Top 10 Performances that Defied Expectations

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  • Published on Aug 3, 2015
  • There's ordinary and then there are these. Join www.WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for Top 10 Out of the Ordinary Performances. For this list, we’re looking at actors who appear in a role vastly different from their usual performances. If you want to see actors who went on to do similar roles afterwards, check out our list for Top 10 Actors Who Broke Type-Casting.
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Comments • 2 971

  • Martin Turner
    Martin Turner 3 days ago +1

    Cruise was awesome in "Tropic Thunder" but you left out one for Kilmer: he was AWESOME as Doc Holiday in "Tombstone"; one of his best we say!

  • Mikaella MS
    Mikaella MS 3 days ago

    Tom Cruise should do more comedies

  • boooty
    boooty 3 days ago

    These are my top ten. (In no particular order)
    10. Michael jay fox like mojo said
    9. Steve carrell fox catcher
    8. Ryan Reynolds deadpool
    7. Elizabeth shue and Nic cage leaving las Vegas
    6. Adam Sandler punch drunk love
    5. Adrien brody the pianist.
    4. Bill murray lost in translation
    3. Mickey Rourke the wrestler
    2. Natalie Portman and mila kunis black swan
    1. Heath ledger brokeback mountain and dark night

  • Music_Is Therapy
    Music_Is Therapy 6 days ago

    I knew Ashton would be on here; I actually liked him in that role.

  • lazerlazer
    lazerlazer 7 days ago

    John Krasinski in 13 hours

  • Mynx Maine
    Mynx Maine 7 days ago

    Fucking Mo’Nique in Precious? C’mon y’all

  • Iyanna McLeod
    Iyanna McLeod 11 days ago

    Did you just call white chocks LESS than spectacular ?!? LMAOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  • Hylian Legend
    Hylian Legend 22 days ago +1

    Mr J?

  • luxor1001
    luxor1001 22 days ago

    Again, you bozos show you have little cultural memory. Nobody expected Humphrey Bogart's performance in The African Queen, or Olivia de Haviland's in The Snake Pit, Greta Garbo's in Ninotchka, Jackie Gleason's in The Hustler, and many others.

  • Nick Trybull
    Nick Trybull 23 days ago

    The foxcatcher was a terrible movie though and did a horrible job of portraying what really happened to those kids

  • comatoo
    comatoo 27 days ago

    Personally I LIKED Val Kilmer's Batman....

  • Emilio Manuel De Pedro

    ¿You know what performance defied my expectations? Michael B. Jordan in Black Panther. I didn't knew anything about Black Panther and his world. Matter of fact, it was only when Captain America: Civil War was premiering that i knew Black Panther's real name was T'Challa. When i knew about the film and it's bad guy, i didn't expected so much. I mean, ¿a guy who wants to take the throne for himself? That seemed some cliched to me. Actually, before the film was premiered, i didn't even knew his name. I only knew that he was going to be portrayed by Michael B. Jordan. But when i saw the film, i couldn't believe how deep Killmonger was. I mean, he has a good reason to take the throne: he wants to help alll the opressed african-americans in the world.

  • Roy G Biv
    Roy G Biv Month ago

    More like 10 why fucking bother with most of these?

  • Jeff Watkins
    Jeff Watkins Month ago

    IMO Daniel Craig's Perry Smith in the surprisingly underappreciated yet amazing Infamous is a pretty expectation defying performance.

  • Brampiescampie
    Brampiescampie Month ago

    will ferrel is not funny, he's more annoying than he is funny. he's movie's are weak and his jokes weaker, thou i do like him in serious roles. but no, he's not funny

  • moviemaster8510
    moviemaster8510 Month ago

    Nothing for Robin Williams for "One Hour Photo?"

  • Shubham Srivastav
    Shubham Srivastav Month ago

    Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society?

  • Adrian B
    Adrian B Month ago

    Andy Griffith in 'A Face in the Crowd'

  • Deborah Nolan Gregory

    Will Ferrell in Stranger Than Fiction. Superb.

  • Barcafan zeko123
    Barcafan zeko123 Month ago

    al pacino in godfather it was his third movie he wasnt famous like he is now or daniel day lewis in my left foot

  • Joseph Morris
    Joseph Morris Month ago

    Seeing Matthew Mcconaughey at the end of this reminded me that he played a crazed dragon slayer in Reign of Fire, that definitely surprised me, although the film wasn't great to be fair.

