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Director: Michael Caton-Jones
After bursting into prominence with his work on the soundtrack for When Harry Met Sally (1989), Connick earned his first acting credit in this World War II epic about the events leading up to and including the last run of the Memphis Belle, an American Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. Connick has a significant part as a tail gunner in this fictionalized account of actual events that earned mostly positive reviews for his drama and acting, with Connick making an impressive debut that opened much bigger doors. Memphis Belle is a bit cliché but the film as a whole, especially the final act is well worth a look and Connick delivers a solid effort.
Director: Jodie Foster
Next up for Connick was this gem of a story about a little boy named Tate (Adam Hann-Byrd) who is reading and mathematically-gifted yet living with his potential untapped under the care of his mother (Foster) who can’t provide for him the stimulation and growth he needs. Tate eventually gets his chance to spread his wings at an institute led by Jane Grierson (Diane Wiest) and he is soon enrolled in university as a child and meets Eddie (Connick Jr.) an adult student who shows the kid some fun, that life isn’t just about academics. Connick is very good in a small but crucial role that becomes vital in the next stage of Tate’s evolution. He’s tender and sweet but necessary in revealing which direction Tate needs to go.
Director: Richard LaGravenese
This is a bad movie. Make no mistake. While some might enjoy the smarmy love story and contrived bits of romance, the film is a mess. It stars Hilary Swank as a Holly, a young widow who receives a series of letters in the mail from her husband Gerry (Gerard Butler) after he died. Intended to be uplifting and inspiring, it is often uncomfortably bad, with silly set pieces and hokey drama. Still, Connick saves the day playing Daniel, the new guy with potential for making bringing happiness back to Holly. He has some great moments as a man with his own set of problems, and though the part is small, it is well-played by Connick Jr. and offers a few authentic bits to an otherwise forgettable experience.
Director: Forest Whitaker
It’s hardly possible to mention the 90s without Sandra Bullock popping up as she rocketed to fame in the decade as one of the most reliable box office winners of the time. Here, she plays Birdee Pruitt, a Chicago housewife who gets invited to appear an a nationally-televised talk show, only to learn that her husband is having an affair. Naturally, she bolts the city and tries to hide out in her small hometown back in Texas where she runs into former high school classmate, Justin Matisse (Connick, Jr.). While she tries to put her life back together and care for her ailing and odd parents, she grows closer to Justin and questions building a romance. Connick Jr. finds the right tone in this often off-balance drama that tries a little too hard.
Director: Jon Amiel
An under-rated gem that got lost in the shuffle of many in the time, this psychological thriller stars veterans Sigourney Weaver as a criminal psychologist who becomes agoraphobic after she is attacked, eventually working with San Fransisco Inspector M.J. Monahan (Holly Hunter) in trying to stop a madman who is using previous notorious serial killers as inspiration for his murders. Donning red hair and a delicious menace, Connick Jr. plays Daryll Lee Cullum, who has a powerful character introduction before nearly disappearing for the remainder of the film, though his presence lingers throughout and he bookends the movie with some creepy delight. A small but memorable turn, this is a rare look at the other side of his usual nice-guy personas. A great film you should seek out.
What are some Harry Connick Jr. roles you like?