Charlie Sheen. Lately, it’s a name that one equates with what is probably the most spectacular showbiz fall in recent memory. His recent barrage of television appearances has made for some interesting viewing. Even though I pride myself on being a person who completly tunes out showbiz gossip, I have to admit, I have been watching this bizarre turn of events rather gleefully. And you know what? Its the most I have watched of Charlie in quite some time. Now relegated to playing a parody in himself in a mystifyingly popular sitom, what the younger people reading this may not realize is that there was a time when Mr. Sheen was actually an actor and a pretty good one at that. So in toast of Winners everywhere I bring you my list of Charlie Sheen’s best flicks. Enjoy!
1. Platoon (1986)
Synopsis: A young recruit in Vietnam faces a moral crisis when confronted with the horrors of war and the duality of man.
In Oliver Stones vietnam classic Charlie showed some serious acting chops playing young Chris Taylor, a man who enlists for combat in the war instead of going to college. He quickly realizes he’s made a horrible mistake. This is based on Oliver Stone’s own vietnam experience and it shows. From the mundane everyday life in Vietnam of hikes and trench digging to emptying the outhouses and proper foot care in the jungle, this movie does anything but glamorize war. While it could be said that the true stars of this film are Willem Dafoe and Tom Berenger, who played two enemy sergeants, Charlie held his own his breakout role. The film garnered 8 Oscar Nominations and won 4 including best picture and best director.
2. Wall Street (1987)
Synopsis: A young and impatient stockbroker is willing to do anything to get to the top, including trading on illegal inside information taken through a ruthless and greedy corporate raider who takes the youth under his wing.
Continuing to show promise as a Hollywood newcomer Charlie Sheen nailed his role as young stockbroker Bud Fox, a man willing to do anything to break into wall street. Though I think this is technically a better film then platoon and there a few great scenes including a few between Charlie and his father Martin. And it also includes the incredible performance from Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekk, the original anti-hero. I put this lower then Platoon if not only for the horrendous performance by Darryl Hannah as Bud’s wanna be designer girlfriend. But that aside, this movie showed that greed is good, especially for the audience. The film won Michael Douglas an Oscar for best Actor.
3. Eight Men Out (1988)
Synopsis: A dramatization of the Black Sox scandal when the underpaid Chicago White Sox accepted bribes to deliberately lose the 1919 World Series.
Three years and thee great movies for the Sheen-ster. Now thats what I call winning. Eight Men Out is probably the best baseball film of all time (Woah, i know what you’re thinking and I agree ‘Angels in The Outfield’ is pretty good too.) The film features a great ensemble cast including John Cusack, Christopher Lloyd, Michael Rooker, D.B. Sweeny and, of course Charlie Sheen. The film is based on the true story of the 1919 White Sox who took bribes to lose the world series.
4. Major League (1989)
Synopsis: The new owner of the Cleveland Indians puts together a purposely horrible team so they’ll lose and she can move the team. But when the plot is uncovered, they start winning just to spite her.
Alright, now I’m starting to hear groans. Best baseball movie ever this is not. But for what it is, an R rated 80’s comedy/mellow drama, I think it’s a fun movie with some interesting characters. Mr. Sheen plays gives a memorable performance as Ricky ‘Wild Thing’ Vaughn a rookie pitcher with a punk rock edge. His teammates include Tom Berenger, Wesley Snipes and Corben Bernsen, who for the most part do the best with the material they are given. But for my money the show stealer here is Bob Uecker who gets the most laughs for his hard drinking play by play announcer Harry Doyle. The film spawned two sequels I couldn’t recommend them. This film won no Acadamy Awards.
5. Hot Shots! (1991) / Hot Shots! Part Deux (1993)
Synopsis: Two spoof movies. The first one takes on Top Gun while the second film sets its sights on Rambo.
The Hot Shots! movies are part of what I consider the golden age of the spoof. These along with The Naked Gun films as well as Robin Hood: Men in Tights and even Loaded Weapon were mostly filled with puns and sight gags. Some of it hit and some of it missed. But I’ve got to say that the two Hot Shots! were mostly hit. The films were pg-13 so the writers had to really work for the laughs as opposed to the horrible spoofs we’ve seen lately. I’m of course, talking about the Date/Teen/Scary/Epic Movie garbage that pretty much play like 90 minutes of body fluids. And Charlie gave us a glimpse of the comedic chops that would later be wasted on 2 and a half men. If you have to see one, Make it Part Deux. If not for anything else, its worth seeing for the scene where Charlie and his team floating down the river run into Martin Sheen and the Apocalypse Now crew.
So, there you have it. Before Charlie Sheen was best known for his drug fulled partying and possibly Syphilitic(?) life style and crazy television rants. He was actually quite an accomplished actor starring in a wide variety of roles. But what lays down the road for Charlie? Well, if he wants my advice, and i know he does, he should take some of his money, find a decent indie script and director and get back to acting. Forget 2 and a half Men. Its over. It wasn’t good while it was on. Move forward. Start winning!