Comfortable in a role – Tommy Lee Jones

I was watching for the umpteenth time one of my favorite movies, “The Fugitive,” starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones. While Ford is the lead as the fugitive, the movie belongs to Jones, who plays a US Marshal.

Jones is so very comfortable and believable in the role. But, he is like that in many roles he plays, from Loretta Lynn’s husband in “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” to the adventurous movie I first saw him in “Nate and Hayes,” to his playing a talented and irascible man in “Cobb.”

The best line of “The Fugitive,” was not written by the screenwriters and was an ad-lib by Jones in character. When Ford is first cornered at water storm drain, he said to Jones’ character, “I did not kill my wife.” To which Jones responded, “I don’t care!” The line resonated so much, Ford’s character reminded him of it later in the movie after the Marshal saved him and proved his innocence.

Whether he is playing a hero, anti-hero, misunderstood person, villain or antagonist, Jones eats up the screen. In “Blown Away” and “The Package,” he plays the villain that needs to be stopped. In “The Client,” he is an attention seeking prosecutor who is the antagonist to Susan Sarandon’s young client. In “JFK,” he plays a wealthy gay entrepreneur who may know something about the assassination.

But, I enjoy him most when he plays the anti-hero roles where he does his job and cares little about rules and more about the truth. “The Fugitive” and his spinoff sequel “US Marshals” fill this role. I also enjoy “Space Cowboys” with Clint Eastwood and “In the Valley of Elah” with Charlize Theron.

Just mentioning these co-stars, reminds me he seems to be in movies with other big stars, which is telling – a few more include Sissy Spacek, Gene Hackman, Jeff Bridges, Donald Sutherland, James Garner, Kevin Costner, and Will Smith.

What are some of your favorites? I did not see the “Men in Black” movies, so I cannot  offer comment.

22 thoughts on “Comfortable in a role – Tommy Lee Jones

  1. He is a master. Though I hated the movie, he was stellar in No Country for Old Men. And a movie that I really enjoyed him in was The Homesman. His intensity is a match for the stunning photography.

  2. Note to Readers: In “Space Cowboys,” Jones plays an estranged friend of Clint Eastwood. Even when the two are joined by James Garner and Donald Sutherland, Jones’ character seems to linger beyond the scene.

  3. Dear Keith,
    I liked him in the movie “Double Jeopardy” starring also Ashley Judd, and Bruce Greenwood. He played a similar role as in the Fugitive.Then I have watched the movie, “The Client” several times which starred him and Susan Sarandon, and Brad Renfro. In all these roles, he is in hot pursuit of someone who is supposedly guilty of something but who end up being the good guys.
    Hugs, Gronda

  4. Yes, he is a great actor, one that I’d sort of forgotten about – as with many many others! When I read posts about movies, I think, “Movies? Oh. Yes….” There are theaters in the malls, and during the Independence Day holiday week, I noted lots of people standing in line to see whatever was the choice… unless it’s in a restaurant, I rarely see reminders of television shows or movies……. You’re helping me remember a fading past – ,more like another life!

    • Lisa, going to a theater is getting rare. Many of the money making movies are computer generated or animated. Call me crazy, but I need a plot and some dialogue along the way. Keith

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