King Kong may be the star of Kong: Skull Island, but John C. Reilly is the movie’s true 800-lb. gorilla. The Chicago-born character actor pops up midway through Jordan Vogt-Roberts’s big-budget mash-up as Hank Marlow, a World War II veteran stranded on the titular rock for three decades. And as soon as he strides onscreen, sporting a gigantic beard and a mile-wide eccentric streak, Reilly instantly wrests control of the movie away from his fellow human actors (including Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, and Samuel L. Jackson), not to mention the big ape himself. It’s a joyfully spontaneous performance in the middle of a movie that, too often, feels pre-programmed for mass consumption.
Kong: Skull Island is just the latest example of why Reilly remains a sought-after scene stealer. From his big-screen debut in Brian De Palma’s 1989 Vietnam War drama Casualties of War to Skull Island‘s Vietnam War pastiche, he’s consistently enlivened mediocre movies and elevated good movies to greatness. Out of his plus-size filmography, here are just a dozen of our favorite Reilly star turns, supporting performances, and one-scene wonders.