Willem's Acting:Last updated: May 15th, 2023
In October 2021, I went through a LOT of Dafoe movies for Dafoctober. I'm still going through them as of 2022! Dude's done a lot of movies! I'll mark the ones I highly recommend with a tomato 🍅.
Willem Dafoe also makes various appearances in video games and music sometimes. I'll list there here too, according to date.
Here's a bingo card I had fun with during Dafoctober! It also doubles as a drinking game. Take a sip for each bingole you get! But be careful...
(1984) Streets of Fire:
He's in it for about 2 minutes total, and the rest of the movie is slightly cringe, but he has a great rubber wading outfit and leather biker twink look.
(1988) The Last Temptation of Christ:
A movie that's way too long for my liking, and I'm not the biggest fan of the source material. But Willem gets some great acting in with a New Yawk Jesus, complete with Jesus torture and Jesus sex scene.
(1992) Body of Evidence:
A fairly boring movie, but quite notable for Madonna hand-picking Willem to be her co-star in cock-n'-ball torture. The hot wax and belt bondage was improvised? Okay Madonna, you sado-yumejoshi! People say this movie is worse than it is, but it's fairly inoffensive and I think those folks only dislike it because they dislike Madonna. Find a supercut of the Willem scenes.
(1997) Speed 2: Cruise Control:
This is an extremely boring and slow movie, as every other critic on the world has noted. There's a strange subplot with a little deaf girl that's never resolved, and a boat crashing scene that seems an hour long.
Save your time and watch only the scant Dafoe scenes. He plays a terrorist named John Geiger, with many fun traits such as being friends with leeches, having copper poisoning, and making extremely toothy faces. Dafoe looks absolutely zonked and aged into beef jerky in his final scene of the movie, with his wet hair and contorted face making him look bald and old(er than usual).
🍅(1999) Boondock Saints:
Fun dude movie! Willem's a homophobic, homosexual, crossdressing detective for about 10 minutes. He goes ham, chews the scenery, says a slur, and steals the show. And he looks GREAT as a chain-smoking middle-aged woman. If Willem's not enough, we have Norman Reedus for the other group of yumejoshi.
🍅 (2000) American Psycho:
Fun dude movie! Willem's a straightdressing detective for about 5 minutes, in a very low-key role that's mostly there to wig ya out with his little naughty smile. Christian Bale really steals the show this time.
🍅 (2000) Animal Factory:
GREAT explicitly homoerotic movie! Willem's a prison-gay inmate who chooses to protect a young man from sexual assault. Why? Well... he says he wouldn't be doing it if the young man wasn't pretty like a girl. Nothing R18 happens between 'em besides a "fake" sex scene, but the character interaction and tension is just, really, my ideal! Another surprise bright spot of the movie is Mickey Rourke as the transgender inmate Jan. She's very pretty. This movie was directed by Steve Buscemi and I really am surprised no one has recommended this movie to me! It's queer, it's subtext, it's just textual, and it ends like all the greatest yaoi mangos would. Buscemi is one of my few allies in this world.
🍅 (2000) Shadow of the Vampire:
Prime creepy and theatrical Dafoe! He's Nosferatu, with a naughty grin, a lust for pretty women's necks (and sucking on bleeding men's fingers) and sometimes very sad drunken rants. The movie's a horror-comedy, and I cannot imagine anyone else but Dafoe as the titular vampire in this mood. If you've watched the old B/W Nosferatu, this is a really fun fanfic basically. Compare and contrast Dafoe's vampire to Kinski's! Dafoe shows much more glee, while Kinski's is just depressed. Both actors have extremely intense performances and do it their own unique way. It's so great seeing so many takes on this character!
(2002) Finding Nemo:
Did you know that Dafoe plays Gill, the sexy scarred fish in the dentist's office? Now you do. Gill's beak looks just like Dafoe's nose... anyways, they based this character on his role in Animal Factory (which is how I found that movie to watch!), which is kinda weird in context of Gill protecting Nemo? But Dafoe is great as always. Another childhood favorite!
