Ever since his breakthrough perf in 1991’s Thelma & Louise, Brad Pitt has proven to be not just a good movie star, but a really fine actor, too.
In the wake of his latest, The Tree of Life, winning the big prize at Cannes, let’s look back and pick Brad’s five best performances out of many.
(I’m leaving out Tree of Life, which is too new for me to process, though Brad is extremely strong in it — and let’s also leave out the clunkers like Meet Joe Black and Troy, if you please.)
5. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
Brad carried the sweeping, maddening, fascinating film as a man getting even younger by the minute than most Hollywood stars do.
I’d give him an even higher grade for this — an Oscar-nominated performance — but CGI must have had something to do with it.
4. Burn After Reading (2008)
In the Coen brothers’ screwball comedy, Brad shone as Chad, a ditzy gym trainer of the type we see in Chelsea all the time. With roles like this, Brad was starting to flex his comedy muscles more and more, a lovely thing to behold.
3. Twelve Monkeys (1995)
Brad got his first Oscar nomination for playing a mental patient-slash-animal rights activist with really strong views in Terry Gilliam’s time-traveling plague adventure. He handily stole the picture from all those monkeys and co-stars.
2. Fight Club (1999)
A film laced with dread, portent, and lotsa violence. And Brad gave it a strong turn, hitting his character on the head with bare knuckles.
And the winner …
1. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
By now, Brad was a full-fledged riot, dazzling as Lieutenant Aldo Raine, who was determined to get his underlings to scalp some Nazis. Christoph Waltz deservedly won an Oscar, but Brad was right up there with him in delivering the goods.