My Favorite Dennis Quaid Movies
Rotten Tomatoes has a list of Dennis Quaid’s top movies based mainly on their Tomatometer rating, but I have to agree with posters that some of my favorite DQ movies aren’t on the list. A couple might be because they are guilty pleasures, but others because they were too low-key to make it as hit movies.
Quaid has never been a major star, but he is one of those excellent, solid actors who usually adds something interesting in every film he’s in.
Anyway, here are my ten favorite DQ flicks.
10. Smart People (2008) — This is a small-scale character study that features a terrific ensemble headed by Quaid, with Ellen Page as his daughter, Thomas Hayden Church and Jessica Parker.
9. Suspect (1987) — This qualifies as a guilty pleasure, although it is a pretty good courtroom drama-thriller and DQ is sexy as hell opposite Cher.
8. Innerspace (1987) — DQ and Meg Ryan sizzle and Martin Short is hilarious as the guy who has Quaid coursing through his veins —literally — in this sci-fi comedy/romance.
7. The Day After Tomorrow (2002) — I love “end of the world movies” and this one featured a great father-son bond (with DQ and Jake Gyllenhaal) that gives it some heart. I can’t turn it off when I stumble upon it channel surfing
6. Far From Heaven — Director Todd Haynes does a brilliant job recreating the melodrama magic of Douglas Sirk, and it might be Quaid’s best performance ever, not to mention great work by Julianne Moore and Dennis Haysbert
5. Switchback (1997) — This is a terribly underrated movie that slipped way under the radar when it was released. Quaid is an FBI man who has been on the trail of a serial killer for months, but no one believes him when he says it was the killer who kidnapped his son. Quaid has to find the killer in order to find his son and the hunt takes him to a train traveling in rugged terrain in a snowstorm. The film also stars Danny Glover, and R. Lee Ermey. Writer-director Jeb Stuart also wrote the screenplays for Die Hard and The Fugitive.
4. Breaking Away (1979) — Dennis Christopher is the star in this fantastic coming of age comedy about a young man who idolizes cyclists, but Quaid turns in a nice supporting turn as the former high school football star who has to watch all the college town jocks come to his town every year and get the glory he wanted so desperately for himself.
3. Dreamscape (1984) — Decades before Inception, director Joseph Ruben (The Stepfather) directed this low-key take on entering someone’s dream to help solve a problem. Quaid is the psychic making money on the ponies who gets into a serious situation when’s he’s asked to use his skills to help the president (Eddie Arnold). I love this movie. It’s smart, sexy and scary and co-stars include the creepy duo of Christopher Plummer and David Patrick Kelly, plus Mrs. Steven Spielberg (Kate Capshaw), Max von Sydow and George Wendt.
2. Frequency (2000) — Another fascinating father-son drama that creates a nice balance between a sci-fi element and a tense thriller as a cosmic event allows a grown son (James Caviezel, star of the new CBS series Person of Interest) to contact in now dead father (Dennis Quaid) in the past via a short-wave radio. I love this movie even though the 1969 Miracle Mets are a big part of the plot.
1. The Big Easy (1984) — Quaid and Ellen Barkin burn up the screen in this sexy and solid cop drama about a New Orleans detective (Quaid) who is corrupt but likable. When he hooks up with a D.A. investigating police corruption (Barkin), he begins to see the error of his ways, especially when there are cops out there killing people and now they are going after him. With Ned Beatty, John Goodman, Grace Zabriskie and a fabulous “Big Easy” music score.