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Sanson: Mark Wahlberg’s 7 Most Badass Movie Roles

By TED SANSON
OTT’s Jerk-Of-All-Trades and Wannabe Badass

While this “rapper” turned actor has never been regarded as a “thespian” with range and versatility in his roles, there’s no one in Tinseltown who can better portray an undersized, big-mouthed, shit-talking tough guy with the balls to back up his snarky, dickheaded remarks (a talent which I envy extremely). This knack has seen Wahlberg transform from pop star (did he have any hits besides “Good Vibrations”? Does it even matter?), to Calvin Klein model (dude was YOKED, no h0m0), to one of Hollywood’s top leading men with one of the most unique niches in the business.

Mark has depicted numerous testosterone-fueled, machismo characters in his career – everything from NFL player, to Navy SEAL, to meadhead, to porn star – so take a seat, pack a lipper from your Skoal tin, smoke a few Marlboro Reds and wash it all down with a cold Budweiser and prepare to be floored by some good-ole-fashioned American bad-assery. Without further ado, I bring to the Trax Pack “Mark Wahlberg’s 7 Most Badass Movie Roles.”

7. Charlie Croker, The Italian Job (2003)

Stella (Charlize Theron) pretending like she doesn’t want the D. In the end, though, Charlie Croker gets the gold and the girl (and the 7th ranking on T’s list)

The most civilized character on this list of bad motherfuckers, Charlie Croker is a crafty criminal mastermind in 2003’s The Italian Job. After Charlie’s team boosts a huge score of gold bricks in Venice that would make Flloyd Mayweather drool, Charlie’s mentor John Bridger (Donald Sutherland) is murdered in cold blood by his double-crossing sniveling scumbag of a number 2 Steve (Edward Norton, #ToolMove) and Charlie and his crew are left for dead at the bottom of a lake high in the Alps. Like any true badass would, Charlie reassambles his crew and carefully plots his revenge against Steve.

Charlie needs a safecracker, so he enlists John’s daughter Stella (Charlize Theoron)  – who happens to be sexy as all hell, one of the world’s best safecrackers, and thirsty for not only Charlie, but revenge for her daddy’s murder as well. In true badass fashion, Charlie finds Steve in LA, drops him a Tyson-esque right across the dinner table at some bougie restaurant, drops a few C notes on the table to cover the tab and leaves Steve a bloody, humiliated mess (#CoolMove). Charlie and Stella eventually steal all of Steve’s gold and flee in a high speed mini-cooper chase through LA’s subway system. In the end, Charlie gets the gold, the girl, and the revenge. Steve? He gets wacked by some Russian mob goons.

T’s badass-o-meter: 7.8

Below: The vaunted Mini chase scene

Talking shit about Bobby Mercer? I didn’t think so.

6. Bobby Mercer, Four Brothers (2005)

You best not mess with Bobby Mercer – or his foster mom, or any of his foster brothers. Matter of fact, don’t even look at Bobby the wrong way because he’s got a screw loose – and he unscrews it himself.

Bobby is a troubled foster child who sees violence as the only means of obtaining answers in his mother’s murder.  Bobby shakes down Detroit, pulls out a gun in the middle of a youth basketball game, and throws a dude out the window in hopes of solving momma Mercer’s heinous killing. After some creative investigative skills and crackin’ skulls all over the 313, Bobby and his misfit bros finally find out who gunned down their mom – local gangbanger Victor Sweet.

Instead of killing Sweet the easy way – ya know, popping a cap up in his ass – Bobby takes the badass route and beats him to death streetfighter style on iced-over Lake Michigan and throws Sweet’s body into the lake.

T’s Badass-o-meter: 9.0

Below: Bobby Mercer’s badassery in the 313

5. Micky Ward, The Fighter (2010)

Micky Ward weighing in for his title fight against Shea Neary, lookin' YOKED. Isn't he supposed to be a Welterweight (It's Hollywood, people.)?
Micky Ward weighing in for his title fight against Shea Neary, lookin’ YOKED. Isn’t he supposed to be a Welterweight (It’s Hollywood, people.)?

Playing Micky Ward in The Fighter was Mark Wahlberg’s dream role and passion project. Wahlberg independently financed a significant portion of the film and actually possessed final cut over the flick’s loose cannon director, David O. Russell.

In The Fighter, Wahlberg portrayed a character with a background that mirrored his own -Ward came from a poor, drug infested, working class Masachussets neighborhood in Lowell (Marky Mark is from Dorchester, Mass), was overshadowed by his older brother Dicky (Mark had to deal with Donnie, ok LOL I tried), and he quit boxing following a hand injury and a lengthy losing streak.

Dicky eventually overcomes all the obstacles – his psychotic and controlling mom Alice (Melissa Leo, Oscar nom for the role), his junkie brother/trainer Dicky (Christian Bale, who won an Oscar for this role), and all his injuries and defeats to capture the Light Welterweight Title. While Wahlberg didn’t receive any love from the academy for his badassness like his co-stars, his quiet assassin portrayal of Ward and his “head, body, head, body” style earns him the 5th spot on T’s list (fuck the academy, OTT is much cooler).

T’s Badass-o-meter: 9.1

Below: Sick Micky and Dicky training montage

4. Bob Lee Swagger, Shooter (2007)

Bob Lee Swagger will stop at nothing to clear his name.
Bob Lee Swagger will stop at nothing to clear his name.

