Dwight Yoakam’s first substantial movie role was in a modest independent film directed by an unknown actor named Billy Bob Thornton. Set in rural Arkansas, Sling Blade tells the story of an unlikely friendship that develops between an 11-year-old boy and a mentally impaired man, recently released from a psychiatric institution. The country star (whose nearly two dozen albums have sold more than 25 million copies) is totally invested in his character, an abusive alcoholic who seems the very embodiment of every negative trailer-trash stereotype. It’s a great performance — the best moments are when he offers audiences a scary glimpse into a dim (and often monstrous) mind at work.
OTHER NOTEWORTHY PERFORMANCE(S): Always good, we particularly like him playing a pyscho home invader in Panic Room and the oddball Mob physician in the Crank movies.