Top 25 SNL Alumni Movie Performances: Numbers 20-16

My list of the top 25 personal favorite big screen performances by Saturday Night Live alumni brings us to the second post encompassing numbers 20-16. If you missed part one of the series, you can find it right here:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2020/06/21/top-25-snl-alumni-movie-performances-numbers-25-21/

Today’s list brings us three performers that we will see again in future editions as we move up the chart as well as a versatile and twice Oscar nominated actress and a star that we lost just as his film career was blossoming.

Let’s get to it!

20. Chris Farley, Tommy Boy (1995)

The boundless energy of Mr. Farley was certainly best encapsulated in his first major starring role alongside fellow cast member David Spade. His follow-up comedies Black Sheep, Beverly Hills Ninja, and Almost Heroes didn’t nearly match the quality of what we witnessed here. Farley’s 1997 death will always leave us wondering how his cinematic trajectory would have gone.

19. Joan Cusack, School of Rock (2003)

Cusack only was on SNL for one highly forgettable season (1985-86). However, her career has been a triumph of mostly supporting roles since. She earned Oscar nods for both Working Girl and In & Out, but my personal favorite is the uptight principal trying to reign in Jack Black’s substitute teacher here.

18. Bill Murray, Ghostbusters (1984)

Murray’s first appearance on the list is from this quintessential 80s landmark feature that shows him at his smarmy and often charming best. Ghostbusters solidified his leading man status and was a preview of more amazing work to come.

17. Will Ferrell, Elf (2003)

Ferrell has perfected portraying both the lovable doofus and the arrogant doofus. His performance as Buddy the Elf is the former and probably the best example in this already beloved Christmas classic.

16. Eddie Murphy, Trading Places (1983)

It it hard to name a more amazing one-two-three start to a movie career than Murphy’s with 48 Hrs., Trading Places, and Beverly Hills Cop. I could have chosen any of them , but Places has always been my slight favorite in the trio. Spoiler alert: Eddie is not done on this list.

And there you have it! I’ll be back with numbers 15-11 in short order…

2019: The Year of Eddie Murphy and Adam Sandler

One of the welcome cinematic storylines of 2019 involves two beloved Saturday Night Live vets who accomplished some of their finest film work, have garnered Oscar attention, and both returned to the show that made them after many years away.

I’m referring to Eddie Murphy and Adam Sandler and they both get spots in my Year of 2019 posts. Murphy had been absent from the silver screen since 2016’s drama Mr. Church. Over the past several years, he was known more for his family comedies then the raunchy comedian that sold out stadiums in the 1980s. 2019 saw a return to form with Netflix’s Dolemite Is My Name, his critically hailed recounting of Rudy Ray Moore’s contributions to movies. The pic has given Murphy his best reviews since 2006’s Dreamgirls and gotten him back into the Oscar conversation. We also witnessed the legendary performer host SNL for the first time in 35 years. 2020 will showcase Murphy returning to stand-up (something he hasn’t done since the late 1980s) and reprising his Prince Akeem character and others in Coming 2 America, which again teams him with Netflix and Dolemite director Craig Brewer.

Mr. Sandler also hit the 30 Rock building to headline SNL. He hadn’t been back in that role since being fired from the show in the mid 90s and embarking on his own wildly successful film career. The SNL gig saw him perform a humorous and touching tribute to cast mate Chris Farley. His partnership with Netflix includes this year’s Murder Mystery with Jennifer Aniston. There’s already a sequel planned for it. And the critical kudos came with crime thriller Uncut Gems, which opens wide on Christmas. That pic, from directors Ben and Josh Safdie, has Sandler picking up awards precursors and, like Murphy, in the mix for Academy attention. He’ll return to his preferred streaming service next year with Hubie Halloween.

For SNL, 2019 will be remembered as a time when two of their most famous alumni returned. For Murphy and Sandler, it’s a time when they gave us some of the most memorable onscreen work.

