Steve Carell‘s new Netflix series Space Force launched early Friday morning, and if nothing else, it encouraged me to revisit the actor’s career. I think it’s fair to say that Carell will ultimately be remembered for his iconic turn as Michael Scott on The Office, but he has delivered some great performances on the big screen as well.
I was first introduced to Carell via the short-lived 1996 sketch show The Dana Carvey Show (check out the documentary Too Funny to Fail on Hulu)- which led to a correspondent gig on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. From there, Carell developed into a major scene-stealer, first in 2003’s Bruce Almighty, and again in 2004’s Anchorman, in which he scored big laughs as idiot meteorologist Brick Tamland. The Office premiered in March 2005, and less than six months later, Carell’s endearing mug was plastered all over the country on billboards for The 40 Year-Old Virgin. The following year, he was part of SAG Award-winning ensemble of Little Miss Sunshine, which was nominated for Best Picture.
In recent years, Carell has continued to assert himself as a strong dramatic actor in prestige dramas ranging from Foxcatcher to Beautiful Boy, in addition to films like Freeheld, Battle of the Sexes, Last Flag Flying, Vice, and Welcome to Marwen. None of those films fared too well at the box office, but that’s no fault of Carell, who throws himself into every role, yet remains under-appreciated by most critics.
If there’s a movie you like that’s not on this list, I promise you it was carefully considered, though I’ll admit, I never did see Woody Allen‘s Cafe Society. Those bubble titles that weren’t quite good enough to make the cut include thoroughly decent movies like Get Smart, Date Night, and Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. Meanwhile, my own high school friends were shocked I left The Way, Way Back off the list. But yeah, if you were hoping to see Dinner for Schmucks here, or Vice, or The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, or Marwen, or the lackluster sequels to Anchorman and Bruce Almighty, then lower your expectations now, because this list is going to disappoint you. If any movie is owed an apology, it’s Battle of the Sexes, because Carell’s turn as Bobby Riggs is pretty solid, but the movie itself is just so-so.
Without further ado, here are Steve Carell’s ten best movies. Be sure to hit the comments section to tell me just how wrong I am! Just keep in mind that making these kinds lists, well, it’s harder than it looks. And yes, that’s what she said.