William Fichtner recommendations

I started watching Prison Break this season on a whim, and William Fichtner is blowing me away with his portrayal of Alex Mahone. Somehow he is able to be both intimidating and dangerous and brittle and emotionally vulnerable all at the same time, often during a single line reading. Mesmerizing stuff. Even when he’s not speaking but just standing as part of a group, he thrums with energy and makes me want to pull the camera around so we can see what he’s doing. If I knew nothing about the show, I’d wonder why the writers are laboring over those two wooden bald brothers when this is the interesting guy right here.

Now I want to watch Fichtner’s other performances, but looking over his filmography, I see a number of movies that make me think you’d have to pay me for my time spent (Pearl Harbor, Armageddon), so I’m wondering…any Fichtner fans want to make any recommendations? If he’s really good in the two aforementioned movies, I’ll watch them – I know from Prison Break he can easily rise above the material – but I don’t want to just go in blind, you know?

I’ve already seen Black Hawk Down (and really liked it and remember his performance well) and Crash (and don’t remember him in it at all).

Is Invasion worth renting?

Yes, he’s the best guy on the show for sure! You may want to catch him on The Perfect Storm. Good performance (and kinda cool because he looks EXACTLY like one of the captains on that fishing show Deadliest Catch).

I thought I was the one of five people in the world who watched it, but it turned out there are quite a few fans here at SDMB. **Fichtner **is the big reason to watch the show and he displays the same qualities he’s shown in Prison Break.

The show in itself is good, IMO, but remember, you’re gonna be watching Invasion of the Body Snatchers turned from 90 minute film into 20+ episodes of 43minutes tv show. There’s padding and the mythos is not always consistent.
It would’ve been a great mini series.

I can’t answer about any of those movies, but I just wanted to stop in and say I share your admiration for him. I’ve been a fan since he was on As the World Turns.

He’s uncharacteristicaly gentle as a blind astronomer (I think) in Contact, and I remember him being pretty good in Go.

I believe his film debut was in John Dahl’s movie The Underneath, starring Peter Gallagher. Really not bad for a B-Movie potboiler - Dahl also directed the cult b-movies **Red Rock West with Nic Cage **and The Last Seduction with Linda Fiorentino and Peter Berg…

ATE: Boy I screwed that up - it was directed by Steven Soderbergh - after the success of Sex, Lies… but then he had a low point and came back with The Limey…

I don’t have much to say in the way of recommendations, but I want to chime in on what a good actor Fichtner is. I think he deserves more recognition, but perhaps being a busy working actor might be enough. He’s almost a Kevin Bacon, in that he pops up everywhere. He even has a teeny role in “The Dark Knight”. I enjoyed “Invasion”; if you’re mindful of the flaws going in, you’ll probably enjoy the acting.

He’s got a great role in Go, which is good fun as a whole as well (although the presence of Sarah Polley may be biasing me). He’s also got a small but central part in Equilibrium, which is well worth watching, I thought. Probably not enough of him to be worth it just for his sake, but a genuinely good action movie (and I’d’ve thought if you like Fichtner, you’ll probably like Christian Bale).

Taye Diggs is in both of those movies as well, come to think of it. I like him, too.

Equilibrium would be my suggestion, too. And now I have to dig it out and watch it again. YAY!

I recommend all of his movies, although the ideal order of viewing is only calculable by means of a complex algorithm in which the desirability of the film [D] is directly related to Mr. Fichtner’s screen time [in minutes per film, expressed as Twf/Ttotal], inversely related to how much clothing he’s wearing [C, expressed in % of body covered up on average per minute of screen time], with a bonus if he’s wearing a uniform [Bu] (when he is clothed) or brandishing deadly weapons [Bdw].

