Top 10 Robert Downey Jr. Performances

RDJ-RDJ.jpg2008 seems to be the year of Robert Downey Jr. and why not? The man has gone through a lot of hell (it should be pointed out that it was all his own damn fault), but managed to pick himself up and re-establish himself and his career. The year started for him with two smash hits, Iron Man and Tropic Thunder, and now there are people whispering the word “Oscar” about him for his upcoming movie “The Soloist” with Jamie Foxx.

It’s the type of year most performers only ever dream of. But lets not forget that amidst all the turmoil his life has been known for, Robert Downey Jr. has ALWAYS been a top notch actor with some incredible performances to his credit. So as we exit his hugely successful summer, let’s look back for a moment at Robert Downey Jr.’s 10 best performances. Now some of these movies are horrible, but Downey was solid in them all:

A lot of people will find this to be an odd choice considering Downey got an Oscar nomination for Chaplin, but to me he nailed this film and character so perfectly and brought so much life to it I can’t deny it the #1 spot.
RDJ-Chaplin.jpg#2 – CHAPLIN
This movie isn’t even all that old so I’m shocked at home many people haven’t ever seen it. A flat out terrific film and once of Downey’s best performances ever.
RDJ-Zodiac.jpg#3- ZODIAC
Confession time. I didn’t even like this movie. I thought it was a bloated, self important mess that most people gave too much credit too for what it was TRYING to do instead of what it actually accomplished. But that’s just me. Still, Downey nearly saved the whole film for me.
RDJ-Iron.jpg#4 – IRON MAN
With the possible exception of The Avengers or Iron Man 2, this film will probably always be his biggest box office success. And the #1 thing to me that made this movie work (lots of things made it work, but this was #1) was the pure charm and charism Downey brought to Tony Stark.
A film with a loads of film festival acclaim and buzz, but never really caught on for one reason or another. Shame… it’s really solid.
I nearly spit the pop right out of my mouth the first time I saw the trailer and witnessed Downey as a black man in a war movie. The idea alone is priceless… and it was made even better by the performance Downey brought to it.
RDJ-Ally.jpg#7 – ALLY McBEAL
So shoot me, I know this isn’t a movie, but in all seriousness Robert Downy Jr. was insanely good in this series. It was so good he was poised to make his big comeback… until he screwed it up again with more drugs. Such a shame.
Yes, there is no doubt that this was David Strathairn’s movie all the way, but part of what gave this movie so much punch was the great supporting roles, not the least of which was Downey.
RDJ-Scanner.jpg#9 – A SCANNER DARKLY
I’m always amazed by actors who somehow find a way to deliver a solid performance when the movie they are performing is in excessively stylized. You need to do it a little different than you would in a normal flick and it can easily be screwed up. Downey didn’t screw it up.
RDJ-Marshals.jpg#10 – U.S. MARSHALS
This poor pseudo-sequel to “The Fugitive” suffered from a lousy plot… and yet was almost saved by guys like Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Downey Jr. I think Robert needs to do more villains.

So there you have it, my little list of Robert Downey Jr.’s top 10 best performances. It looks like this list will have to be updated once The Soloist comes out (at least I hope it will), but for now it’s good to remember that Robert Downey Jr. was doing great work long before he put on the Iron suit and started blowing up terrorists.

Am I missing anything on this list that you would have included?

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