Friday, 23 June 2017

My 10 Favourite Danny DeVito Characters/Performances

Gravel-voiced Danny DeVito is one of those actors/performers who defies belief when it comes to preconceived notions of what a Hollywood movie star should look like. He may not have Brad Pitt's looks, but he certainly knows how to draw the audience's attentions through his brash, in-yer-face style that doesn't hold back. He is one of the most pervasive actors with a successful movie career during the 1980s and 1990s, who also had his big break as Louis DePalma, the despotic taxi dispatcher in 1970s sitcom, Taxi, whose character traits can be found in many of DeVito's latter movie roles. Born in New Jersey, he always captures my attention when it comes to his onscreen performances. 

In the array of characters he has played, he has that ability to make them come to life; that despite his diminutive stature, he always delivers a big performance - when and where it is expected and has the ability to make audiences take notice.

He has that wicked, dark, devilish quality that he brings about and when he is nasty, he is so and too good at it. 

Interestingly enough, he was one of the producers of 2000's Erin Brockovich, as well as the main director of Death To Smoochy.

Below are 10 onscreen roles and appearances of DeVito's that make him alone as one of my favourite male movie stars. 






Sam Stone - Ruthless People (1986)

DeVito plays swine Sam who wants his wife killed so he can get his hands on her fortune, amongst other things. His energy is undaunted as he goes all out in being ruthless to everyone but his mistress, whilst unknownst to him, her, as well as his ex-wife, the kidnappers all want a piece of Sam. Angry, funny and crazy, what more could you want?!




The Penguin/Oswald Copplepot - Batman Returns (1992)

One of the most memorable Batman movie villains alongside Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman/Selena Kyle and Jack Nicholson's The Joker, Devito is unrecognizable underneath all of that makeup as the dastardly Penguin, raised by penguins after being dumped in the river by his parents, and growing up to be one of Gotham City's most wanted bad guys. His dark comic persona that has been a key in Ruthless People and Romancing The Stone comes into play in his depiction of the Penguin, with amicable results. 





Pat - Living Out Loud (1998)

A role he rarely plays that very often, Pat is an elevator janitor who has a kind heart and lets his guard down a couple of times in this rom-com drama. Devito is amusing, warm and even charming. He and Holly Hunter were a great twosome as well. 




Ralph - Romancing The Stone/The Jewel of The Nile (1984 and 1985)

Bumbling crook to Jack and Joan, who is both conniving and dumb at the same time. He provides the films with that extra level of entertainment and enjoyment, as we see him foul up in his efforts to undermine the heroes. 




Owen Lift - Throw Momma From The Train (1987)


Child-like Owen who is likeable and sympathetic, whilst looking after his domineering mother from hell. He has a brilliant camaraderie with Billy Crystal and they seem to have had a blast whilst making this movie.




Vincent Benedict - Twins (1988)

Vincent isn't a pleasant character at first, as he still harbours ill-feelings towards his mother who ditched him, but thanks to Arnie's Julius, he eventually comes round.




Earnest Tilly - Tin Men (1987)

Whilst Tin Men didn't blow me away as a movie, it was still a reasonable movie to watch and Danny DeVito's performance was my favourite, by far. His character Earnest is as earnest by name and more sympathetic, but as ever whenever he is onscreen he makes the film watchable. It was compelling and terrific dramatic performance that showed how great an actor he is. 



Mr Swackhammer - Space Jam (1996)

An extra terrestrial and proprietor of a failing intergalactic amusement park called Moron Mountain, he is the main antagonist to Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan in this Ivan Reitman animated sports romp. Like Disney's Philoctetes, Swackhammer does resemble DeVito a great deal.  




Philoctetes- Hercules (1997)

According to Greek mythology, Philoctetes was the son of King Poeas of Meliboa and a famed archer and hero. He too is the spitting image of Devito in terms of his physical resemblance and his likeness is all too apparently obvious. 




Rude Gambler - Mars Attacks (1996) 

Loud but not that brash, who can't help but go insane when he sees Tom Jones in his stint in Tim Burton's all-star sci-fi comedy parody.


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