5 Times Jesse Plemons Showed Up and Made Everything Better
Whenever Jesse Plemons shows up in a movie, we can’t help but turn into that Leonardo DiCaprio meme pointing aggressively at the television in excitement and recognition. The actor who rose to fame in Friday Night Lights and bowled everyone over playing a certified sociopath in Breaking Bad has consistently given stellar performance after stellar performance, whether it be in a horror movie about Wendigos (Antlers) or as a bored Southwestern bumpkin who gets all territorial meeting British people in a UFO-themed diner (Paul).
Thanks to Plemons’ ability to play any character with the intensity of the sun, he’s mostly done dramatic projects (his Oscar nomination for The Power of the Dog was well-deserved). However, the man has range, and it’s been great seeing him pop up in everything from comedy adventures to satirical stories where he gets to use his serious demeanor to wring out some laughs. Like in...
We’re not going to delve into the merits of Disney’s Jungle Cruise, a movie based on a theme park ride that stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a cursed steamboat skipper and features an inexplicable amount of Looney Tunes hijinx, equal only to its array of mustaches on display. The movie is fine for what it is, but even though Paul Giamatti brings some comic relief to the adventure film that relies heavily on puns and haughty British humor, Giamatti alone could not elevate this one. Without Plemons depicting the most delicious villain this side of The Lion King’s Scar, Jungle Cruise would’ve been a movie solely remembered for taking a pants joke and running it over a waterfall.
Plemons plays German royal and salivating conqueror Prince Joachim, a warmonger who seeks immortality and thinks nothing of taking a U-boat into the Amazon. No doubt the actor had fun here, and his hilarious German accent sounds like a send-up of everything Christoph Waltz has ever said.
He also sings at one point because Plemons knows how to make Kaiser Wilhelm II’s kid funny on screen.
Observe and Report
In a movie that’s as much about the dangers of neglecting one’s mental health as it is about mall cops, Plemons only had a fraction of screen time, but boy, did he make it count. It’s the movie where everyone’s still sporting their baby fat, and it’s the one where Anna Faris arguably gives us her best comedic performance. But it’s also the dark comedy in which Plemons becomes a scene-stealer without saying very much. That glorious haircut says it all.
Playing Robert Daly, commander of the USS Callister, in the Season Four Black Mirror episode “USS Callister,” Plemons perfectly showcases his capacity for channeling complex characters who often harbor dark, nefarious inner worlds. Daly is one diabolical dude as he replicates people who annoy him and turns them into his followers in a virtual reality game of his making. Plemons said that he looked to William Shatner’s Captain Kirk to play Captain Daly, and there’s no doubt he nailed the assignment.
One can argue that no Fargo character has ever elicited as much pity as Plemons’ Ed Blumquist, the butcher’s assistant from a small Minnesota town who dreams of owning his own butchery and living a simple life with his wife, Peggy (Kirsten Dunst). That is, of course, before a fatal accident turns his world upside down, leading to him dealing with a notorious Fargo crime family. Plemons portrays the gentle giant with aplomb, and the scene where he stands in front of the fire in his tighty-whities after killing a man in self-defense is everything.
Plemons’ accent is wonderful here, and it’s hard imagining anyone else playing Ed as naturally and effortlessly as he does. “I love actors where you don’t see them acting,” Plemons once told The New York Times. “You don’t see a false moment. You don’t catch them.”
In a cast featuring a gaggle of comedic actors, including Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams and the terminally funny Chelsea Peretti, Plemons said, “Hold my poodle,” and gave the most memorable performance of his comedy filmography to date. He is just so good at playing a creepy yet enduring fella, and in Game Night, he takes that uncanny ability and steals every scene he’s in — one intense stare at a time.
Gary is a police officer, a fact he never makes you forget because he’s always in uniform and probably sleeps in it. He misses his ex-wife and desperately wants to rejoin his old friend group again. Gary will go to great lengths to achieve this goal, even though he seems completely oblivious to his severe lack of social skills.
“He’s a very unique type of creep,” Plemons told USA Today about the divorcee whose best friend is a dog. “He just cannot help but to come across that way.” It’s true because Gary simply has a different way of thinking. The Pictionary scene at the end of the movie proves just that.
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