Mark Wahlberg’s Best Performances

Boogie Nights

Even though he had been in a couple of movies, no one was yet taking Marky Mark seriously as an actor in the mid-90s.  Then, a novice director by the name of Paul Thomas Anderson cast him as an aspiring adult film actor in what would go on to be one of the best films of the decade, Boogie Nights.  In his role as Dirk Diggler, Wahlberg displays the requisite confidence and charisma and melds incredibly well with Anderson’s sprawling ensemble.

Three Kings

Just two years later, Wahlberg had the opportunity to capitalize on the critical goodwill he earned from Anderson’s film.  He took advantage of it in his first of many collaborations with David O. Russell as Sergeant First Class Troy Barlow in Three Kings.  Per the usual, Russell blends comedic and dramatic material seamlessly, which can be challenging for actors to tackle.  Wahlberg handles the task beautifully.  His character is given some of the film’s most intensely dramatic scenes; Wahlberg seizes these moments and make them haunting and memorable.

The Fighter

Your guess is as good as mine as to why it is, but David O. Russell seems to get the best out of Mark Wahlberg like few directors can.  In 2010, Wahlberg was finally able to bring his passion project, a biopic about welterweight boxer Micky Ward, to fruition.  His dedication to the part was enormous.  He trained for the part for four years.  Yet it’s not the physical aspect that is most impressive about Wahlberg’s performance.  Wahlberg creates a sympathetic portrait of an underachieving boxer trapped between his ambitions and his robust, offbeat family.  Wahlberg shows a vulnerability rare to his filmography, and offers a character to root for.

Wahlberg will most likely be remembered more by mainstream audiences for his commercial fare, such as The Perfect Storm and Invincible.  Don’t let those movies fool you, though: there are some real gems on his resume.

Zack Mandell is a movie enthusiast, writer of movie reviews, and owner of which has great information on actors such as Mark Wahlberg. He writes extensively about the movie industry for sites such as Gossip Center, Yahoo, NowPublic, and Helium.

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By Zack Mandell
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