Mark Wahlberg is at his action best again in Contraband, releasing January 13 in theaters everywhere. Contraband is the twenty-eighth film that Wahlberg has appeared in and the actor is only becoming a bigger and bigger star as the years go by. Contraband (check out the trailer) features Wahlberg as a happy husband and father who is pulled back into “one last job” as a smuggler when his former partner threatens his family.
Since Wahlberg debuted on the pop culture radar as Marky Mark and gave us some really Good Vibrations, he has made quite a name for himself as an actor, but also as a producer. As a thespian, he is versatile. Wahlberg can handle comedy, action, romance, thrills and horror. Movie Fanatic looks back and gives you the Top 10 Mark Wahlberg movies!
10. I Heart Huckabees
Not the greatest of films, but Wahlberg’s performance in I Heart Huckabees is astounding. It is here in Huckabees that he shows his adeptness at humor and how he can also be a spoke in the wheel that is an ensemble film.
9. The Big Hit
Some may scoff at this selection, but Movie Fanatic loves The Big Hit, particularly because of Wahlberg. His boyfriend to Christina Applegate allows Wahlberg to show franticness, fierceness and fondness for his girlfriend in the midst of a chaotic situation that threatens all of their lives. Wahlberg's "good guy" goes toe-to-toe with Lou Diamond Phillips in Phillips' role as a complete and utter sociopath.
8. The Basketball Diaries
One of Wahlberg’s first films, The Basketball Diaries not only put Leonardo DiCaprio on the serious actor map, but also Wahlberg. The story of writer Jim Carroll may have made a star out of DiCaprio, but many casting directors in Hollywood took serious note of another stellar actor in the cast, the one and only Mark Wahlberg.
7. The Other Guys
Wahlberg’s first attempt at an all-out comedy paired him with funnyman Will Ferrell. Wahlberg’s straight man to Ferrell’s comic foil was impeccable. The idea for the Ferrell and Wahlberg pairing emerged after the two did a bit on the Academy Awards to great raves and hilarious results. Enter the story of two cops who are far from heroes, aka The Other Guys, and Wahlberg and Ferrell established themselves as a comic duo to be reckoned with, hopefully for years to come in future projects.
6. The Italian Job
Wahlberg’s innate ability to knock action films out of the park was solidified in The Italian Job. His role as Charlie Croker was one of Wahlberg’s first as a top-billed performer. He even got top billing over Charlize Theron! The Italian Job solidified Wahlberg’s acting chops and its success at the box office also guaranteed his role as a major movie star.
5. The Perfect Storm
In The Perfect Storm, Wahlberg starred with George Clooney in the true story of a group of New England fishermen lost to the titular disaster. Wahlberg was able to channel his Boston accent from his youth and create a performance that was equally tender as it was tenacious.
4. Three Kings
One of Wahlberg’s first works with David O. Russell (The Fighter), Three Kings again paired Wahlberg with Clooney in the story of a group of Gulf War soldiers who leave their post in an effort to find Saddam Hussein’s rumored stash of gold. The scene where Wahlberg is on the phone with his wife back home while Iraqi soldiers are trying to bust into the room where he has sought refuge is the stuff of legend. On one hand he is not trying to worry his wife and be all sorts of sensitive, and on the other hand he is fending off a group of soldiers who seek to kill him. Amazing.
3. Boogie Nights
Can you imagine anyone else portraying Dirk Diggler in Boogie Nights? Hardly! Paul Thomas Anderson’s opus to the San Fernando Valley’s porn industry of the late 1970s and early 1980s is an astounding film, largely due to Wahlberg’s performance.
2. The Departed
The Oscar-winning The Departed finally got an Academy Award into the hands of Martin Scorsese. It possessed one of the best casts of that year including Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon and of course, Wahlberg. His Massachusetts police detective was hard-edged, but in Wahlberg’s hands it was not the caricature that it could have been. Wahlberg delivers one of his career best performances and his role contributed to what led the film to become the Best Picture of 2006.
1. The Fighter
With Christian Bale’s Oscar-winning performance, it would have been easy for Wahlberg to sit in the background in The Fighter (check out Wahlberg's thoughts on Fighter 2). Yet Wahlberg matches Bale note for note and together they bring the boxing brothers to life in one of the best films of 2010. Wahlberg’s mesmerizing as Micky Ward, the real life boxer who mounted the most unlikely of careers to become the best in his sport. The film rivets, Wahlberg’s stellar and coupled with Bale’s and Melissa Leo’s Oscar-winning performances, The Fighter is easily the best Mark Wahlberg movie of his career.