They both are among the very best at what they're good at: Walken at playing spacey weirdos and Pesci at playing temperamental assholes with Napoleon complexes. But what's interesting is when they play roles outside of those niches and show just how excellent they are.
People really undersell Walken's talent because he doesn't turn down work and he's in far more crap than gold, but he's almost always giving it his all, for better or for worse.
Pesci, for his part, doesn't seem to care much for acting and seems almost DDL-esque in that regard. But like Walken, he doesn't half-ass it, but unlike Walken, he's far choosier.
In terms of who I think has been consistently better, it's The Pesh. In terms of peaks, Walken's best (The Deer Hunter) very slightly edges out Pesci's (Goodfellas). But I give each man a win, and they're also a runner-up in another year as well. Interesting parallel, that.
Post by urbanpatrician on Sept 7, 2020 20:19:25 GMT
I'd say Walken.
Pesci is kinda like Toshiro Mifune. Where Mifune plays the jittery, hysterial, drunken samurai with ease, Pesci is mostly the spark plug little gangster, but beyond that.... I don't know what else to say about him. 3 out of 5 of his most famous roles were gangsters.
Not that Walken is a league better, but I think career wise he's been overall more interesting. I remember him mostly as an enigmatic entity with a pocket watch and a beige suit that pops up quite randomly, or he's an elderly father figure. That's just how I see him. I'm sure someone else has a different view of him, and that's fine.
Surprised Walken has only been nominated twice in his career, but those are the only 2 nods I give him (and with the similar win), until I see more.
I love Pesci and he's a rare one who can crack me up in a picosecond. Still, he only has two great perfs and several very funny ones. Not enough compared to Walken's mountain of work that takes the cake for peak, number of noteworthy perfs, and on top of that I think Walken is even funnier (not just bc I used watch his best-of SNL DVD religiously).
And for someone so unique, so light, so lovable, so funny, he's able to be quite spooky and scary (oddly enough often outside of horrors, like his best The Deer Hunter, or At Close Range, or Comfort of Strangers). Even something like The Dogs of War adds and proves he could pull off the spy/war/action role. He's done so much I'm still discovering stuff, like Next Stop Greenwich Village where there's a strange, glassy aura to him. He can pull off intimidation, intelligence, charisma, a dance btwn them (The Funeral, King of New York), he can pull off literal dancing too! and I haven't mentioned his singular way with dialogue/monologue or his vivid cameos or how much wonder he can capture in a look. He has great depth and surprising range as an actor.... Pesci does too but not as much.