You don’t see Joe Pesci a lot any more unless it’s special appearances or the occasional movie, but one thing is clear, he doesn’t need to show up all that often since he’s already a legend in the business and is hard to forget. There are a lot of movies in which he’s been seen as the ‘angry little man’ but it’s a role that he’s exemplified in many ways and still made his own. While it’s kind of a stereotype it’s still something that you can’t help but attribute to Joe since he’s taken the role and run with it for as long as he could, and is still doing it occasionally. His coarse manner and very aggressive behavior has, in some movies, painted him as the immediate bad guy, and yet he’s shown that he can still be quiet and reserved as well, proving that he’s got a lot more depth to him than the one role that he’s excelled at.
Here are just a few of his best movies.
5. With Honors
People judge others based on what they look like, it’s an unfortunate fact but it does happen. In this movie Pesci plays a bum that has a run-in with a student that’s looking to pass an honors program at Harvard. Simon, the bum, promises to return the thesis that Monty, the student, lost for a number of services that he’ll determine as things go on. What Monty learns throughout the course of the film however is that not only were the truths that he believed to be true flawed and horribly exclusive in the society he belongs to, but they’re hardly the kind of beliefs that foster a stable and secure existence in the real world beyond Harvard’s walls.
4. Lethal Weapon 4
Since the second Lethal Weapon Leo was kind of a nuisance that served a purpose, but was still highly annoying and didn’t really have a place with anyone in the movie. But by the fourth movie he’d become a constant fixture that people had grown used to no matter how annoying he was. By the fourth film however he had developed into more of a complete character and was finally integrating with the group in a way that showed just how important he’d become. He was still fairly annoying most of the time but he was now a part of the group that was allowed to be annoying since he was part of the overall family.
Nicky was the kind of guy that you didn’t mess around with unless you were ready and willing to kill him since that’s how far he took things when he got really riled up. In terms of coming to Las Vegas and doing the job that he’d been sent to do he was the right guy and the wrong guy at the job at the same time. He took things too far, he started getting bigger than he was supposed to be, and he even had designs of his own that had nothing to do with his bosses back home. In other words Nicky got a look and a taste for the high life in Las Vegas and forgot just about every loyalty he’d ever had, and in the mafia that wasn’t a wise idea.
2. Home Alone
What’s funny about this film is that since it’s a kids’ film Joe Pesci couldn’t unload with the profanity that he’d become known for throughout the years. Instead he had to mumble like a modern-day version of Yosemite Sam and take the beating since Harry and Marv weren’t exactly that bright. The fact that they were outwitted by a kid isn’t so much a credit to Kevin’s innovative ideas, but more to the writers for coming up with a live-action cartoon that entertained an entire generation of kids that only later on found out just what all those injuries would tally up to. Hey, it was funny while we were watching it, and to be honest it still is since it’s possible to look at it objectively.
Tommy is based off of a real character just like almost everyone in this movie, and according to the real Henry Hill he was a certified psychopath. Tommy “Two Guns” is what Hill stated that he was called, and it’s more than evident by Pesci’s act, if it’s anywhere near accurate, that he was indeed a character that no one wanted to mess with. Given the idea that Jimmy Burke and Henry Hill weren’t much better in their day it seems that he ran in the right company. What happened to the real Tommy is hard to tell since history doesn’t seem to go into it with great detail, but one can almost assume that the movie was close to the truth.
Joe Pesci isn’t seen much these days, but looking back at his career is still impressive.