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Michael C. Hall Movies Ranked Worst To Best

Michael C. Hall is best known for his role as Miami's favorite serial killer, Dexter Morgan, in the thrilling Showtime series,"Dexter." For eight seasons, Dexter brings his own form of twisted justice down upon the evil-doers who manage to elude the police. Though the show's final episode hit the small screen in 2013, that wasn't the end for "Dexter": The series earned a revival in the form of 2021's "Dexter: New Blood," which sees the titular killer return to his old, murderous habits.  

It's no wonder the public demanded more "Dexter" — Michael C. Hall is an actor of rare talent. Across stage and screen, he has proven himself a versatile performer in a wide variety of genres. Hall started out as a stage actor before enjoying his big television break on HBO's "Six Feet Under," and has returned to the theater multiple times since. His musical career even extends past The Great White Way, in the from of his indie rock band, Princess Goes to the Butterfly Museum. Recent years have seen him tackle voice acting in audiobooks and animation. Simply put, there's nothing this man can't do.

In celebration of Michael C. Hall's multifaceted career, let's take a look back at his cinematic roles. We're ranking his movies from worst to best, based on Rotten Tomatoes' signature metric, the Tomatometer.

13. Peep World

At the very least, 2010's Peep World boasts an all-star cast. Seeing Michael C. Hall, Sarah Silverman, Octavia Spencer, and Taraji P. Henson in a movie together is nothing short of a treat. The film, directed by veteran "Saturday Night Live" writer Barry W. Blaustein, makes strong use of this ensemble: They play the Meyerwitz family (and those in their orbit), a clan that goes for each other's throats when one of their number (Ben Schwartz) writes a brutal autobiographical novel. This tome takes the family to task and throws them all under the bus.

Despite this solid premise and dazzling cast, critics were not impressed with "Peep World." Indeed, it feels more like a proof-of-concept television pilot than a one-and-done feature film. If there is one virtue here, it's that the movie's brisk runtime — just under 80 minutes — keeps it from overstaying its welcome. When it comes to family gatherings, what more can anyone ask for?

12. Paycheck

Made at the height of Ben Affleck's "generic leading man" phase, 2003's "Paycheck" stars the handsome Bostonian as an engineer on the run from corporate hitmen. This film comes with a science-fiction twist, however. Affleck's character, armed with knowledge of the future, collects a series of trinkets so he can protect himself and stay one step ahead of his enemies. But his memory gets erased, leaving him (his past self, essentially) to figure out how innocuous items like a paper clip, a matchbook, and a single .45 caliber bullet will keep him alive.

Michael C. Hall is entertaining as Klein, a young FBI agent paired up with a more experienced partner, played by Joe Morton ("Scandal," "Justice League"). They have some fun banter and play a key role in the story, but Klein isn't exactly a role that could only have been played by Hall. This high-concept actioner, loosely based on a Philip K. Dick short story, was a modest box office success, but it was also lambasted by critics. No wonder John Woo took a long break from Hollywood following this frustrating film.

11. Gamer

Sometimes, all it takes is one gloriously hammy performance to transform a mediocre action flick into a wonderful night at the movies. In the case of 2009's "Gamer," Michael C. Hall is that secret weapon. Directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor ("Crank"), "Gamer" takes place in a bleak dystopian world where actual people play the part of online avatars, acting on the whims of the players who control them. Gerard Butler stars as the musclebound action hero of the piece, but it's Hall who truly shines as the tech-minded genius who murders countless innocents for nothing more than fun and profit. In a movie that's oppressively grim and crassly indulgent, Hall stands out as a scenery-chewing delight. He even gets a dance sequence!

It's difficult to call "Gamer" a good movie — just check out its dismal Tomatometer score. But for those in the mood for an ultra-violent shoot-em-up with shades of "The Running Man" and a gloriously unhinged turn from Michael C. Hall, "Gamer" is an absolute masterpiece.

10. The Trouble with Bliss

"The Trouble with Bliss" stars Hall as Morris Bliss, a 30-something New Yorker going through an early mid-life crisis. He lives with his dad (Peter Fonda) within the shadow of his mother's death, and has a romantic affair with an 18-year-old woman (Brie Larson) who just so happens to be the daughter of an old high-school classmate (Brad William Henke). The film proceeds to follow Morris' awkward attempts to turn his life around and find some meaning to his existence in the Big Apple.