This is where the list gets a little hairy. All of these top 4 have serious badass credentials, and listing them was as arduous a task as a Kardashian going a day without taking a nude selfie. At number 4 though, we have the sharpshooting, skoal chewing patriot,  Bob Lee Swagger.

Swagger is a retired U.S. Marine Scout Sniper who lives like a recluse deep in the Rocky Mountains, with his golden retriever, chewing tobacco, and rifle his only friends. Swagger is asked by the Federal Government to scout out an assassination (how many times can you say ass in one word? Jeez.), later to find out that he’s been set up as the assassin himself. Swagger escapes a nationwide manhunt to find him, exposes the scumbags who set him up – killing everyone and everything in his way. What can possibly be more badass than that?

T’s Badass-o-meter: 9.57

Below: Swagger snipin’ in the snow

3. Marcus Luttrell, Lone Survivor (2013)

Mark as Marcus Luttrell, one of the baddest and most courageous dudes on planet Earth.
Mark as Marcus Luttrell, one of the baddest and most courageous dudes on planet Earth.

Coming in at number 3 is Marcus Luttrell, he of the unkempt beard and constant full-packed lip. Luttrell and his four Navy SEAL brethren were exponentially outnumbered by Taliban forces in Afghanistan, and all were killed but Luttrell. According to Luttrell’s book of the same name, they were spotted by Afghani civilians and instead of killing them – they let them live – which ultimately caused their demise. Luttrell was one of the SEALs who voted against killing the Afghanis and this moral dilemma is the heart and soul of both the movie and the book.

This film gives the viewer an extreme appreciation for how dedicated, intense, and truly badass our Navy SEALs are. I don’t have any words in my vocabulary to describe how incredible these human beings are and in no way can I do them or their day-to-day duties justice. What I can do though, is tell you to watch Lone Survivor – it’s gritty, gory, and has very little dialogue, but the cinematography is breathtaking (has to be Peter Berg’s most well shot film). It’s a definite tear jerker though, so have the Kleenex ready and have a well-sculpted shoulder to cry on (I happen to know a guy).

But to get back “On Trax”, it’s still really fucking badass.

T’s Badass-O-Meter: 9.73

Below: Badass Navy Seal Training Montage

2. Sgt. Dignam, The Departed (2006)

Sgt. Dignam berates a statie recruit (Leonardo DiCaprio), "You callin' us c*nts?"
Sgt. Dignam berates a statie recruit (Leonardo DiCaprio), “You callin’ us c*nts?”

Taking up the Jeter position (#2, fools) on the list is Staff Sgt. Sean Dignam from Martin Scorsese’s The Departed – the most critically acclaimed role and film of Marky Mark’s career. Wahlberg steals the screen in nearly every one of Dignam’s scenes with his over-the-top Boston accent (he’s from there), snarky insults, foul mouth, and overall air of douchebaggery, with this role earning him the lone Oscar nomination of his career. Dignam has a laundry list of one liners in this film “You callin’ us c’nts,” “You’re no fucking cop,” and “Maybe, maybe not, maybe fuck yourself” being the three dopest.

Dignam is smart, quick, tough, and fearless – and is the only character in the film to call out the movie’s protagonist Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) and suspecting him of being the rat. Dignam even quits the force to avoid working with Sullivan and endangering himself or being forced to kick his ass. Sullivan eventually wipes out all of Dignam’s unit and Dignam slyly sneaks into his apartment wearing a slick-ass track suit and kills him in the film’s final scene.

T’s Badass-o-meter: 9.8

Below: Dignam interviews Sullivan (Damon) and Costigan (DeCaprio)

The moment you’ve all been waiting for……..number one!

1. Eddie Adams/Dirk Diggler, Boogie Nights (1997)

Dirk Diggler's reaction after being named number 1 on T's list.
Dirk Diggler’s reaction after being named number 1 on T’s list.

To be brutally honest, this was an easier pick than a cross-field, across the body 4th quarter Eli Manning desperation pass. Boogie Nights was Mark Wahlberg’s breakout role, co-starring Burt Reynolds and his epic mustache. But why was Wahlberg so badass in this movie?

Well if you haven’t seen it (WATCH IT ALREADY!!!), I’ll give it to ya right quick: Eddie Adams is a troubled high-school dropout and dishwasher who lives with his stepfather and alcoholic mom, but is discovered by a porn director (Reynolds) after hearing about his immense dong. Adams moves in with his director, becomes Dirk Diggler and quickly earns fame in the porn industry. With his newfound stardom, Dirk buys a Corvette, slays lots of hot ass chicks, and like most young people who attain celebrity becomes addicted to blow.

Dirk’s newfound coke problem causes a newfound erection problem, he has a falling out with his director, quits porn, tries to become a rock star, and eventually has to prostitute himself to support his coke habit. Dirk tries to rip off a drug dealer, but is caught and his friend Todd gets killed over the transaction gone bad.

After Todd’s death and his own brush with death, Dirk realizes it’s time to return to porn (ya think?) and reconciles with Jack (his director). All is well again in Dirk’s world, and Mark Wahlberg takes the first huge step in becoming the badass movie star he is today (he has the prosthetic cock he wore in Boogie Nights in a glass case in his home.)

T’s Badass-o-meter: 9.99

Below: How Eddie became Dirk Diggler. 

That does it for this list, Trax Pack. Hope ya’ll enjoyed it as much as I did. Even though the sun never sets on a badass, it’s getting late and I’ve got some non-OTT things to take care of before I hit the hay. But before you go T asks you your opinion: What is Mark Wahlberg’s most badass role to date?

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