It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that we hear at FilmSnobReviews report the death of character actor Bill Paxton at the age of only 61. With that, I’ve decided to detail what I think are his top 5 movie roles. Whether he’s stealing a scene or saving us from disaster here’s an actor whose work was as diverse as it was excellent. Without further ado let’s do this!
5. Hank, A Simple Plan
In this Sam Raimi thriller three simpletons try to devise a plan to keep the millions they find if no one claims it. Paxton plays Hank who along with Bridget Fonda’s Sarah and Billy Bob Thornton’s Jacob to make the triumvirate of idiocy at the head of this film. Paxton’s likability is none more evident than it is in the narration that opens the film In which he tells of when he was a kid growing up. A story of his father explaining what it is to be happy. This is an example of what Paxton could do in a starring role.
4. Severen, Near Dark
Once again working with an iconic director. This time Oscar-winner Kathryn Bigelow in the cult classic Near Dark. Here he plays charismatic vampire Severen. As seen in the above scene he’s able to captivate us with an almost sadistic glee. It is that pseudo-overacting that was a hallmark of Paxton’s career. If you’ve never witnessed this gem of a film now more than ever is a great time to check it out!
3. Brock Lovett, Titanic
In one of the biggest films of all time, Paxton works as the sort of catalyst for Rose’s description of the events on the doomed vessel. His treasure hunter Brock is in search of the treasures the Titanic might wreak. There’s a gentleness under the perceived greed in his character. He’s interested in finding out all he can while also showing he wants to hear this old woman’s story. Even in the alternate ending, we see him contemplate his greed against Rose’s powerful words.
2. Bill Harding, Twister
Let’s start by asking is Twister a good film. No, not really but dammit it is a fun one! In this, we get Paxton as Bill Harding a TV weatherman trying to get his ex-wife to sign divorce papers so he can marry his girlfriend. Mind you that is the definition of insanity. So let’s start there. This guy works with the subpar script the film provides and with the help of a few cows he turns this into one of the 90’s craziest cinematic ventures. He made me believe cows could fly.
1. Private Hudson, Aliens
Could there really be a more Paxton-esque character? Private Hudson steals a lot of the scenes in this James Cameron classic. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to see this scene-stealing anymore due to some complications during surgery. Hudson is the comedy relief, he’s also a standout in one of the greatest sequel to ever exist.
Let us know what your favorite films and performances by Bill Paxton are! Feel free to reach out to me on Instagram and Twitter @FilmSnobReviews.