Tossin’ It Out There: What do YOU think of Bruce Willis?

bruce-willis-04What’s going on, everyone?

It’s been awhile since we’ve had an actor/actress focused Tossin’ It Out There, and with “A Good Day to Die Hard” on everyone’s minds this weekend, I thought we might turn our attention to Mr. Willis.

Willis broke on the scene in the 1980s with ABC’s “Moonlighting”, and made the jump to feature films with 1987’s “Blind Date”. It was only a year later that he would be catapulted to movie stardom with 1988’s “Die Hard”, and he’s been a big name ever since.

His great films have been few and far between, but he does have them. From 1994’s “Pulp Fiction” to his two collaborations with M. Night Shyamalan, “The Sixth Sense” and “Unbreakable”, Willis definitely has some great films in his filmography. He’s been super prolific, though, racking up 95 credits on his IMDb page. And certainly, not all of them have been good.

So what’s your take? Did he earn your loyalty eternally via his role as John McClane, or as Butch in “Pulp Fiction”? Do you prefer your actors with a little more range? Has he had one too many flops for your taste?

Let’s hear it! What do YOU think of Bruce Willis?

Daniel Fogarty


141 thoughts on “Tossin’ It Out There: What do YOU think of Bruce Willis?

  1. I love Willis. Fact is he has star quality and a fantastic body of varied work, and I have often felt from interviews that he doesn’t take himself to seriously. McClane is obviously a legend but as commented above by others even though pulp fiction wasn’t his movie I thought he was awesome in it. He has made some turkeys but hey not many superstars haven’t. I like the guy, a dude I like to call Bruno!

  2. I think Willis is a good star. Compared to other action stars like Stallone and Schwarzenegger he’s much more relatable for audiences, which is one of the many reasons why Die Hard’s a great action movie. My favorite movies with him though are ones where he has supporting roles like Pulp Fiction and Moonrise Kingdom.

    • Yeah, those are obviously two pretty good films. He doesnt take a back seat too often, but I have seen him in a bunch of ensemble roles I suppose. He’s a pretty relatable guy onscreen, that’s where he’s established his reputation. Not always the most likeable though…

  3. Hi, Fogs and company:

    Bruce Willis helped create the “Action Hero” genre, along with Arnie and Sly. Though I still think his best under played performance was as the harried husband, Ernest Menville in ‘Death Becomes Her’.

    Willis is blessed with the ability to make any role, no matter its size, his own. Has he been attached to bad projects? ‘The Bonfires of the Vanities’ (Tom Wolfe rarely translates well to the screen, especially in the PC days of the 1980s and beyond) and ‘The Jackal’ leap to mind. But if you want a front runner or an ensemble player. Willis fits the bill!

    • Oh man, yeah, let’s not try to list out all his bad roles, we’ll be here all day. LOL. It’s been while, but I do recall liking “Death Becomes Her”… not sure I’d call it his best role, but I’ll keep my eyes open for it on a rewatch and see if youve got a point.

  4. He’s easily my favorite out of the giant roaming herd of action movie meatheads like Arnold and Sly and the Rock and Van Damme and… pick any of ’em. I think he has a ton of range. Or at least, he’s not afraid to work in lots of different kinds of movies, and I applaud that. He’s done a TON of movies that I’ve genuinely loved, including action (Die Hard 1-3), sci-fi (Looper), suspense/horror (Sixth Sense), indie films (Pulp Fiction, Moonrise Kingdom)…

    Short version that doesn’t condescend about action movie stars- I think Bruce Willis kicks ass.

    • Heheheh! Ohhhh shit. “giant roaming herd of action movie meatheads” Thats freaking funny, man.

      I dont think he has all that much “range”, but you definitely put it right when you shifted it to he’s been in all kinds of movies. THAT I can get behind.

      Im glad we got the long version that did condescend action movie stars though, that was funny stuff. 😀

  5. I think he certainly does ‘likable’ better than most, but I think he’s got a lot more range than he gets credit for.
    My top 10 Bruce WIllis movies:

    10. Hudson Hawk
    9. Hart’s War
    8. Sin City
    7. RED
    6. Unbreakable
    5. Moonrise Kingdom
    4. Pulp Fiction
    3. Fifth Element
    2. 12 Monkeys
    1. Die Hard

    And some decent also rans: Day of the Jackal, The Siege, Die Hard 2, Grindhouse.

