Latest vs. Greatest looks at directors, actors, actresses, screenwriters and composers to assess the state of their career as it stands. We’ll look back at the latest 10 movies the artist has done, rate them and then average them out to see where they stand today. We’ll also rank their 10 greatest movies and give them the same treatment to compare what they have been doing to their very best work. (A quick side-note: if an artist is/has been a regular on a TV show we’ll also grade the seasons individually; artists need 10 projects to qualify).
There was a time when it was kind of easy to dismiss Brad Pitt‘s acting talent because he was so sickeningly good looking. I mean, COME ON! There’s like the looks of seventy slightly above-average looking guys under this cowboy hat.
Men can’t measure up to this! This is ….probably how women feel when they see actresses in size 1/2 dresses, but we’re guys and it takes a lot to make us hate a guy for being good looking.
Ugh. That’s freakish. He’s even aging well. Damn him. At any rate, he didn’t help himself by taking mostly parts where he was the pretty boy. His first big blip was in Thelma & Louise as an extremely douchey pretty boy, but then he had and go and look good in really good movies and then you began to realize that he had talent too. At this point most of males just gave up and decided to hate him (Fight Club fixed most of that) or accept him as our genetic superior.
Pitt’s first great movie, in my opinion, is one that a lot of people have mixed feelings on: Legends of the Fall. It is, unrelentingly depressing, but I thought it was great and that Pitt gave his first really great performance in it. He does haunted and broody very well, Pitt. I’ll also give him this: the man has exceptional angry eyes. Even take a movie like Moneyball where he appears almost looking like a real human being without an ethereal Olympic glow about him, when he walks into the locker room after a loss and sees his players laughing and gives them the awesome “This Is What Losing Sounds Like” speech, you could melt steel with those peepers. He’s worked at his craft much like fellow absurdly handsome pretty boy Clooney has. He’s not become the movie making phenom Clooney has, but at this point I don’t think anyone can deny that he’s among the most talented actors in Hollywood.
Pitt followed Legends of the Fall with Terry Gilliam‘s awesome 12 Monkeys (for which he received his first Oscar nomination) and David Fincher’s chilling Se7en Then in 1999, he made the movie that adapted a book that took an entire generation of disaffected cubicle workers and made them start beating the stuffing out one another: Fight Club.
Is Fight Club the amazing movie most men my age (thirty-murfle) think it is? Pretty much. It is if you are the target audience. I can see some people thinking the movie is nihilistic, but if you’ve read Chuck Palahniuk’s fantastic novel and you’re a guy who has spent his whole life in jobs where they have a dress code or wandering blankly through an IKEA, you GOT this. There is something primal in men that just wants to blow up the outside world and beat each other silly. It’s why women should run things lol. Fight Club is a very difficult adaptation and Fincher, Pitt and Edward Norton just nailed it.
Pitt made a bunch of average films after Fight Club (though I have a soft spot for Spy Game with Robert Redford) until he hooked up with Damon and Clooney for Ocean’s 11 and the modern Hollywood Rat Pack was born. I love Ocean’s 11. For sheer fun: Ocean’s 11 is about as good as it comes. Ocean’s 12 is a step down, but Ocean’s 13-to me-really got back to what made the first one so much fun. Plus, the collaborations born out of the friendships made between Damon, Clooney and Pitt from that movie are still bearing fruit today.
Pitt’s version of Troy gets a lot of crap, but I actually like the film. I will say, though, that if you saw it in the theater, you may have been distracted by the cut and by the worst score ever attached to a major Hollywood film. It was so bad they re-scored it for video release and I think Pitt’s Achilles was pretty awesome.
Pitt now is at the point where he can pretty much do whatever he wants whenever he wants. He made noise about retiring from acting at 50, but he’s 50 now and he had three movies come out this year. I would hope he keeps going because he’s getting better and better. He’s been nominated for an Oscar for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which I think is a good-not great-film. What he should have won an Oscar for is the performance of his career: Aldo Raines in Inglorious Basterds.
Inglorious Basterds made me like Quentin Tarrantino and I’d pretty steadfastly hated him his whole career. Pitt is so good as the leader of a squad of Nazi killing psychopaths; so hysterically funny in his delivery and carriage, that the fact that he wasn’t even nominated for the film (which DID get recognized) baffles me. It also shows a side of Pitt you don’t get to see very much: he’s a fantastic comedic actor. You get some of it in the Ocean’s movies, but if you want to see Pitt as you have never seen him before, rent the Coen Brothers Burn After Reading. Pitt is…undescribable. He makes the worst/funniest ransom call in Hollywood history to John Malkovich.
In the last year, Pitt has had four films come out, and-unfortunately-I think they’re going to tank his score because Killing Them Softly, The Tree of Life (I don’t care what people say; the movie is a LSD trip and not a good one) and The Counselor have all been truly awful movies. He’s been GOOD in all of them. He’s the only thing that kept The Counselor from getting a 0.00. However, that’s how the ratings work, so let’s go back and look and his last ten films.
PITT’S LATEST TEN:
1. 12 Years as a Slave (2013)……………….8.00
2. The Counselor (2013)…………………….1.75
3. World War Z (2013)……………………….5.50
4. Killing Them Softly (2012)………………2.00
5. Happy Feet Two (2011)…………………..5.00
6. Moneyball (2011)…………………………..9.50
7. The Tree of Life (2011)……………………0.50
8. Megamind (2010)…………………………..6.00
9. Inglorious Basterds (2009)…………….10.00
10. Curious Case of B. Button (2008)…….7.75
BRAD PITT’S CURRENT WORKING AVERAGE: 5.600
Ok….so that is BY FAR the lowest of any actor we’ve examined. Will Smith is off the hook. To be honest, though, it’s not really a fair reflection of Pitt’s talent or abilities. He did two movies for his seventeen kids, obviously, that were not that great. He worked with Ridley Scott, Terrence Malick and David Cronnenberg and was NOT the problem in possibly the worst movies any of them have ever made. If anything, he added points to all those films. I think he should have two Best Actor Oscars for Moneyball and Inglorious Basterds in this time period, so while his current score is not good (and I have yet to even do the math) it is going to be a mile below his career best average. Let’s run that up and look at his ten best films.
PITT’S GREATEST TEN:
1. Inglorious Basterds (2009)………10.00
2. Fight Club (1999)……………………..9.75
3. Legends of the Fall (1994)………….9.50
4. Moneyball (2011)…………………….9.50
5. Ocean’s 11 (2001)……………………..9.50
6. 12 Monkeys (1995) …………………..9.25
7. Se7en (1995) ……………………………8.75
8. 12 Years as a Slave (2013)…………..8.00
9. Ocean’s 13 (2007)……………………..8.00
10. A River Runs Through It (1992)…7.75
BRAD PITT’S CURRENT GREATEST AVERAGE: 9.000
OK! That’s a little more like it. This is reflective of the work Pitt CAN do in the right film. He’ll make horrid films better, but he’s picked SUCH horrible films that you can only do so much. He’ll need to go on a tear in the next few years to get his current score up, but the career score shows the true talent.
In 2014, Pitt is attached to two films. David Ayer’s World War II drama, Fury, and a Terrence Malick documentary about the birth and death of the universe called Voyage of Time. I don’t count narration, so Malick can’t kill his score any more than he already has. I hope he keeps taking challenging roles and evolving as an actor and has better luck with his choice of projects.