Dennis Quaid isn’t easy to pin down. He’s done the scifi Enemy Mine, the action-adventure The Day After Tomorrow, the western The Alamo and the sports pic Any Given Sunday to equal acclaim. He’s even done the fun family flick Yours, Mine & Ours. What can you say about a body of work like that? It deserves a Flashback Five! So herewith, a look at Dennis Quaid’s best movies so far.
1. The Right Stuff (1984)
Playing real-life astronaut Gordon “Gordy” Cooper in this Oscar-winner jettisoned Quaid to stardom. Cooper may be the least-famous of the Mercury Seven (which includes Gus Grissom and John Glenn), but Quaid’s likeably cocky charm makes his Cooper unforgettable.
2. Great Balls of Fire! (1989)
As rock-n-roll legend Jerry Lee Lewis, Quaid not only shows off fancy finger work on the piano (he studied 12 hours a day for six months) but also nails Lewis’ over-the-top style. Lewis himself praised the actor’s portrayal, saying that Quaid “really pulled it off.”
3. Far From Heaven (2002)
Quaid earned a Golden Globe nod for his role as a closeted gay husband in this ’50s drama. This emotionally complex performance finds Quaid skillfully vacillating between villain (an adulterous husband) and victim (a man struggling with the his sexuality).
4. Wyatt Earp (1994)
Hollywood abounds in stories about the O.K. Corral and the best component of this version is Quaid’s Doc Holliday. His signature sarcasm and comedic timing are at their best. As a result, Quaid steals this movie from its lead: Kevin Costner.
5. Breaking Away (1979)
This quirky pic about a group of a small-town teens facing adulthood beat out Miracle on 34th Street and Saving Private Ryan on AFI’s “100 Years…100 Cheers” list. What makes it so inspirational? For one thing: A young Quaid looking Adonis-like in cut-off jean shorts.
1. Traffic (2000)
Even when playing a sleazy high-powered lawyer defending a drug kingpin, Quaid is still charismatic.
2. Frequency (2000)
The movie may be sentimental but Quaid is steadfastly convincing as a ’60s firefighter who can communicate with his grown son in the present day.
3. The Big Easy (1987)
Quaid’s role as a crooked cop who beds his prosecuting A.D.A. (Ellen Barkin) earned him a Spirit Award for Best Actor (and made him a bonafide sex symbol).
4. The Rookie (2002)
Quaid has amassed his fair share of roles as ballplayers of all kinds, but his turn as a 39-year-old pitcher who makes the big league hits a home run.
5. In Good Company (2004)
All of Quaid’s inner pain is hilariously palpable as an aging ad salesman whose 26-year-old boss (Topher Grace) is sleeping with his daughter (Scarlett Johansson).
Don’t miss another great Quaid performance in Yours, Mine & Ours on Thu., Dec. 6 at 9/8c.