Feature: Top 10 Movies Starring Folks With Mental Defects

Time for another Top Ten list. I thought of this one while watching some random news anchor talk about Paris Hilton and Rosie O’Donnell. Here is the criteria for Movies With Mentally Defective Characters:

It must have had a full theatrical release — no made for television movies; be/have major character(s) that are mentally challenged in storyline; no movie age limit.

10 I Am Sam — Sean Penn has got the look already, so it was only natural he’d play a retarded person at some point. He does it pretty damn well too (it’s probably a side effect from all his trips to Iraq).
9 What’s Eating Gilbert Grape — Leonardo DiCaprio shines as a mentally retarded boy, Arnie. His portrayal overshadows the great work by Johnny Depp, Darlene Cates and Juliette Lewis.
8 Charly — Based off the novel Flowers for Algernon. Yes, Robertson is better known for playing Uncle Ben, but this was his Oscar winning role. A real tear-jerker.
7 Of Mice and Men — Made in 1939 this follows the John Steinbeck book faithfully. Lon Chaney Jr. removes the werewolf hair and comes away with a performance of a lifetime. Admit it, the ending made you cry too.

6 There’s Something About Mary — W. Earl Brown plays Mary’s retarded brother Warren. Watching Ben Stiller try and interact with him is worth the price of admission. There’s not much else to say about this movie except it is a definite must see for all comedy buffs out there.
5 The Waterboy — This is the ultimate Adam Sandler film. He managed to ride his stupid baby voice to new heights when he became Bobby Boucher, the slow witted redneck. One of the best comedies of the 90’s.
4 One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest — There’s a bunch to choose from here (Christopher Lloyd, Danny DeVito, Vincent Schiavelli and Brad Dourif) — after all it takes place in a mental institution. A very sad and compelling story of the strengths and weaknesses of the spirit. Jack Nicholson’s best performance to date.
3 Rain Man — Dustin Hoffman is Raymond, an autistic guy who gets taken advantage of by his brother Charlie. A very heartfelt story with great acting all around. I’m sure K-Mart suffered greatly when Raymond’s favorite quote became “K-Mart sucks”.
2 Sling Blade — I actually thought Billy Bob Thornton was a real retard when I saw this movie — that’s how good his portrayal of Karl Childers is. It’s a rather dark tale about a man, institutionalized for murdering his mom and her lover, trying for a new start on life. I reckon, it’s well written and acted, mmmmm.
1 Forrest Gump — Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump, a mentally challenged hick with a heart of gold. A testament to this movie is the fact I continue to hear quotes like “Stupid is as stupid does” and “Run, Forrest, run!” to this day. Hanks deserved his Oscar win.

As always, I’m sure there a few that didn’t come to mind in time as this went to press. Post ’em here and tell me what I’ve missed.

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'Feature: Top 10 Movies Starring Folks With Mental Defects' have 6 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 5, 2007 @ 8:38 am Stephen M.

    Interesting list. I wonder if it would have been better to seperate the comedies from the dramas though.

    One that’s missing from your list is Radio. It’s one of Cuba Gooding Jr.’s better movies.

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 7, 2007 @ 10:42 pm Freddy

    Good list. I agree with the previous poster regarding the movie Radio. It’s a very good movie.

    On another note, should The Waterboy outrank such classics as Of Mice and Men or Charly? I think not.

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 21, 2007 @ 6:40 am Skinny

    I also liked “Girl, Interrupted”. There are a lot of characters with mental disorders in that movie!

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 6, 2007 @ 1:17 pm Atomic Popcorn

    Slingblade, I am Sam and What’s eating Gilbert Grape are phenomenal films. I have seen each a dozen times and love them all.

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    March 11, 2009 @ 6:15 pm Tiger

    “The Other Sister” is also a very good one about mental disabled people find and dealing with love and sex. Makes me cry almost everytime I watch it.

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    March 13, 2009 @ 11:55 pm Gray

    I think Charly should be on the list too. Not very well known but a very good movie.

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