Sometime Boardwalk-bothering gangster and inspiration behind the Buscemeyes craze, Steve Buscemi is king of the weird, the sinister and the oddly affecting.
Have you ever looked at a painting and seen a strange, blurred figure in the background that you can’t take your eyes off? You keep wondering who they are, certain that they hold the secret to the fascination of the thing. In the film world, this man is Steve Buscemi.
For decades, Buscemi’s been appearing in movies, and great movies too. Often these were only small roles, yet Buscemi always managed to make them seem big. And, since landing the lead role of Nucky Thompson in Boardwalk Empire, he’s suddenly gained the worldwide recognition he deserves.
The internet hasn’t failed to catch on either, with Tumblr pages dedicated to putting Buscemi eyes on chicks, and even those in fashion taking inspiration. There’s a lotta love out there for Steve Buscemi right now, and it’s fair to say that part of the actor’s charm is his unusual looks. These give him a unique on-screen presence, breathing a realism into characters, making them appear both expressive and vulnerable.
Without further ado, here are the top five Steve Buscemi characters.
1. Seymour (Ghost World)
Seymour is a lonely, middle-aged man. He spends his time collecting old records and vintage memorabilia, selling bits and pieces at a garage sale on weekends. He forms a close friendship with the protagonist, Enid Coleslaw (Thora Birch), out of strange circumstances; both are people who struggle to connect with others. Buscemi brings Seymour’s social awkwardness to life with such an emotional complexity that, just like Birch’s Enid, you become completely intrigued by him.
2. Mr Pink (Reservoir Dogs)
If you haven’t seen Reservoir Dogs yet then we’re not going to ruin anything, though really, why haven’t you seen Reservoir Dogs? Amongst a cast of bad-ass criminals, Buscemi’s Mr Pink (who isn’t too happy to have been given the girliest of colours as a code name) manages to stand out through his careless attitude and sly charisma. In a movie that relies heavily on creating a tension between the cast, Buscemi manages to interact perfectly so as to stir up plenty of drama.
3. Carl Showalter (Fargo)
Buscemi is a Coen brothers regular, and while Donny from the Big Lebowski is great, Buscemi’s turn as Fargo’s Carl Showalter is just that bit better. There’s just something about Buscemi that works so well with the Coens’ offbeat style of comedy, as he manages to enhance the subtle strangeness that defines most of their movies. In playing Showalter, Buscemi also (spoiler alert) has one of film’s most iconic ends involving a wood chipper.
4. Danny McGrath (Billy Madison)
If the name doesn’t ring a bell, that’s because Danny’s not exactly a major character in Billy Madison. The main reason this character is so great is because he is totally bizarre – his most memorable scene is just after Billy has called Danny to apologise for picking on him when they were at school together, and after Danny crosses Billy’s name off a ‘To Kill’ list, he sits down contemplatively and puts some lipstick on. He actually pulls off the look very well too.
5. Nucky Thompson (Boardwalk Empire)
Enock Thompson, also known as Nucky, is the lead character of hit TV show Boardwalk Empire. Nucky, a character based on a real life Atlantic county crime boss, sees Buscemi bring a cunning to the role that puts brains before brawn. This is a portrayal of a truly masterful man.
Featured image: HBO
Inset images: United Artists; Miramax; Gramercy Pictures; Universal; HBO