John Carroll Lynch, much like many great character actors of our time, is someone everyone is familiar with, but no one has ever heard of. All it takes is a picture and people instantly recognize him. And odds are, most movie fans have enjoyed his performances at least once or twice. He's often given small roles, but always brings something to the table no matter how little he has to work with. An actor as versatile as he is underrated.
So, being the kind of snob that I am, I've decided it's time I highlight some actors like him, and make top 5 lists for my personal favorite works of these underrated actors. So here we go, these are my top 5 favorite John Carroll Lynch performances.
5. Fargo (1996)
The less flashy half of one of the sweetest and most natural married couples in movie history, Lynch doesn't show up for long, but his few short scenes are understated standouts that bookend the movie and reveal a great deal about Marge (McDormand) as a character. This would be higher if he were in the movie longer, but his impact is great enough.
4. The Invitation (2016)
Sadly, I can't really describe this performance at all without going into spoiler territory. But Lynch is a standout in a pretty strong cast and a physical force that can be felt looming throughout the movie. He's very intimidating here.
3. The Founder (2016)
One of the two brothers Ray Croc screwed over, Lynch takes on the more dialogue heavy role of the two as a trusting man who slowly comes to realize what's happening to a business he helped build from the ground up. It's a heartbreaking performance that would've been easily forgotten if delivered by a lesser actor.
2. Love Happens (2009)
Yeah, this forgettable throwaway pile of generic rom-com fluff has one of the best performances of Lynch's career as a fantastic character actor. I couldn't even recommend the movie, but it's worth seeing just for his small role as a grieving father. His scenes are short, but he brings so much passion to the role it makes me respect him all the more as an actor. Even in generic crap like this, he gives it his all and delivers a legitimately powerful performance.
1. Zodiac (2007)
This sort of had to be #1. For an actor like him, getting a key role in a movie this substantial is not something that can happen very often, but even with his limited screentime and few lines of dialogue, he conveys so much with his facial expressions and body language and makes the most of his character. A man suspected of being the Zodiac Killer, and a performance so great that's how I refer to him to most people who don't know who he is by name. His scenes are tense, and his performance is suitably shrouded in mystery.