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Happy 50th to Underappreciated Steve Zahn

by Nathaniel R

"Bad Ape" is still one of the best movie characters of 2017. He comes courtesy of the ambitious War for the Planet of the Apes, various visual effects technicians, and Steve Zahn who brilliantly embodies him. On the actor's 50th birthday a quick list of our 5 favorite Zahn performances over the years. He's one of Hollywood's most reliable (and most adorable) character actors and still has never really gotten his due. 

01 "Sammy Gray" in Reality Bites
02 "Glenn Michaels" in Out of Sight
03 "Lenny Hase" in That Thing You Do!
04 "Bad Ape" in War for the Planet of the Apes
05 "Fuller" in Joy Ride

P.S. Also celebrating birthdays today: actors Whoopi Goldberg, Gerard Butler, Xiaoming Huang, Frances Conroy, Chris Noth, Joe Mantegna, and Shawn Yue, cinematographer Conrad W Hall, and director Gary Marshall; And though they are departed they are not forgotten: author Robert Louis Stevenson, and actors Hermione Baddeley, Oskar Werner, Madeleine Sherwood, and Jean Seberg, and 5 time Oscar nominated set decorator Hal Gausman (Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Untouchables, etcetera)

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Reader Comments (21)

I saw him in a Modern Family rerun over the weekend and was thinking about how underrated he is as an actor. Always reliable...and kinda hot?

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterthefilmjunkie

I remember seeing him in Joy Ride and thinking "wow, this guy's much better than some of these C & B comedies he's been doing."

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTr

Shattered Glass! It's not the Sarsgaard part, but everybody in that movie is perfect, and I love Steve in it.

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

He was great in Tremé as the insufferable self-righteous know-it-all ... that somehow after a while you started rooting for.

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJames from Ames

My roommate was an extra on "That Thing You Do!", and I got to watch them film the early Pittsburgh concert scenes. He's short, but cute! And always funny.

I also liked as Paul Rudd's jerky yet adorable brother in the frustrating "The Object of my Affection".

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterforever1267

Director Garry Marshall is actually one of the departed. He passed away in 2016

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony

I knew I wasn't the only one who thought he was underrated but its nice to see an appreciation of him. Often, too often, he elevates the crappy movie he's stuck in with his charm and bubbly personality. I enjoy him in everything but the first two that come to mind are That Thing You Do! and Joy Ride and he made Sahara immeasurably better.

Another underappreciated actor who's birthday would be today-Richard Mulligan. He was so brilliant on Soap.

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

So wonderful and heartbreaking in RIDING IN CARS WITH BOYS too!

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Carden

I last saw him in Mad Dogs which was a disappointment but I must admit I've been having a crush on him since Sahara.

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJans

I would add his performance in Riding in Cars with Boys to that list. I think it's the best one he's ever given.

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBhuray

Andrew and Bhuray : EXACTLY. He should have gotten an Oscar nomination.

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMichael R

He is REMARKABLE in Rescue Dawn

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBen

Fantastic in Treme!

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

He's so goofy n sexy in Bandidas! Who can forget when he was tied naked to the bed!! 😍 So hawt!!

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

Treme Treme Treme

November 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTyler

Oh good, fellow Treme lovers!

James from Ames: exactly.

November 14, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterlylee

I've loved Steve Zahn ever since seeing him in "Happy, Texas", cleaning squashed armadillos off the road, dressed in an orange prison suit.

November 14, 2017 | Unregistered Commenteradri

fifty? good grief - i always think of him as a dopey, aimless twenty-something [mostly because i first saw him play that in the off-broadway play suburbia in 1994 and then over and over again in films for the next decade]

still adorable

November 14, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterpar

Ben -- oh yeah. oops. i probably should've included Rescue Dawn.

November 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Happy (belated) Birthday Steve Zahn. He and McConaughey had good chemistry in "Sahara" - maybe not his best role, but memorably fun.
Happy (belated) birthday to Whoopi Goldberg! It's a shame that such a supremely talented Oscar-winning actress didn't have a bigger career. Could it be that only Steven Spielberg saw the dramatic genius that could've been? Instead she's been reduced to bit cameos and roles in films of varying quality.

November 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGuestguestguest

Guestguestguest - I always assumed that the lack of acting was Whoopi's choice?

I can't recall seeing her in anything since her stellar work in Girl Interrupted...

November 14, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterkermit_the_frog

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