Radical, eccentric, political, criminal, philanthropic, ethical, family-orientated and vegan; Woody Harrelson, the human being, qualifies as the most complex person alive. But it is his body of work in movies that makes him an acting god.
Woody Harrelson has entered the Gene Hackman phase his career where his agenda becomes about starring alongside the hottest young actors of now and then completely acting them off screen. Hackman did this for about fifteen years, got bored, then decided to retire. Harrelson will hopefully carry on for much longer. Below is the strongest validation of why he should:
Woody is Funny
This is probably stating the obvious considering he started his career playing Woody Boyd in Cheers, but Harrelson is a comedy genius. His turn as Billy Hoyle in White Men Can’t Jump was full of mirth and pathos, a winning formula that was so brilliant they tried, to lesser success, replicating it by teaming him again with Wesley Snipes in Money Train. Harrelson’s has made a career acting alongside bona fide up and comers in comedies like with Matthew McConaughey in EdTv, Jesse Eisenberg in Zombieland, Justin Timberlake in Friends with Benefits, and then completely stole all their thunder in each movie. It should never be doubted that Woody Harrelson will always be the funniest man in any comedy he’s featured in.
Woody is Frightening
Gosh, Harrelson’s performance as Mickey Knox in Natural Born Killers was so arresting that the film was banned on home video in my country until seven years after its release. Woody’s performance in Coen Bros. No Country for Old Men and Oren Moverman’s Rampart demonstrates his almost effortless knack for stunning audiences with an edginess that practically leaps off the screen. This ability was used to great effect last year in Scott Cooper’s Out of the Furnace in which Harrelson dwarfed Christian Bale by giving the most menacing performance in years as a redneck gangster called Harlen DeGroat in which he became a living embodiment of evil.
Woody is a Leading Man
Don’t be dismissive of Harrelson’s premature baldness; our Woody has always been a handsome bloke. Never was this better illustrated than in Adrian Lyne’s morality blockbuster Indecent Proposal. Cast alongside then heavyweights like Demi Moore and Robert Redford, Woody Harrelson made the best impression as a struggling architectural academic and aspiring developer who compromises his integrity by succumbing to Redford’s Faustian offer of one million dollars in return for a night with his wife. While the rest of the cast played it one-note, Harrelson adds layers of temptation and vulnerability. It was so impressive that my dad insists this is the most underrated American movie of all time.
Woody gets Oscar Nominations
It is nigh on impossible to make sophisticated audiences empathise with a lowlife pornographer fighting in the Supreme Court for his right to publish pornography, but thanks to Mr. Harrelson’s turn in Miloš Forman’s The People vs. Larry Flynt, he did just that and bagged a Best Actor nomination to boot. He got nominated again for Oren Moverman’s The Messenger in which he played a casualty notification officer sent to inform families of soldiers killed in duty. Harrelson has always been an amazingly compelling dramatic actor in important films like Welcome to Sarajevo, The Hi-Lo Country and The Walker, thus, it’s easy to sometimes forget his magnificent range.
Woody is Haymitch Abernathy in the Hunger Games Franchise
He is the only reason to watch any of this stuff. If anything, Harrelson deserves his own spinoff in which he eventually becomes the Majestic Gamemaker or something. In fact, he deserves better than that.