🍅 (2002) Spider-Man:
Let's just incorporate his cameos in 2 and 3 in here too. Spider-Man 2002 is the GREATEST superhero movie of all time, why does didnymarvel even bother making new ones?? It's weird, it's silly, it's goofy, it's got HORROR MOVIE SHOTS cause of Raimi. Dafoe's dual roles are just INCREDIBLE and dynamic, he's doing everything from insane goblin screaming to gentle father scenes, and the scenes without him are iconic too! Tobey's wibbly widdle angel lipz...
(2006) Tales From Earthsea:
Dafoe's grizzled NEW YAWK voice coming out of a girly man anime twink is extremely jarring! Who was the casting agent for this film??? But it makes more sense as you get to the end of the movie. He does good with his voices IMO, both his hoarse MILF whisper and his gurgling death screeches. Shane might have his own Dafoe waifu....The rest of this Ghibli movie is not my jam. I'm not really into magic or fantasy.
🍅 (2008) Guns n' Roses - "Madagascar":
🎶A special musical appearance for Willem. He's sampled in this song from the album Chinese Democracy, (an album which I would LOVE to write about on another page) around 3 minutes and 14 seconds in. The sample is from his role in Mississippi Burning, and is mixed among other movie samples and Martin Luther King Jr. recordings.
"Where does it come from, all this hatred?"
I can't believe it took me til 2022 to realize it was Willem Dafoe's voice. I was just looking up the lyrics of the song because I was wondering why Axl always samples the same couple of movies and MLK quotes. Then I started thinking about the meaning of the song in regards to racism and alienation... then I thought about Mississippi Burning... and boom. There he is. The dad rock and Willem connection of my interests finally happened.
The song itself is OKAY, I have always enjoyed Buckethead's guitar playing, but I find the context of it more fascinating than anything else. From the decade it took for Axl to release this album, to Axl saying racist things in his youth (see:One In A Million) then him ending up making anti racist and anti war songs... this ginger man with cornrows is crazy. Shades of Norman Osborn.
🍅 (2009) Antichrist:
Another movie full of Dafoe ass shots, chokefucking, and cock-n-ball torture??? I guess big film directors have the same goals as me, huh. Men only want one thing... and it's Dafoe in excrutiating physical and mental torment. He plays a dickweed shrink trying to "heal" his wife. He kinda deserves everything that's coming to him. It's a long artsy film masquerading under the horror genre's shock visuals, and doesn't quite connect its themes in a way that stimulates my brain (maybe cuz Lars Trier seems like a dickweed himself). But it's worth a watch!
🍅Antony and the Johnsons - Cut The World
A Willem appearance in a music video! This song was made for a stage show he performed in called "The Life and Death of Marina Abramović", and Marina herself appears in the video as well. The song is nice and spacey, and the music video is pretty sick!
Willem is in his typical suit seme outfit with Norman Osborn hair, acting as some vague business executive. And then
🍅 (2013) Love's Routine
This is a wonderful short film by Shirlyn Wong. It's the first time I've seen Willem be the younger one in an age gap relationship, with him as a granny's caretaker and lover. A tight n' funny story about loving gmilfs. You gotta watch it, no spoilers! Apparently the director learned hands-on about Willem's extremely muscular frown muscles during filming?!
🍅 (2013) The Smile ManIf you ever wondered where that gif of Willem grinning painfully and turning his head to scream came from, this is it! Another funny short film detailing the trials of Willem's character as he struggles with a facial paralysis that shows off his trademark gappy grin. Very simple, worth a watch just to see him go through pain with a smile.
(2013) Saving NormanSo the series of these 2013 short films starring Willem come from "Jameson First Shot", which gave upcoming filmmakers a movie budget and a hollywood star to direct. This definitely feels the most "student-filmy" of the bunch, as the plot is quite straightforward without too many surprises. Willem plays a guy who's been inside for 10 years with his parrot, and he hires a pet psychic who ends up "fixing" his mental illness. An easy watch for Willem in a bathrobe, a director's favorite outfit for him.