Alas, critics did not take kindly to "The Trouble with Bliss." NPR's review summed things up by labeling the film's characters "labored and forced." "The Trouble with Bliss" failed to turn its festival circuit interest into mainstream box office success, and quickly disappeared without most people ever knowing it was ever there. This does suit the film's existential themes, for what that's worth.

9. Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House

For 30 years, the informant who provided journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein with key information regarding the Watergate scandal was known only as "Deep Throat." This explosive event ultimately resulted in the end of the Nixon presidency. In 2005, retired FBI agent and Associate Director Mark Felt revealed to the world that he was, in fact, Deep Throat. 2017's "Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House" tells Felt's story, with Liam Neeson playing the title role. Michael C. Hall co-stars as John Dean, the man responsible for the initial Watergate cover-up. He acts against Felt and tries, unsuccessfully, to keep Nixon's crimes from becoming public knowledge.

Critics didn't respond well to the biopic's by-the-numbers retelling of the Watergate scandal, though many did note its exploration of the pathos of being a whistleblower adds some much-needed soul to the proceedings. Ultimately, despite the public's new understanding of the scandal and the true depth of Nixon's corruption, no film has yet replaced 1976's "All the President's Men" as the definitive Watergate chronicle.

8. In the Shadow of the Moon

2019's "In the Shadow of the Moon" sees Michael C. Hall reunite with his "Cold in July" director, Jim Mickle. This follow-up is certainly ambitious, if a bit muddled in its execution. Nevertheless, fans of provocative science fiction will surely be entranced by its four-dimensional story and the presence of Boyd Holbrook in the lead role. Holbrook stars as Lockhart, a detective who is nearly driven mad by the unbelievable case he spends decades trying to solve. Hall co-stars as Holt, Lockhart's brother-in-law, fellow detective, and straight-shooting foil, whose career isn't derailed by obsession.

While critics concluded that "In the Shadow of the Moon" doesn't quite compete with the likes of Mickle's previous offerings, it's still a feather in Netflix's cap as a solid science fiction thriller with unique ideas and strong performances. The streaming giant must have been pleased with the film, since they proudly host Mickle's follow-up project, the successful original series "Sweet Tooth."

7. John and the Hole

2021's "John and the Hole" centers around John (Charlie Shotwell), a young boy who holds his family captive in an unfinished bunker he stumbles upon near his home. Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Ehle play John's parents, while Taissa Farmiga plays his older sister. While it's full of disturbing imagery and sensibilities, "John and the Hole" is more contemplative than most thrillers. The audience is offered two ways to interpret film's events: As a metaphor for growing up, or as a literal story about a deeply troubled young boy with psychopathic tendencies.

"John and the Hole" is Pascual Sisto's directorial debut. Previously, Sisto was best known as a visual artist, which might explain the film's more ethereal moments. What's more, "John and the Hole" was written by "Birdman" scribe Nicolás Giacobone, who adapted his own short story into the feature-length movie. Though the film didn't delight critics, it's definitely unique, and contains a strong performance from Michael C. Hall. "Dexter" fans will especially appreciate how interesting it is to see Hall play the victim to someone else's vicious tendencies.

6. Kill Your Darlings

2013's "Kill Your Darlings," the feature directorial debut of John Krokidas, explores the early days of Beat Generation icons Lucien Carr, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William S. Burroughs, played by Dane DeHaan, Jack Huston, Daniel Radcliffe, and Ben Foster, respectively. Their adventures in New York City helped shape the city's reputation as an intellectual playground full of danger and whimsy, but, as this film explores, every delight has a dark side.

The centerpiece here is the death of David Kammerer, the man Lucien Carr infamously killed in 1944 (via The New York Times). Michael C. Hall plays Kammerer as a sexual predator whose jealousy and rage are ultimately his undoing. While the real-life history around Kammerer has become somewhat muddied, with certain key facts lost to time and many more remaining heavily debated, "Kill Your Darlings" skews close to the version of events chronicled by Burroughs and Kerouac in their fictionalization of the event, "And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks." What results is a largely successful portrayal of a massively complex event.

