Rank ‘Em: Sam Rockwell Performances

Iwill finally be able to catch Choke this upcoming weekend, so I thought it’d be appropriate to have a rank ’em for Mr. Sam Rockwell‘s performances. While most cinephiles recognize his excellence, he’s still not a household name, although I do remember at one point boldly proclaiming he was right around the same level as Norton or Bale or DiCaprio or any of the greats in his age range (hell, not long ago I even said he reminded me of a “young De Niro”). While he’s still not quite a household name, I feel the same way.

Now, he has a BUNCH of upcoming films on his plate. Of course, there is Choke. Then there is the Oscar-hopeful Frost/Nixon coming out later this year. He has Moon, directed by David Bowie’s son Duncan, about an astronaut stranded on the moon for three years. He’ll follow that up alongside Robert De Niro and Kate Beckinsale in Everybody’s Fine about a widower (De Niro) who goes on a spontaneous road trip to reconnect with all of his grown children. Then there is Jared Hess’s Nacho Libre follow-up Gentlemen Broncos, the James C. Strouse (Lonesome Jim, Grace is Gone) dramedy The Winning Season co-starring Emma Roberts about a has-been coach who is asked to coach a local high school girl’s team, and End Zone with Josh Harnett about a “college football running back struggles to balance his newfound fame, a crush on a co-ed, his relationship with the school’s excitable publicist, and a teacher with nefarious plans for the star athlete.”

Needless to say, Sam has been busy lately, and I think this could be the year that he really falls into the spotlight – and I do mean “fall,” as he doesn’t seem particularly interested in the whole fame thing.

Read on to check out my top ten Sam Rockwell performances (not necessarily movies). Then write up yours in the comments or just discuss what you think about Rockwell.

10. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Alright, my tongue may be planted firmly in my cheek, but c’mon – this introduced most of the world to the greatness of Sam Rockwell! As “Head Thug,” he spewed out just a few lines, but with those he showed how much of a bad boy he was, even though in the end he had a change of heart and showed he wasn’t just a thug after all.

9. Safe Men

8. Welcome to Collinwood

7. The Green Mile

6. Galaxy Quest

5. Jerry and Tom

4. Snow Angels

3. Matchstick Men
The film that really made me take notice of Rockwell.

2. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
His performance here is a tour de force of subtlety.

1. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
If you haven’t seen this, do yourself a favor and do so.

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Kurt Halfyard

I have only one: GALAXY QUEST!

(and what, no Hitchhikers Guide? He was a blast in there!)


My top 3 would be the same as yours, but a different order.

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

2. Matchstick Men – This is one of those Nicholas Cage movies that drives me nuts because when I tell people I think he's a good actor, they always say, 'The guy from "Ghost Rider"?' And Sam Rockwell is great in it as well.

1. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind


5. Welcome to Collinwood

4. Jesse James

3. Piccadilly Jim

2. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

1. Matchstick Men

Andrew James

Confessions #1 for sure. Thanks for not including Hitchhikers. He's alright in it, but that movie is pretty boring.

Kurt Halfyard

I take umbrage with that assessment of HHGTTG. UMBRAGE, sir.

Marina Antunes

Alright, I haven't seen too much Rockwell but from what I've seen, here's my list:

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

3. Galaxy Quest

2. Joshua

1. Snow Angels

Kurt Halfyard

I thought Collinwood was a laboured stretch of a film. Pretty unfunny for most of the time. Failure at best.



'Choke' is now my number 2, behind 'Confessions'. Well done, sir. Well done.