Woody Harrelson: 5 Awesome Performances And 5 That Sucked

5 Awesome Performances

5. Sgt. William Schumann - Wag The Dog (1997)

Woody Harrelson Wag The Dog

We start our countdown with a little something from Barry Levinson, director of Rain Man and Good Morning Vietnam. Set in the last days of a US Presidential election campaign, Wag the Dog stars Robert DeNiro as Conrad Brean, a top spin doctor who invents a fictional war in Albania in a bid to distract the public from the scandal surrounding the President. To this end he drafts in legendary Hollywood producer Stanley Motss (Dustin Hoffman) - and then everything starts going wrong... Coming around the time of the Lewinsky scandal in America, Wag the Dog was and is a very timely satire on the relationship between politics and the media. It's a genuinely funny black comedy in which DeNiro and Hoffman are firing on all cylinders €“ but both are ultimately out-gunned by Harrelson as the criminally insane Sgt. William Schumann, whom they paint as a returning war hero in the faked bulletins. Rather than just play it as broad comedy, Harrelson brings a sadness to the part which balanced out his crazy moments very nicely. It's the perfect counterpoint to Hoffman's verbal acrobats and the perfect start to our countdown.

Freelance copywriter, film buff, community radio presenter. Former host of The Movie Hour podcast ( and click 'Interviews'), currently presenting on Phonic FM in Exeter ( Other loves include theatre, music and test cricket.