Bill Paxton's Best Movies

In this week's Total Recall, we count down the best-reviewed work of the 2 Guns star.

Bill Paxton

Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg are the big stars of this weekend's 2 Guns, but they're not alone; the movie also boasts a solid supporting cast that includes a number of wily character actor vets -- including the one and only Bill Paxton, whose eclectic film and television pursuits have been keeping us solidly entertained for three decades and counting. To celebrate his latest role, we decided to spend this week looking back at Mr. Paxton's best-reviewed roles, and although we had to leave out at least one important cameo (hello, The Terminator) and watch one cult classic dip below the cutoff line (farewell, Weird Science), we still ended up with a mighty fine list of films. Game over, man -- it's time for Total Recall!


73%

10. Tombstone

An ensemble Western depicting the adventures of the legendary lawman Wyatt Earp and his confederates, Tombstone transcended a number of behind-the-scenes difficulties (including an early tiff with would-be co-star Kevin Costner, who then attempted to kill its chances at distribution, as well as the firing of screenwriter and original director Kevin Jarre) to emerge as one of 1993's better-reviewed dramas -- thanks in large part to the stellar supporting cast assembled behind Kurt Russell. Paxton, who played Wyatt's brother Morgan, joined an eclectic crew that included Val Kilmer, Charlton Heston, Sam Elliott, and Powers Boothe. "It has an energetic flow, and a genuinely rugged, exciting feel," wrote an appreciative Jeffrey M. Anderson for Combustible Celluloid, "unlike many of the more bloated, picturesque examples of the Western genre."


73%

9. Frailty

Paxton flashed a bit of his directorial ambition early in his career, helming the cult classic music video "Fish Heads," but it wasn't until 2002 that he made his feature-length debut behind the camera with Frailty, a dread-soaked suspense film about two young brothers (Matthew O'Leary and Jeremy Sumpter) held in thrall by their psychotic, religiously fervent father (Paxton) -- and driven to rid the earth of "demons" by any means necessary. While a number of critics were disquieted (or just plain turned off) by the deep darkness of the story, Paxton earned widespread praise for his work on either side of the lens. "Frailty may be only a genre film," admitted the New York Times' Stephen Holden, "but it forcefully reminds us of the degree to which all of us are our parents' ideological captives when we're children."

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79%

8. Traveller

Truly entertaining stories about con men are difficult to come by -- and even the best of the bunch tend to focus on the thrill of the grift, leaving the characters themselves in the background. 1997's Traveller reversed the formula, examining the knotty feuds and traditions of a tight-knit clan of small-time North Carolina con artists, in particular Bokky (Bill Paxton), a Traveller whose life is thrown out of balance when he crosses paths with the son of an exiled member (Mark Wahlberg) and develops an honest emotional attachment to one of his victims (Julianna Margulies). It isn't one of Paxton's better-known movies, but it was a hit with critics like ReelViews' James Berardinelli, who wrote, "The script is smart and sneaky -- by never telling the audience more than is necessary, it develops a keen sense of suspense that persists until the gritty final reel."

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80%

7. Haywire

A sleek, pleasantly pulpy woman-on-the-run action thriller with an uncommonly sharp cast, Steven Soderbergh's Haywire essentially doubled as two films -- one that acted as a showcase for the bone-crunching skills of star (and real-life MMA fighter) Gina Carano, and another that served to highlight the ever-dependable work of her supporting players, a group that included Paxton, Michael Douglas, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, and Antonio Banderas. "Carano is nothing special as an actress," admitted Eric D. Snider for Film.com, "but darned if it matters when she's supported by a killer screenplay, a sharp cast, and Steven Soderbergh's unmistakably sly, mordant direction."

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88%

6. Titanic

After appearing in The Terminator, Aliens, and True Lies, Paxton seemed safely ensconced in James Cameron's stable of favorite actors -- so it came as no surprise when Cameron enlisted Paxton for Titanic, casting him as the modern-day treasure hunter whose quest for booty on the titular wrecked luxury liner helps move along the movie's framing device, which stars Gloria Stuart as the aged modern-day version of the youthful beauty (Kate Winslet) whose doomed love affair with a poor passenger (Leonardo DiCaprio) helped launch a million Celine Dion-anchored mixtapes. "We know the story ends badly," admitted Time Out's Cath Clarke, "but Cameron still sweeps us up in the romance between Kate Winslet's rebellious posh girl and DiCaprio's steerage kid."

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Comments

Sputnik99

sputnik 99

I've always loved his role in Aliens. He had one of the most memorable lines of all time.

Jul 31 - 04:54 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

Word is he improvised "Game over, man! Game over!".

Jul 31 - 05:12 PM

Celena L.

Celena Lels

I work at Home with Google. It's by-far the nicest job I have had. I've made $64,000 so far this year working online and I'm a full time student. I've made such great money. It's really user friendly and I'm just so happy that I found out about it. Here is what I do, Bling6.com

Aug 5 - 02:45 PM

John Dooms

John Dooms

And what would the line be, to the non-mind readers among us? There were so many: 1) to Vasquez, the dike hispanic - "Have you ever been mistaken for a man?". Her comeback (which tops his line) "No. Have you?"; 2) "Someone said 'alien' and Vasquez thought they said 'illegal alien' and signed up"; 3) "Stop your grinnin' and drop ya linen!"; 4) Maybe you haven't been keeping up on current events; but we just got our asses kicked, pal!" Shows what a talented screenwriter James Cameron can be. The Terminator is an awesome script too.

