Every now and then, an actor takes it upon themselves to act bigger and harder and louder than everyone else.
Sometimes the role demands such a performance. Other times it is a wonderful surprise that elevates not only a character, but an entire movie. And it’s always a joy to see an actor just allowed to let loose and go wild with a role. Usually if they’re enjoying themselves, we as viewers will enjoy watching them.
Now, here I'm going to look at examples of overacting that were great to the point of legendary. You may notice that a lot of these parts went to actors playing villains or clinically insane people. However, I will make a few things clear:
All the movies in this list are ones that I consider to be good movies. So a delightfully hammy performance in an otherwise rubbish film isn’t going to make the list (sorry, Street Fighter).
Also, overacting that is bad - however hilarious or a guilty pleasure it may be - won’t be on the list (sorry, The Room).
I’ve also avoided goofball comedy actors like Jim Carrey, Jack Black, Eddie Murphy etc. on the basis that manic performances are their bread and butter.
Look, just - let's celebrate the absurd where it almost didn't belong, okay?