  • JoshVoorhees
    JoshVoorhees Month ago

    Fuck Gweneth Paltrow.

  • Blake DeLaCruz
    Blake DeLaCruz Month ago

    I actually thought Ashton Kutcher did pretty well in Butterfly Effect but I guess that's just me. Reign Over Me is Adam Sandlers best work imo

  • Viraj Kamat
    Viraj Kamat Month ago

    The top 5 could be filled with Christian Bales outrageous performances.

  • L Wasson
    L Wasson Month ago

    Thank you WatchMojo, for including Hugh Grant in Cloud Atlas! I''ve always felt he was underrated.

  • Emilio Manuel De Pedro

    I think Ashton Kutcher should work in an action film directed by Christopher Nolan.

  • Marco N
    Marco N Month ago

    ah
    its not all positive

  • Dederina
    Dederina Month ago

    The Vietnamese Girl as rape and murder victim performance was brilliant

  • Julz XD
    Julz XD Month ago

    Jared Leto was phenomenal in Reqium for a dream. Im partial to him in anything but yes he was realistic and dark, the entire cast was brilliant but Leto was extra good. Val kilmer has always gone extra for his films. The Doors as Jim Morrison, he was iconic in that Role, so good in fact the remaining members of the band felt he brought Jim back to life. There are alot of films where hes good, not all but some. Yes, Ashton showed off his acting chops in the Butterfly effect big time. The Butterfly Effect is one of my favourite thriller time travel films.

  • em alberto
    em alberto Month ago

    Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight
    Adam Sandler in Punch Drunk Love
    Andrew Garfield in Under the Silver Lake

  • Mellissa Cross
    Mellissa Cross 2 months ago

    I am a big Wes Anderson, Aronofsky, and PT Anderson fan. I consider that an illustration as someone with could taste in great films. Yet for the life of me, I don't understand why so many people pan Butterfly Effect. I think it is a fresh idea, well acted, edited in a non-chronological manner which at the time was reserved for people like Tarantino and Shyamalan. I really enjoy that film.

  • Eric Garcia
    Eric Garcia 2 months ago

    How can you not have Robin Williams playing a killer at #1...not even an honorable mention?

  • Tristin Wombacher
    Tristin Wombacher 2 months ago

    Umm...also Brian Cranston from Malcolm in the Middle to Breaking Bad...hello?? Lol

  • vincent fave
    vincent fave 2 months ago

    Kercher also suck as Steve Jobs

  • blackiesun
    blackiesun 2 months ago

    Ralph Fiennes was also in a romantic comedy with Jennifer Lopez - that movie you showed isn't his only light-hearted one! The leading role in a romantic comedy with J Lo isn't exactly the role you'd imagine for him - more so than the one you showed. I'd say it was vastly more different than his usual roles.

  • Terence Hikawai
    Terence Hikawai 2 months ago

    umm.. Henry Fonder?

  • AgainstAllOdds96
    AgainstAllOdds96 2 months ago +1

    I didn't know Voldemort was a Nazi... then again that doesn't surprise me

  • Dhirendra Nath Biswas
    Dhirendra Nath Biswas 2 months ago

    It's really true!!! I really shocked when Tom Cruise's name appeared in the closing scene of Tropic Thunder.

  • Barbara Vela
    Barbara Vela 2 months ago

    In my opinion, Michael B. Jordan as N'Jadaka/Erik Stevens/Killmonger in Black Panther defied my expectations. I didn't even knew about the character and i though that he would come and go away. But his performance was very good, and there are even moments where you agree with his ideals.

  • j.p. lembach
    j.p. lembach 2 months ago

    And what about ben kingsley in ghandi ????????????????

  • sportshistorybuff
    sportshistorybuff 2 months ago

    Tim Robbins in The Shawshank Redemption and that horror movie where he was seeing scary things, got buried in a coffin with a spider.

  • Luz Vargas
    Luz Vargas 2 months ago

    No, You área not the only one ...l liked the movie and was surprised the dude was really acting...

  • Chill Dude
    Chill Dude 2 months ago +1

    Steve carell's performance in Foxcatcher was mind blowing !!

