James Eugene Carrey better known as Jim Carrey, was born in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada and is the youngest of four children. He was a gifted performer as a kid doing stand-up routines for his classmates in junior high. Financially strapped to the point of living with his family in a camper, Carrey made his stand-up debut in Toronto after his parents and siblings got back on their feet. He then dropped out of high school to pursue his dream of being a comic and moved to Los Angeles in 1979. He eventually caught the attention of Rodney Dangerfield, who signed Carrey to open for him during his tour. During this time, Carrey also broke into the film business, landing small roles like in the 1988 romantic comedy Earth Girls Are Easy where he met Damon Wayons, who was also in the movie. Wayons and his brother Keenan, recruited Carrey to become part of the cast of their sketch comedy show In Living Color. Carrey became a stand-out amongst the cast with his quirky, off-the-wall characters like Fire Marshall Bill. Following In Living Color, Carrey became a breakout movie superstar in the 1994 comedy Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. He hit a real turning point in his career when he won the Best Actor Golden Globe for his performances in the 1998 dramedy The Truman Show and playing comedian Andy Kaufman in the 1999 biopic Man on the Moon. He’s mainly stuck to comedy in the roles he chooses but he has shown his dramatic talents in movies like 2004’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and the 2008 dramedy Yes Man. Yet, Carrey continues to wow moviegoers with his signature wit and one-of-kind delivery always keeping his performances fresh and his fans yearning for even more laughs. In honor of his 51st birthday, here is a Top 10 list of Jim Carrey movies.
10. Once Bitten: This 1985 was Carrey’s first starring role. Co-starring Lauren Hutton, Carrey played naïve high school student Mark Kendall, who is seduced into a Hollywood club by a sultry blonde, who unbeknownst to him is a centuries old vampire, who needs to suck the blood of a virgin to maintain her immortality and youthful appearance. Carey was sweet and fun-loving as he tries to turn back into a human after being bitten in an attempt to keep his girlfriend and a normal life. This was a small peek of the comedic genius that Carrey would become.
9. Liar Liar: Carrey was nominated for the Best Actor Golden Globe for his performance in this 1997 comedy. Carrey played Fletcher Reede, an ambitious lawyer and divorced father. He loves spending time with his young son, Max, but he often puts his job before spending time with him. When Fletcher, who has become a compulsive liar, making him one of the best defense lawyers in California, breaks his promise to be at Max’s birthday party and lies about why, Max makes the birthday wish that Fletcher cannot lie for one whole day…and it comes true! Carrey’s wacky antics throughout the film as discovers he can’t tell a lie nor can he ask questions of his clients at trial if he knows their answer will be a lie. Carrey really got physical in this role as he tried to shut himself up from telling the truth and wrecking his career. Yet, in the end, he learns a valuable lesson and he realizes spending more time with Max is the most important job of all!
8. The Cable Guy: This 1996 comedy thriller, which Ben Stiller directed and starred in, had Carrey co-starring with Matthew Broderick, Leslie Mann and Jack Black. Carrey played Ernie “Chip” Douglas, a lonely yet enthusiastic cable guy, who begins to hound his customer Steven Kovacs (Broderick) after Kovacs convinces him to give him free cable because they’re “friends.” Carrey played an obsessive, can’t get the hint, stalker with sheer perfection as he insinuates himself into Kovacs’ family, his relationship with his girlfriend, Robin (Mann) all because he wants them to be friends. Though all ends well, it’s a lesson everyone should learn…to not be so free with calling a complete stranger, “buddy.”
7. Dumb & Dumber: This 1994 buddy comedy is heralded as one of the best comedies of all time. Directed by the Farrelly brothers, Carrey co-starred with Jeff Daniels and Lauren Holly. The film tells the story of Lloyd Christmas (Carrey) and Harry Dunne (Daniels,) two good-natured but dim friends from Providence, Rhode Island who set out on a cross-country trip to Aspen, Colorado to return a briefcase full of money to its owner, only to be chased by a group of criminals, who are after the briefcase. Filled with insane situations and eccentric antics by both Daniels and Carrey, it has garnered quite a cult following over the years. A sequel titled Dumb and Dumber To is due to be released in theaters in November of this year, to which fans of the original will no doubt flock to.
6. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective: This 1994 comedy, which Carrey wrote, put him in the Hollywood spotlight and he’s never looked back. Co-starring with Courteney Cox and Sean Young, Carrey played the title character, who was an animal-centered private detective hired to locate the kidnapped dolphin mascot of the Miami Dolphins pro football team. Carrey’s outrageous activities as the outspoken PI who wasn’t afraid to make a fool of himself and loves animals was both hilarious and endearing. Though it received mixed reviews, it has developed a significant cult following over the years and was nominated to be a part of AFI’s 100 Years…100 Laughs series, which was a list of the top 100 funniest movies in American cinema.
5. Batman Forever: This 1995 superhero film, which was directed by Tim Burton and directed by Joel Schumacher, was the third installment in the Batman film franchise. Carrey starred as Edward Nygma, who would become “The Riddler,” one of two villains out to destroy Batman, now being played by Val Kilmer, who replaced Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman. The film also starred Nicole Kidman, Chris O’Donnell and Tommy Lee Jones. Carrey’s portrayal of the insane Nygma/”The Riddler” was spot-on as Carrey infused the role with his signature bravado and wit, making his interpretation of “The Riddler” one of the most memorable in the Batman films, at least IMO.
4. Bruce Almighty: This 2003 dramedy/fantasy had Carrey co-starring with Jennifer Aniston, Morgan Freeman, Steve Carell, Army Wives’ Catherine Bell and Lisa Ann Walter. Carrey played Bruce Nolan, a down-on-his-luck TV reporter who complains to G-d (Freeman) that he is not getting his due credit, and is offered the chance to try being G-d himself for one week. In between juggling the enormous amount of prayers coming in from all over the world, as his star rises in his job from being G-d, his relationship with his longtime girlfriend Grace (Aniston) suffers. Yet again, Carrey’s over-the-top persona shined in this role as he portrayed the Almighty! Yet, a lesson is learned that people have to help themselves and isn’t all up to G-d.
3. The Mask: This 1994 fantasy action comedy film was based on a series of comic books published by Dark Horse Comics. Carrey played mild-mannered bank teller Stanley Ipkiss, who comes upon a mysterious mask one night and his life is forever changed. Once he puts on the mask, Ipkiss goes from a shy, reserved, kind of a doormat into a charismatic, eccentric and fun free spirit. Co-starring Cameron Diaz, in the role that immediately put her on Hollywood’s radar, as well as the late comedian Richard Jenni, Peter Greene, Peter Riegert and Amy Yasbeck, the special effects combined with Carrey’s unique body language made the movie a bonafide smash.
2. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events: This 2004 black comedy fantasy was an adaptation of the The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room and The Wide Window, the first three books in A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. The film tells the story of three orphans, who are adopted by their distant cousin, a mysterious theater troupe actor named Count Olaf (Carrey,) as he attempts to steal their late parents’ fortune. Carrey, brought from page to screen a character so unique in his deviousness that at least for me, I kind of liked him. His repeated attempts to steal the childrens’ inheritance and subsequent foul-ups at doing so are made that much funnier by Carrey’s elaborate portrayal of the always in disguise Count Olaf.
1. The Truman Show: This 1998 dramedy had Carrey co-starring with Laura Linney, Ed Harris, Noah Emmerich and Holland Taylor. Carrey played Truman Burbank, the unsuspecting star of The Truman Show, a reality television program in which his entire life, since before birth, is filmed by thousands of hidden cameras, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and broadcast live around the world. But, one day, Truman begins to notice that everything revolves around him and he spends the whole movie realizing that nothing in his whole life has been real from his marriage to his job to even his parents. Carrey glowed at this sweet guy, who everyone took for granted but who ended up surprising everyone in the end. Fusing comedy with drama, IMO, Carrey deserved at least an Oscar nod for this performance.