Though he wasn't nominated for any awards, I believe some of the year's best performances have come from Christian Bale (3:10 to Yuma, Rescue Dawn), and I'm a little sad that he's missing from the red carpet. The man has been honing his craft since he was a wee child and has been working steadily for years since. To properly pay my respects to the talented Mr. Bale this awards season, I'm designating a Movie Night to him. It's hard to choose given his large body of work, but I dug out some gems. In addition to these titles, he also sang his way into my heart in Newsies and freaked me out in American Psycho and The Machinist.
3:10 to Yuma
I've said it before and I'll say it again: 3:10 to Yuma is an excellent retelling of an old Western, reminding us that this dusty genre isn't dead. The lead actors turn in solid performances including Christian Bale who plays rancher Dan Evans, a man down on his luck physically and financially. Evans seizes an opportunity to earn some good reward money by delivering the infamous outlaw Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) to the Yuma prison via the 3:10 PM train. With Ben's men hot on their trail, their journey to Yuma takes on a power struggle that is ultimately as simple as good versus evil. This film has one of Bale's most arresting portrayals in recent history, and should definitely kick off your movie night.
Two more titles from the deeper confines of Bale's past, so read more
In this 1993 drama, Bale plays one of three friends growing up in Nazi Germany on the eve of World War II. Alongside Robert Sean Leonard (who you can now catch on House), Bale and friends rebel against the status quo by listening and dancing to American swing music. Eventually though, their teenage rebellions are forced to a stop and the young men are faced with some hard choices.
Though sappy at times, it's fun watching the young, strapping Robert Sean Leonard and Christian Bale together onscreen.
Bale first really hit my adolescent radar when he brought Laurie to life in Little Women. I'm just going to say it: I don't think there could ever be a more perfect Theodore 'Laurie' Lawrence. In other news, it's a good wintertime family classic with a great cast, including Winona Ryder, Claire Danes, Susan Sarandon and a tiny Kirsten Dunst.