10 Forgotten Matt Damon Performances

10 forgotten Matt Damon performances

Matt Damon is one of the best A-list actors in Hollywood.  He has been nominated 3 times for an Oscar. Twice as lead actor for The Martian and Good Will Hunting and once for supporting actor for Invictus.  Damon has also won an Oscar for his Good Will Hunting screenplay, so he is obviously a multitalented man.  Few actors have the ability to be an international action star, a brooding dramatic performer, and a hilarious comedian.  It is almost impossible to think of another one of his caliber. In years past, Damon has become synonymous with iconic roles such as Jason Bourne, Colin Sullivan in The Departed, and Linus Caldwell in the Ocean’s 11 franchise.  However, he’s had many other wonderful roles that people may have forgotten about; roles that aren’t as huge and flashy as the ones listed above.  Below are 10 Matt Damon roles that prove what a versatile actor he is, and they are roles that have been kind of lost to the Hollywood ether.

Mike McDermott in Rounders (1998)

Matt Damon’s performance in this poker drama is one of his most subtle, and it is kind of its genius.  Edward Norton is his weaselly partner, Worm. John Turturro is his stereotypical friend and mentor. John Malkovich is the absurdly flamboyant Russian villain.  With all that scenery chewing, it falls on Damon to play it straight and keep things grounded. He succeeds admirably. To watch Mike navigate around this seedy underworld while trying to keep his nose clean is a lot of fun.   When he has hit rock-bottom and has to go to Martin Landau for a loan. Heartbreaking!

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Rannulph Junuh in The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)

If you can get past the potentially problematic title character, there is Matt Damon’s Rannulph Junuh. Junuh is a former golfer and former soldier, the latter of which has caused him to turn to booze and gambling.  His ex, Charlize Theron’s Adele, owns a golf course and wants Junuh to represent the town in a winner-take-all tournament that also includes Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen. The only thing that makes this film palatable is Damon, because it is inspiring to watch him pull himself out of the gutter and rediscover his love of the game.  Sure, Robert Redford admirably directs this beautiful film, but Damon is the star.

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Dr. Mann in Interstellar (2014)

If cinephiles rank Christopher Nolan’s films, many of them would put his 2014 space epic near the bottom of the list.  It is a shame because it is a pretty gorgeous meditation that Stanley Kubrick would be proud of. Few remember though, that Matt Damon makes a surprise appearance as a very important character in the film.  Yes, that is a spoiler, but four years is enough time.  McConaughey & Hathaways’ characters happen upon the often discussed Dr. Mann on his potentially colonizable planet, only for the audience to realize it’s Damon. Soon after he is awakened from cryostasis, he becomes a saboteur and eventually causes the crew to lose 51 years in their voyage.  Damon is one of the only actors alive who the instant he arrives on screen, he emulates the gravitas needed to be a world-famous scientist. He also has the ability to become sympathetically demonized and not just a plot device for the crew of the Endurance.

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Texas Ranger LaBeouf in True Grit (2010)

This Coen Brothers western was nominated for 10 Oscars.  Most of its prestige came from Jeff Bridge’s Rooster Cogburn, Hailee Steinfeld’s breakout performance, and the always amazing Coen direction.  However, it must be remembered that Matt Damon gives a hell of a performance opposite Bridges. While Bridges is outrageously over-the-top, Damon plays LaBeouf as an enigmatic, subtly dangerous law man who you are not sure you should turn your back on.  Cogburn is a huge character, but the balance that Damon brought to the film was essential.

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Bob Tenor in Stuck on You (2003)

The Farrelly Brothers were never as off the wall as they were when they made this conjoined twins comedy.  They stuck Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear together as twins, and only giving one the acting bug. It is so sublimely ridiculous but the pair pull it off.  Kinnear is Walt, the confident, extroverted brother that is so positive he fails to recognize when people are making fun of him and his brother. Damon plays Bob with a vulnerability that injects nearly all the heart into the film.  The Farrellys consistently make us laugh throughout the movie, like when a TV show is trying to keep Bob off screen while filming Walt’s sitcom. But it is Damon who brings it all down to Earth. His shyness around his internet crush and his support and love for his brother can almost bring a tear to your eye.  If Damon didn’t keep the absurdity close to his chest, the entire premise could come across as disrespectful. As it is, it is pretty heartwarming.

