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02.28.2014by: Alex Maidy

Top 10 Movies to Celebrate Neeson Season

Liam Neeson has had many phases to his career ranging from appearances in films like THE DEAD POOL, EXCALIBUR, and KRULL all the way to Oscar nominated turns. Whether he is fighting CGI creations or historical atrocities, Liam Neeson is a cinematic force to be reckoned with. To celebrate the annual return of Neeson Season with the release of NON-STOP, here are the ten films you should check out to usher in the highest holiday for fans of the Irish movie star. If your favorite Neeson flick didn't make the cut, please let us know in the talk backs below.

#10 - Classy Neeson - SCHINDLER'S LIST

Liam Neeson has gone through various phases in his career but the pinnacle will likely be his performance as Oskar Schindler in Steven Spielberg's Holocaust film. The beautiful black and white is anchored by Neeson and Ralph Fiennes portraying two very different men during World War II. Neeson's nominated performance is the height of his acting talent and should have garnered him the Academy Award.

#9 - Historical Neeson - ROB ROY

A visually stunning film, ROB ROY is often looked at as a lesser film to BRAVEHEART which was released the same year. Two very different films about historical figures in Scotland, ROB ROY is a violent and sweeping movie about a common man struggling against the powers that be. Tim Roth's great turn as Archibald Cunningham almost steals the movie, but it is the swashbuckling action and dramatic power of Neeson that makes this such a good movie.

#8 - Remake Neeson - THE A-TEAM

Joe Carnahan's adaptation of the classic TV series may not be a good movie, but like he did in BATTLESHIP, Liam Neeson looks like he is having a ton of fun in a shitty blockbuster. He chews the scenery as Hannibal Smith and is one of the lone redeeming parts of a very bland movie. Neeson's platinum hair and constantly present cigar is a fitting ode to George Peppard.

#7 - Animal Lover Neeson - THE GREY

Joe Carnahan's THE GREY is the polar opposite of THE A-TEAM. It still focuses on a group of men, but instead of being mercenaries they are the ones being hunted. This time the enemy is a pack of wolves. Neeson fans were expecting his TAKEN/UNKNOWN persona to be battling the elements but instead were disappointed when they found out THE GREY is actually a thinking man's action film. Neeson proves once again that he is not just a character but rather an actor. The final, ambiguous scene is one of the best open endings in recent memory.

#6 - Paycheck Neeson - STAR WARS EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE

Don't lie that you weren't excited when Liam Neeson was cast in the first STAR WARS movie since 1983. Having an actor of his caliber wielding a lightsaber gave hope that the quality level of the prequels would be very high. While many were disappointed with George Lucas' effort, you cannot argue that Neeson was one of the best parts of the movie. If only they didn't kill him off after one movie.

#5 - Horror Neeson - THE HAUNTING

Jan De Bont's big budget remake of the 1963 classic fell short of expectations, but Neeson carried the Gothic haunted house movie like only he could. A more subdued performance in a CGI heavy movie may have seemed at odds, but Neeson was complemented by Lili Taylor, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Owen Wilson. A failure, yes, but a fun failure.

#4 - Sexual Neeson - KINSEY

While Liam Neeson is considered a good looking man by many, his most sexual role was not a very sexy movie. KINSEY tells the story of a preeminent scientist researching human sexuality during the repressed early 1930s. Neeson should have been nominated for Best Actor for his great performance but came up empty yet again. Here's hoping it won't take him stripping nude to make the academy recognize his endowment to the arts.

#3 - Skilled Neeson - TAKEN

The film that ushered in The Neeson Rennaissance, TAKEN presented the actor, now in his 50s, taking on the type of role that is usually written off as Redbox fare. But, Neeson's intensity and screen presence helped elevate what would have otherwise been a generic thriller into something a hell of a lot more fun. While the films that followed have not quite lived up to it, it has certainly revitalized Neeson in the public eye.

#2 - Supervillain Neeson - BATMAN BEGINS

When Liam Neeson appeared in BATMAN BEGINS as Ducard, I did not think for a second that he was going to be some minor character easily forgotten. To make his Ra's Al Ghul was a stroke of brilliance. Unlike the bait and switch with The Mandarin, Christopher Nolan's decision to dupe us with Ken Watanabe as a fake villain ended up setting the stage for the birth of The Dark Knight. Even though Neeson gives good hero, he gives even better bad guy.

#1 - Superhero Neeson - DARKMAN

The greatest superhero movie that isn't based on a comic book, Sam Raimi's DARKMAN was followed by mediocre sequels starring Arnold Vosloo in the title role. But, it is the original starring Liam Neeson that will be remembered as the best. Over the top, pulpy, and cheezily violent, DARKMAN is the perfect movie to enjoy on a rainy day or boring Friday night. So sit back and think about how awesome it would be to see Liam Neeson play a superhero again and just take the f&cking elephant.

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