I’m going to start off this post by saying that if you don’t share my love of Kevin Spacey it must be because you’re not too familiar with his work. As for me, that’s the only possible reason why. He is a double oscar winner and also a talented singer and impressionist. He is a notoriously secretive man who had a very difficult upbringing by a father who was a staunch supporter of Nazism and sexually abused members of his family.
This post could just be a list of projects that he’s been involved with and, in my opinion, that would be enough of an explanation for why I love him. I am going to write this list (and give a brief explanation as to why I’ve included each and every one of them), so here goes:
THE USUAL SUSPECTS: The film for which Spacey when the first of his two oscars (apparently Verbal Kint is a supporting role…). This film has the best twist ending of all time and is a film you have to watch at least twice to fully understand. Part of the reason why the ending works so well is that Spacey makes you think that Verbal is the weakest of the group and being taken along for the ride.
SE7EN: This is the first time I’m going to write on a David Fincher film and I’m sure it won’t be the last. This whole film is an absolute masterpiece and Spacey is one of the main reasons why. His entrance into the police station covered in blood is one of the best scenes in all of film history, and immediately makes you believe that he’s a complete psychopath. Also the way in which he manipulates Brad Pitt’s character at the end is chilling and amazing in equal measures.
AMERICAN BEAUTY: This film is an absolute masterpiece by Sam Mendes, following Lester Burnham as he quits his job, starts smoking weed, starts working out and generally just decides to do things that he wants to do, instead of what he was doing before. You can’t help but love Lester Burnham in this film as he tells his boss that he wanks regularly in the toilets to avoid doing work, makes friends with a drug dealer and masterfully deals with running into his wife with her lover. Obviously Burnham is an inherently selfish character who is deeply flawed and I don’t applaud all of his actions in the film. But he does embody something I believe in – that you should do what makes you happy and everyone else can fuck off.
21: A film about maths geniuses from MIT taking on casinos and winning huge amounts of money. Spacey plays a lecturer at MIT who groups together some of his most intelligent students to beat the odds and win millions from casinos in games of blackjack. I’ve always found conmen to be intriguing so that’s probably why I love this film so much, as it’s clear that Spacey’s character is a sleazy bastard but you’re not entirely sure what he’s capable of until the end.
A BUG’S LIFE: In my opinion one of the most underappreciated animated films ever, featuring an amazing voice performance from Spacey as Hopper. It’s a story of rising up against oppressors and succeeding, even though with the resources at hand and the size of the enemy against you it seems like an impossible task. Something that we can all take on in our every day lives.
HOUSE OF CARDS: I could go on about each and every aspect of this show, instead (for now) I’ll just briefly focus on the manner in which Spacey portrays Frank Underwood: The way in which Spacey breaks the 4th wall throughout the show is always masterful, be it telling a secret, explaining a plan, or even just giving a look when predicting what someone will say. The southern drawl in which he talks is so entrapping that even though the character is clearly a power hungry, murdering, adulterous despicable human you can’t help but root for him.
BEYOND THE SEA: This is one of his lesser known films and was a passion project of Spacey’s as he wanted to make a biopic on one of his idols – Bobby Darin. He ended up directing, producing, co-writing, starring in and covering Bobby’s songs for the soundtrack. It’s not the finest piece of cinema in the world but you can tell that Spacey poured everything he could into making this film. And the fact that he was involved in so many different aspects in the making of it shows how determined he was to get the film made. And although the film was a box office flop and didn’t receive the most amazing reviews, I don’t think Spacey really cares that much because he was able to make the film and that’s what mattered.
I could have written about many other films he’s been involved with (such as LA Confidential, Glengarry Glen Ross, Pay It Forward, K-PAX, Moon, Casino Jack, Moon…) but I’ve decided that I’ve written enough for this entry as the last one was quite long.
And no, I’m not so blind that I don’t know about the allegations around Spacey’s unwanted sexual advances onto young men. I hope that these are untrue but my love is of Kevin Spacey, the artist, not Kevin Fowler, the man.