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Loki in Dogma (1999)

Not quite the best Kevin Smith film, but the one that showcased how mature he had become as a filmmaker.  The ever-paired together since Good Will Hunting, Ben Affleck & Matt Damon portray two fallen angels.  They have been kicked out of heaven and relegated to Wisconsin.  Recently, they were clued into the fact that a new New Jersey church will allow them to re-enter God’s dominion.  On their cross-country trip, the pair causes a bit of mayhem. Affleck is Bartleby, who is the omniscient angel.  Damon is Loki, the Lord’s former sword of vengeance, who eagerly takes up his former mantle get back in God’s good graces. To watch the pair go through the commandment-breaking boardroom of the Mooby’s corporation is a delight.  Damon can really pull off a line like I don’t believe in voodoo…but I do believe in this while he slaughters everyone.  It doesn’t matter that his partner-in-crime gives him crap about it.

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Mark Whitacre in The Informant! (2009)

If you have yet to see Steven Soderbergh’s glorious farce about a whistleblower in the big agriculture business, you must.  If is probably the greatest performance on this list.  Matt Damon portrays Mark Whitacre, a man who is privy to some price fixing scams his company is partaking in. He goes to the FBI with his information, though with his massive 6-figure salary, the agents can’t understand why.  As the story progresses, and Whitaker becomes more unraveled, the laughs just keep coming and coming. Soderbergh populates his movie with a bunch of comedians like Patton Oswalt, Tony Hale, Joel McHale, and Paul F. Tompkins. However, Damon is the hilarious star of this one.  He is a man who wonders about the most random things and is desperate to live a James Bondian life. Though, everyone around him is constantly trying to understand him and trying to put him in jail. It is wonderful.

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Lead Singer Donny in Eurotrip (2004)

There isn’t anything too special about this comedy from 2004, but is has its moments. However, if anything great comes from this movie, it is definitely Matt Damon’s brilliant cameo.  At first, it seems almost irrelevant.  Damon comes out on-stage at a graduation party, full of tattoos and face piercings. Then, he starts singing the song Scotty Doesn’t Know.  Scotty has just been dumped by his girlfriend and this skinhead punk is singing, in very elaborate details, about how she was cheating on him. It is a hysterical song, and its callbacks throughout the film are inspired.  Damon’s absurd, alpha male personna really drives it home as he is the polar opposite of poor Scotty.

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Matt Damon in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)

If there is a single thing in Matt Damon’s filmography that will make you love him, it is his self-parody in Kevin Smith’s fan-service extravaganza.  Jay and Silent Bob are out to stop a movie from being made about them at Miramax. While they traipse around the backlot in a Pee Wee’s Big Adventure style romp, they wind up on the set for Good Will Hunting 2: Hunting Season.  To watch Damon and Affleck so perfectly skewer the roles that put them on the map is hilarious.  Lion Face…RAH!! Lemon Face…EWWWW!!

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Cameos in Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and Deadpool 2 (2018)

Finally, proving that Matt Damon is a Cameo virtuoso, he was in two recent Marvel films. Early on in Thor Ragnarok, Thor returns to Asgard with Surtur’s crown.  He finds his father, Odin (Loki in disguise), enjoying an opulent theater fluff-piece showcasing how Loki sacrificed himself for his brother.  When the camera focuses in on the dying Loki, the actor is revealed to be Matt Damon made up to look like Tom Hiddleston. It is a hysterical cameo that plays off how Matt Damon is one of the most respected actors in the universe.  Only the best for Loki. Then there’s Damon’s second blink-and-you’ll miss it cameo is in Deadpool 2.  When Cable first arrives from the future, he happens upon two rednecks chatting about toilet paper.  One is pretty obviously Alan Tudyk. The other is unrecognizable but listed as Dickie Greenleaf in the credits.  Do you know who Dickie Greenleaf is? He is the character that Matt Damon killed and impersonated in The Talented Mr. Ripley.  He may be incognito, but it is pretty funny.

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