walkenchronicles

Think of this as a guide through each of Christopher Walken's films, starting with his first and moving forward. Each review will provide analysis, factoids and opinion on the ninety-plus films in his career.

Why Walken?

That’s not the question, though, is it?

The ‘why’ is obvious. It’s easy to like Christopher Walken. He’s a likable guy. He sings and dances. Tells jokes. He’s full of wisdom. Listen to ANY of his interviews. Have you seen him? He’s like a zen monk. A tap-dancing, koan-saying genius, completely unconcerned with whether or not you ‘get it.’

He’s clearly operating on a whole other level.

He’s got a little something for everyone. He can be singularly intense. Scare the bejeebus out of you. And he can still be 12 kinds of funny. He can play the charmingest bastard you’ve ever seen and then the bastardest bastard in the next film right after. He can use these qualities and move between them with ease.

He is a master of the monologue, he exudes such easy casual confidence, and his instincts are rarely off.

The ‘why’ is easy.

The real question is:

‘Do I, (state your name), need to watch every film Walken’s been in?’

And the answer in short is ‘no’, sadly not every film is absolutely, can’t miss, gotta-do-it, Necessary Walken-Viewing.*

Maybe I can help you out with that.

I have a degree in media writing, if you care about that.

I watch…a lot of movies. New releases, old classics, cult classics, foreign art-house, domestic crime-house, documentary, mockumentary. I have a weakness for martial arts films and oppressive dystopian futures. I like satire and misanthropic anti-heroes that may or may not be private detectives and/or ninjas. I like witty banter, existential musings, and creative solutions.

But most importantly: I have watched (and re-watched on many an occasion) the vast majority of Christopher Walken’s films.

In fact, with the two exceptions of: the 1995 Italian film CELLULOID (which I can’t find) and the 2010 beach-frolic LIFE’S A BEACH (which hasn’t been released yet**), I’ve seen every film that Christopher Walken has been in, from the 1969 meta-art-film ME AND MY BROTHER to 2011’s KILL THE IRISHMAN. And he’s still going…

Let me take a moment to define my terms, because admittedly, there is still so much of his work that I still have not seen. I’ve watched his films. Other online sources include in his “filmography” all the other projects that he’s been involved in, things like theater, television, voice-work, and video-games. I understand why it’s all lumped together like that, but I decided that if I was going to get serious about finding all of his movies, then I would have to create my own list from which to work.

Some things were a judgment call. What makes something ‘television’? What makes it ‘theater’? If it was made in episodes, but strung together unbroken for the DVD, is it still TV? Tough questions. Some things didn’t make the list, others did. I’ll get to the ones that didn’t some other time. This is about his films.

So it was about ten years ago that I made a conscious effort to collect them all. At that point I think I had perhaps a dozen of them, all VHS. And I loved them. But they were all pretty mainstream. They were tip of the iceberg-films. And then I did some research and read about all the others that are out there, waiting for me to watch them.

Let me tell you: They’re waiting for you, too.

Hunting down each film, and trying to acquire Walken’s complete strict filmography has been (and continues to be) an adventure and an education in itself, and I encourage everyone to attempt it.

So let’s talk some turkey: Pretty much everyone that will read this has already seen PULP FICTION, right? Can we agree on that? You’re probably familiar with THE DEER HUNTER and ANNIE HALL too. In fact, I could probably assume that you’ve seen THE DEAD ZONE, TRUE ROMANCE, and KING OF NEW YORK.

Chris Walken (and beard)

If you haven’t, and you’re looking to expand your Walken-horizons then you should start there. But those are the obvious films, the big ones. Everyone knows about those.

Did you know that over the past forty years Christopher Walken has been in over 90 films?

Most people figure he’s been around a while, but when you hear a number like ’90’ it really stands out. It helps if you bold it: More than 90 films!

He’s done much more than the handful of gritty indie crime-thrillers that he’s most famous for. He’s been in horror, action, drama, comedy, musical, art-house, children’s, western, animation. You name it. He’s been the sidekick, the lead, the villain (once or twice) and the muscle that almost defeats the hero. He’s been the mad scientist and the happy scientist, the cop and the robber. He’s also played a writer, a director, an actor, and a critic!

Art by Vincent Altamore

Though, admittedly, the films themselves may not always be as great as they probably should be, his performance within them is always sure to be a thrill and an absolute joy.

Allow me to guide you through the doozies. I’ll point out the hidden gems, and show you a side of Walken you’ve never seen. A Walken that goes beyond cowbells and crime-bosses.

To browse my posts simply click on the “Filmography” tab near the top-left of the page.

*Find and watch each and every film of His. Do it.

**It was released as ‘Bachelor Trip’ and is only available through Canadian distribution.

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