The William Fichtner Film Desirability Index:

D = [[Twf/Ttotal]/C] + Bu + Bdw

Another vote for Go, an underated flick. He has a scene where he manages to express a kind of embarresed, angry defensiveness with just a look, and a tone of voice

Fichtner is the rare actor who is not just good but interestingly good in everything he does. You have an excellent eye for having noticed him on a show that does not put him front and center.

And yeah, definitely watch Go.


Thanks, guys! All these recommendations are going into my Netflix queue…as…I…type. :slight_smile: (Contact is first because, Ichbin Dubist, you had me at “uncharacteristically gentle”.) If anyone has anything else to add, please, keep the suggestions coming. I work only part-time now and could happily devote my afternoons to William Fichtner’s Greatest Hits.

Ah, excellent. That’s what I’m loving about his acting in Prison Break. Just the set of his shoulders or a small vocal inflection communicates three different things. Even in his bigger scenes (e.g., a scene where he reconnects with his ex-wife after the murder of their son, and he breaks down in her arms) are done with well-honed restraint and authenticity. It’s the kind of performance that makes me grateful I have TiVo, so I can immediately rewind and watch three times in a row.

For those of you who don’t watch the show, I’d definitely say give it a shot, if only for him. You can watch the episodes online at hulu.com or the Fox website if you don’t want to give up Heroes. :slight_smile:

I think he was the best thing about Grace Under Fire for the short time he was on it. Vulnerable and funny and smart. I couldn’t watch the show after he left because I could never forgive the Grace character for giving him the brush-off.

I’ve enjoyed his stuff ever since, and agree that he’s the best thing about Prison Break, I can’t believe he was such an evil character when he started on the show!

Fourthing, fifthing, sixthing, whatever, Go! It’s a wonderful…well, the only word I can think of to describe it is…mindfuck. It’s all set in one afternoon/evening/next morning, and looks at the events of the night from the point-of-view of the different characters, the main ones being Sarah Polley and Katie Holmes as a couple of looking-to-score-drugs party-girl work friends, Scott Wolf and Jay Mohr as a couple of looking-to-score-drugs losers, William Fincher as an Amway-selling narc, Timothy Olyphant as a scary drug dealer with a heart of gold, and another group of friends who find that they’re in over their heads in Las Vegas. It is a comedy, and a lot of fun, but there are some shocking moments that will make you wonder if you should laugh or be appalled. I love it! It’s directed by Doug Limon, who directed Swingers, and went on to direct the first Bourne movie, and written by John August, who wrote Big Fish and The Corpse Bride. I heartily agree with outlierrn that Go is an underrated movie.

The singular household adores Mr. Fichtner. One of his funniest performances is in Drowning Mona, a woefully overlooked movie with Bette Midler, Jamie Lee Curtis, Casey Affleck and many many more. And he manages to pull off a spot-on New Orleans accent (a feat many actors stumble with so frequently) in Albino Alligator, a tense drama directed by Kevin Spacey, with Matt Dillon, Faye Dunaway, Gary Sinese and Viggo Mortenesen, to name a few. And for just a hoot, catch him as Jon Heder’s decadent adoptive father in Blades of Glory!

I disagree. Somewhat.
He was a very conflicted character at the beginning, leaning towards the dark side. Now he’s one of the good guys, but I think he’s portrayal as a white collar addict was mesmerizing. Possibly his best work.

Well, he’s not in the movie for all that long, but I remember being impressed. But keep in mind you’ll have Matthew McConaughey as a “spiritual adviser to Presidents” to contend with.

His small role in Strange Days is fairly memorable.

I liked his turn as a conservative Supreme Court nominee on the West Wing. I was so accustomed to seeing him play ordinary people it was nice to see him cast as a high-profile intellectual figure. I thought he and Glenn Close played off each other very well.

Someone up-thread mentioned that he looked like one of the boat captains on Deadliest Catch. I was trying to explain to my wife that I thought Sig Hansen looked like the love child of Gary Busey and William Fichtner. Problem was, she had no idea who William Fichtner was.