    That’s a pretty amazing body of work right there, and unlike most, I really respect his desire to have a band as well, ’cause why the fuck not? If I was a big time movie star, I’d have my own fucking band as well, and to hell with anyone who didn’t like it.

    Bruce Willis definitely has earned my thumbs up.

  6. Willis has had enough great parts and been in enough great movies that I’ll always like him. He steps outside of his box just often enough to keep things interesting, and I’ve always dug that he’s willing to put aside money or credit to work with someone he admires. When Robert Benton approached him for a supporting role in Billy Bathgate, he said yes just because he’d get to work with Dustin Hoffman. A few years later, Benton came around again with Nobody’s Fool. Willis asked if he’d have any scenes with Paul Newman. When Benton said that all of his scenes would be with Newman, Willis accepted the part without even seeing a script.

    I wish he’d be more selective and do more projects like Moonrise Kingdom and Looper, and fewer like G.I. Joe and this newest beating-a-dead-horse Die Hard sequel, but how can you not like the guy?

    Vulture does a great series called The Star Market, where they assess an actor’s career, with input from producers, agents, etc. (anonymously), as if it were a stock to be bought or sold. They did Willis a few months back. Interesting stuff:

    • Thats cool info. I suppose when you have that kind of money you can do projects for free. 😀 Kind of balances out some of the ugly times Ive heard of when he only takes a role to collect a check, like Kevin Smith accuses in “Cop Out”

      I still do like the guy, even though like you mention… I totally wish he would be more selective, you know?

      I’ve seen those before, but I havent seen Willis’, DB. I’m gonna open up a tab for it and hope to get to it today!

  7. I’ve always liked him and always will, but he’s gone downhill lately in my opinion. He’s getting too old and his charisma is waning. He always had this great level of humor to his acting but it’s since slowly been turning into him just being grumpy. I think he needs another project like Moonrise Kingdom to put himself back in check and then jump slowly back into the action genre. I also think that when he does another action movie, it needs to be a much smaller budget (like Looper) where the blockbuster aspect of the film doesn’t bloat it to a messy piece of poo.

    • Well, in fairness to him, he DID just have Looper. Although A Good Day to Die Hard does seem like a messy piece of poo. LOL

      I dont know that he’s too old. Maybe a little old for some of the action shit he keeps doing. But I think the “waning charisma” is more a factor of taking a lot of crappy roles. 😦

  8. Willis is a hard guy to hate. Heck, I thought he was great in Moonlighting. He comes across as more of an “everyman” than Arnie or Sly or the other Expendables.

    But as many folks have pointed out… yeah, he mails it in, and lately it’s far more likely to get a stinker from him than strike gold.

    • Yup. Just got done reading the Vulture article that DB posted above, and they were all over that. His hits are kind of spaced out, and there’s always a bomb in between.

      But Hollywood knows we keep rooting for him, LOL. So they keep running him out there!

  9. Love Willis. He’s great with the action sequences but he also is a very solid dramatic actor ala Pulp Fiction, 12 Monkeys, Unbreakable. Of course he has been in some really bad films in the past (and of late) but he makes it up to me by selecting projects such as Moonrise Kingdom and Looper lol. He can be really subtle or completely brash and pull it off with aplomb.

    • He’s done well the couple of times Ive seen him play “Low Key”, most recently Moonrise Kingdom, as you point out. I think his “completely brash” roles outnumber them by quite a bit though. LOL 😀

  10. Pulp Fiction was the better movie but he’ll always be John McClane for me, 1988 version. I consider bald Willis and slightly-less-bald Willis to be two completely different people

  11. I like him as an actor, he was awesome in Pulp Fiction I think he was snubbed out of nomination for this one. His characters are usually really likable and that’s not a common skill to make people root for the guys you play.

  12. Great action hero, goofy/romantic voice, and places third on the all time BBH (best bald head) list. Malkovich and Stewart have to go first, I’m afraid. Overall, I like him, but only in occasional doses.

    • LOL. Somehow your comment triggered me imagining Bruce Willis as commander of the Enterprise in Star Trek TNG instead of Stewart.

      “Well, fire the $%#&ing torpedos, what the &$%# are you waitin’ for?”

      😀 I wish I could see that show.

