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Matt Dillon deserves better

He is an Oscar nominee, a multiple Independent Spirit Award winner and the star of more than 40 movies.

He is an Oscar nominee, a multiple Independent Spirit Award winner and the star of more than 40 movies.

He can leapfrog comfortably from comedy to drama -- in this weekend’s Takers he plays a cop hot on the trail of some bank robbers, next he’ll be seen yukking it up in Rio Sex Comedy. He can do it all, and on top of that he has at least one IMDB message board titled “Hottest Man Alive.”

So why is Matt Dillon the forgotten movie star?

With credits like his he should be on the A-list, hobnobbing with the Toms — Hanks and Cruise — and Will Smith, and yet his brother Kevin, who plays a wannabe celebrity on Entourage, probably has a higher Q score. Here’s a look back at why Matt Dillon should be on Hollywood’s hot list.

Troubled Youth
Dillon first got noticed playing troubled teens in Over the Edge, My Bodyguard, Little Darlings and Liar’s Moon, but it was the screen adaptations of three S.E. Hinton novels that made him a star. Tex, The Outsiders (where he shared the screen with Cruise, Rob Lowe and Patrick Swayze) and Rumble Fish made him a teen idol, but also earned him some serious fans as well. Roger Ebert wrote that Dillon has “the kind of clarity, the uncluttered relationship with the camera that you see in only a handful of actors.”

He’s Really Blossomed
He was typecast as a brooding teen early on but breakout roles in several comedies proved he could more than just a gloomy Gus. In There’s Something About Mary, he used one of the most all time politically incorrect (but hilarious) pick-up lines to woo Cameron Diaz. Even better is Randy, his character in One Night at McCool’s. When nice guy Randy’s one-night stand lets it slip that her boyfriend is a killer who might come after them, he doesn’t run but in a beautiful bit of understatement says, “It’s just the sex and the violence all in one night is a little much.”

Wild Things
On the dramatic side he is an Oscar nominee for his work as the racist cop in Crash, an award winner for his realistic portrayal of a drug addict in Drugstore Cowboy and he steamed up the screen as the high school counsellor in the campy Wild Things.

The guy can do it. Why isn’t he a bigger star?

Dillon’s Films

A selected filmography of Matt Dillon

  • Over the Edge (1979)

  • The Outsiders (1983)

  • Rumble Fish (1983)

  • The Flamingo Kid (1984)

  • Drugstore Cowboy (1989)

  • Singles (1992)

  • To Die For (1995)

  • Beautiful Girls (1996)

  • There’s Something About Mary (1998)

  • Wild Things (1983)

  • Crash (2004)

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