9 Underrated Bill Paxton Movies You Really Need In Your Life

Bill Paxton left behind a legacy of brilliant films both big and small.

Bill Paxton A man of many faces.

The passing of Bill Paxton at the age of just 61 was one keenly felt by film fans far and wide, leaving a sizeable void in the movie world as we know it.

A much-loved actor known for his performances in films like Twister and Aliens among other things, Paxton has left behind a diverse legacy of winning performances in movies both big and small.

So while the world continues to mourn and remember an actor known for appearances in Hollywood blockbusters, loaded is looking back at a few Bill Paxton films you may have missed which are still totally worth revisiting now.


1

Near Dark

Long before Kathryn Bigelow became the first and only female director to win an Oscar for The Hurt Locker, she helmed this cult vampire western horror back in 1987. The film sees Paxton reunited with Aliens co-stars Lance Henriksen and Jenette Goldstein as a trio psychotic criminal blood-suckers.

A must-see for anyone with a love of this particular horror sub-genre.

2

One False Move 

This underrated crime thriller, which was co-written by Billy Bob Thornton, sees Paxton cast as local Star City police chief Dale “Hurricane” Dixon, a man on the hunt for three murderous criminals and using questionable methods to find them. 

Highly praised on initial release – Gene Siskel rated it as his favourite film of 1992 – the film has enjoyed a cult following ever since and is essential viewing for anyone who enjoyed films like No Country for Old Men and Hell or High Water.

3

Trespass

Based on a script from Back to the Future duo Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis and directed by Walter Hill, Trespass is a pulpy tale of two fireman (Paxton and William Sadler) who stumble upon a hidden treasure in an abandoned building.

Soon enough, they find themselves on the run and out of luck, facing off against a street gang that includes both Ice T and Ice Cube. That’s a lot of ice.

4

True Lies

The last decent film James Cameron made (yeah, we went there) was the original Mr and Mrs Smith, True Lies tells the story of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Harry Tasker, who is lives a double life as a James Bond style secret agent, unbeknownst to his wife Helen (Jamie Lee Curtis.)

Paxton, meanwhile, plays Simon, a comically sleazy poser pretending to also be a secret agent to he can bed Arnie’s wife. Big mistake. A hilarious subplot alongside the movie’s anti-terrorist leanings.

5

The Last Supper

Proving himself to be a dab hand at black comedy, Paxton is superb in this Cameron Diaz-led indie ensemble which tells the quickly unravelling tale of five liberal graduate school students who start hosting dinner parties for staunch conservatives as a means of bumping them off. 

It’s the murder of Paxton’s Zachary Cody that really kicks things off, who is offed after revealing himself to be a racist Holocaust denier. Somehow Paxton manages to pull off the trick of being both repulsive and amusing in equal measure.

 

6

Traveller

Arriving in the post-Tarantino boom for crime dramas in the mid-to-late 1990s, Traveller was largely overlooked by audiences at the time, despite earning rave reviews. 

It’s a familiar  story which sees Paxton cast as Bokky, one of a group of North Carolina-based nomadic con artists take a young man by the name of Pat O’Hara (Mark Wahlberg) under his wing. A clever movie that keeps you guessing, fans of shows like Justified and Banshee will be intrigued.

7

A Simple Plan

One of the undisputed jewels in the crown for Paxton, this neo-noir crime thriller showed a different side of director Sam “Evil Dead” Raimi and also produced a career-best turn from Billy Bob Thornton.

It’s Paxton that holds it all together though as Hank who, along with his brother Jacob (Thornton) and friend Lou (Brent Briscoe), stumble upon a crashed plane with $4.4 million in cash just sitting in the back seat. It all gets a little crazy from there.

8

Vertical Limit

This delightfully daft thriller is a real guilty pleasure in the mould of fellow mountain-based monstrosity Cliffhanger. Paxton is at his Private Hudson best as Elliott Vaughn an explorer with a penchant for knocking off his fellow climbers in a bid to survive the elements.

Only Paxton could pull off the seemingly daft mix of being both totally pathetic yet utterly destable at the same time. 

9

Frailty

Another high point in Paxton’s career came with Frailty, a psychological thriller he not only starred in alongside Matthew McConaughey but also directed with some noticeable flair.

The story centres on two young boys and their intensely religious father (Paxton), who comes to them one day to reveal he has been given a mission by God to rid the world of demons disguised as people. It starts crazy and ends even crazier.

R.I.P. Bill Paxton – gone but never forgotten

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Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.