Top 5/Bottom 5: Jeff Bridges

Posted Tue Apr 5, 2011 at 11:20 AM PDT by

by Aaron Peck

Jeff Bridges has had a very long career. With the release of 'Tron: Legacy' and the original 'Tron' on Blu-ray this week, we thought we'd take a look back at Mr. Bridges filmography and decide where he went right and where he went very, very wrong.

He's played some of the most memorable characters in cinema, and he's also been in some serious disasters, but the great thing with Bridges is that even when a movie is an utter mess, he's always doing something interesting with the role he's playing. He takes on a different way of speaking, often doing something almost indefinable with his jaw, just watch for it. The mannerisms, the pitch of his voice, the way he approaches the other actors, the guy isn't Nicholson, who often plays some variation of "Jack." No, a Bridges character is always original. The Dude is not Rooster Cogburn, and Rooster Cogburn sure as hell isn't Bad Blake. When Bridges' character and the movie itself come together, there are few more satisfying films. Here are some of the best and some of the worst.

The Best

'The Big Lebowski'

Confession time. I've never been that big a fan of 'The Big Lebowski' as a movie, but Bridges' performance as The Dude is arguably the best of his career, and it's definitely the most memorable. The movie as a whole never grabbed me like it grabbed so many other fans, but I couldn't leave this one off the list for fear of 'Lebowski' fans calling for my little toe in an envelope. Don't watch this one if you don't have the fixings for a white Russian in the house. Trust me!


Another classic movie that, despite its dated graphics, has stood the test of time and has continued to gain fans over the decades, enough fans and support that Disney saw it fit to make a sequel almost 30 years later!

'Crazy Heart'

Who knew that Jeff Bridges could sing country music so well? He was also able to make a romance between a grizzled old country singer and Maggie Gyllenhaal seem genuine. He capped off his performance as Bad Blake by taking home the Best Actor award at the Oscars that year.

'True Grit'

Some have said that Jeff Bridges was even better than John Wayne in the role of Rooster Cogburn. Whether that's true or not, doesn't negate the fact that Bridges was superb in this movie. Many people thought he deserved to win back to back Best Actor awards. If it hadn't been for Colin Firth and his stammering performance, I think Bridges would have walked home with a second golden trophy.

'Iron Man'

I was surprised how imposing Jeff Bridges is with a shaved head and full beard. He made a great villain, which surprised me even more because I've become so accustomed to Bridges being the consummate good guy.

The Worst

'How to Lose Friends & Alienate People'

Sandwiched between 'Iron Man' and 'Crazy Heart' was this turd of a movie that was hastily thrown together to capitalize on Megan Fox's popularity. You know your movie is a piece of garbage when you have Jeff Bridges, but your main focus is on Megan Fox. Not to mention Bridges sported one of the worst wigs ever.


This was a promising movie. Terry Gilliam was directing, and Jeff Bridges was starring, but as so often happens with Gilliam productions, somewhere something went very, very wrong. Gilliam got too weird for his own good, and made 'Tideland' an almost unwatchable mess.

'Blown Away'

One of those movies that you see on TBS or some other basic cable channel Saturday morning and after watching about ten minutes you realize why you never actually think of it unless it's on Saturday morning. Even with Bridges and Tommy Lee Jones, 'Blown Away' failed to establish much suspense at all. Just another bland thriller from the early 90s.

'Scenes of the Crime'

Like 'Blown Away' only duller. 'Scenes of the Crime' is that movie where you wonder what in the world an actor like Bridges is doing in a movie like this. It just doesn't make any sense.

'The Amateurs'

Full of notable actors, 'The Amateurs' tried its hardest to be a sex-centric comedy with heart, but instead the movie ends up being a complete and utter mess. Even with a good performance by Bridges, this movie is still mired in an ugly heap of euphemisms that it mistakes for comedy.

Bridges has plenty more movies that could go in as Honorable Mentions like 'Starman,' 'The Door in the Floor,' 'Arlington Road,' and 'Fearless' (can we please get a Blu-ray for this Peter Weir masterpiece?!) He's had quite the career, and he's treated us to some wonderful performances over the years. Even the dregs of Bridges' filmography still harbor serviceable performances from him.

So what do you think? Please visit the forums and tell us your own Top 5/Bottom 5 for Jeff Bridges!

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Tags: Fun Stuff, Top 5/Bottom 5, Aaron Peck, Jeff Bridges (all tags)