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More than just 'Goodfellas,' Ray Liotta found range. Here are our favorite roles

Mark Olsen and Ed Stockly, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Rating: PG

Streaming: Amazon Prime: Buy/Rent | Apple TV+: Buy/Rent | Google Play: Buy/Rent | Vudu: Buy/Rent

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‘Operation Dumbo Drop’ (1995)

Running time: 2:00

Rating: PG

Streaming: Disney+: Included | Apple TV+: Buy/Rent | Google Play: Buy/Rent | Vudu: Buy/Rent

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‘Hannibal’ (2001)

One of Liotta’s most off-kilter roles was in 2001’s “Hannibal,” about Anthony Hopkins’ cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter. Liotta played Paul Krendler, a snarky Justice Department honcho who clashed with FBI agent Clarice Starling (Julianne Moore). Lecter captures Krendler, drugs him and then stages a dinner party with him and Starling where he removes Krendler’s scalp and starts cooking his brain. The drugged Krendler comments on how good his brain tastes and smells. It’s a weird (and gross) scene in which Liotta captured the strangeness but still played it cool.

Running time: 2:11

Rating: R

Streaming: Starz: Included | Amazon Prime: Buy/Rent | Apple TV+: Buy/Rent | Google Play: Buy/Rent | Vudu: Buy/Rent

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‘Narc’ (2002)

Liotta has played no shortage of morally dubious police officers over the years (“Cop Land,” “Unlawful Entry”), but few of them have called forth the complexity and ferocity of his work as one of Detroit’s not-so-finest in Joe Carnahan’s underappreciated 2002 crime thriller. He plays Henry Oak, a veteran cop investigating the murder of an undercover colleague — an assignment he takes on with barely disguised contempt for the police department and the partner he’s been assigned. As befits his character’s name, Liotta seems both immovable and toweringly enormous as the kind of crooked cop who thinks nothing of beating, torturing and shooting anyone who gets in his way but whose outer grit belies still deeper, darker motives. It’s one of Liotta’s most fearsome performances, and one of his most surprising.

Running time: 1:45

Rating: R

Streaming: FuboTV: Included | Showtime: Included | Apple TV+: Buy/Rent | Google Play: Buy/Rent | Vudu: Buy/Rent

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‘Observe and Report’ (2009)

Liotta could be very, very funny onscreen, as he was in Jody Hill’s dark 2009 comedy “Observe and Report.” In the film, Seth Rogen played a mall security guard who has his heart set on becoming a real cop. Liotta played a local police detective who at first finds Rogen’s character an annoying wannabe, but slowly and begrudgingly grows to have sympathy and even a little respect for him. (After also beating him to a pulp.) Liotta’s old-school slow-burn and explosive energy is put to uproarious effect.

 

Running time: 1:26

Rating: R

Streaming: Amazon Prime: Buy/Rent | Apple TV+: Buy/Rent | Google Play: Buy/Rent | Vudu: Buy/Rent

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‘Marriage Story’ (2019)

In Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” Liotta played a divorce attorney who has to lead his client, a theater director played by Adam Driver, through the tricky waters of custody battles and hourly billing. If the casting as an expensive L.A. lawyer feels slightly counterintuitive at first, Liotta settles nicely into the part as a savvy scrapper who has seen it all before and still somehow remains hopeful, unexpectedly even a little romantic, albeit with a certain cynical clarity. Liotta’s earnest brashness made for a perfect foil to the silken steeliness of Laura Dern’s Oscar-winning turn as his opposing counsel.

Running time: 2:17

Rating: R

Streaming: Netflix: Included

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‘The Many Saints of Newark’ (2021)

Running time: 2:00

Rating: R

Streaming: HBO Max: Included | Apple TV+: Buy/Rent | Google Play: Buy/Rent

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‘No Sudden Move’ (2021)

Running time: 1:30

Rating: R

Streaming: HBO Max: Included | Amazon Prime: Buy/Rent | Apple TV+: Buy/Rent | Google Play: Buy/Rent | Vudu: Buy/Rent

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©2022 Los Angeles Times. Visit at latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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