When Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story came out, like a lot of people, I watched it all over the course of a single weekend. And while watching 10 hours of Evan Peters’ portrayal of the notorious serial killer did mess with my head, watching the true crime show marathon allowed me to really focus on the performances of the star-studded cast. This was especially true for Richard Jenkins, who did an outstanding job with his portrayal of the father of the “Milwaukee Cannibal.”
After finishing Ryan Murphy’s limited series I couldn’t stop thinking about the various other Richard Jenkins movies and TV shows that have come out over the years, and how his performances in each of those were often the highlight of each respective project. That being said, here are 12 movies and shows to watch if you like what you saw of Jenkins on the 2022 Netflix series and want to see more.
Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story (2022)
Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story focuses on the life and crimes of the notorious serial killer who killed and dismembered 18 victims over the course of a 13-year period before finally being brought to justice.
Richard Jenkins better receive awards, or at least get nominated for some, for his portrayal of Lionel Dahmer in the unsettling yet highly watchable limited series. At times a character you can’t help but feel sorry for, while at others the biggest jerk in the room, Jenkins’ performance elevates just about every scene in which he is featured. It is arguably one of his best appearances to date.
Stream Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story on Netflix. (opens in new tab)
The Shape Of Water (2017)
Winner of four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Guillermo del Toro, the 2017 fantasy romance film, The Shape of Water, tells the story of a mute woman named Elisa (Sally Hawkins) who meets and falls in love with a creature that is part man and part amphibian (Doug Jones).
One of the best things about The Shape of Water is Richard Jenkins’ character, Giles, a closeted man who lives next door to Elisa in their apartment building. As Elisa faces her own battles and path to growth, so does Giles, who builds the courage to make his feelings known. The kindness and gentle nature of his character also provides great contrast to some of the movie’s more sinister characters and situations.
Six Feet Under (2001 - 2005)
An HBO classic drama series with one of the best endings in the history of TV, Six Feet Under ran for five seasons on the premium cable channel, telling the story of the Fisher family and how the death of family patriarch Nathaniel Fisher Sr. (Richard Jenkins) changed their lives and funeral home business.
Though he dies in the opening moments of the pilot, Nathaniel Fisher Sr. is a major part of Six Feet Under throughout its run, appearing in various dream sequences, flashbacks, and hallucinations. How Jenkins didn’t win any awards for his performance remains a mystery two decades later, because his hilarious, sorrowful, and well-rounded portrayal of the character was outstanding.
Burn After Reading (2008)
The Coen Brothers’ 2008 spy comedy, Burn After Reading, centers on the the misplaced memoirs of former CIA analyst Osbourne Cox (John Malkovich) as they fall into the hands of gym employees Linda Litzke (Frances McDormand) and Chad Feldheimer (Brad Pitt), who attempt to take the “secretive documents” and put a get-rich-quick scheme into action.
Jenkins steps in as Ted, Linda’s boss and secret admirer who will do anything to help her out in a bind. This includes breaking into the home of Osbourne Cox to gather more intel for her plan, a sequence that ends with one of the most startling moments in the entire movie.
The Visitor (2008)
Before writing one of the best journalism movies with Spotlight, writer-director Tom McCarthy released the phenomenal The Visitor, a drama about a widower (Jenkins) who comes home to his New York apartment to find two strangers living there. Instead of kicking them out, the college professor accepts the guests, kicking off a story of rebirth and heartbreak.
Jenkins’s portrayal of Walter Vale earned the actor an Academy Award nomination, but he ultimately lost out to Sean Penn in Milk. Easily one of Jenkins’ best performances, The Visitor sees the actor appear as soft and caring as ever, creating a charming and endearing experience for all.
The Cabin In The Woods (2012)
As a group of college friends settle in for a weekend of partying and relaxation in a cabin deep in the forest, none of them have any idea of the dangers that await them in the darkness or the ramifications of their decisions.
Without giving too much away for those who have yet to watch The Cabin in the Woods, this movie is equal parts horror and comedy, which becomes fully realized as the unique and convention-busting narrative unfolds. Plus, the banter between Jenkins and Bradley Whitford’s characters is more than worth the price of a rental.