Top 25 SNL Cast Members of All Time: Nos. 10-6

We have entered the Top Ten of my personal list of Top 25 Saturday Night Live cast members of all time! To peruse my three previous posts covering numbers 25-11, click the following links:

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/03/08/top-25-snl-cast-members-of-all-time-nos-25-21/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/03/09/top-25-snl-cast-members-of-all-time-nos-20-16/

https://toddmthatcher.com/2014/03/09/top-25-snl-cast-members-of-all-time-nos-15-11/

Let’s get to it, shall we?

10. Chevy Chase

http://screen.yahoo.com/chevy-chase-first-ford-impression-000000832.html

9. Darrell Hammond

https://screen.yahoo.com/celebrity-jeopardy-sean-connery-anne-000000916.html

8. Gilda Radner

http://screen.yahoo.com/gilda-radner-snl-skits/

7. Dana Carvey

http://screen.yahoo.com/church-chat-reincarnation-000000141.html

6. Chris Farley

Ladies and gents, I’ll brings you to my top five tomorrow!

This Day in Movie History: February 15

23 years ago Today in Movie History – February 15 – Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs debuted in theaters and would earn its reputation as one of the greatest thrillers of all time. The picture would take in $13.7 million in its debut weekend and eventually earn $130 million domestically. Oscar voters would shower Lambs the following year with Best Picture, Director, Actor (Anthony Hopkins), and Actress (Jodie Foster). Even though he was only onscreen for 16 minutes, Hopkins’ performance as Hannibal Lecter would represent one of the most memorable screen villains in history. Sequels would follow years later with Hannibal, Red Dragon, and Hannibal Rising.

As for birthdays, today would have marked Chris Farley’s big 5-0. The performer had a fantastic run on “Saturday Night Live” before translating his stardom into film with Tommy Boy, Black Sheep, and Beverly Hills Ninja. Farley died of a drug overdose in 1997.

Jane Seymour is 63 today. Known more for her extensive TV credits, she was a Bond girl alongside Roger Moore in 1973’s Live and Let Die. More recently she was Christopher Walken’s excitable wife in the 2005 hit comedy Wedding Crashers.

As for Six Degrees of Separation between them:

Chris Farley was in Wayne’s World 2 with Christopher Walken

Christopher Walken was in Wedding Crashers with Jane Seymour

And that’s today – February 15 – in Movie History!

This Day in Movie History: January 17

17 years ago Today in Movie History – January 17 – marked the release of Beverly Hills Ninja with Chris Farley, which topped the box office charts over MLK weekend with a decent $12 million. The critically reviled comedy would gross approximately the same as Farley’s previous vehicles Tommy Boy and Black Sheep. However, those pictures would go onto being considered much better uses for the star’s talent. Less than a year after Ninja‘s debut, Farley would die of a drug overdose. His final movie, Almost Heroes with Matthew Perry, would premiere in May 1998 to lackluster results. Ninja‘s director Dennis Dugan, who had directed Adam Sandler the year prior in Happy Gilmore, would team up with him many more times. His features include Big Daddy, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, the two Grown Ups pics, Just Go With It, and Jack and Jill.

As for birthdays, Jim Carrey is 52 today. He broke out in the early 90s on “In Living Color” and in 1994 would make a hugely successful transition to the silver screen. That year alone, he starred in megahits Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, and Dumb and Dumber. He would play the Riddler in Batman Forever and have other massive comedic blockbusters like Liar Liar and Bruce Almighty. His occasional transitions into drama have worked out well (The Truman Show, Man on the Moon) and not so well (The Majestic, The Letter 23). Lately, box office hits have been hard to find for Carrey but this November’s Dumb and Dumber To could change that.

Zooey Deschanel is 34 today. She’s costarred with Will Ferrell in the now holiday classic Elf and had the unfortunate privilege of appearing in M. Night Shyamalan’s 2008 bomb The Happening alongside Mark Wahlberg. Her most acclaimed role was with Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 2009’s 500 Days of Summer. Lately, Deschanel has set movies aside and stars in her own hit FOX sitcom “New Girl”. She sings too!

As for Six Degrees of Separation between the two… quite simple:

Jim Carrey and Zooey Deschanel costarred together in Yes Man

And that’s today – January 17 – in Movie History!