Bradley Cooper has managed to grow and evolve as an actor in front of the entire world since his journey began back in the early 2000s. Whether he plays a struggling photographer who happens to cross paths with a serial killer to a talking raccoon, the actor has showcased his versatility in the past two decades of his career. This list will highlight the five best characters played by Cooper throughout his career. The only role exempt from this list is his brief one in 10 Cloverfield Lane. The actor only has one scene as a voice over, so he’s not given much chance to flex his muscles as a performer there. Let’s get started with the first name on this list.
Not the most complex character on the list but Zack was truly the first time that the actor got to show off his comedic chops in a main role. A little more subtlety in his treatment of Claire would’ve been great, as the actor was a charming thief when the family was around but a major douche whenever he was alone with his future wife. It did make you question why Claire was still with the huge jerk, but Zack’s role was to put an obstacle in John’s way. His ultra-macho, fraternity bro provides plenty of fun moments including his constant assault on Jeremy as the men were playing football. Also, his sentimental story about the little sea otter was another laugh-out-loud moment.
Patrizio Solitano Jr.
Playing a man who’s dealing with a bipolar disorder is a tricky balance, especially since Silver Linings Playbook is more so a romantic comedy than a character study in regards of Pat’s mental issues. While audiences won’t exactly exit this film with better knowledge of the mental disability, the character of Pat provided plenty of fun moments in a script that mainly plays up his disability in a funny, but earnest manner. Him randomly throwing out the Earnest Hemingway book and going on a rant at four in the morning was a riot, as was his various meet cuties with Tiffany. However, Silver Linings Playbook doesn’t just use his mental disability as a funny plot device as we come to understand Pat and why he is the way he is. The movie’s sweet message that anyone can find love is well meaning and earned, and that’s aided with the strong performances of Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence.
This FBI agent who’s obsessed with himself and is determined to make to break-out of his mundane routine brings a nice dynamic to the American Hustle cast. We don’t get an intimate backstory about DiMaso like some of the other characters on this list; however, we get enough glimpses of his life to understand his mindset. DiMaso is tired of his unremarkable career and sees his opportunity at possibly arresting top-ranking mafiosos and US Congressmen as his way of finally making it big. His wants are simple, but his actions are always entertaining and his journey of wanting more out of life is highly relatable.
Based on the real-life American hero who was a United States Navy Seal sniper. Kyle served four tours in the Iraq War and was awarded several commendations for acts of heroism and meritorious service in combat. He was awarded the Silver Star, four Bronze Star Medals with “V” devices, and a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. Arguably the most fascinating part about Kyle is that he has a record of 150 kills. The mental psyche of a man who has taken 150 lives is a complex subject that Clint Eastwood explores. Granted, Kyle makes it clear that while he doesn’t particularly like killing people, he doesn’t regret his job because he did what he had to do. However, the interesting juxtaposition is the man behind this high body count. Kyle isn’t some loner monster who relishes in the suffering of others. He’s a loving family man with a beautiful wife and two daughters. To Kyle, his job as a sniper was nothing more than a simple 9 to 5. Obviously, taking someone’s life is never an easy task, but doing what’s right for the country was a top priority.
Jackson “Jack” Maine
This 1937 and 1954 remake sees Bradley Cooper make his feature debut and the actor chose to attach himself to an admittedly cliched, but relatable protagonist. Jackson is a famous country-rock singer privately battling an alcohol and drug addiction. This is nothing new in a musical biopic because it seems that the notion is that nearly every celebrity has done drugs throughout their wild years as a famous musician. Still, Jackson isn’t any less of a great character because the layers to him as a human being isn’t new. What makes him great is the human side that Cooper does an excellent job portraying the scarred musician. His chemistry with Lady Gaga’s Ally is magnetic and it’s hard not to root for the pair as one struggles to be noticed within the industry and the other is battling internal demons. It’s a simple formula, but one that manages to make one of the most electric characters that Cooper has played in his career.
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