Ted Levine is mother f*cking national treasure and if you don't agree, then I will fight you.
I wasn't sure how to start this and how much I wanted to ease you into my feelings on Ted Levine, so I settled on not burying the lead. Here is a short list of just some of the things that Ted Levine has given to all of us.
Ted Levine Voice (TLV)
Made tucking your junk known to everyone, not just teenage boys
"was she a great big fat person"
Gave Q Lazzarus a hit single/career
Let women know to never help a guy with that voice lift furniture into his van
Bullet (more on this later)
This barely scratches the surface on the greatness of this man and I'm not sure how to make this any clearer than it already is, but I'm going to try. Here are the my 3 favorite things that Ted Levine has given to us over the years.
Ted Levine Voice
The average movie fan will only know Ted (yes, I feel like we are on a first name basis) from Silence of the Lambs and nothing else. The movie fanatic gets super excited to see him in another role because that voice he used as Buffalo Bill are just those naturally brilliant Levine pipes. One of the simple joys that Ted has given me over the years is settling in to watch a movie for the first time and hearing him talk in another role. That is also part of his brilliance as an actor, because I immediately hear "Would you f*ck me?" when he starts talking, but he still pulls me in as a completely different character. Wildly different roles too, from the extremely underrated role of Jake in the movie Georgia to the fact that Ted Levine was in Flubber with Robin Williams! Freaking Flubber, man!
He is an amazing actor and if you haven't realized that by now then look again. He is the only reason that I ever randomly tuned into Monk. I was immediately able to pick him out as Sinestro in the early 2000's Justice League animated series. He was just as good in Ali as he was Wild Wild West, which incidentally he had the terrific name of General "Bloodbath" McGrath. He is always solid and that voice gives you an extra smile, no matter what movie you see him in.
This is the best Ted Levine acting performance that I have ever seen, but no, you have not seen this movie. What I hope that you do after reading this is find this movie (not easy to do) and watch it in all of it's glory. It stars Mickey Rourke, who also wrote the movie under the pen name 'Sir' Eddie Cook (not a joke), and no I have no idea what he was thinking. The supporting cast is Adrien Brody (back in 1996 when Adrien Brody wasn't a thing), Tupac (!!!), and Ted Levine. All of that is true and I made none of it up. It is delightfully terrible and I mean that in the best way.
Our boy Teddy plays crazy war veteran Louis Stein and destroys the scenery for the entire movie. The words "my hemorrhoids bleed for you" and "I don't want to change my underwears" were spoken by him in this movie and he could not be any better as a full on delusional crazy person. The movie itself is very obviously written by Mickey Rourke (not a good thing) and could have very well just been him watching himself masturbate for 90 minutes, but Levine is brilliant and the rest is worth seeing in a glorious train wreck kind of way.
Silence of the Lambs is in the top ten comedies of all time
I acknowledge that Silence of the Lambs was very intense and scary when it came out in 1991. I also acknowledge that it is an excellent movie with great performances and deserved every single award that it received. All of that being said, this movie is f*cking hilarious and is no longer a drama. Most of that (not all of that) is due to Teddy Levine killing it (pun intended) as Buffalo Bill and bringing dick tucking out of the teenage boy shadows and presenting it to the masses. Myself and SEVERAL of my friend for years have been doing Buffalo Bill impressions for each other and I have to say that mine is strong to quite strong. When he drops the cards from the picture above without saying a word, I laugh harder than I do at most comedies. Lambs has gone from serious drama to intense comedy!
It's more than just Buffalo Bill too, so don't think I'm just picking on his character. The entire sequence of Hannibal Lector escaping is full of things that in the moment were intense, but after you've seen it 24 times becomes hilarious. Dr. Lector has gotten loose in the building and nobody is certain where he is. Immediately they call SWAT to assist and SWAT entails Chris Isaak and the 5'2 sweaty guy who is clearly about to shit his pants going up to find Hannibal. Don't forget about the guy that is running the show either! Sgt. Mustache is on the job and his leadership skills are harnessed directly from that glorious 'stache! That thing is epic!!! Perfect in every way! You can't beat the lethal combination of Sgt. Mustache and SWAT Chris Isaak for comedic value, they are the Martin and Lewis for a new generation! Say what you will about other comedies, but Silence of the Lambs after you've watched it 30 times should be on anyone's top ten list! That starts and ends with Ted Levine, so for everything you have given us over the years, let me be the first to say.
Thank you, Ted Levine
Stephen Balding is the founder of Cinema Soapbox. You can reach him at email@example.com