when compared to big-screen epics such as Gladiator and The Lord of the Rings. It is strange to see the quality of the picture, that is the colors and sets, are so unimpressive. Moreover, the film's stars (Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom and Peter O'Toole) leave much to be desired, and the plot never really gels. Pitt, however, certainly looked the part of the best fighter of all time. But his acting, especially his accent, does not help this film's cause.

1. Meet Joe Black

The failure of this movie cannot be limited, or is in any way due to, Pitt's characterization of Death. His monotone-driven character embodies a man who had a connection with Claire Forlani before being run over by a car. Joe Black (Death) then spends the rest of the film trying to learn from Forlani's father, Anthony Hopkins, before killing him. There are tons of plot twists along the way, but ultimately Death falls in love only to recognize that their love could never work. This is by far the worst edited movie of all time. Notice the 18 shot reverse-shots between characters when nothing is said and its overdone three-hour running time.

The Best

3. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Pitt's James was one of the best achievements of 2007. Sometimes reserved, often crazed and paranoid, and never satisfied, Pitt played this one to perfection. He was also helped by expert narration, cinematography and music. The film looked like Badlands but with better characters and story arc. The academy did the cinematic audience a disservice by failing to nominate Pitt and the film for their respective categories. This is definitely a film that will stand the test of time.

Assassination of Jesse James

2. Fight Club

"F*%# Martha Stewart. Martha's polishing the brass on the Titanic. It's all going down, man. So f*%# off with your sofa units and Strinne green stripe patterns."

This is just one of the many maxims created by this one-of-a-kind nihilist pic. Unique does not come anywhere close enough to accurately depict the coolness of this film. Pitt and Edward Norton create two (really one) characters that navigate through the underbelly of modern society in an effort to take down consumerism and the fat cats behind it.

Fight Club

1. Se7en

In a world where law and order reigns ubiquitous, it is nice to know that the culture of today created something as layered and impactful as "Se7en." Pitt plays Detective David Mills, a recent transfer to the city who is inaugurated under the guidance of Morgan Freeman's Detective Summerset via a series of deadly sin-inspired killings. Pitt nails the moral clear mindedness of Mills, a simple man who lacks the rational detachment of his mentor. Ultimately, it is the innocent who die, and as the film unwinds we learn that Kevin Spacey's John Doe is too maniacal for Mills. But the film, like no other cop drama before or after it, created a hellish world for its hands of righteousness to dirty themselves in.

While these three are his best performances, do yourselves the service of also seeing Babel, True Romance and A River Runs Through It to understand the full grasp and depth of Pitt's work. And the best part is, there are so many more films to come.

Agree? Disagree? Make a comment!

Story by Taylor Tepper
Starpulse contributing writer