We love George Clooney not just for his good looks and funny, self-deprecating charm, but also for the fact he doesn't hog the spotlight—whether he's acting in a film, or directing and writing it too. Doing all three jobs on The Monuments Men, Clooney surrounded himself with some of the best actors working today. Will it live up to these other great Clooney ensemble movies?
By Tara Bennett
The Monuments Men - Frank Stokes
Opening Feb. 7 is Clooney's latest, in which he cast Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman, Bill Murray, Hugh Bonneville and Jean Dujardin to play art historians and experts who team up with Clooney’s Frank Stokes to rescue priceless art from the Nazis. It’s an eclectic group of thespians who all bring something special to this quirky period piece.
The Ides of March - Governor Mike Morris
A gripping political thriller that Clooney again wrote, directed and acted in, The Ides of March is an eye-opening drama about contemporary dirty politics. Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei, Jeffrey Wright, and Paul Giamatti tear it up as political advisors trying to get Clooney’s candidate into the White House.
The Perfect Storm - Captain Billy Tyne
Clooney may play the Captain of the doomed Andrea Gail, but he knows it’s the story about the bond of fisherman against the fury of the sea that makes this true story resonate. Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, John C. Reilly, William Fichtner and John Hawkes battle the elements while an equally stellar cast plays their worried families and friends (Diane Lane, Mary Elizabeth Mastrontonio, Michael Ironside).
O Brother, Where Art Thou? - Everett McGill
The Coen Brothers re-tinker Homer’s The Odyssey into an Depression-era road trip led by Clooney’s charming but hapless Everett McGill. Together with John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson, Holly Hunter, and John Goodman, Clooney makes the rural south look like an exotic land full of singing sirens, dangerous scammers and excessive pomade.
Three Kings - Archie Gates
David O. Russell wisely placed Clooney in the very unexpected company of Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube and Spike Jonze in his post-Persian Gulf War heist film. George’s Major Archie Gates is an opportunist in the fading days of the short war, who sets out to steal gold with his fellow soldiers. Thankfully, things don’t turn out as expected. Equal parts strange, affecting and harrowing, the ensemble sells the story.
From Dusk 'Til Dawn - Seth Gecko
Arguably the film that finally put Clooney on the cinematic map, From Dusk ‘Til Dawn works because first and foremost it’s a buddy film supported by excellent character work from the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Cheech Marin, Danny Trejo, Juliette Lewis and Harvey Keitel.
Fantastic Mr. Fox - Mr. Fox
Clooney voices the charming eponymous character in Wes Anderson’s delightful stop-animation caper that also features the, well, fantastic voice work of Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Willem Dafoe and Owen Wilson. The film works so well because of the cast’s charming chemistry led by Clooney’s very fallible Fox.
The Men Who Stare at Goats - Lyn Cassady
A strange film with some great performances, Clooney plays a man who insists he was a member of the U.S. Army's New Earth Army and was trained to possess paranormal powers for battle. Ewan McGregor’s plays a reporter trying to figure out the truth as he interviews other very strange characters delightfully played by Steven Root, Jeff Bridges, Stephen Lang and Kevin Spacey.
Ocean’s 11 – Danny Ocean
The quintessential heist films of this generation, the Ocean films are the perfect mix of quirky, cool and gotcha twists. Clooney’s Danny Ocean is a leader who needs his team to feel confident about the success of their endgame. Enter Brad Pitt, Bernie Mac, Matt Damon, Carl Reiner and the rest of Danny’s pack to pull together a plan that makes them all look brilliant by the last reel (in all three films).
Good Night, and Good Luck. - Fred Friendly
It’s journalism vs. McCarthyism in Clooney’s ode to reporter Edward R. Murrow and the CBS news team that challenged Senator Joseph McCarthy’s red scare hearings in Washington. Clooney plays producer to David Strathairn’s Murrow, joined by heavy hitters Jeff Daniels, Robert Downey Jr., Ray Wise and Frank Langella.
What's your favorite Clooney film, ensemble or otherwise?