January 22:Observe The Anniversary of Heath Ledger’s Death with These Terrific Performances

January 22 is the anniversary of the death of Heath Ledger. Ledger went out of this world with a malevolent grin painted across his face that no one will ever forget. His interpretation of the Joker in “The Dark Knight” brought him a well deserved posthumous Academy Award. Some might argue that his greatest performance was overlooked at the Oscars just a few years earlier. Such was Ledger’s talent that he could even make an otherwise utterly worthless film worth watching. Celebrate the memory of a great talent take too early from the stage with these interesting performances by Heath Ledger that are less showy than the Joker.

Lords of Dogtown

It took me a few minutes to even recognize Heath Ledger was the guy playing the kind of semi-tragic character he assays in this narrative version of the acclaimed documentary about those Dogtown surfers and skateboarders. Despite the fake teeth, I should have recognized him immediately since it is by far the single most interesting performance of the movie. Heath Ledger should probably have nabbed a Supporting Actor Oscar nod for “Lords of Dogtown” because he so fully inhabits this character that you might normally expect to see a guy like Matthew McConaughey play. I admit to not knowing much about Ledger’s personal biography, but he doesn’t seem to be the laid back slacker type that he so fully engages in the person of Skip. The tiny little scene in which Skip has lost everything and is reduced to waxing boards for someone else includes a little bit of business for Ledger involving Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May” that is a perfect example of Ledger’s ability to make something from nothing.

The Brothers Grimm

Speaking of making something from nothing. Once again, I failed to recognize that Heath Ledger was in the movie until some time in. I recognized the guy who wasn’t the unendurably tedious Matt Damon as the only-the absolutely only-thing about “The Brothers Grimm” that isn’t completely awful. “The Brothers Grimm” would be a qualifier for the worst movie of the 21st century were it not partially redeemed by the agonizingly bizarre ability of Heath Ledger to penetrate through the pointless screenplay, jaw-droppingly awful special effects and paradigmatically enigmatic example of why Terry Gilliam is one of the most overrated directors in history to give a memorable performance.

Brokeback Mountain

He may have won his Oscar for “The Dark Knight” but there are some who would argue that the zenith of Heath Ledger’s short career came in “Brokeback Mountain.” You can’t argue against Philip Seymour Hoffman’s win for “Capote.” Hey, it was an unusually robust year for acting in this millennium! But if you have been scared away from watching “Brokeback Mountain” because, oh, you are some sort of freakishly stupid homophobe…grow up! Sheesh, quit being a Santorum, behave like a mature adult and enjoy acting at its finest this January 22 as you celebrate the memory of an actor who was to his profession everything that John Gibson is not to his.

For more from Timothy Sexton on Heath Ledger, check out:

John Gibson Mocks Heath Ledger’s Death

Will Heath Ledger Become the Next James Dean

“The Brothers Grimm” is Grim Indeed

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