By Brandon Matzke
Well, today is beloved comedian Jim Carrey’s 56th birthday. Despite rarely appearing in major blockbusters anymore, there was a time when this man ruled the world; from his comedy hits like Ace Ventura and Dumb and Dumber, to his more dramatic roles in his later career. And he is one of my favorite comedians ever, so I just had to celebrate his long career with my picks for his best performances. Honorable mention: Lloyd Christmas in Dumb And Dumber; sure, it’s definitely not Oscar-worthy, but for playing a total idiot, he nails the role. Just avoid the sequels and you’ll be fine.
5. The Mask (The Mask)
This must’ve been Carrey’s dream come true: a living cartoon character! Very loosely based on the comics by Dark Horse (which are capable of traumatizing anybody who reads them), this film follows Stanley Ipkuss, a man with a vivid imagination and a dull life until he discovers a mysterious mask, which turns him into the powerful yet zany…. Mask. Clever name, I know, but he nails this role. He’s so much fun to watch as the Mask, from his exaggerated movements to witty remarks, I could tell this was a role he could only dream of. My only problem with Carrey’s performance is the Stanley Ipkuss; compared to the bouncing ball of energy known as the Mask, he’s so… dull. I mean, would you rather watch the banker Stanley Ipkuss, or the walking too-nuts-for-Looney Tunes (yes it is spelled like that) Mask?
4. Ace Ventura (Ave Ventura: Pet Detective)
Ace Ventura is a film that either you love or hate, but I personally believe Carrey gives his best purely comedic performance in it. When the dolphin mascot of the Miami Dolphins is kidnapped, it’s up to the off-the-wall nuts pet detective Ace Ventura to find her. Carrey here is a character who’s both insane and smart; beneath the weirdness is a rather intelligent man who truly cares for his animal clients, and will do anything to protect them. Even if it means playing the role of a crazed former football player, complete with a tutu. The movie absolutely hysterical to watch, and most of which is because of Carrey.
3. Truman Burbank (The Truman Show)
A blend of Carrey’s comedic and dramatic performances, Truman Burbank is an unknowing star of the world-famous Truman Show: which chronicles his life on a day-to-day basis. However, by the time he celebrates his 30th birthday, he notices things aren’t quite as they seem. Carrey was 100% right for being angry at the Oscars for not a single mention: he basically plays two versions of this character; the “Carrey-ism” Truman, the wacky guy he pretends to be in public, and the “human” Truman, a man confused about his place in the world. The rest of the film is great too, from the believable world of the Truman Show to the world around it, it might not be 100% realistic but you can believe it could happen. And Carrey helps this too, with his relatable performance as Truman which made people question if they were secretly on TV for decades. If I haven’t made it clear enough, I recommend this one to anyone interested. Along with the next two…
2. Joel Barish (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind)
This is my personal favorite film Carrey’s been in, but Carrey isn’t the only reason this gem stands out for me. Eternal Sunshine follows Joel Barish, a man who recently suffered a harsh breakup. Of course, breakups are hard. But this is the not-too-distant future, where you can get memories erased overnight. When Joel decides to use this procedure, things get weird and emotional as he tries to hold on to memories of his former lover. Carrey nails the role of an introverted man, who has no clear idea as to what’s going on. His interactions with Kate Winslet’s Clementine are purely heartfelt, as he tries to hold onto the woman who’s being erased from his entire memory. Carrey isn’t the best part of this movie; he’s merely the icing on a delicious cake, from it’s amazing oscar-winning script, to the breathtakingly bizarre visuals and talented cast. I thought this would be number one, until I discovered the next pick.
1. Andy Kaufman (Man On The Moon)
What I consider to be one of the most underrated movies ever made, Man On The Moon is based on the life of the famous comedian Andy Kaufman: a comedian now considered ahead of his time, from his strange pranks on his audience, to his tragic death at only 35. About ten minutes into this movie, I completely forgot I was watching Carrey. He completely absorbed himself into this role, mastering all of Kaufman’s mannerisms and humor. I looked up Kaufman’s original skits to see how close Carrey got, and he perfectly nailed them. He also keeps heart into this role, something that could’ve been completely swept under the rug with almost any other actor. My personal favorite scenes of the film are details of Kaufman’s more hidden life, from his romance with his eventual wife to his final goodbye to everyone close to him in a scene which… made me cry….