In honor of his 34th birthday, we watched ten of lesser-known Chris Evans movies so that we can tell you what’s worth catching up on.
Chris Evans is one of our favorite people over here at Hypable, and he turns 34 today. He first rose to fame in the excruciating Noughties “classic” Not Another Teen Movie, and after a somewhat less successful superhero role in Fantastic Four, he reached Marvel mega-stardom when he was cast as our beloved Cap. He has perfected the dichotomy of the duty-bound icon Captain America and the sassy, stubborn and sensitive Steve Rogers, and it’s the combination of his physicality as a great action hero and his dedication to deep character work that has drawn in thousands of new fans to the franchise.
Evans has become famously wary of celebrity — so much so that he almost didn’t take the Captain America role — and his career trajectory reflects this mindset. As a young actor he pursued mainstream success, and then backed off into more independent films, exploring many genres. He’s also hoping to pursue a career behind the camera, and Before We Go, his first feature film as a director, premiered at TIFF last year, though it’s not yet available for public consumption. But don’t worry. Behind every beloved actor is a whole filmography packed full of fantastic flops and underrated gems. We’ve watched a ton of movies from the Chris Evans back catalog in order to tell you which ones are worth your time.
Chris Evans: a filmography review
‘The Perfect Score’ (2004)
What is it? A teen coming of age/heist movie that touches on the issues created by standardized testing as a means of assessing different people. Chris Evans plays Kyle, a painfully average but very driven high school senior with dreams of attending Cornell University to pursue architecture. However, his first attempt at the SAT doesn’t go so well, and when his best friend’s score also gets in the way of his college plans, Kyle ends up as the ringleader of a group of students who make a plan to steal the answers to the SAT before they re-take the test. The movie follows their attempts to break into the building where the answers are kept and explores the reasons that each member of their group is so desperate to succeed.
Should you watch it? Sure. The Perfect Score is a little cheesy, but it’s a feel-good film with an unrepentant message about individuality. Baby Chris Evans is adorable and very natural in it, and it’s also his first co-starring role with his future superhero BFF, Scarlett Johansson.
‘Fierce People’ (2005)
What is it? Finn (Anton Yelchin) and his massage-therapist mother Liz move from New York to the guesthouse of a country estate owned by Ogden C. Osbourne, a billionaire ex-client who owes Liz a favor. It’s here that Finn, a wannabe anthropologist, meets Osbourne’s teenage grandchildren — Maya (Kristen Stewart) and Bryce (Chris Evans.) He gets sucked into their world of privilege and excess, simultaneously becoming infatuated with them and attempting to study them. Along the way, he discovers a dark underside to their supposed life of bliss. This independent thriller, also starring Donald Sutherland as Osbourne, was adapted from a novel by Dirk Winterbottom. Winterbottom himself also wrote the film’s screenplay, but overall it works a bit better as a book, despite the lack of Chris Evans. But if you can stomach Finn’s nature channel-style narration of his new society, it’s a pretty gripping story in movie format as well.
Should you watch it? Objectively, the book is better, but it’s a decent watch. Bryce is a much, much darker role than Evans usually plays, and he pulls it off.
What is it? You know those movies that obviously want to be seen as a genius exploration of the human condition and are actually just sort of pathetic? That’s London. Chris Evans as Syd spends most of the film hiding in the bathroom at his ex-girlfriend’s going-away party, taking cocaine with a stranger and having flashbacks to his failed relationship and his inability to say “I love you.” It’s mostly dialogue — full of awkward, pretentious conversations — yet we learn absolutely nothing about the characters except that they have sex and take drugs. Evans has good chemistry with Jessica Biel the eponymous London, but that’s probably more to do with the fact that they were dating in real life at the time than praise of what the film has to offer.
Should you watch it? Only if your thirst is greater than your ability to love yourself.
What is it? A sci-fi thriller by iconic British director Danny Boyle. In the year 2057, the sun is dying, and in an attempt to save Earth, a team of astronauts is sent to launch a bomb into the sun in an attempt to re-start it. The crew of the Icarus II is the second such attempt — the first mission, Icarus I, was lost without a trace. However, as they approaches the sun, the crew — an international cast including Rose Byrne, Cillian Murphy, Michelle Yeoh and Hiroyuki Shimosawa — discovers the Icarus I vessel, still potentially operational. Chris Evans plays Mace, Icarus II’s pragmatic engineer who does not approve of the decision to re-route via Icarus I. Evans is very critical of his own past work, but Sunshine is one of the movies he’s actually proud of, even theorizing that he’d have a different career if people had remembered him from this movie as opposed to, say, Fantastic Four.
Should you watch it? Yes, because Chris Evans wants you to, and we should give the birthday boy what he wants.
‘The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond’ (2009)
What is it? Adapted from a never-produced Tennessee Williams screenplay, The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond is Chris Evans’ only period drama film — unless, of course, you count Captain America: The First Avenger! Set in 1920s Memphis, it follows the story of a young heiress, Fisher Willow, who returns from Europe a little too wild and carefree for the upper-class society she must take her place in. She requests that Jimmy, the son of one of her father’s staff — this is Evans’ role, obviously — be her escort to parties for the season, despite not being her social equal. Drama erupts around the loss of a diamond earring, one of a pair worth $10,000 that belong to Fisher’s aunt. Unfortunately, despite being written by America’s greatest dramatist, this isn’t a very good film. It’s slow and stilted, the Southern accents are unconvincing, and it feels a bit like a Hallmark made-for-TV movie.
