I want to start this by saying thank you. I am fully aware that Tim Curry is alive and sexier than ever, so this is in no way an "In Memorium" article. This is a "holy shit Tim Curry has given us decades of excellence and we want to say thank you" article. Nothing more and nothing less. You'd be hard pressed to find an actor that can transform into a character, while still being uniquely him, while also having more straight up charisma than Tim Curry. The first thing that brought Mr. Curry (which I call him out of respect and fear) to my attention was The Hunt for Red October and I have been rolling with him ever since. I distinctly remember seeing him in Rocky Horror as a teenager and every few months I'll look up this video just to watch him set the scenery on fire.
One of the greatest compliments that I can think for an actor is that you couldn't picture anyone else in a role. It's why I like to think of every performance in terms of "could anyone have done that better" when I get done seeing it for the first time. You can't think of anyone that could have played this part any better. Tim Curry has to much swagger that he makes that outfit somehow cool. I'm not sure if this is the role you think of first when he comes to mind, but it's hard to top it in terms of staying power.
So as a way to say thank you, I wanted to run through my favorite performances of his 47 year career. Please note that IT is not on this list because I can't watch it. I assume it's fucking terrifying and he is great in it. Please save your emails because I'm not going to see it.
This scene makes me laugh every single time that I see it and I've seen it so many times. Mr. Curry's perfect delivery of "Alright, I'm shouting" gets me every time. There is so much to love about this movie, but out of all of the performances, his is portrayal of Wadsworth is what holds it together. That isn't something you say lightly about Clue because the reason it is a cult classic is because there are some comedy heavyweights here. I'm a sucker for good casting and everyone here is perfect from top to bottom. Out of all of these heavy hitter though, Tim Curry is the best in every single scene he is in. When he explains how the murder takes place it is a straight up comedic acting clinic!
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
I understand that there are 228 credits on Mr. Curry's IMDB, several of which could be considered better movies, but Home Alone is life for me! The first Home Alone hit me at the perfect age and by the time the 2nd movie rolled around I was ready for it like teenage girls were ready for a NKOTB concert. If you look at the end credits, Tim Curry is listed 17th (!!!!) behind all of the deadbeats who left Kevin alone again. I watch this movie every single year and so do many of my friends and every one of them quote Tim Curry more than anything else. He is the funniest part of this movie and when you watch it now it could be considered a master class.
This scene is one of many scenes where he is the best part of. I have sent several screenshots of his face with the caption "I love you, sir' to friends and without missing a beat I get a picture of the Grinch back. I can't even say pizza today without thinking about how the concept of pizza was made to seem so foreign to him when he said it in the movie. If I ever got the chance to talk to Tim Curry, this is one of the first things I would ask him about....well the movie and how everyone felt about Michael Jackson visiting a 12 year old boy on a movie set. Never forget that Michael Jackson was extremely talented and also weird as fuck.
What impresses me about this movie now, is the fact that Tim Curry posses the ability and talent to go from Clue and that comedic performance to playing Darkness in the very next movie and show the dramatic ability that he does. Darkness doesn't get enough credit as one of the best characters of all time and you can imagine the number of hours spent in a chair getting that look right. If something like this were to happen today, then 90% of it would be CGI, but this is all Tim Curry in a costume, but still emoting nuance and brilliance from behind it. That kind of talent shouldn't be possessed by one person, but Tim Curry can go from Clue to Legend and both of them are better because of him. This might be his most impressive performance knowing the level of difficulty that was behind it. Hat tip to you sir, bravo.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
I understand that I'm not breaking new ground here by showing appreciation for this movie and Tim Curry's performance in it. It has to be included though, because for all of the success and longevity that it has, that is 100% because Tim Curry didn't hold back as the lead character. Everything and everyone else plays off of Frank'n'Furter, so if he didn't show up, then the movie fails. I'm sure he wasn't told that going in, but it's true and he not only showed up, he set everything on fire. People all over the place still dress up as these characters and act out the movie in front of the movie. Can you imagine another movie where that would even kind of be a thing? They are doing that in 2017 for a movie that came out in 1975 and none of that happens without Tim Curry. This was his feature film debut and I can't think of another debut that so very much set the tone for the rest of a career.
Stephen Balding is the founder of Cinema Soapbox. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org