  • Joe Rice
    Joe Rice 3 months ago

    The detox scene... way too close to home

  • Evan Peltier
    Evan Peltier 3 months ago

    Samuel L Jackson in Pulp Fiction. 🍔💉💼

  • Sam Scott
    Sam Scott 3 months ago

    Adam sandler in reign over me

  • Arnor Johannesspn
    Arnor Johannesspn 3 months ago

    Heath ledger should be one this list and should by number 1

  • shakesisdead ya-cunts
    shakesisdead ya-cunts 3 months ago

    bleeping "fuck" but not "cunt", I like it

  • Xavier Basilla
    Xavier Basilla 3 months ago

    yo butterfly effect was a great movie
    edit: it got 33 % of rotten tomatoes holy shit lol but that shit sure was good when me and my buddies watched it high

  • Tere Rañada
    Tere Rañada 3 months ago

    For sylvester stallone in comedy, i prefer "Oscar."

  • Si Regan
    Si Regan 3 months ago

    How about this...Ryan Reynolds in Buried? Until then I'd always thought of him as a passable comedic actor but he delivered a powerhouse performance in that

  • Dillon Messick
    Dillon Messick 3 months ago

    What about steve Carrel l in little Mrs sunshine.

  • Michael Gomez
    Michael Gomez 3 months ago

    I think Adam Sandler played a better serious role in Reign Over Me...why doesn't anyone talk about that movie???

    • Quadry Johnson
      Quadry Johnson 3 months ago

      That movie is so sad. One of his best movies ever.

  • CMerritts90
    CMerritts90 3 months ago

    Michael Keaton for Batman!! Heath Ledger as the Joker in the Dark Knight.

  • Scott F.
    Scott F. 3 months ago

    When you say Steve Carell's Dramatic debut was Foxfire in 2014, Is that your secret code for "Steve Carell made his drama debut as Frank Ginsberg in the 2006 film Little Miss Sunshine"? Or are you blanking that one, as well as "Dan in Real Life", which was released in 2007?

  • Tony Maxwell
    Tony Maxwell 3 months ago

    Big oversight w/ Val Kilmer - he was hilarious in 'Top Secret' long before his role in 'MacGruber''

  • Skyla 2000
    Skyla 2000 3 months ago

    One of the greatest movie quotes ever
    "Take a big step back and FUCK YOUR OWN FACE!!!!!" 😂😂😂

  • Jacob Staten
    Jacob Staten 3 months ago

    Foxcatcher could have been really good if they edited it for pacing.

  • mlkoenen
    mlkoenen 3 months ago

    Will Ferrell was far better and more moving in Stranger Than Fiction.

  • Amber Renee Graves
    Amber Renee Graves 3 months ago

    These aren't defying performances. These are actors that broke typecast.

  • The Amazing Spider Wuss

    Where is Heath Ledger’s joker, or Javier Bardem as Anton Chigurh?

  • Gnarly Nollie
    Gnarly Nollie 4 months ago

    Can't say "Fuck your own face" without bleeps but can totally say "Snap your dick off and jam it in your ass" with no bleeps. Kay.

  • cheetah2thedeath
    cheetah2thedeath 4 months ago

    I never knew that was tom cruise!!!

  • Raeburn Oliver
    Raeburn Oliver 4 months ago

    As if they censored fuck and not cunt 😂

  • spizal
    spizal 4 months ago

    Val Kilmer Top Secret! and Real Genius

  • JM A
    JM A 4 months ago

    Steve carrel(i dunno) is now a great serious actor

  • Elisha Singh
    Elisha Singh 4 months ago

    Heath Ledger as Joker is a major omission
    Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Capote should top this list
    Tim Robbins in Arlington Road was chilling
    Robert De Niro in Hide and Seek

  • Matt Drummond
    Matt Drummond 4 months ago +1

    Macgruber is fucking hilarious

  • Todd Jones
    Todd Jones 4 months ago

    Steve Carell as Dupont seems more like just a slightly tweaked Brick Tamland.

  • Jennifer Evans
    Jennifer Evans 4 months ago

    Val Kilmer was in Top Secret one of the best spoof movies ever made!

