Movie Article

Good Matt, Bad Matt

Matt Dillon's roles -- We look back at the actor's career, including ''Little Darlings'' and ''The Flamingo Kid''

Matt Dillon has always had more than a bit of the devil in him-even when he's playing an angel. The 27-year-old actor began his career portraying aimless punks. Then he shifted to more sympathetic roles, playing angst-ridden teens with problems. In his new movie, A Kiss Before Dying, he's back in the bad-guy mold, as a slick psycho killer. Here's a look at the actor's two sides in eight of his best-known roles.

The Bad Guy

Over the Edge (1979)
In this powerful feature-film debut, Dillon plays Richie, the leader of a pack of restless kids who use violence to turn their sterile suburban neighborhood into a teenage wasteland. A

My Bodyguard (1980)
As Moody, the high school bully, Dillon meets his match when the class nerd hires an even tougher kid to protect him. B

Little Darlings (1980)
Summer campers Kristy McNichol and Tatum O'Neal make a bet: Who will lose her virginity first? Enter Dillon as Randy, the insensitive adolescent from a nearby camp who is the target of McNichol's affections. C

The Good Guy

Tex (1982)
Dillon plays an Oklahoma teen struggling to make good without the help of his parents in the first of his three films based on S.E. Hinton novels (The Outsiders and Rumble Fish are the others). B+

The Flamingo Kid (1984)
Dillon essays the role of Jeffrey Willis, a wide- eyed 18-year-old from Brooklyn who — against his working-class father's wishes — takes a job as a cabana boy at a swanky swim club. B

Target (1985)
In Arthur Penn's thriller, he's Chris Lloyd, the son of a former spy (Gene Hackman) who joins his father in a search for his kidnapped mother. C+

The Big Town (1987)
As small-town dice-thrower J.C. Cullen, Dillon tangles with criminals when he tries his luck in Chicago. B-

Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
In the film that marked his entry into adult roles, Dillon is the resourceful, charismatic, drug-addicted head of a band of pharmacy-robbing junkies in the Pacific Northwest. A

Originally posted May 10, 1991 Published in issue #65 May 10, 1991 Order article reprints