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In honor of the actor’s new role in Netflix’s delicious drama House of Cards as crooked congressman Frank Underwood, who breaks more laws than he does make them, let’s take a look back at the archetypal role that Spacey has pretty much polished to an art form: the craven, corrupt cad.
11. prot/Robert Porter, K-PAX
The Spaceman, who calls himself prot (lowercase intentional), spends the entire movie deluding the doctors and patients of a mental hospital into thinking he’s an alien from the planet K-PAX. He’s so good at it that even we start to believe him until his real identity is revealed, as a catatonic man named Robert Porter reeling from the death of his family. It’s all one big letdown… The film is ultimately all one big anti-climax overinflated with its own sense of self-importance, much like Robert Porter aka prot.
10. Buddy Ackerman, Swimming With Sharks
Just this scene alone… I will always remember the difference between Equal and Sweet-n-Low. He’s pretty great at playing the terrible boss from hell.
9. Bobby Darin, Beyond the Sea
My favorite comment: “Fine line between catchy show tune from a musical and felony stalking…”
I’m going to overlook the fact that at 45, Spacey was already older than the singer ever lived to be when this really strange movie was released. Spacey sang pretty convincingly, and since Darin was known to be quite an unstable firecracker, he played him well, too.
Even though they really did look great on screen, Darin and Sandra Dee (Kate Bosworth) had a realistically terrible marriage, him performing like a fiend and her becoming an alcoholic, so the scene when he leaves her and she smashes his car was pretty much the only thing this movie got historically correct.
8. Lex Luthor, Superman Returns
Like the rest of this movie, Kevin Spacey is pretty terrible (and bald), but he got to be a jerk to pretty much everyone, Kate Bosworth again included. Luthor’s plot to create a Kryptonite-infested island fortress nearly defeated Superman. And he’s no Gene Hackman, but the madness that is Lex Luthor really has me on the edge of my seat when he almost touches Lois’s son with Kryptonite, like a jerk.
7. Professor Mickey Rosa, 21
Now, Kevin Spacey is a little trickier in his jerk-ness in this 2008 movie, in which he plays an MIT professor leading a card-counting group of his students. It’s a nice mentor-y role for the Spaceman … until he steals Jim Sturgess’ winnings and fails him. What a nice guy, except not really.
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Image Courtesy of Netflix