Monday, November 08, 2010

Love 'em and Leave 'em? A Brief Memory of Russell Crowe.

Have you ever loved a performance so much that your subsequent disinterest in the same actor is actually hard to wrap your head around? That's me when it comes to Russell Crowe.


I love everything about him in L.A. Confidential... but in particular the way he looks at Kim Basinger. God, the way he looks at her. It's just riveting. He easily made my Best Actor shortlist in 1997. For the record it went like so...
  • Russell Crowe, LA Confidential
  • Johnny Depp, Donnie Brasco
  • Christopher Guest, Waiting for Guffman
  • Ian Holm, The Sweet Hereafter *winner*
  • Mark Wahlberg, Boogie Nights
I'd probably rejigger to make Christopher Guest the winner now that it's been 13 years (yes, Guffman arrived in '97 even though it's listed as '96 everywhere) and that performance is still the most hilarious I think I've ever seen.

But I'm veering off topic. Damnit.

Back on. I watched a few key Confidential scenes after reading Craig's Take Three: Kim Basinger this weekend and fell for Crowe's "Bud White" (great character name) all over again. Before L.A. Confidential hit I had only seen him in the Australian movie Proof (1991, not the Gwynnie Paltrow movie -- this one is more interesting) and in the western The Quick and the Dead (1995). And after L.A. I rented another Australian movie The Sum of Us (1994) and also loved him there.

So back in 1997 I assumed he was totally my new favorite actor. He became everyone else's favorite actor (at least for a few years)... but weirdly not mine. Not mine at all. So now when he has a new movie out (like The Next Three Days) it almost doesn't register with me.

<--- Crowe in Proof (1991).

I lost interest so quickly.

Have you ever had that happen to you with an actor / actress that you just really thought was going to be a personal fav? Does it mean that we let external forces get in the way? Does it mean we never loved the actor/actress but just the role they won / did justice to? Or maybe it's a complicated mix of all sorts of things like media saturation, public persona, film choices, personal quirks.

I'd love to hear stories if this has ever happened to you...
*

64 comments:

Dame James said...

I had a reaction similar to this with Naomi Watts. I'm one of the few people who loved 21 Grams and I absolutely adored Watts in it. She was immediately my favorite actress around. But, barring The Painted Veil, nothing else she has done has really struck my fancy. And it was when I was watching the Fair Game trailer that it really struck me I just don't care for her anymore.

SVG said...

Jennifer Lopez in Out of Sight. I watched it a few weeks ago- who would have guessed 10 (or so) years later she'd be a judge on American Idol?

adam k. said...

Naomi Watts in Mulholland, I guess? After that, it was kinda downhill. Though she has been very good in a handful of projects since then. I just have no real interest in following her as an actress/celebrity.

Also, Evan Rachel Wood in Thirteen and then Across the Universe, in which she was also very good. Since then... what's going on, Evan? Other than your thing with Marilyn Manson. She has been hard to love lately. I'm excited about Mildred Pierce, though.

I'm trying to think of male actors who this has happened with, and I'm blanking. But in general, I think this happens when an actor with obvious talent and charisma sells out, starts to believe his/her own hype, displays unfortunate personal quirks, and/or just disappears.

Lara said...

I had the same reaction to Naomi Watts as Dame James. I LOVED her after Mulholland Dr and 21 Grams (and The Ring) but that cooled considerably after King Kong. Nowadays I almost want to ask her why she's become so mediocre (I have not seen Fair Game).

Russel Crowe never ever did it for me. I even find him a bit repulsive. I do love LA Confidential though.

rorydean said...

O.K. So first your picks for best actor in 1997 are near perfect and absolutely the sweet hereafter wins in multiple categories. That film continues to inform me as a filmmaker as well as an enthusiast and film critic. I actually have so few complaints with the film that I return to a regular viewing of it at least every few months - especially when I'm working on a particularly emotional scene that isn't driven by dialogue but emotional and psychological conflict.

Enough there.

