You may not have heard much about Jason Lee lately, but he is currently doing one of the most interesting jobs of his career. Lee currently does projects as a photographer and cataloger of historic sites in the Texas area. This may be a strange new direction for the My name is Earl star, but then again, Lee has always had a somewhat odd career. His filmography is truly baffling; he’s appeared in everything from period drama The Ballad of Jack and Rose to disastrous comedies like Kiss an idiot and Steal Harvard. That’s what you call range!
Lee is best known for his performances in Kevin Smithof films in the 1990s. He played several characters in the “View Askewniverse”, so it is possible that he will appear in this year Clerk III. Unfortunately, a lot of young viewers probably know him best from his recurring role on the Alvin and the Chipmunks live action movies. Unlike his co-star, david’s crossLee has yet to publicly denounce his hatred of the odious family film franchise.
Lee will occasionally appear as a voice performer in animation projects like We bare bears or last year The Harper House, but hopefully we’ll see him do more live work soon. Here are some of Jason Lee’s best performances.
Brodie Bruce in Mallrats (1995)
Mallrats was one of Lee’s first films after he started making skating videos, and he’s one of the main reasons the film is still a cult classic today. Smith’s reliance on popular culture references can be criticized, but he’s generally quite accurate in his portrayal of friendship. Brodie Bruce is the “irresponsible slacker” signature of a Smith film; luckily, Lee doesn’t just make an impression of Clerks‘ Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson). Brodie is a bit obnoxious and very rude, but he can always get revenge on Ben Affleckis the repulsive Shannon Hamilton. His brief scene with Stan Lee is the best of the movie.
Banky Edwards in Chasing Amy (1997)
Chasing Amy was a much more dramatic swing for Smith, and Lee moved on to hardware. Although the depiction of sexuality in film has been hotly debated, Chasing Amy perfectly captures the feeling of struggling to admit a crush. Banky Edwards needs to hear about his best friend Holden (Ben Affleck) romantic woas for the whole movie before Holden finally realizes Banky has been in love with him the whole time. Lee received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. This remains his most moving performance.
Daniel Leon Zavitz in Enemy of the State (1999)
It’s crazy to watch the different stars who have played leading roles in Tony Scottspy thriller enemy of the state; Jack Black, Regina King, Seth Green, Jamie Kennedy, and Scott Caan all appear in supporting roles. Lee certainly gets one of the most memorable sections of the film. Will SmithThe adventure begins when he receives a critical computer disk containing evidence of a murder from his college friend, Daniel Leon Zavitz (Lee). Zavitz is on the run from conspirators trying to cover up the crime. Although this is only a brief section of the film, Lee is a compelling action star.
Azrael in Dogma (1999)
Dogma is one of Smith’s most overlooked projects due to a rift involving film rights; Dogma Technically still belongs to The Weinstein Company, which declined to re-release it for streaming release. It’s a shame, as Dogma is a shrewd deconstruction of religious fundamentalism that isn’t afraid to make jokes at the expense of about everybody. Lee was able to show his wicked side with his performance as the Angel of Death, Azrael. The “View Askewniverse” version of Azrael is more of a caustic jerk than a force of terror, but Lee adds a bit of menace to what is otherwise a pretty goofy movie.
Jeff Bebe in Almost Famous (2000)
Similar to enemy of the state, almost known has such a packed ensemble of great actors that it’s even more impressive that Lee is one of the standouts. While William (Patrick Fugit) bonded primarily with Stillwater lead guitarist Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup), he shares some great scenes with the band’s singer, Jeff Bebe (Lee). almost known was based on Cameron Crowethe real experiences of growing up and writing about music for rolling stone; Lee is set to embody one of the writer/director’s childhood heroes.
Brian Shelby in Vanilla Sky (2001)
vanilla sky is truly one of the most confusing films ever made. According to Cameron Crowe himself, there are five different ways to interpret the ending. Any movie with such a complex (and deliberately disorienting) narrative structure has to at least find a way to make the exposition dumps somewhat interesting. This is where Lee’s sense of humor comes in handy. With his role as David Aames (Tom Cruise) best friend, Brian Shelby, Lee adds a touch of levity to the surreal tone.
Buddy Pine/Syndrome in The Incredibles (2004)
The Syndrome remains Pixar’s biggest villain. In 2004, Brad Bird probably didn’t know how big the concept of a demented fan whose passion turns into an obsession would become. Syndrome may claim he’s doing everything to “equalize” the world, but he’s driven by his personal feelings of entitlement. Lee’s tremendous voice work shows that deep down, Syndrome is still the same person he always was: a neglected child.
Earl Hickey in My Name is Earl (2005-2009)
Lee made a big comeback with his award-nominated performance as Earl Hickey on the NBC sitcom My name is Earl. Earl is a former thief who wins the lottery, but has a change of heart and urges him to give back to everyone he has wronged. The show had the potential to be too schmaltzy or too gross, but luckily Lee managed to strike the right balance between the two. Any network show with a simple premise like My name is Earl must rely on the talents of a charismatic lead character, and Lee helped justify keeping the show on the air for subsequent seasons.
Lance Dowds in Clerk II (2006)
Lee returned to the “View Askewniverse” to play yet another obnoxious jerk. Hopefully Smith will let him play a nice guy again very soon! Lance Dowd is a multi-millionaire who survived a traumatic high school experience to become the founder of a highly profitable search engine. There are many aspects of Clerk II who hasn’t aged well, but a self-obsessed tech developer whose only real goal is to prove he’s “one of the cool kids?” You can draw parallels with many current public figures.