5. The Report

In the wake of 9/11, much controversy arose due to the CIA's use of so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques." 2019's "The Report," written and directed by Scott Z. Burns, follows Daniel Jones, a Senate staffer who investigated the CIA's use of torture and discredited their defense, despite significant pushback from his superiors in the intelligence community. Adam Driver stars as Jones, with Michael C. Hall playing the supporting role of Thomas Eastman, a CIA lawyer who opposes the release of Jones' report.

Critics applauded "The Report" as a smart and enthralling look into a dark chapter of history. Adam Driver earned considerable praise for his performance, while Annette Bening nabbed a Golden Globe nomination for her turn as Senator Dianne Feinstein. Hall's performance stands strong beside these dazzling turns. As News.com.au put it in their celebratory review, "The Report" "is a masterclass in how you build to a climax, especially when you can't rely on some big third-act action extravaganza." When you've got a cast this good, you don't need such spectacle.

4. Cold in July

2014's "Cold in July" features one of Michael C. Hall's few cinematic leading roles, which also happens to be one of his finest performances. Hall stars as Richard, a mild-mannered man who kills a home invader. This comes as a surprise to his community, who don't see him as "the type" to do such a thing. When the killing leads to a run-in with a mysterious old man (Sam Shepard), Richard finds himself chasing down ghosts, uncovering a twisted crime ring, and taking justice into his own hands. He's joined by unlikely partners: The aforementioned old man, whose name is  Ben, and Jim Bob Luke, played by a free-spirited Don Johnson in full-on cowboy mode.

"Cold in July" deftly jumps between genres, evoking feelings of terror, suspense, comedy, and righteousness, all in service to its deconstruction and examination of masculinity. The film marks both a key moment in Don Johnson's career renaissance, and a fond farewell to Sam Shepard, who passed away in 2017. The fact that Michael C. Hall is able to hold his own against these two legends is a testament to his skill as an actor. No wonder the critics hailed "Cold in July" as a can't-miss thriller.

3. Game Night

2018's "Game Night" stars Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams as a couple participating in a murder-mystery-themed game night that goes horribly off the rails. Well, it's horrible for them — it's delightful for the audience, as "Game Night" is a well-made mystery-comedy full of wacky hijinks and genuinely surprising twists. The film became a surprise sleeper hit, grossing over $117 million worldwide on a budget of just $37 million.

Michael C. Hall doesn't play a particularly large role in this film, directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, but he makes the most of his precious few minutes of screen time. He plays the Bulgarian, an apparently European mobster. Yet his character has no accent, or other indicators that would indicate such an ethnically-derived criminal alias. This adds to the off-kilter humor of the character, whose appearance culminates in a fun and frantic fight scene involving Jason Bateman.

2. Christine

Based on a true story, 2016's "Christine" stars Rebecca Hall as the title character, a Florida reporter who committed suicide on live television in 1974. Directed by Antonio Campos ("The Devil All the Time"), "Christine" earned significant praise for its deft handling of delicate subject matter. Michael C. Hall plays George, a co-worker with whom Christine is infatuated, though he does not return her feelings. Rebecca Hall (who, for the record, is not related to Michael C. Hall) was widely lauded for her performance as Chubbuck, with many reviews singling out her acting as the film's greatest strength. Her sympathetic portrayal of a woman dealing with mental and physical health issues is surrounded by stirring supporting turns, Hall's chief among them. As George, he offers genuine compassion and warmth the viewer won't soon forget — just as they won't forget this movie's elegiac power.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

1. Justice League: Gods and Monsters

2015's "Justice League: Gods and Monsters" is set in an alternate universe where the DC Comics superheroes exist, but not as we know them. Instead of Kal-El, the last son of Krypton, Superman is the son of General Zod. Wonder Woman isn't Princess Diana, but the New God, Bekka. Finally, Batman is Kirk Langstrom, known as the classic villain Man-Bat in more traditional DC universe stories. Michael C. Hall stars as this new version of Batman, who is a vampire that feeds on criminals to keep himself alive. Hall's performance is poised, sinister, and extremely memorable.

"Justice League: Gods and Monsters" received rave reviews for its detailed animation, mature storytelling, and excellent cast, which also includes Benjamin Bratt as Superman, Tamara Taylor as Wonder Woman, and Jason Isaacs as Lex Luthor. Though a sequel was never made, a tie-in series, "Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles," earned a single season worth any fan's time. Here's hoping we'll get to see Hall's antiheroic Batman return someday, in a new animated movie or TV project.