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Remembering Carl Weathers: Ranking His Top Five Performances

Remembering Carl Weathers: Ranking His Top Five Performances

by Dan Kotnik

This week, we lost a true Hollywood icon. NFL linebacker-turned-actor Carl Weathers has passed away at the age of 76.

Weathers might not have ever been an A-list, award-winning movie star. However, it’s nearly impossible to watch any movie he’s in and say he isn’t meant to be doing this. He did it for the love of the game, and it was a joy to watch.

In honor of Carl Weathers, let’s revisit his best performances.

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Remembering Carl Weathers: Ranking His Top Five Performances

5. Carl Weathers | “Arrested Development “

“Baby, you got a stew going” – Weathers.

If you would get one thing out of Carl Weathers in a role, it’s full commitment to the bit. Drama, action, comedy; it doesn’t matter. Weathers was 101% in. 

No more is that apparent than in his handful of cameos on “Arrested Development” when he plays himself as Tobias’ “acting” coach. It becomes immediately apparent Weathers has no interest in actually teaching him anything about acting and is more concerned with finding… creative ways to save a buck.

Weathers was willing to be the butt of a joke for the sake of the production, and he nails it perfectly here. Just remember to save that per diem.

4. Greef Karga | “The Mandalorian”

As a Star Wars fan, the thing I love most about the newer live-action shows like “Andor” and “The Mandalorian” is that they immerse us in the world outside of the standard Skywalker sage. Every part of it – directing, casting and costumes – needs to be a bullseye; otherwise, it feels forced (I’m looking at you, “Ashoka”).

“Mandalorian” famously nailed their casting choices, particularly early on, with the likes of Pedro Pascal, Nick Nolte, Werner Herzog and, of course, Carl Weathers. As the head of the bounty hunting guild, Weathers brings a “don’t-mess-with-me” attitude with a layer of comedic realism that makes you feel like he’s been living in outer rim his entire life.

3. Chubbs Peterson | “Happy Gilmore”

Adam Sandler has the tendency to take over any movie he’s in with his over-the-top energy. “Happy Gilmore” is one of the few times his co-stars truly hang with him. Christopher McDonald plays maybe his best foil as Shooter McGavin, but without Carl Weathers as the one-handed mentor Chubbs, there’s no Happy. 

Another instance of Weathers harnessing his comedic chops, this time to the extreme. What’s his secret? It’s all in the hips.

2. Al Dillion | “Predator “

“Dillion, you son of a bitch” – Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger)

Need I say more? This classic Schwarzenegger action horror movie is packed with so much star power and kick-ass sci-fi effects there’s little room for anything else, like story or character development. Do I care? No.

Carl Weathers was coming off “Rocky IV” and is still absolutely ripped, hence the famous arm handshake scene. That same arm is blown off by the Predator later on in the movie, but the one thing the Predator couldn’t laser blast off Weathers is his ass, as he’s acted it completely off in probably his best non-boxing-related performance.

1. Apollo Creed | “Rocky” Franchise

There’s no other choice. Carl Weathers will probably forever be remembered, first and foremost, for his role as the gregarious, showboating former heavyweight champ Apollo Creed. He does a great job as Rocky’s main nemesis in the first two films, but it really isn’t until he takes over as Balboa’s trainer in “Rocky III” that he’s given the bandwidth to take his character to another level.

The franchise takes a noticeable downward turn once Apollo is out of the picture, and it’s not a coincidence that the breath of fresh air has come by way of the “Creed” movies. Weathers might not be the star in any of the movies, but he’s the Scottie Pippen to Sylvester Stallone’s Michael Jordan, and the two turn those first four movies into a run that rivals any sports dynasty.

And lest we forget the fact that his death scene in “Rocky IV” was so convincing, many on the crew thought he had actually been injured.


Thanks for reading my top five Carl Weathers performances! If you’re interested in more entertainment and sports takes, follow me on Twitter @DKalltheway.

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