Mesa County Libraries

Unsung Sam

The latest little-indie-that-could, The Way, Way Back, is a sweet enough (though, at times schmaltzy) film, featuring a typically great Sam Rockwell performance.  If that moniker doesn’t ring a bell, don’t be alarmed; though Mr. Rockwell is a prolific performer, who made his film debut almost a quarter-of-a-century ago, he is far from a household name.  Why should he be?  Well, he’s only the most versatile actor this side of Dustin Hoffman.  The man has never been bad in anything, nor has he ever appeared anything less than fully invested in a performance.  This includes his very first role, in a movie called Clownhousein which the still green nineteen-year-old somehow managed to create a complicated and sympathetic character. 


Even so, Rockwell remains largely unknown outside of the industry (though, odds are you’ve seen the chameleon-like actor in plenty), and has criminally never been nominated for an Oscar.  Word is that might soon change.  Either way, if you want to get familiar with this quirky gem of a thespian, here are my picks for…


The 10 Essential Sam Rockwell Films

Box of Moonlight (1996)

Lawn Dogs (1997)

The Green Mile (1999)

Galaxy Quest (1999)

Heist (2001)

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002)

Matchstick Men (2003)

Frost/Nixon (2008)

Moon (2009)

The Way, Way Back (2013)


Since Rockwell elevates everything he touches, narrowing down his best is a difficult task.  Here are 10 more films that are not necessarily stellar, but he most definitely is:

Jerry and Tom (1998)

Safe Men (1998)

Charlie’s Angels (2000)

Welcome to Collinwood (2002)

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

Joshua (2007)

Snow Angels (2007)

Choke (2008)

Conviction (2010)

Seven Psychopaths (2012)





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