The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Bill Hader

Written by Film

The hilarious and multi-faceted Bill Hader has covered a lot of bases throughout his career. He rose to fame as a cast member for SNL, eventually breaking free and working as an actor, writer, producer and director. A lot of people disregard him as just a comedian, but Hader continues to prove his talents as a dramatic actor, and also a committed director and writer for his HBO show Barry. 

The good: The Skeleton Twins (2014) 

Bill Hader as Milo Dean and Kristen Wiig as Maggie Dean. Credit: YouTube

A truly underrated gem, The Skeleton Twins, was directed by Craig Johnson and starred Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig as brother and sister. These two actors are written off as comedians, so some people didn’t hold out much hope for this film. After my first watch, it became one of my favourites. Bill Hader commits entirely to his performance of Milo Dean, a gay man struggling with his mental health and reconnecting with his twin sister. It’s emotional and real in a way that movies often aren’t, and it deserved so much more recognition than it got. The film is beautiful, and Milo Dean is a character that I’ll never forget. If I get asked why I’m a fan of Bill Hader, this is the movie I refer to. Don’t underestimate him! He can do pretty much anything. The talent and intelligence is real. So if you haven’t, give The Skeleton Twins a go. (Be wary of content, the movie does depict self-harm and suicide attempts). 

The bad (sort of? Not really): IT: Chapter Two (2019) 

Hader as Richie Tozier in IT: Chapter Two. Credit: IMDb

Now, let me pre-cursor this with the statement that I love IT: Chapter Two despite its flaws. More than 6 months after it’s release, it’s still on my mind. It made me cry a lot, and it gave me (almost) everything I wanted. That being said, a lot of people did think it was bad and didn’t live up to expectations. I’m not sure I can even really class this as the ‘bad’ of Bill Hader, but it’s only because I struggled to find anything that he’s not actually good in. Hader as Richie Tozier in the IT sequel was brilliant and he completely stole the show, with his emotional performance and comic relief. The movie was criticised for being too long, but I would have still watched it had it been longer. I’m in the mind that this sequel was for people who were already big fans of the IT franchise, including the first movie, the 1990 mini-series and of course the book. It delivered a lot of what fans wanted to see. I can recognise that it’s absolutely not perfect, and I would have wanted some things done differently, but two hours of Bill Hader playing Richie? I’m all in. 

The ugly: Trainwreck (2015) 

Hader as Aaron Conners in Trainwreck.

Again, I have to say that Hader does a great job with what he’s given in the movie. His talent shines through, no matter what project he’s working on. However, Trainwreck does miss the mark for me, partly because of Amy Schumer, and partly because of the writing. It’s lazy and full to the brim of clichés. The critical reception was actually good, with award nominations and the likes. But I just couldn’t enjoy it. I already wasn’t a fan of Amy Schumer, what with her problematic jokes, so I guess I was never going to enjoy it fully. That being said, it’s pretty light-hearted and funny at times, so if it’s your kind of thing, maybe you’ll enjoy it. Ugly bonus: Noelle (2019). This Disney+ Christmas movie was actually pretty funny, but mostly awful. But Bill Hader and Anna Kendrick as the kids of Santa Claus? What more could we ask for?

Last modified: 15th March 2020

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