Kevin Spacey Movies List: Best Kevin Spacey Movies Of All Time

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There are a few rules. We left out anything that Spacey directed or produced but did not actually star in. Same with documentaries, such as Al Pacino’s Looking For Richard, which analyzes Shakespeare’s Richard III (and features Spacey performing assorted scenes). We also left out the handful of short films made as part of a promotional competition with Jameson Irish Whiskey because the idea is too close to just being a commercial. Finally, focusing on film also (sadly) means no TV movies or series, like his acclaimed turn in House of Cards.

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With that in mind, here are Paste’s picks for the greatest Kevin Spacey performances, ranked worst to best.

45. Father of Invention

Director: Trent Cooper Year: 2010

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Inventor and infomercial king Robert Axle’s latest product is a doozy: an “ab clicker” machine that lets you change TV channels while doing crunches. Trouble is, it also slices off fingers, which results in Axle (Spacey) getting sent to prison. When he emerges as a parolee eight years later, he’s on a newfound mission to reconnect with the people in his life, beginning with his wife and daughter, relationships he couldn’t maintain while at the top of his game as a modern day snake oil salesman. Coming in here at the bottom of the list, Spacey isn’t awful in Father of Invention, but by 2010, we’ve seen it all before: Spacey as a charming megalomaniac, Spacey as a slippery salesman crafting a tale, Spacey as a down-and-out loner. He hits a variety of notes, but all of them ring hollow. And just like watching an infomercial, we tune out.

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44. Dad

Director: Gary David Goldberg Year: 1989

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You know the story: A businessman, who often neglects family for career, has to suddenly take care of his terminally ill father, which forces the two to reconcile. Along the way, the businessman learns how to become a better father himself. This melodrama (and others like it) dominated the box office through the late ’80s and early ’90s. Spacey has a minor supporting role in this as Mario, the soft-spoken son-in-law. He’s not bad in the role, but he doesn’t really do much.

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43. Heartburn

Director: Mike Nichols Year: 1986

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Spacey began his Hollywood career here, accomplishing no less than holding Meryl Streep at gunpoint. As a thug riding the subway (strangely, Sylvester Stallone started his film career in much the same way, as a thug in Woody Allen’s 1971 project, Bananas), Spacey’s character first offers his seat on the subway to Streep’s character, then he follows her off the train to a group therapy session, where he robs everybody at gunpoint. It’s a quick scene that’s almost comical, between his own awkward entrance and shooting a picture off the wall that another therapy attendee remarks as having “always hated” anyway. It takes a moment for Streep’s character to get her wedding ring off her finger, an ironic bit in a film about a woman who eventually leaves her cheating husband.

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