29. Teeth Pulling, No Dentist
Movie: Bug (2006)
Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Ashley Judd, Michael Shannon, Harry Connick Jr.
Calling Michael Shannon the king of creep (a compliment, by the way) without having seen William Friedkin's adaptation of Tracy Letts' play Bug is akin to labeling Nas hip-hop's greatest MC without owning a copy of Illmatic. Shannon's unhinged performance in the 2006 psychological shocker remains his crowning achievement. He plays an ex-soldier plagued by paranoid feelings of being watched by the government, stemming from biological tests he endured during his military service. And now, according him, experimental bugs are both following him and implanted in him.
And he's not about to let Big Brother win. In Bug's most violent scene, Shannon's character swears that a whole lot of insects are lodged into one of his teeth, so, naturally, he grabs some pliers, locates the problem tooth, and gives it the old yankity yank. Friedkin, to his credit, doesn't turn the camera away, though we can't say the same about viewers and their eyes. —MB