READ 18 Mediocre Movies Made Better by Steve Buscemi's Presence  

Jacob Shelton
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Steve Buscemi is like hot sauce—he makes whatever movie he's in a little bit better. Just like a bland bowl of ramen is only made tolerable with a few drops, there are some films that are only watchable because Steve Buscemi is in them.

In a perfect world, he would be in every movie ever made. Film fanatics would flock to the theaters en masse just to see his unhinged, often funny and always quirky performances. Other actors would beg Steve Buscemi to stop hogging the silver screen and give them a chance at the spotlight.

Sadly, this is not a perfect world and although Buscemi fans may shudder at the thought, there are in fact movies that lack his manic, bug-eyed magic. Still, some movies are only good because Steve Buscemi is in them. Whether he is playing a two-bit gangster, a dorky dad or even an astronaut, Buscemi knows how to make a so-so movie memorable. He is part of an unofficial brotherhood of character actors that burst onto the scene in the 90s and his filmography is jammed with movies that were elevated by his simple existence. Keep reading to find out which mediocre movies Steve Buscemi made better.


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Without Steve Buscemi, Billy Madison would be a fine flick for a stoned Saturday afternoon or an insomnia-induced late night rewatch. However, in the film Buscemi portrays a man who was bullied as a kid and is preparing to take some next-level revenge on his tormenters of yesteryear when Madison calls to apologize to him for the years of torture. Buscemi's performance adds a level of pathos and depth to this film that is rarely, if ever, found in an Adam Sandler comedy. 

Also Ranked

#18 on The Funniest '90s Movies

#4 on The Best and Worst of Adam Sandler

#21 on The Best Movies of 1995

#62 on The Most Quotable Movies of All Time

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Airheads, the 1994 movie about a band that takes a radio station hostage in order to get their demo played on the air, is one of those classic comedies that was played ad nauseam on Comedy Central in the late 90s and early 2000s. While the film features kings of comedy Adam Sandler, Chris Farley, and Brendan Fraser and is silly to the point of ridiculousness, Steve Buscemi bites into the character of a sex-obsessed bass player like he's paying homage to William Shakespeare himself in Hamlet.

Also Ranked

#45 on The Best Movies About Music

#19 on The Best and Worst of Adam Sandler

#49 on The Best Movies of 1994

#42 on The Best Bromance Movies

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Crazily enough, Steve Buscemi figures prominently into John Carpenter's 1996 flop of a follow-up to the glorious Escape from New York (1981). Everyone in the film is on board with the ridiculous rehashing of the first film, but despite Kurt Russell and his gravely voice starring as Snake Plissken, the film just doesn't work. Thank goodness for Buscemi's crazy eyes as Map to the Stars Eddie.

Also Ranked

#35 on The 35+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies

#93 on The Best Movies of 1996

#25 on The Best Science Fiction Action Movies

#16 on Long-Awaited Sequels That Were Most Worth the Wait

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Steve Buscemi as the oil rigger/astronaut who completely loses his mind once he gets to space is genuinely the only reason to watch Armageddon. That sweet Aerosmith tune doesn't hurt either.

Also Ranked

#43 on The Biggest Tearjerker Movies of All Time

#79 on The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

#36 on Movies with the Best Soundtracks

#11 on Movies Turning 20 in 2018

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