Aug 3 - 07:39 AM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

Word is he improvised "Game over, man! Game over!".

Jul 31 - 05:12 PM

Celena L.

Celena Lels

I work at Home with Google. It's by-far the nicest job I have had. I've made $64,000 so far this year working online and I'm a full time student. I've made such great money. It's really user friendly and I'm just so happy that I found out about it. Here is what I do, Bling6.com

Aug 5 - 02:45 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

Gotta love Bill Paxton. He was the owner of the "most successful actor" (in terms of Box Office) until Sam Jackson usurped him. He has also been killed by a Xenomorph, a Terminator, and a Predator.

But the best Paxton is and will always be Chet. "I didn't think it was a whale's dick, honey!"

I hope he directs again because Frailty was a big surprise for me.

Jul 31 - 05:20 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Chet is one of the best all time movie assholes. They should make a list, Top Ten assholes in movie history - he has to be in the top 5.

Jul 31 - 05:58 PM

Big Daddy101

Do you think this is a motherfucking game?

I saw the twist in Fraility a mile away. It was such bullshit.

Jul 31 - 10:12 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

I wasn't talking about the twist ending. Go take some scrips and get a massage.

Aug 1 - 04:06 PM

thickmcrunfast

John Huckleberry

You are an angry little person aren't you

Aug 3 - 10:37 AM

The Nothing

The Nothing

How would you like...a greasy, pork sandwich...served in a dirty ashtray.

Aug 1 - 06:11 AM

Big Daddy101

Do you think this is a motherfucking game?

Your mom+ My penis= You.

Aug 1 - 12:34 PM

The Nothing

The Nothing

That little thing? She'd just laugh at you.

Aug 1 - 12:36 PM

Keith Bunch

Keith Bunch

Greatness!

Aug 4 - 05:54 AM

James Rains

James Rains

Here's hoping he's killed by a Na'vi in the next Avatar. Surely there's a petition somewhere to make this happen.

Aug 1 - 10:07 AM

J.D Dean

J.D Dean

Man, I really forgot how many great movies he's been in. Though I still, somehow, haven't seen Titanic.

Jul 31 - 05:25 PM

Metamorphstasis

Mark Metamorphstasis

The TITANIC film has moments of greatness but suffers from emotionally manipulative sound and plotting.

Jul 31 - 05:43 PM

thickmcrunfast

John Huckleberry

It's meh

Aug 3 - 10:38 AM

Metamorphstasis

Mark Metamorphstasis

FRAILTY and ONE FALSE MOVE are classics of the thriller genre.

Jul 31 - 05:30 PM

Mike Jaros

Mike Jaros

Agree.. Frailty is a unknown classic.

Aug 3 - 09:42 AM

croutly

Casey Routly

No Weird Science? Fail.

Jul 31 - 05:36 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

It's on the user list.

Jul 31 - 05:56 PM

Dustin Ketner

Dustin Ketner

where's twister?? lol

Jul 31 - 05:40 PM

Alex Buxton

Alex Buxton

Agreed.

Jul 31 - 08:21 PM

Metamorphstasis

Mark Metamorphstasis

The TITANIC film has moments of greatness but suffers from emotionally manipulative sound and plotting.

Jul 31 - 05:43 PM

Wyatt Person

Wyatt Person

Bill Paxton gets his own countdown? Game over man, game over!

Jul 31 - 05:49 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

It's on the user list.

Jul 31 - 05:56 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Chet is one of the best all time movie assholes. They should make a list, Top Ten assholes in movie history - he has to be in the top 5.

Jul 31 - 05:58 PM

John Peņa

John Peņa

Best iconic line ever uttered in a science fiction movie from the 80s: "game over man! game over!

Jul 31 - 06:07 PM

mark m.

mark mark

I love his work. I had a true Hollywood moment when I was watching T2 on the Virgin Megastore tv upstairs, and he was standing right there. We exchanged a look, and he left.

Jul 31 - 06:30 PM

Takako Ainsworth

Takako Ainsworth

You guys missed it...no Weird Science, no top 10 list!

Jul 31 - 07:20 PM

Billy Veit

Billy Veit

you cant count titanic ...can you ?

Jul 31 - 07:58 PM

Alex Buxton

Alex Buxton

Agreed.

Jul 31 - 08:21 PM

Robert Gillespie

Robert Gillespie

Have to give another shout out to Chet. Bill Paxton was also in a very weird movie called "The Dark Backwards". Very very weird, with tons of cameos.

Jul 31 - 08:30 PM

Branden M.

Branden Mata

In some movies this guy is actually one of the worst actors ever. He's average at his best times.

Jul 31 - 08:50 PM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Ok, which movies?

Aug 1 - 02:21 PM

Bradyn R.

Bradyn Roddy

Thank you, someone actually agrees. I always felt he was an awful actor. Good movies, but never have cared for him--minus his "small" part in True Lies (no pun intended).

Aug 3 - 11:39 AM

Rbaldelli7

Michael Baldelli

A Simple Plan is a personal favorite. Very underrated in my opinion.

Jul 31 - 09:45 PM

Big Daddy101

Do you think this is a motherfucking game?

I saw the twist in Fraility a mile away. It was such bullshit.

Jul 31 - 10:12 PM

infernaldude

Infernal Dude

I wasn't talking about the twist ending. Go take some scrips and get a massage.

Aug 1 - 04:06 PM

thickmcrunfast

John Huckleberry

You are an angry little person aren't you

Aug 3 - 10:37 AM

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