Neal Damiano charts the career of underrated actor Christian Slater in a run through the True Romance star’s ten best films.
Christian Slater might have tried his hand at action stardom – Broken Arrow, Hard Rain, 3000 Miles to Graceland, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves – but it is his more obscure work (Very Bad Things, Heathers, He Was A Quiet Man) where he has truly excelled.
It is one of the reasons why some of his peers are now household names while Slater remains an actor for cult film followers to post on their walls. A gifted but complicated New Yorker (numerous off screen issues have clouded an otherwise successful career), Christian Slater has to be congratulated for choosing to make films he believes in rather than for the pay cheque. Some films haven’t worked but his strong performances are always worth seeing. Here’s his ten best pieces of work.
10. Hard Rain (Salomon, 1998)
Hard Rain is an unusual natural disaster movie becuase it adds the element of a crime thriller. Christian Slater plays an armed truck driver who tries to transport $300 million dollars across Indiana all the while in a viscious rain storm. The truck gets caught up in a river Morgan Freeman and his gang try to rob the truck of all its cash. Lots of action no pretty lead female co stars but technically cinematic and the editing is tight. Christian Slater puts up one brave fight.
9. Broken Arrow (Woo, 1996)
John Woo’s second film full of nonstop action he was smart to put John Travolta and Christian Slater together in one film. The chemistry is great as Slater and Travolta are buddies flying stealth bombers for the military. But things soon change Travolta is a traitor and crashes the plane into Death Valley so he can steal nuclear warheads for selling to terrorists. Car crashes, plane crashes, and plenty of violence add in the beautiful Samantha Mathis as the female lead and romantic interest for Slater’s character and you got an adventure.
8. Gleaming the Cube (Clifford, 1989)
It bombed at the box office but became a crowd favorite. The movie is just fun and Slater captures an innocent youth we all long for as we get old. The skateboard scenes are minimal and it tries to seem serious with the plot but it’s a tongue and cheek delight. His dialogue and look make us reminisce of an easier time in life our rebelious years.
7. Untamed Heart (Bill, 1993)
What a tearjerker film another movie that showed us Christian Slater can act. Full of romance, love and comedy Untamed Heart pulled at your heart strings Slaters performance made men cry.
6. He Was A Quiet Man (Cappello, 2007)
This film flew under the radar and it’s a shame I feel this movie really showed Slater’s ability as an actor. The film is dark with many layers to the lead role. Christian pulled off an amazing performance as a desperate man on the brink of insanity. He plays Bob a lonely office worker who is in love with a beautiful blonde coworker but she doesn’t know he exists. That changes when he saves her from another worker that finds out he’s being let go decides to pull a gun and shoot the office up. Now Bob can’t distinguish if she really has feelings for him or just grateful that he saved her. The film is extremely dark with surreal elements to it Christian is exceptionally
5. Murder in the First (Rocco, 1995)
A very well made film based on a court case in the 30s about three convicts that escaped from Alcatraz. Slater plays a public defender with the world against him as he tries to make the jury see just how badly these inmates were treated.
4. Very Bad Things (Berg, 1998)
How could you go wrong with this cast a twisted joyride things just keep getting bad for these guys during a harmless bachelor party. In my opinion Very Bad Things is one of the greatest dark comedies made the group chemistry is unmatched murder, paranoia and blame ensue into the night. Slater is a glorious mess.
3. True Romance (Scott, 1993)
I don’t think anyone could of pulled of this character better than Christian Slater and rumor has it Tarantino felt the same way. Supposedly he would not sell the script to Tony Scott (RIP) without Slater playing the lead.
Wether it’s true or not I’m glad he did because his performance was nothing short of amazing. Christian just has that quirkness about him that nailed this character!
2. Heathers (Lehmann, 1989)
A personal favorite of mine. This film broke conventional boundaries. Many call it the anti-teen film and rightfully so. I think it’s one of the best dark films ever made. With its sarcastic undertones and contradictions this movie spoke volumes about what it was like to be a teenager. It features a ground-breaking performance from Slater, he’s so convincing as a sociopathic teenager. It’s actually scary that he’s such a likable guy. The ultimate anti-hero role for Slater, he’s rarely been better.
See also: Top 10 Teenage Rebellion Films
1. Pump Up the Volume (Moyle, 1990)
Pump Up The Volume is such an engaging film with a very strong message Slaters performance shines bright here. Excellent acting with great dialogue very qoutable. One of those films you can watch over and over to always find something new. Not to mention the amazing soundtrack that was sort of a character itself in the film. Christian Slater made me want to get a pirate radio hook up in my room and start a show.
Hard Harry comes on at 10pm!
See also: Top 10 Teenage Rebellion Films
Written and compiled by Neal Damiano.
Your turn – what are your favourite Christian Slater films?
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