Miles Teller: His best performances so far

"The Divergent Series: Allegiant" World Premiere - Arrivals
One of my favorite young actors, Miles Teller has been gaining steam as emerging A-lister over the last couple of years. This week, Teller is getting the same treatment that fellow near A-lister Jonah Hill got from me a few days ago from yours truly, in honor of their upcoming film War Dogs. Teller is very good in the film, as he pretty much always is, and even if it probably won’t launch his star any higher, it’s another interesting role in his quickly growing oeuvre. He deserves the attention, that’s for sure, so we’ll be showering him with it a bit more today…

Once again for those of you who are curious, War Dogs is dramedy about two young men who became unlikely gun runners. It’s based on the true story of David Packouz (Teller) and Efraim Diveroli (Hill), who inexplicably won a $300 million contract from the United States and the Pentagon to arm America’s allies in Afghanistan. From there, chaos ensues. Todd Phillips directs and co-writes with Stephen Chin and Jason Smilovic, while the rest of the cast includes Ana de Armas, Bradley Cooper (in what I believe is just a cameo), Steve Lantz, Kevin Pollak, Shaun Toub, and many more. Cliff Martinez contributes the score, while the cinematography comes by way of Lawrence Sher.

Here’s a selection about Teller from his Spotlight on the Stars piece I did back in 2014:

Teller got his start pretty quickly when, after only a few appearances in shorts and a guest spot on the TV show The Unusuals, he was cast in a main supporting part opposite Nicole Kidman in Rabbit Hole. An Oscar player all season long, folks immediately took note of this kid, naming him someone to watch. If they only knew how right they were. In fact, less than a half decade later, he’s already turned in a couple of performances that are miles (no pun intended) above this high bar. He next showcased some dancing skills in the Footloose remake and had an odd cameo/supporting role in Project X, two movies that let him stretch out from the dark dramatic work he debuted with. The best was still yet to come though.Teller really established himself when he blew people away in The Spectacular Now. Playing a wise cracking teen who lives in the moment but comes to find that existence hollow due to his relationship with Shailene Woodley’s good hearted character, Teller stretched and wins you over in a big way. It’s a touching performance in a nearly perfect film. Teller and Woodley have tremendous chemistry and this was the role that I feel started the actor off on this path to the A-list. Since then, he’s had a few comedies/romantic comedies in 21 & Over, That Awkward Moment, and Two Night Stand (which happens to be much better than you’d expect and well worth seeking out) that have showcased him either as a comedian or as a romantic lead, while he’s also taken a big step into the mainstream with a notable part in the epic Divergent. The success of Divergent as well as its sequels was his entrance to the big A-list rankings, though he left us all stunned with his work in the drama Whiplash. Alongside J.K. Simmons (who gives one of the very best performances of 2014, if not the best), Teller essays the best performance of his career as a drum student going up against his instructor. It’s a magnificent bit of acting.”

Here now is how I would rank his ten best performances to date:

10. Project X
9. Footloose
8. War Dogs
7. That Awkward Moment
6. Get a Job
5. 21 and Over
4. Two Night Stand
3. Rabbit Hole
2. The Spectacular Now
1. Whiplash

Be sure to check out Teller in War Dogs, in theaters starting tomorrow!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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