Mark Wahlberg’s success as a musician as part of Marky Mark And The Funky Bunch (after originally being one of the founding members of New Kids On The Block) may have been short-lived, but through the late 90s and early 2000s, the actor began to amass a reputation as a reliable supporting actor, and slowly, he garnered opportunities to prove himself in leading roles. Is his CV full of excellent performances in great films? No, the guy has made plenty of duds, and the backlash after his starring in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening – featured later in this list – was particularly severe, but he’s evened it out with one Academy-nominated performance, as well as countless others that have earned him considerable acclaim.
Wahlberg is one of the few actors who is equally convincing as a dramatic lead and a comedic one; his recent turns in films like The Other Guys and Ted prove that he’s a likeable leading presence and also capable of leading a film to box office glory. Still, that’s not to forget he’s not averse to a flop now and then – take his latest film, Broken City, which received a positive review from me, though is sitting at a paltry 22% on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of posting.
With that in mind, here are 5 awesome Mark Wahlberg performances, and 5 that sucked…
5 Awesome Performances…
5. Tommy Corn – I Heart Huckabees
Here was one of the first films that really made people sit up and consider Wahlberg less as Marky Mark and more as a talented actor with versatility beyond expectation. In his second collaboration with David O’Russell – the director who seems most capable of bring out the best in the actor – Wahlberg surprised us all with his performance as Tommy Corn, a firefighter who enlisted the film’s bizarre existential detective agency to work out what his life is supposed to mean. I’m not the biggest fan of the film, but Wahlberg’s performance is so potent and knowing that it had to make the list anyway; given how he could easily just have been another cog in a large, extremely talented ensemble (including Lily Tomlin, Dustin Hoffman, Jude Law and Naomi Watts), that’s quite the testament indeed.
What this performance really did is show how prepared Wahlberg was to embrace zaniness; he completely goes for broke as the eccentric but likeable character, and was singled out by many prominent critics as the best thing about the film. I can’t help but agree.
This article was first posted on January 18, 2013