Bonfire of the pants

November 21, 2013
(Sony PIctures Classics)
(Sony PIctures Classics)

The documentary “The Armstrong Lie,” out Friday, is about how cycling champ Lance Armstrong deceived so many for so long. Now he joins a pantheon of movie liars that are chronicled below in this, the Pulitzer Prize-winning greatest column of all time.

Mark Bellison
Ricky Gervais’ character in 2009’s “The Invention of Lying” is the only one capable of deception in a world of truth tellers. Which leads him to inadvertently invent soap operas, religion and “No, honey, that dress doesn’t make you look fat.”

Fletcher Reede
Jim Carrey stars in 1997’s “Liar Liar” as a guy cursed with having to tell the truth for 24 hours. Good thing that never happens or you’d find out how I’m out of ideas for writing these things week after week.

Nathan Jessup
In 1992’s “A Few Good Men,” Jack Nicholson plays a Marine colonel who covers up his role in a murder because … oh, you know the line. Just say it.

Tom Ripley
Some people fake a cough to get out of work. Some people kill someone else and take on his identity, like Matt Damon did in 1999 in “The Talented Mr. Ripley.” But it’s all a matter of perspective, really.

Frank Abagnale Jr.
Leonardo DiCaprio played Abagnale in 2002’s “Catch Me If You Can,” which was based on the real-life exploits of a guy who managed, among other things, to pass himself off as a commercial airline pilot. It’s a wonder how he didn’t get caught by asking, “Hey, what does this button do?”

Kristen Page-Kirby covers film for The Washington Post Express.
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Sadie Dingfelder · November 21, 2013