Rent/Buy The Cabin in the Woods on Amazon. (opens in new tab)
Olive Kitteridge (2014)
Based on Elizabeth Strout’s novel of the same name, the 2014 HBO miniseries, Olive Kitteridge, tells the story of a strict former schoolteacher (Frances McDormand) as she attempts to navigate life and interpersonal relationships with her family and fellow residents in the seaside town of Crosby, Maine.
Olive Kitteridge went on to win six Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Movie for Richard Jenkins. Able to stand toe-to-toe with his Burn After Reading co-star and fellow award winner, Jenkins’ portrayal of Olive’s husband, Henry, was one of the best of the actor’s career and earned him his first and only (so far) Emmy.
Bone Tomahawk (2015)
When a tribe of cannibalistic Native Americans abduct several residents of a small town in the American West, Sheriff Franklin Hunt (Kurt Russell) puts together a posse to rescue the townsfolk before they are killed, or worse, eaten.
Doing what he does best, Richard Jenkins shows up as a supporting character by the name of Deputy Chicory who helps Sheriff Hunt track down the cannibals and prevent them from doing any more harm. Jenkins is phenomenal as the elder character who doesn’t want his old age to hold him back, and is at the center of some incredible scenes in one of the best horror movies of 2015.
Rent/Buy Bone Tomahawk on Amazon. (opens in new tab)
Flirting With Disaster (1996)
Not wanting to name his newborn son until he uncovers the identities of his own birth parents, Mel Coplin (Ben Stiller in one of his best movies) sets off on a wild and crazy cross-country road trip to find the couple that gave him up for adoption decades earlier.
On his journey, Mel encounters some truly bizarre characters, including ATF agents Tony (Josh Brolin) and Paul (Richard Jenkins), who happen to be partners in more than one way. These two find themselves at the center of some of the movie’s best scenes, including the hilarious “acid freak out” sequence where his character is accidentally given LSD.
I Heart Huckabees (2004)
In an attempt to make sense of the chaos of his life, Albert (Jason Schwartzman) enlists the services of so-called existential detectives to investigate the strangeness of his everyday existence. As part of the process, the neurotic environmentalist is paired up with an even more off-his-rocker fireman (Mark Wahlberg).
Though he only appears briefly in I Heart Huckabees, Richard Jenkins steals his scene as the overbearing father of a religious family (including a young Jonah Hill). The lunch scene Jenkins’ character shares with the stars is maddeningly funny. As great as Jenkins is in more subdued roles, he is an absolute gem whenever he freaks out and loses his top.
Let Me In (2010)
One of the few horror remakes that actually don’t suck, Matt Reeves’ 2010 vampire movie, Let Me In, follows a young loner named Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) as he befriends a mysterious girl named Abby (Chloë Grace Moretz), who isn’t as young as she’s letting on.
The performances by the two young leads help make Let Me In a great adaptation of the Swedish film Let the Right One In, but also making the movie worthwhile is Richard Jenkins and his portrayal of Abby’s human companion, Thomas. A bit more nuanced than some of his other roles at the time, Jenkins is amazing here.
Step Brothers (2008)
And then there is Adam McKay’s 2008 comedy, Step Brothers, which tells the story of two immature grown men — Brennan Huff (Will Ferrell) and Dale Doback (John C. Reilly) — who become siblings after their parents get married to one another. Hilarity ensues.
Before even getting too far into the movie, it becomes apparent that at some point Richard Jenkins’ character, Dr. Robert Doback, is going to drop the facade of an understanding and empathetic parent and have an epic meltdown. The movie slowly teases at it as the story unfolds and then turns it up a notch for one of the most ridiculous scenes of the actor’s career.
Rent/Buy Step Brothers on Amazon. (opens in new tab)
These are just some of movies and shows you should check out if you are a fan of Richard Jenkins or want to see more of his work after completing Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story. As we wait to find out if Jenkins is going to be nominated for his latest performance, now is a good time to check out the 2022 TV schedule or the updated list of all the upcoming new movie releases.