By far, Alec Baldwin is the best Baldwin. Sure, there are other Baldwins—"Fat Baldwin" (brother Daniel who was in Homicide: Life on the Streets), "Douchebag Baldwin" (brother William who was in Sliver), and "Dirty Ass Baldwin" (brother Stephen who just always struck me as a guy who has a dirty ass). However! None of these Baldwins can hold a candle to the most beloved and revered Baldwin of them all... ALEC FREAKING BALDWIN!
Yes, there were dark moments in history (primarily in the '90s) when Alec's status as the greatest Baldwin was in jeopardy—such as when he starred in The Getaway and married Kim Basinger (both monumentally bad ideas). In fact, I've often proclaimed that Alec Baldwin should've killed himself after his bravura five-minute monologue in Glengarry Glen Ross (the infamous "Coffee is for closers" speech), because he could NEVER possibly top himself.
I WAS WRONG.
It's true; the luminous Alec Baldwin hit his heyday in the '80s, with groundbreaking roles in Knots Landing, Beetlejuice, and The Hunt for Red October. But it was 1992's Glengarry Glen Ross when he reached his pinnacle, uttering the most sage words ever spoken on the silver screen: "A-B-C. A... always. B... be. C... closing. Always... Be... Closing."
At that moment, he was Icarus. No mortal actor had ever flown so close to perfection. Therefore, there was only one direction left to go: into the shit-pile. The rest of the '90s consisted of one horrendous role after another, and the once-great Alec Baldwin threatened to join his brother Stephen in dirty-ass infamy.
But then? Like a filthy crack whore dragging herself out of a dumpster with a half-eaten hot dog in her mouth, Alec Baldwin extricated his career by switching from leading man to character actor—much of his work being on television. The most tenacious of all Baldwins scored a whopping five Emmy nominations on his road back to the top, as well as an Oscar nomination for his work in The Cooler. Highly regarded as a comic actor, the most hilarious Baldwin also hosted Saturday Night Live—an amazing 13 times. This is where he met writer/actress Tina Fey, and so scored what may one day be regarded as the role of his lifetime: Tina's boss, Jack Donaghy on 30 Rock.
For those who haven't caught this wildly underrated show about the backstage shenanigans of an SNL clone, Baldwin's portrayal of Donaghy is a crazily effective potpourri of self-absorption, megalomania, and sweetness—delivered with the raspy tone of Clint Eastwood after smoking a carton of Newport Lights. It's an amazing role that almost—ALMOST—makes one forget when Baldwin told those Glengarry salesmen that his watch is worth more than their cars.
And while 30 Rock will be back next season, you'd be a fool to miss the season finale this Thursday (NBC, April 26, 9 pm). The proof will be right there in front of you: Alec Baldwin makes all other Baldwins—and practically everyone else—look like a stinking tub of diaper gravy.
[UPDATE! At press time it was revealed that Alec Baldwin left a voice mail for his 11-year-old daughter, calling her a "thoughtless, little pig." The role of "Best Baldwin" will now be portrayed by his brother, Daniel.]