(2015) My Hindu Friend:
While the idea of a Dafoe character being painfully sickly and dying of cancer is GREAT, and he is entertaining to watch, I was not a fan of this movie. As an autobiography, I just didn't like the person enough to enjoy the movie. I don't really like artists who treat art as their higher calling, above treating human beings kindly. He seems very mean to women (including his mother), and he does that director thing where he only has sex with younger women despite his old age and limp dick. Eh.
🍅 (2017) The Florida Project:
I really like this film! It's in that genre I adore of "just some regular characters doing stuff in a room". Dafoe plays a small role as a hotel manager who is tormented by the residents and kids, and it's very cute. There's something very fufilling about watching Dafoe play a genuine Dad role that's not based on family, but a much better dad at protecting strangers. I admit I cried at this movie. I get sad when kids are sad, and when there's child abuse/neglect.
(2017) Death Note:
This movie is shit, but Dafoe as Ryuk is too perfect. I remember groaning when I heard they cast him, because that meant I had to watch this movie. He plays the part to a T, and the role is maybe a little too perfect! He doesn't get many moments to shine because of how well he slots into the role, there's not many surprises. But hey, it's kinda like getting another Green Goblin for me :)
An art film that feels an hour too long. If you're into more Dafoe ass shots and chokefucking, boy are there directors who are begging him to do more ass shots and chokefucking!!! Dafoe plays a sad bartender who's going a lil' cookoo as his dreams meld with reality. He also plays his dad. And his father. Those parts might be my favorite, just watching him talk to himself... cuz he gets to do more Goblin mirror scenes!
🍅 (2019) The Lighthouse:
Representation matters. And I finally felt seen in this movie as an ojiiuke puppyplay enthusiast. What other movie will you see Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe masturbating in? If you want to know my exact taste in character dynamics and meandering two-guys-one-room storytelling with no morals, watch this movie.
It's a Disney movie about a man and his sled dog, based on a true story. What do you expect? I admit I cried >:( I get sad when animals are hurt!!!! And Dafoe is cute as another grumpy old man character who's heart is slowly warmed by a cute lil puppy.
🍅 (2021) Twelve Minutes:
This game is a couple hours long, and fun to play through! It's a puzzle game, in which the puzzle is "Willem Dafoe will kill you in sixty seconds", and you figure out the story through dying and suriviving over and over. The gameplay and story is mostly mundane, with some interesting EPIC TWEESTS. It brings up the question of how much a game should be spoilered for people with specific triggers, actually! In my case, I went in without knowing anything and probably would have preferred not being spoiled no matter the content. Also it's really, REALLY funny when
Willem plays a cop, who ends up
🍅 (2021) Spider-Man No Way Home:
The tomato is only for Dafoe's scenes. I am not the audience for didnymarvel movies. I think this movie is horribly written with the most generic uncool lines that make every character sound snarkily similar, the time travel stuff is sloppy, and the older actors they brought in are either phoning it in for the money (Ock, Molina said so himself he did it for the money) or replaced with CG (lizard and sandman?!).
Willem just steals the whole damn show. He makes the best of a doodoo script, and he acts his whole dafussy out as tender Norman and insane Goblin.
Jamie Foxx is super adorable as Electro as well, I feel bad that he seems so energetic in his role but the rest of the movie just... no pun intended but SUCKS the energy. Watch a supercut with Willem and Jamie's scenes. Then imagine a better movie in your mind, because anything you make up is better fanfiction than this movie.
🍅 (2023) Inside:
A polarizing movie. If you want to watch 2 hours of Willem being tortured in a house with no progress, you'll LOVE this movie. And I loved this movie! The movie is about visual art, and I think it makes quite a lovely connection between Schiele's stringy creepy paintings and Willem's bony canvas of a body.
It's not just the way Willem's body looks - but the way he acts that's art! It's a pleasure for the mind to watch him move and contort and speak, all by himself with no other distractions. It's quite similar to Siberia in that way, but with less focus on the Why (why is the character here?) and more on the How (how does the character react?). I love two guys in one room movies, and this one guy in one room movie satisfies in much the same way. You probably won't like it if you need something to happen in your movies to be entertained though.
That's all for now, til Willem gets to more acting and I get to watching more movies!