Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New Highlight Reel™: best work of Robert Downey Jr. this decade

It's been a while since we've had a Highlight Reel™ poll, so I've decided to put up a new one that will run for a week. The slightly different twist this time is that instead of looking at an artist's entire career, we will just look at one segment.

The artist is Robert Downey Jr. and the segment of his career we are looking at is the last decade. Looking at the last ten years is not just an arbitrary marking of time on the calendar, but also marks the work he has done since his release from prison. He took a lot of work in indie movies and ensemble casts earlier this decade, including a stint on TV's Ally MacBeal, but as of writing, it's clear that Downey is a bona fide movie star once more, a bigger draw now than before he did time in the slammer. His may be the greatest comeback from this kind of adversity for any Hollywood actor since Robert Mitchum did time in 1948 for a marijuana bust.

Besides the standard template choices of Always Good and Always Sucks, I arbitrarily chose ten movies Downey has been featured in over the past ten years. Several of the early movies are indies like The Singing Detective, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and A Scanner Darkly, while much of the middle of the decade he was in big budget ensemble pieces like Good Night and Good Luck and Zodiac. More recently, Downey is back to having his name above the title, largely due to the great success of Iron Man. I'm not sure it's Downey's best work this decade, though it is certainly in the running. I would count it as the best comic book superhero movie I've ever seen, and Downey's performance is a big reason for that ranking. I also have included the new movie Sherlock Holmes, which I haven't seen and likely will not see, since it will open while the poll is running and some readers may like it.

The poll will stay open until next Tuesday. One vote per customer. Let me know what you think.


CDP said...

I hate the Sherlock Holmes movie without having seen it, but other than that, I vote Always Good for Mr. Downey.

Matty Boy said...

That's an excellent choice, CDP. I haven't voted yet, but that's how I'm leaning as well.

Margaret Benbow said...

He's Always Good, but committing sacrilege in the Sherlock Holmes role just the same.

Downey as an actor is interesting in an unpredictable way. I'll watch him in anything (well, maybe not The Pick-Up Artist)

Lockwood said...

I'm tempted to either not vote at all- I've only seen Iron Man and Good Night and Good Luck out of this list above- or vote always good. I don't think I've seen any of his performances that I haven't enjoyed at some level.

Guess I'll go with the latter... not voting would feel like saying "always sucks" by omission.