  13. Three Words: Yipee Ki-Yay!!
    Bruce Willis is funny everywhere!! I didn’t even know that he had an alter ego(Bruno)!!
    When he is randomly shooting bullets around he is still funny because of the way he wildly shoots bullets!!!! He brings A LOT of wisecracking homor to all of his films!!
    The random pulpy fun action/gun shoot-outs, the random pulpy fun explosions are all unintentionally pulpy fun and hysterical and the random pulpy fun wise-cracking humor that Bruce Willis brings to all of his films is actually purposefully laugh-out-loud-hilarious and a REAL GREAT TIME AT THE MOVIES!!!
    He is one of the best non-comediedic actors who is ALWAYS hilarious and extremly entertaining in ALL OF HIS PULPY, FUN FILMS!!!!!!
    I can’t wait to see him again in RED 2 and in the hopefully-willing-to-put-in-
    production-ONE-LAST-TIME-film-sixth-sequel-DIE HARD 6

    • Wow. Found a big fan here huh?

      He is a funny guy, and I do appreciate the humor he brings to the table with him. I do think the machine gun thing may be getting a little tired – although that could just be a reaction to “A Good Die to Die Hard”. LOL

      We’ll see how RED 2 does. I liked RED but I wasnt the hugest fan or anything. So we’ll see where that leaves us in terms of a sequel…

  14. I’m a pretty big Bruce Willis fan. He’s one of those guys where his films are almost always fun in one way or another, so I’m usually up for a Bruce Willis film whenever they come around.

    • I like Bruce Willis too, but I dont know if his movies are always fun. I’ve seen a bunch of substandard junk the past couple of years. Still, I usually still give him the benefit of the doubt and check his movies out… like you say, Chris.

  15. I’ve been known to enjoy a Bruce Willis movie, every now and again.

    When he’s great, he’s great. The thing is most of his movies that *aren’t* great are easily forgotten. Hell, apparently, from reading the comments here, some of his great movies get forgotten when people try to remember all his great movies.

    Obviously, Die Hard Trilogy, 12 Monkeys, Looper (apparently… I’ll watch it soon… soon…), Fifth Element… they’re all great.


    I fucking LOVE The Last Boy Scout. I find the action fantastic, and the humour hilarious. I personally think it works as an action movie, but it’s also got that element of goddamn ridiculousness and cheese, that makes it enjoyable on every Guy Movie level… except Halle Berry is a stripper that doesn’t strip… but I’ve never held lack of nudity against Guy Movies.

    Bruce Willis was my second City of Heroes character, also. He was modelled after John McClane in the first Die Hard, but had the full bald look from later years. Many, many people thought I really was Bruce Willis for some reason.

    Goddamn I miss that game! I’m seeing it everywhere today!

    • Looper is awesome, you should get on it. In return, I’ll try to circle back to the Fifth Element. My recollection is that that movie stank, but people seem fond of it so, maybe I should reassess.

      Similarly, my recollection of the Last Boy Scout was that it was just cheesy action… but I havent seen that since its release. Tanski likes that one too, I should swing back and see why.

      Poor CoH players. LOL Abandoned. 😦 Feel for you bro.

      • Fifth Element is great watered down Sci-Fi poured over a hilarious action movie. I think a lot of people think that Last Boy Scout is just a poor man’s Lethal Weapon, but I find it much funnier, and enjoy the action and back and forth between Willis and Wayans much more. That’s probably sacrilege, but that’s how I feel.

        Now I want to watch that again too.

      • Heh. Youre going to wind up rewatching them due to your own comment before I wind up getting to them! LOL

        I dont own either…. Maybe I should pick up “The Last Boy Scout” for Cheese-Tastic Classics consideration!

  16. It’s hard for me to watch Bruce Willis films after hearing in detail how hard he is to work with nowadays, unless you’re the one working around him. Hearing Kevin Smith’s stories about working with him both on Die Hard 4 and Cop Out, movies which I did both enjoy but not anywhere near a favorite.

    I think I like Bruce Willis when he’s being more subdued, like the aforementioned Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Twelve Monkeys (right? Been a while for that one).

    I think I’ve enjoyed him in most of what I’ve seen him in, but I also think I avoided most of his mediocre work. Is there an answer in there somewhere?

    • Yeah, I listened to all that Kevin Smith stuff today, this being the topic and all. Maybe they just didnt hit it off. Per Smith, Robert Rodriguez called him after hearing one of his rants and defended Willis as being a great guy to work with, so… go figure.

      Yeah, man, there’s an answer in there, definitely. If youre being selective about what you watch (more selective than what he makes, LOL) you’re gonna come out with a more favorable impression of him, it only stands to reason!

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