6. Tom Cruise as Frank T.J. Mackey in Magnolia
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, Magnolia is a sprawling epic, which leaves logic behind and just goes with whatever it wants to. It’s operatic, exhilerating, and big; but it never truly picks up until Tom Cruise shows up. Cruise makes the film what it is as Mackey, a misogynist motivational speaker who gives one of the funniest speeches of all time (RESPECT THE C) and is truly spectacular.
5. Adam Sandler as Barry Egan in Punch-Drunk-Love
Adam Sandler is a goofball. I can’t say I’ve ever really enjoyed any of his films, other than his earlier material, such as Happy Gilmore. But his strange turn as Barry Egan in Paul Thomas Anderson’s comedy, Punch-Drunk-Love, was one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had while watching a movie. Weird, non-expressive, and fueled with an internal temper, Sandler delivers the part perfectly. No other actor could have done it as well, which is a surprise.