Top 25 SNL Alumni Performances: Numbers 15-11

My top 25 personal favorite cinematic performances by the alumni of Saturday Night Live continues with part 3 covering numbers 15-11! If you missed the first two posts, you can find them right here:

Let’s get to it!

15. Dan Aykroyd & John Belushi, The Blues Brothers (1980)

This is the first spin-off movie from the show and it’s certainly one of the best. Aykroyd and Belushi sold out stadiums with their musical act and their car chase friendly comedy was a major box office success as they embarked on their mission from God.

14. Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems (2019)

Now is the time to address what many might consider to be oversights on the list. This is the only Sandler entry. That’s right – no Billy Madison or Happy Gilmore or The Wedding Singer or any of his other blockbusters. While I certainly admire some of his work in those features, my Sandler preferences lie with his rare dramatic work. I could have given the nod to 2002’s Punch-Drunk Love, but last year’s Gems absolutely floored me and I believe it represents his best performance yet on the big screen.

13. Bill Murray, Lost in Translation (2003)

Speaking of comedic actors doing less humorous work, Murray nabbed his only Oscar nomination here. The Sofia Coppola directed critically acclaimed pic perfectly pairs its star with Scarlett Johansson and is further evidence of just how versatile Murray is. And he’s not done on this list…

12. Chevy Chase, Caddyshack (1980)

Be the ball.

At his best, no one pulls off smarmy charm better than Mr. Chase. I could have gone with Fletch as the selection, but he’s at his smarmy peak in this now revered classic.

11. Christopher Guest, Waiting for Guffman (1997)

Guest was only on SNL for one season alongside Billy Crystal and Martin Short. He had already starred in the fantastic mockumentary This is Spinal Tap, which set the standard for that type of film. Guest would go on to direct his own treasured pics in the genre including Best in Show and A Mighty Wind. As far as his own performances, my favorite is his dedicated community theater director Corky St. Clair.

We’ll get to the top ten in short order! Until then…

This Day in Movie History: February 10

19 years ago Today in Movie History – February 10 – Billy Madison debuted in theaters and kick started “SNL” star Adam Sandler’s profitable movie career. It would debut at #1 with a decent $6.6 million on its way to a $25.5 million domestic gross. However, Sandler’s back to school comedy would go onto become a massive cult favorite. Since Madison, Sandler has headlined 14 pictures that grossed over $100 million stateside with a lifetime total of over $2 billion in earnings.

As for birthdays, Laura Dern turns 47 today. The actress and daughter of Bruce Dern was first seen in Mask and David Lynch’s groundbreaking Blue Velvet. She would continue her work with Lynch alongside Nicolas Cage in Wild at Heart, earn an Oscar nomination in 1991 for Rambling Rose, and costar in the giant dino hit Jurassic Park. Since then, Dern has mostly popped up indie flicks and the occasional mainstream entry. They include A Perfect World, Citizen Ruth, October Sky, We Don’t Live Here Anymore, and her acclaimed turn as Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris in HBO’s “Recount”.

Elizabeth Banks is the big 4-0 today. Known mostly for comedies, Banks has turned up in numerous films over the past few years and she first gained major notice as freaky Beth in The 40 Yr. Old Virgin. Prior to that, she was seen in the Spider-Man trilogy, Catch Me If You Can, and Seabiscuit. Lately, she’s been a part of the massively successful Hunger Games franchise that will continue into 2015. Other notable pictures: Zack and Miri Make a Porno, W., Role Models, and Pitch Perfect. It was just announced that Banks will make her directorial debut with the Pitch Perfect sequel, in which she’ll also appear.

As for Six Degrees of Separation between the two ladies:

Laura Dern was in Little Fockers with Ben Stiller

Ben Stiller was in Tower Heist with Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy was in Meet Dave with Elizabeth Banks

And that’s today – February 10 – in Movie History!