DFS Presents: Jon Hamm

NINA COSDON, Opinion Editor — If there’s one thing Granville lacks, it’s a movie theater.

Luckily, the Denison Film Society (DFS) offers weekly screenings of some of the newest, best reviewed and most entertaining movies out there. This past weekend, they screened their biannual student pick, a movie voted on Denison student body. This semester, the winner was Bad Times at the El Royale. Now, I could summarize and critique the movie for you, but the truth is, you could just look that up on IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes. So, instead of giving you a review of Bad Times at the El Royale, I’ve decided to focus on one of its lead actors: Jon Hamm.

Jonathan Daniel Hamm is an extremely versatile actor, as evidenced by the wide variety of characters he has played. Bad Times at the El Royale gives you merely a glimpse into what Jon Hamm is capable of, and he deserves better than that. In honor of DFS’s showing of Bad Times at the El Royale last weekend, I decided to countdown my favorite Jon Hamm roles.

5: Baby Driver

Jon Hamm as a violent criminal! I really liked the concept of him playing a different kind of character, but the execution felt a bit strained. It seemed that he was having a bit of difficulty breaking out of the white-collar douchey trope he usually portrays. At the same time, I felt that the writer gave Jon Hamm a very two-dimensional character, and he did the best he could under the circumstances.

4: Bad Times at the El Royale

Frankly, Jon Hamm was killed too soon in this movie. I felt played; all the trailers made it seem like he had a major role, but his character died in the first act. However, he adopts a fabulous southern accent, which almost made up for his lack of screen time.

3: That one Black Mirror episode “White Christmas”

You know the one I’m talking about. I can’t give Jon Hamm full credit for this remarkable television special, because it’s so well-written with a fascinating, horrifying concept. Nevertheless, this was a role made for Jon Hamm, as it had that “I know this guy is evil, I just don’t know why” vibe. This list has made me realize that Jon Hamm has a history of playing roles with a shocking character twist (often a double life), but this one was truly mind-boggling. 

2: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

This one ranks so highly for me because it’s a hilarious role that showcases Jon Hamm’s range as an actor. In the show’s first season, he portrays Reverend Wayne Gary Wayne, a radical doomsday preacher who kept Kimmy and a few other women locked in a bunker during what he told them was the apocalypse. Jon Hamm’s time on the show is short lived, but it’s the runner-up for his best performance purely because of the moment when he plays and sings “The Purple People Eater” and calls it a song about Jesus. 

1: Mad Men

No surprise here. Mad Men is inarguably Jon Hamm’s best work; I would go as far as to say it’s also the greatest television show of all time. Jon Hamm breathed life into Don Draper (real name Dick Whitman), a character that otherwise should have been completely unlikable. It’s not a coincidence that Jon Hamm did his best work in this eight-year project. Give the man the time and place, and he will deliver. It takes an extraordinarily talented actor to make you care about a character like Don, who seems borderline sociopathic at times. Jon Hamm’s portrayal is so raw that when the inscrutable Don begins to unravel, he takes you with him.

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