Great going off topic though, ain't it? Shows a passion for what you do, a connection ingrained that keeps your thoughts moving even when you're focused on something in particular.

I'd say I really liked early Brittany Murphy (Clueless, Girl Interrupted) then slowly her direction in less character driven, more concept and plot driven stories just took her off my radar and then her untimely death. Sad.

I'd add Christina Ricci to that list as well. When she was younger, and heavier (sigh) like in Ang Lee's Ice Storm (brilliant, subtle film) and who could forget the Adams Family then it was like her need to be thin and often unhealth-ily thin got in the way of her acting. I do think she is rebounding slightly and definitely is growing into her new body and looks that isn't just a little kid in a young adult woman's body but I haven't seen anything memorable for some time. Just rented Afterlife - will let you know or pop over to my site when I write up the review.

That's my early two cents of the day.
cheers->

NATHANIEL R said...

naomi watts and christina ricci. i can see this.

SVG -- i think Jennifer Lopez just didn't focus enough. i doubt it's what she really wanted, you know? Becuase as an actress she would have to have been better than what we got right? Or maybe that was just the direction of Soderbergh.

okinawaassault said...

Edward Norton. He was that balance of good looks and amazing acting chops that were, at the time I thought, missing from the Cruise/Depp/Pitt triumvirate. Maybe Norton has bad luck, or that I knew about how much he meddles with the film's direction and writing that made me dislike him.

rorydean said...

Sorry to tag this again, but quickly->

@Dame James: I loved 21 Grams for what it is worth and have it on my near radar for a review some come by and see me some time at Above the Line. Definitely try The Ring (not great but not terrible), Le Divorce, We Don't Live Here Anymore (a must see if you've EVER liked her)and avoid at all consequences Kong and Eastern Promises - waste of her talent. Oh and Funny Games, what a terrible, terrible film.

@SVG I never thought much of Lopez, she had a moment very early on in Money Train that had a spark something like Michelle Rodriguez (thought I really want to see the latter show us she can be a nuanced character and not just a bad ass chick looking how holding a rifle). Good point about Idol (sickening show, concept, etc).

@Adam K Check my thoughts above on Naomi. Evan Rachel Wood is a good example. I thought she was pretty good in Thirteen (not great, but something there suggested something good to come) - not a fan of Across the Universe so can't comment there.

cheers->

Anyone for Josh Brolin?
http://rorydean.wordpress.com/2010/10/21/jonah-hex-2010/

SVG said...

NATHANIEL R- Yeah, I think you're exactly right about Jennifer Lopez. I just thought she was so cool at that point!

pomme said...

i had the same reaction with several actors(Colin Farrell after "miami vice" & "the new world" for example) but usually i have a comeback(Farrell with "ondine" and "eyes of war")

Actually,i'm tired of Dicaprio(when did he smile in a movie for the last time?)and Depp(stop eccentric characters and Burton movies)

Lucy Cee said...

This is cliche and a generic answer, but after I saw Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, I knew, she was quite possibly the most charming, appealing and enigmatic actress to appear onscreen in a long time - a mix between Katherine and Audrey Hepburn that cinema hadn't ever seen before.

Lucy Cee said...

Oh to continue, Julia lost me for a few years with movies like Full Frontal and America's Sweethearts and Mona Lisa Smile, but I refound my love with Closer and really Eat Pray Love because while I watched EPL I realized that if any other actress had played that part I would have hated, loathed, and walked out of that film. It was only her charm, charisma and just warm and endearing presence that made that film tolerable.

Volvagia said...

I'm undergoing that a bit with Michael Cera. I stuck with him longer than most did, but I want him to do a small movie. A Gus Van Sant or a Coppola, or a Von Trier or something. He's gotta face it: He's not an action star, he's not loved as a comic so a small drama would be the step now.

Sid said...

Speaking of which, Nat, I just watched Animal Kingdom. Did Sullivan Stapleton remind you of early Russell Crowe... cos I was totally getting that vibe!

Paul Outlaw said...