Should you watch it? Unless you’re completely desperate for anything Evans — he does have a few “Mountain Lodge“-worthy scenes hauling sacks of grain and stuff — give this one a miss.
‘The Losers’ (2010)
What is it? An action comedy adaptation of the Vertigo comic book. The Losers, an elite black ops team, are left high and dry in Bolivia when their mission to destroy a drug cartel goes wrong. An unknown corrupt superior — codename Max — hijacks control of the mission via the comms system, and they becomes accidentally responsible for the deaths of 25 children when Max blows up the rescue helicopter presumed to contain the team. The Losers are offered a way to get back to America, clear their names and get revenge on Max by the mysterious and skilled Aisha, played by Zoe Saldana. Chris Evans is Captain Jake Jensen, the team’s light-hearted hacker, a talkative and shameless character obsessed with his niece’s junior soccer team who — according to his mom, legend has it — is the most similar of Evans’s past characters to his real life personality.
Should you watch it? If you enjoy dude-centric action films with a lot of violence and not a lot of depth, then yes. If that’s not your thing, just fast-forward to the main Chris Evans scenes — his performance is worth watching, regardless of plot.
What is it? Puncture is based on a true story, and it shows that Chris Evans has what it takes to do straight drama that packs an emotional punch — he doesn’t need a side of action or comedy to deliver a stellar performance. Evans plays Mike Weiss, a young lawyer who is also a functioning drug addict. Mike and his partner take on a lawsuit involving a local nurse who was pricked by a contaminated syringe. While researching their case, they begin to uncover a conspiracy in the corporate medical world — that the safest possible single-use needles have been invented, but are are kept off the market by the dominant presence of certain medical supply companies due to its slightly higher manufacturing cost. Mike, a talented lawyer, becomes obsessed with the case – it’s Evans’ very own Erin Brockovich moment — but his drive is hindered by his own addiction.
Should you watch it? Absolutely. Puncture had a limited release, only showing in a handful of cinemas after premiering at Tribeca, but get your hands on it if you can. It’s one of the best performances of Evans’ career.
‘What’s Your Number’ (2011)
What is it? After reading an article claiming that women with more than 20 sexual partners won’t find a husband, the quirky Ally (Anna Faris) re-evaluates her life and becomes determined to revisit her past flings to see if she can marry one without raising her “number.” She recruits her neighbor Colin (Chris Evans) to help with the detective work involved, and hijinks ensue. The movie features supporting roles from Ari Graynor, Anthony Mackie, Blythe Danner, Martin Freeman, Zachary Quinto, Joel McHale, Eliza Coupe, Andy Samberg, and Faris’s husband Chris Pratt. There is no possible way to quantify how attractive Chris Evans is in this movie. Colin is playful, sweet, supportive, chill. He doesn’t care about your “number.” He wants you to be who you truly are. He uses his natural Boston accent. He sings. There’s an adorable bit with a small child. And the scene where the pair play basketball will cause you to re-evaluate your life.
Should you watch it? Yes. Once, twice, three times yes. The movie’s whole premise regarding one’s “number” is pretty horrid, but every single other aspect of it — the acting, the dialogue, the comedic timing, the plot, even the cinematography, is fantastic.
What is it? Snowpiercer is an independent dystopian drama set on a train that travels around the world, sheltering the last few human beings on earth after a man-made attempt to fix global warming brings on a new ice age. The microcosmic society of the train ranges from poverty to luxury, and seventeen years into the Snowpiercer’s journey, Chris Evans’ character Curtis leads a revolution — a march from the lower-class tail end of the train to the front, in an attempt to take control of the engine from transportation magnate Wilford, who created the train. The film, made by acclaimed Korean director Bong Joon-ho, is visually arresting, scary, absurd, introspective and full of social commentary. Evans has the reluctant leader thing down-pat. He seems very at home in the role, and is supported by a great cast including Octavia Spencer and Tilda Swinton.
Should you watch it? It’s an excellent film, but not for the squeamish. When the apocalypse comes, avoid the protein blocks.
‘Playing It Cool’ (2015)
What is it? A subversive romantic comedy about a cynical screenwriter who’s been contracted to write a romantic comedy. Chris Evans plays the unnamed narrator, a writer who doesn’t believe in love, until he has a chance encounter with the girl of his dreams. He also hangs out with a group of other artists and creatives (including Aubrey Plaza, Luke Wilson and Topher Grace) who aren’t shy on offering their opinions about his life. The film — both the writing and by extension the leading man — is a little bit narcissistic, but the characters are well-drawn and the acting is very naturalistic, despite the fact it includes some bizarre fantasy scenes, such as the narrator imagining him and his new-found lady playing the parts in every love story he comes across. The romance part tries a bit too hard to be anti-rom-com, but the dynamic between Evans and best friend Scott (Topher Grace) is particularly enjoyable.
Should you watch it? Some people loved this movie, but some people — particularly reviewers — totally hated it. Chris Evans is great in it though — he looks great, he sounds great and he appears to be having a lot of fun in the role. Ultimately, if you’re a fan, it’s a yes.