Richard Jenkins Movies
A balding supporting actor with a grin that suggests he knows something you don't, Richard Jenkins has become one of the most in-demand character actors in Hollywood. Though he has worked steadily since the early '80s, Jenkins
may have made his most memorable impression, at least to HBO subscribers, as the patriarch of the family of undertakers on the hit 2001 drama Six Feet Under. His character was killed off in the first episode, but Jenkins
continued to appear as a spirit lingering in the family's memory -- a good metaphor for the actor's lingering impact on viewers, even when he appears in small roles.
, who shares the birth name of Richard Burton and sometimes appears as Richard E. Jenkins, was born and raised in Dekalb, IL, before studying theater at Illinois Wesleyan University. The actor developed a long and distinguished regional theater career, most notably a 15-year stint at Rhode Island's Trinity Repertory Theater, where he served as artistic director for four years. He snagged his first role as early as 1975, in the TV movie Brother to Dragons, but did not begin working regularly until a small role in the Lawrence Kasdan film Silverado (1985). Supporting work in such films as Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), The Witches of Eastwick (1987), and Sea of Love (1989) followed, and Jenkins
spent the early '90s specializing in made-for-TV movies, including the adaptation of Randy Shilts' AIDS opus And the Band Played On (1993).
It was not until the late '90s that Jenkins
started gaining wider appreciation, especially as he indulged in his talent for comedy. His appearance as an uptight gay FBI agent who gets accidentally drugged was one of the highlights of David O. Russell's Flirting With Disaster (1996), allowing him to convincingly (and riotously) act out an acid trip. Working again with Ben Stiller, Jenkins
appeared as a psychiatrist in There's Something About Mary (1998), which launched a relationship with directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly, who hail from the state (Rhode Island) where Jenkins
did much of his stage work. Jenkins
appeared in the Farrelly-produced Outside Providence (1999) and Say It Isn't So (2001), as well as in the Farrelly-directed Me, Myself & Irene (2000). The actor then shifted over to another set of brother directors to portray the father of Scarlet Johansson's character in Joel and Ethan Coen's noir The Man Who Wasn't There (2001). In 2001, Jenkins
also appeared in the first season of HBO's Six Feet Under as Nathaniel Fisher Sr., the sardonic funeral home director whom the characters remember as an impenetrable mystery, frugal with his praise and emotions.
continued working steadily, carrying on his role on Six Feet Under, while turning in supporting work in varied projects like Changing Lanes, Shall We Dance, and Fun With Dick & Jane. With 2005's North Country he earned strong reviews as the father of a sexually harassed woman.
After decades in the business, he won his first starring role in Tom McCarthy's The Visitor. For his work as the repressed professor who learns to engage in life again thanks to an unexpected friendship with a Syrian immigrant, Jenkins
earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, as well as a SAG nomination. That film was the highlight of his 2008, a very busy year for the actor that also saw him reunite for a third time with the Coen Brothers in Burn After Reading, and play opposite Will Ferrell and John C. Riley in Step Brothers. The coming years would continue to earn the actor both a wider audience and more accolades, in projects like Burn After Reading, Let Me In, The Rum Diary, and The Cabin in the Woods.
~ Derek Armstrong, Rovi
- Add The Manhattan Project to Queue
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Everyone knows that teenagers are smarter than adults, and if given a chance the kids could save the world -- if they don't blow it to bits first. The Manhattan Project tells of how 16-year-old Paul Stephens (Christopher Collet) tries to alert his community to the dangers of nuclear energy. John Mathewson (John Lithgow), a doctor in a pharmaceutical research plant wherein covert plutonium experiments are taking place, is the boyfriend of Paul's mom, Elizabeth (Jill Eikenberry). While Mathewson is romantically occupied, Paul and his girl, Jenny Anderman (Cynthia Nixon), steal the plutonium and construct their own atomic bomb. They do this, of course, as a warning to foolhardy grown-ups -- none more foolhardy than the folks who put up good money to make this film. The Manhattan Project was directed by longtime Woody Allen collaborator Marshall Brickman, whose expert sense of comic timing obscures the thickheaded "message" of this picture. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
- John Lithgow, Christopher Collet, (more)
- Add Silverado to Queue
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Lawrence Kasdan's Silverado is a fond hark back to the all-star, big-budget westerns of the 1950s and 1960s. The various plotlines converge at the town of Silverado, held in thrall by crooked sheriff Brian Dennehy and his behemoth "deputies." The four disparate heroes--Kevin Kline, Kevin Costner, Scott Glenn and Danny Glover--prepare to do battle against Dennehy for personal reasons ranging from mercenary to altruistic. Sidelines characters include duplicitous, dandified gambler Jeff Goldblum, frontier widow Rosanna Arquette and gimlet-eyed saloon owner Linda Hunt. The film is stolen hands-down by Kevin Costner, playing an irresponsible young gunslinger who never speaks when hootin' and hollerin' will do. A classic, High Noon-style showdown caps this rousing retro western. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
- Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, (more)
This made-for-television drama is about Nicki Davis (Tracy Pollan) -- an 18-year-old from a wealthy family who hangs out with a drug-dealing boyfriend -- and Tim Donovan (John Savage), the dedicated probation officer trying to get Nicki to come to grips with the reality of what she is doing. Nicki's predilection for the demimonde becomes a challenge that Tim cannot drop, and while it leads him into the drug world and an unwanted confrontation with Tracy's father -- who feels his daughter's life is no one else's business -- Tim does not give up. Tracy's boyfriend is arrested, and as her world starts to crumble a little, Tim begins to discover why she has chosen her particular path. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, Rovi
- John Savage, Tracy Pollan, (more)
After cutting his teeth on 14 years' worth of short subjects, director Peter Greenaway made his feature-film debut with the pseudo-documentary The Falls. The added length does nothing to dilute Greenaway's singular sense of the absurd. The story, if one can truly call it that, deals with a phenomenon involving birds and anacronymically known as V.U.E. The letters stand for Violent Unknown Event, and in the course of the film's hallucinatory 190 minutes we are introduced to 92 of the syndrome's victims whose names all begin with the letters "F-A-L-L." This film is pure avant-garde and obviously not for all tastes. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
In this little horror film, a wealthy sportsman (Calvin Lockhart) invites a house full of guests to a big-game hunt that he's devised. He's sure that one of the guests is a werewolf, and he intends to stalk it, find it, and kill it. As a film viewer, you are alerted at the outset that a mystery awaits and that clues will be unveiled that can point to the identity of the werewolf. In fact, near the conclusion, the film has inserted a 30-second interlude during which you must decide, once and for all, who the hunted beast is. This film is based upon a story by James Blish titled There Shall Be No Darkness. ~ Rovi