Unless you lived under a rock this weekend, you probably heard that the film A Quiet Place made quite a stir with moviegoers and the box office. Final estimates for the weekend have the film grossing 50 million which is excellent numbers for a film with a budget of 17 million. It also means that director and star John Krasinski will be getting calls from every studio head. Those pesky rumors of him being cast as a superhero have resurfaced once again and just like that we are back in 2005 where Krasinski was the apple of everyone’s eye. Ah yes, The Office the groundbreaking Americanized television show that gave us lovable and handsome goofball Jim Halpert. For nine seasons Krasinski as Jim had us laughing with every prank he pulled and swooning over every nice gesture he did for his office crush and eventually wife Pamela Beesly/Halpert. But while we were glued to our TV sets every week watching Dunder Mifflin shenanigans something else was happening that many of you out there slept on. John “Sweetheart” Krasinski was building up a wonderful filmography of both acting, writing, producing and directing. A Quiet Place is not Krasinski’s first time behind the camera, but actually his third. I have found that many people missed out on several of the great films Krasinski has directed, written and starred in. While not all these films where made after The Office ended most of them were still stuck in its shadow. As for the ones that came out after The Office? Well, only you are to blame for missing out on them.
So here are the five times we have slept on John Krasinski.
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (2009)
The directorial debut of John Krasinski is also his biggest departure from his good boy charm. An adaptation of David Foster Wallace is a difficult task for anyone, but Krasinski is up for the challenge. The film follows a graduate student who after a messy breakup decides to interview various men in hopes of understanding why they do the things they do and why they feel it is okay to say the things they say. Krasinski plays a small, but pivotal role that veers on the darker side and even becomes extremely unlikeable something he never did before. The last ten minutes allow Krasinski to give a monologue retelling a disturbing story causing your Jim Halpert crush to go right out the window. While the film can be off putting to some it is Krasinski’s ability to adapt the unadaptable that shows he has a talent that can be put to better use with a more accessible script. The biggest pleasure of this film is watching Krasinski adapt the unadaptable, and slowly begin to find his voice.
Away We Go (2009)
Krasinski will probably take over Tom Hank’s role as America’s dad in the years to come, but back in 2009 he played a young scared soon to be father in Sam Mende’s Away We Go. The film follows soon to be parents played by Krasinski and Maya Rudolph as they search across the country for the perfect place to call home. Along the way they encounter many friends and relatives all who have their own say on what the non-married couple should do with their lives. It brings back elements of Jim and Pam, but here the two are not as friendly with the world but instead just each other. This works well since both Rudolph and Krasinski have excellent chemistry that remind us it is okay to be truly terrified of life’s many unplanned journeys. Krasinski with his rough-cut beard feels more at ease playing scared and uncertain, and it is this role that he appears to carry throughout most of his future work.
Promised Land (2012)
Krasinski stretches his writing ability with the help of new friend Matt Damon in this part anti-fracking other part wholesome town drama. Matt Damon plays a salesman for a natural gas company who is sent to farm town in Pennsylvania in hopes to dig into their natural resources. Krasinski plays his opponent an environmentalist who interrupts Steve’s plans in attempt to save the town from corporate takeover. The film avoids the snooze fest of corporate big guy versus little guy through Krasinski’s script. While he did write it from a story by Dave Eggers and with the help of Damon, you can still really tell when Krasinski’s words kick in. The town’s people are all relatable regardless of their stance on the issue. The film is preachy, but it carries a feel of neighborhood comradery. In fact, some can say Promised Land was the first draft of what would become Manchester by the Sea (Krasinski brought the story to Matt Damon back in 2011). Without giving away the third act twist Krasinski should also be credited for being able to go head to head with one of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Promised Land was the right step for Krasinski and allowed him to create those passion projects he is so fond of.
13 Hours (2016)
John Krasinski…the action star? 13 Hours is the story of the terrorist attack at the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. When I saw the trailer for this movie I’ll admit I ran the other way for two reasons; politics and Michael Bay. Both of those reasons can always ruin a movie, but my heart lies with Krasinski, so I gave it a chance. Politics aside 13 Hours is an intense war film that features our soldiers at their bravest and strongest. Krasinski is part of a group of ex-military contractors providing security for the last American outpost in Libya. Krasinski plays your typical movie soldier, wanting to do good and make it home safe to his family. But when the action starts Krasinski is in full throttle fighting his way through everything. While the story may not be fun, it was enjoyable to see Krasinski play an action hero showing us what would have happened if that Captain America casting came true. It is no surprise Amazon casted him in their upcoming Jack Ryan series as the title role. 13 Hours showed us that Krasinski could play something other than the small-town boy. He could now fight terrorists and monsters, and we are all the more better because of it.
The Hollars (2016)
The second feature Krasinski directed goes back to the familiar. The Hollars tells the story of the Hollar family and the son who returns home to his small town when his mother becomes ill. The story has been done countless times, but The Hollars learns to stand out through a more mature director and excellent supporting cast. Krasinski plays the lead, but his talents behind the camera is what smooths this film along. Here Krasinski uses all his previous knowledge to direct a cast that includes Anna Kendrick, Sharlto Copley, Richard Jenkins and Margo Martindale. Many of the performances elevate the formulaic script, but it is Martindale who truly shines. She gives one of the best performances of her career and shows that Krasinski is more than able to direct powerhouse actors. It wouldn’t be a John Krasinski movie without the usual family comedy drama and while The Hollars is full of it, the film also has excellent pacing and some truly emotional moments that exceed even Sundance expectations.
Well there you have it. Five times we all slept on John Krasinski, so be sure to check out these films and as always leave your comments below!