RANKED! Thanos Who? The 7 Best Josh Brolin Performances
Photo: Scott Rudin Productions
In the wake of his performances as Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame as well as Cable in Deadpool 2, it is likely that Josh Brolin’s stock has never been higher. But even these massively popular mass-market performances don’t come close to the best of his work.
Mandatory GIFs of the Week: Thanos Edition
Even Denis Villeneuve’s highly-anticipated Dune may not be Brolin’s best. He’s simply that good at what he does. When he teams with truly talented directors, he makes history. Here are Brolin’s seven best films to date.
7. 'Sicario: Day of the Soldado'
Sicario: Day of the Soldado is a far cry from its predecessor. It struggles in part because Emily Blunt’s FBI agent Kate Macer, the protagonist and moral center of the original film is absent. In addition, Denis Villeneuve’s skilled directorial hand is replaced by relative unknown Sergio Sollimo. But the vacuum left by these two absences gives Brolin and Benicio del Toro more room to shine in their respective roles as U.S. government operative Matt Graver and his mysterious and deadly ally Alejandro Gillick. For that, we can all be thankful.
6. 'The Goonies'
The Goonies is a bona fide classic. It continues to be a beloved cult film about adventure, friendship, overcoming adversity and coming of age. The film was Brolin’s breakout role as a jock older brother who finds himself along for the ride in his little brother's search for treasure that may or may not exist.
The Denis Villeneuve-directed Sicario is a careful and deliberate parable of the emotional and physical casualties of a the messy war on drugs, from which no one’s hands are clean. Brolin’s contribution to the Emily Blunt-led film is key. He was lauded for the role, and rightfully so.
4. 'True Grit'
Joel and Ethan Coen made in their own image the story of a 14-year-old girl out for revenge on her father’s killer with a U.S. Marshall in tow. Hailee Steinfeld shines in her breakout performance as Mattie, holding her own against seasoned heavy hitters like Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, and Brolin himself as the killer of Mattie’s father whom she tracks across the untamed American wilderness.
3. 'Hail Caesar!'
The Coen brothers and Brolin are a match made in heaven. In the chaos of the Golden Age of Hollywood, tabloid stories are abound. It is the job of one man, Eddie Mannix (Brolin), to keep the stories of celebrity from the press. In his line of work, he deals with many high-maintenance classical Hollywood characters played by the likes of George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ralph Fiennes and Alden Ehrenreich. It is one of the most entertaining films of the Coen brothers work to date, with no small part due to Brolin.
2. 'Inherent Vice'
Who better to translate Thomas Pynchon's far-out novel to film than Paul Thomas Anderson? Joaquin Phoenix is funny as all get-out as the drug-addled private detective Doc Sportello. Brolin, for his part, plays LAPD detective "Bigfoot" Bjornsen. His clean-cut, flat-topped lawman makes for a pitch-perfect counterbalance to Phoenix's haplessness.
1. 'No Country for Old Men'
No Country for Old Men is a modern masterpiece. Joel and Ethan Coen adapted Cormac McCarthy's intriguing novel into a flawless entry to the neo-Western canon. Javier Bardem gives a career-best performance as the brutal criminal-with-a-code Anton Chigurh and Tommy Lee Jones is as good as ever in his role as the aging Sheriff Ed Tom Bell, but Brolin takes the cake. He, as Llewelyn Moss, gives the fantastic film its compelling momentum.