Happy 54th Birthday, Steve Buscemi! What's His Most Underrated Screen Moment?

buscemi225.jpgCorrect me if I'm wrong, but I think it's safe to say that Steve Buscemi is one of the most universally liked actors of this generation. He vivified Fargo, gave Ghost World a soul, lent Big Fish some quirky sincerity, ruled on 30 Rock (and Boardwalk Empire, I suppose), and even proved himself a viable proxy for Paul Lynde as the voice of Templeton in the Charlotte's Web remake. That's not an easy sneer to fill. But today we're talking about Buscemi's underrated work, the stuff that doesn't percolate with the grim vigor of a Coen Brothers classic. What's your pick?

Eagle-eyed readers will note that I toasted Buscemi's uncredited role as Danny McGrath in Billy Madison during Bad Movies We Love recently, but it's too goddamn funny not to revisit here. As Billy (Adam Sandler) makes amends with the kids he tortured in high school, he finds that onetime loser Danny McGrath seems mysteriously well-adjusted. It's a different story once Billy hangs up the receiver, though, and we watch as Danny's true nature gurgles up from the netherworld. So, so weird and so unassailable in its gall. I laugh every single time at this clip.

What's Buscemi's most underrated moment? Those who disagree with me will be forced to skip recess and apply glue to Miss Lippy's face.


  • Sarah says:

    Rockhound in "Armageddon". Giving a face to space dementia!

  • Antonio says:

    I don't know if his most, but Buscemi's lead role in Tom Dicillo's Delirious is one of his better roles so far, the movie is not a masterpiece but his performance must be very representative of his entire career.

  • Capote99 says:

    The first time I ever remember seeing Steve Buscemi was in "Parting Glances," which I now see was one of his first movies. He remains really indelible in that role.

  • The WInchester says:


  • Mallory says:

    Holy moly, there are SO MANY!! Donny from The Big Lebowski is hilarious! And Rex from Airheads (which for such a crap movie is unreasonably funny) and Ghost World, for sure.

  • 2+2=5 says:

    "Most Underrated" moment, people. Donny is kinda very rated and appreciated.
    So, just out of my head it can be psycho Garland from Con Air, or very funny Wiley in Grown Ups, and I personally loved him in Saint John of Las Vegas.

  • Matt says:

    That cameo in THE MESSENGER. Best thing in movie.

  • Ashley says:

    the drunk best man in The Wedding Singer - hysterical.

  • Mallory says:

    ok...my bad, "most under-rated" would be Happy Franks in The Impostors or Scamper in Igor

  • G says:

    Agreed. "Best guitar player in the world! Never had a lesson."

  • casting couch says:

    For me, his two seasons as Enoch "Nucky" Thompson are easily his best work.

  • Malmsteen_Magic says:

    Gotta be him flipping out in "Living in Oblivion."

  • Sam R. says:

    I first enjoyed him As Garland Green in Con Air. He, Danny Trejo, Dave Chapelle, John Malkovich, and Vind Rhames as criminals. That plane ride would be awesome!