5.) Armageddon (1998) He’s a driller who gets space dementia! I think this says it all.
4.) Airheads (1994) Quite a ridiculous movie, but sometimes it’s hard to resist the cheese factor. Buscemi plays Rex, the bassist of the up-start band The Lone Rangers who get the bright idea to hijack a radio station with Uzi water guns filled with pepper sauce. As a member of a post-grunge thrash band (or “power slop” as the characters agree), Buscemi is again in a minor yet insanely fun role. It’s a fun movie with loud music and rock and roll winning in the end. “Oedipus” Rex, as he dubs himself, just adds to the party.
3.) Con Air (1997) Buscemi is again cast in a small, yet rather deranged, part. In Con Air, he boards the soon-to-be-rioted prisoner plane as Garland Greene, aka “The Marietta Manger”. The sheer contrast between the convicts going mad with power and this gruesome serial killer sitting mildly is astounding. Buscemi works “creepy" very well, and this is a great example. Though I usually stay miles away from the Jerry Bruckheimer explosions-and-crashes sort of film, Nicholas Cage’s horrible Southern drawl and Steve Buscemi’s calm killer character keep me coming back to this one.
2.) Ghost World (2001) This is another role in which Buscemi could have abused the “vaguely creepy” card (especially involving a relationship with a much younger woman), but comes across as more real than anything. Not only is he very organic in Ghost World, but it’s also beautifully shot and casted well all-around. Finally, he gets more screen time as the straight-laced collector Seymour.
1.) Fargo (1996) While definitely one of my favorite movies for a number of reasons (great writing, intimate soundtrack, stark cinematography…), Fargo is made all the better by Buscemi’s secondary role. He plays Carl Showalter, the nimble and nervous “kidnapper” who seems to mess up at every turn. Deadpan yet somehow comic, Showalter seems to be the awkward sidekick of the criminal pair; He fails to bribe a cop, lashes out and kills someone when things go wrong, and annoys the living hell out of his beyond-stoic partner. Buscemi makes the character all the more real with every screeched obscenity and motor-mouthed mistake.
Whether he’s a smooth or not-so-smooth criminal, a main character or barely a cameo, the mere presence of Steve Buscemi makes a film all the more likable to me. Four of the movies listed are also titled among my favorites. He’s just so good at getting into the little roles and making them his own. Fargo becomes even more realistic by not having everything go as planned, with half-cocked schemes and a very rattled conman. Ghost World, already quirky, gets a pull back to the sedentary and saddened norm with Seymour. The explosions and lengthy chase scenes in Con Air grow palatable when viewed in the context of Garland Greene’s apparently selective sanity. Buscemi gets these guys and that twist of the character’s perception makes for a great film.
The Wedding Singer (1996)
Pulp Fiction (1994) (As a Buddy Holly server in the restaurant)
The Big Lebowski (1998) Shut up Donny.
Billy Madison (1995) (As the uncredited Danny McGraff)