Friday, February 29, 2008

UF Goes to the Movies: The Oeuvre of Vinnie Jones

Given our recent stories regarding Paul Gascoigne, it seemed only natural to explore the individual on the other side of that most famous picture.

Join me after the jump to explore the brilliance that is Vinnie Jones.

To individuals of a certain age, Vinnie Jones is best known as a footballer, one of the true "hard men" of the game. Vinnie played for the Wimbledon team that won the FA Cup in 1988 (the watershed moment for the club), and then went on to play for Leeds United (89-90), Sheffield United (90-91), Chelsea (91-92), Wimbledon (92-98), and Queens Park Rangers (98-99).

He also played on the Welsh national team from 1994-1997, receiving 8 caps and even captaining the team. Recently, almost 10 years after leaving the game, Vinnie established the Hollywood All-Stars Football Club to compete in a rec league in Los Angeles (no word on whether Andrew Shue is on the team).

In 1992 (while he was still playing, obviously), Vinnie began appearing on television shows and other entertainment venues starring as himself. His first foray was as a "presenter" on "Soccer's Hard Men", a controversial documentary which looked at footballers known more for their strength than their skill. The FA was not amused, and fined Vinnie 10,000 pounds, yet he appeared as himself over 40 more times in various endeavors.

Clearly, all of this action gave Vinnie the itch (they have a cream for that, you know), leading to his entry into the world of cinema. The result of that is that a new generation knows Vinnie Jones solely as a movie "star", albeit one who plays the exact same character in every damn movie. Let's examine Vinnie's work, shall we?

Vinnie Jones first appeared in the Guy Ritchie (aka Mr. Madonna) film "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels" (1998) as Big Chris, a certifiable English thug. He followed this up with a turn as Bullet Tooth Tony in "Snatch" (2000), where he played a...certifiable English thug.

In that same year (2000), he appeared as The Sphinx, a silent-but-deadly car thief in "Gone in 60 Seconds," and then a completely forgettable turn as Marco in "Swordfish" (2001) [although to be fair the only memorable scene in that movie was Halle Berry's boobies].

He expanded his repertoire in 2001, playing Danny Meehan, an English footballer sent to prison, in "Mean Machine", the English equivalent of "The Longest Yard."

It is at this point that Vinnie's filmography begins to diverge somewhat. In 2004, Vinnie takes a turn as Lou Harris, a stereotypical English hooligan, in "The Big Bounce." Also in 2004, Vinnie played Mad Maynard, a stereotypical ManU supporter, in "Euro Trip." Clearly, Vinnie was branching out, really exploring a range of characters. In 2006, Vinnie played another thug, this one with mutant powers, in a turn as Juggernaut in "X-Men: The Last Stand."

However, after filming had wrapped on X-Men 3 [as Juggernaut again], Vinnie began to show his softer side. He played Rommel in "Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties" (2006), where he starred opposite Breckin Meyer and an animated cat, then the role of Dinklage in "She's the Man" (2006), where he played Amanda Bynes' coach (he put her on the practice squad!).

We aren't quite sure where Vinnie Jones will pop up next, although he does have 3-4 films in the works, including "Clive Barker's Midnight Meat Train" (sounds delicious!). One thing is sure - if you ever see Vinnie, tell him that you love his work or he just might squeeze your grapes.


The Fan's Attic said...

I prefer the disambiguation of "The Sphinx".

See the last entry of this:

hockalees said...

To me, he will always be Big Chris...

"It's been emotional"

Eladio said...

Don't forget his turn in the first season of Extras, though he was playing himself. Oh yeah...he always plays himself