The fact that John Ritter was so prolific kind of escaped a lot of people during his career since of course one of the most well-known roles he took on was Jack in Three’s Company. If you can believe it that was well into his career when he took the role and yet despite that fact it was the one role that came to define him for so long that it was hard to shake. Of course many do remember that he also played the role of Ben Hanscom in the IT miniseries back in 1990, and course other roles would come along as well that would allow people to remember him for the versatile actor he was, not just the one character that he played for a short time. Some might not remember but Ritter passed away just before his 55th birthday, during a surgery that took place after a misdiagnosed heart attack. The actor left behind an astounding and well-respected legacy, and he’s still remembered fondly to this day for his many contributions.
Here are the five best movies from his career.
5. Stay Tuned
The dangers of being a couch potato have never been quite this complicated as Roy and his wife Helen are offered a new satellite dish and TV after theirs is broken. The only catch is that the dish is designed to transport the users into a hellish sitcom world where they have to survive for so long to gain their freedom or they’ll be forfeit their souls to hell. The insanity takes off pretty quickly as the action kicks in and it’s pretty funny since the spoof sitcoms that are revealed are hilarious. As an older and lesser-known movie this is one that a lot of people might have heard of back in the day but don’t remember. But it’s worth a look.
4. Real Men
Crazy doesn’t even begin to explain this movie since from the outset it looks like a CIA tough guy trying to find a mild-mannered individual that can help save the world, which is actually the case. But when you factor aliens into it and the dumping of a killing agent into the earth’s oceans things get a little wacky, which is just where Jim Belushi and John Ritter were comfortable at times since this method allowed them to be off the wall batty on many occasions and provided a good bit of comedy. It’s definitely one of his more obscure and hard to remember movies but it’s also one that people might really enjoy.
3. Bad Santa
For some reason John had a lot of skill at playing meek characters that didn’t really speak up for themselves all that often. As Bob Chipeska he was a rather prudish mall manager that didn’t seem capable of confrontation and was more than happy to let his security detail handle any issues that might arise. This is kind of where his part began and ended in the movie since he didn’t get a whole lot of scenes or lines that went any further than his semi-involvement, but the movie itself did gain something of a cult following thanks to Billy Bob Thornton’s alcoholic and sex-crazed version of Jolly Old Saint Nick.
2. Problem Child
Ben Healey is another nice character that Ritter plays, but at the very least he gets to be a little more decisive and a lot tougher as the movie wears on. When he and his wife Flo decide to adopt a child they had no idea what they were getting into with Junior. The kid is just bad through and through, at least on the surface since he’s been terrorizing pretty much anyone that looks at him the wrong way for much of his young life. When he meets the Healey’s however he does finally warm to Ben, though he’s an absolute terror to everyone else. By the end of the movie Ben and Junior have become close while Flo and Ben’s tyrannical father have received their comeuppance in a rather fitting way.
1. Sling Blade
Vaughan is another meek character that does try to sound tough but doesn’t quite succeed either because of his reputation as a gay man in the town or simply because he’s just not wired to be aggressive. With that being said though he is a good friend to Linda and Frankie and is accepting of Karl once he comes to know him a little better. His concerns about Karl are pretty easy to understand since the fact that Karl had been locked up in an institution for so long is cause enough for anyone to be concerned. But over time Vaughan and Karl come to respect one another and the dynamic between them is easily noticed as a friendship that’s not quite conventional but is still very real.
You’re remembered fondly sir.