  • Simon Grinchpan
    Simon Grinchpan 4 months ago

    lmfaoooo Val Kilmer did Top Secret wayyyyyy before Magruber

  • TheDaveMaybe
    TheDaveMaybe 4 months ago

    Everything Must Go is a masterpiece, and Ferrell deserved an Oscar nom!

  • ProfessorM.
    ProfessorM. 4 months ago

    hoffman always plays serious roles tho

  • The KC Suge The_KC_Suge

    Val Kilmer? Are you forgetting he did silly in Top Secret!?

  • lukkash
    lukkash 4 months ago

    Michael J Fox was inserted at the beginning in simple and shallow roles so couldn’t show his full potential. This is also in other cases of actors like Will Ferrell here.

  • Bam bam Banuelos
    Bam bam Banuelos 4 months ago

    🦊 catcher was superb.

  • Jeremy Charlie
    Jeremy Charlie 4 months ago

    David Schwimmer as Duane Hopwood and the main character in Big Nothing, were good.

  • marley92282
    marley92282 5 months ago

    Oh god, Ralph Fiennes is an absolute orgasm. Grand Budapest Hotel is magnificent.

  • Kev10 Countdown
    Kev10 Countdown 5 months ago

    Mo’nique - Precious

  • Jake K
    Jake K 5 months ago

    Anyone else find it mad that they bleeped out the F word but still allowed cunt and retard in...

  • Ty_GH _
    Ty_GH _ 5 months ago

    Heith Ledger was doubted for the role of joker because of movies like a nights tale. But it’s probably the greatest performance ever so why aint he on there

  • John Carroll
    John Carroll 5 months ago

    Ralph Fiennes in 'In Bruges'

  • Victor Emanuel
    Victor Emanuel 5 months ago

    Steve Carrel
    Miss sunshine??

  • riley merrington
    riley merrington 5 months ago

    The Butterfly Effect was fucking mint

  • MoMo Melon
    MoMo Melon 5 months ago

    Arnold swartznegger in Twins? Him playing a pregnant man is hilarious.....wait is that the same movie...

  • Dylan
    Dylan 5 months ago

    when the f word is censored but the c word isn't

  • Set Fire to the Whole Damn House

    so ignorant. it actually takes a lot of skill to so comedy and "lighthearted roles," not the other way around.

  • MrFlipperInvader792
    MrFlipperInvader792 5 months ago

    I think Carell broke typecasting with foxcatcher

  • Willie Playz
    Willie Playz 5 months ago

    WHERE HEATH LEDGER AT BOY

  • Chelsea Jones
    Chelsea Jones 5 months ago

    I loved the butterfly effect , for the first time I thought Aston was actually good in something

  • Soph side
    Soph side 5 months ago

    I thought Ashton did great in the bitter effect

  • IHS
    IHS 5 months ago

    The fact that most people had no idea Tom Cruise was actually Les Grossman is enough in and of itself to earn him the first spot, but the fact that his acting was also brilliant and hilarious just puts him over the edge. The fact, however, that Heath Ledger didn't make this list as nr. 2 is dumbfounding, a rom-com actor who was considered a risky pick for the movie absolutely stole the entire movie with his performance, and even the Oscar (which again, is more than enough for him to be a solid 2nd place, if not first - as opposed to not even an honorable mention (wtf???)).

  • Thomas Byers
    Thomas Byers 5 months ago

    Val Kilmer did Real Genius and Top Secret! which were Comedy movies. Comedy was going back to earlier roles.

  • Thomas Reilly
    Thomas Reilly 5 months ago

    One time out of genre roles? Kilmer... Real Genius

  • Ben Warner
    Ben Warner 5 months ago

    I didn’t hate the butterfly effect

  • H Mel
    H Mel 5 months ago

    Fox catcher was awesome

  • TheEnd
    TheEnd 5 months ago

    the thumbnail is never in the clip. No pun intended

  • Matthew Ozuna
    Matthew Ozuna 5 months ago

    If you’re not gonna put Adam Sandler for punch drunk love on the list at least make him an honorable mention

  • Chris Topher
    Chris Topher 5 months ago

    I liked The Butterfly Effect. Thought it was one of his better movies.

  • David Hyslop
    David Hyslop 5 months ago

    Wrong. Jason Bateman, the kingdom.