Rated Greg’s All Time Favorite Jake Gyllenhaal Movies – Ranked
- End of Watch
- Donnie Darko
One of the most popular statistical terms in baseball analytics is Wins Above Replacement (WAR). It’s a collection of metrics that ultimately compute how many more wins a player contributes to a team’s record in a full season, in comparison to that team’s projected record if said player was replaced by an average ballplayer (i.e. the 2016 MLB leader in WAR is currently Mike Trout with a 7.72 score). Well, Jake Gyllenhaal is the leader in WAR for Hollywood pictures. Nothing against Ben Affleck, he’s a perfectly capable actor (and an amazing director), but replace Gyllenhaal with Affleck in any of the movies above, and they’re not NEARLY as good. Not even close. Furthermore, even replace Gyllenhaal with a yearly Oscar nominee like Leonardo DiCaprio, and I still don’t think they will quite measure up. However, put Gyllenhaal in something like The Town or Wolf of Wall Street, and the movie will remain just as successful. It may not make it better, but the film won’t be worse off either.
Gyllenhaal is a chameleon. Cop, cowboy, boxer, creep….his range allows him to be the best part of each of the movies in his catalog, the great ones as well as the flawed. I certainly won’t love or even like every one that I see, but I know going in it’ll be interesting to say the least (I think we’re past the statute of limitations on 2010’s Prince of Persia). The other actors I have high on the WAR leaderboard are Jennifer Lawrence, the aforementioned Leo, Denzel, Tom Hardy, and Ben Mendelsohn. Ironically, I think the one person that could have given Gyllenhaal a run for his money in this title was his Brokeback Mountain costar Heath Ledger (RIP).
In case you couldn’t tell from the Top 5 list, my favorite Gyllenhaal roles are the one’s where he plays a giant weirdo, and Demolition is his most recent entry to the weirdo collection. It’s hard to say much about this film without giving the humor of it away, but in it Gyllenhaal plays a recent widower that acquires a unique hobby to fill the hole in his life. It is a dark, dark comedy that has a ton of good scenes and is one of his best performances, but somehow I’m not sure if it all really comes together. But I do believe it would have been a complete dud if replacement player Ben Affleck starred. Tier 3