Leonardo DiCaprio tops my list. When he went from teen character actor to adult leading man, he lost my interest. He seems to choose projects where his leading roles are (dark) character roles, but I think I'd find him more interesting if he weren't playing the lead. He'll probably be great if he keeps acting into middle and old age (and lets himself age naturally), like Hackman or Charles Durning.

As for actresses, I hate to say it, but nothing Annette Bening has done since The Grifters and Valmont has affected me as much as her work in those two early films. Post-Beatty she has had moments of greatness, to be sure, including on stage, but it's not the same for me. But Myra and Merteuil, wow. Now, if she would only make that Ida Lupino biopic that I've been dying to see her in for years...

iggy said...

Interesting topic. To add some local flavor, mine would be Victoria Abril. She was the next best thing after Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down! and had some great roles for some time, but after Nadie hablará de nosotras cuando hayamos muerto in the mid-90s, her last greatest role (for me) I lost track of her. Some weird choices, some supporting thankless roles, a weirdo herself in interviews, living in France (so, no stage career) and voilà. I guess my love wasn't unconditional, after all.

At least Carmen Maura (a bit older) has managed to have a more solid career even though reprising Betty White's role on The Golden Girls remake now on TV, could kill any kind of remaining love. That's one of the reasons I don't watch it, I want to keep loving her.

Tim said...

Watching the trailer for The Tourist made me painfully aware of how much Johnny Depp has become this for me. For some reason, I spent years after the first Pirates made me fall back in love with him looking forward to every one of his projects, and then being disappointed by every one of them. I've finally hit the place where I'm not even looking forward to him.

Andrew R. said...

I go with Ian Holm for 1997. I like your choice, though-he takes 3rd behind Holm and Nicholson's winning performance.

For me, it's more a director thing. Mira Nair. I loved Monsoon Wedding, but any other films she's done that I've seen have not kept my interest.

Evan said...

I’ll echo the point on Leonardo DiCaprio. Obviously, there’s "What's Eating Gilbert Grape", but I (somewhat guiltily) will add that I loved him in Titanic- the perfect mix of boyish and debonair.

Since then, there’s crap like “The Beach,” a film that I found wholly uninteresting (“Catch Me if You Can”), and then a bunch of Oscar bait dramas where he plays such serious characters that the movies are absolutely no fun: “The Aviator,” “Blood Diamond,” “Revolutionary Road.” Maybe it’s because I’m not a fan of “the Departed”…

I’d say Johnny Depp, too, but I’ve never been into him (haven’t seen “Edward Scissorhands” though).

/3rtfu11 said...

I have a crush on him in one scene from LA Confidential – “You fucked Exley?”

I fall in and out of love with actors all the time. One has to remember sometimes it’s simply the material and the people working with said actor that creates a beautiful performance. I think my heart breaks more when my favorite actor (male or female) just isn’t very strong often enough. They don’t have that extra edge where the script is bad - the director isn’t helping them - their co-stars aren’t obliging them in ensemble play - so they’re self motivated and bring forth a self actualized performance that rises above all that generally hinders an actor from peaking in a role. To name a disappointment for me is Queen Latifah. When she wanted to prove something to Hollywood we got Living Out Loud (1998) and Chicago (2002) – now she’s happy sitting in her comfort zone as the new Whoopi Goldberg – as the reliable black character actress who can be plugged in any predominately white ensemble.

Volvagia said...

And if I remember correctly:

Lead Actor:

Greg Kinnear, As Good As It Gets (Supporting was a total lie.)
Jack Nicholson, As Good As It Gets
John Cusack, Grosse Pointe Blank
Mark Wahlberg, Boogie Nights
+ either Samuel L. Jackson, Jackie Brown or Billy Crudup, Princess Mononoke, leaning on the former.
Should see Guffman and Brasco to see what your argument would be, but I felt The Sweet Hereafter had idealogues, not people, driving the movie and was, ultimately, empty of the feeling it was trying to evoke. And, frankly, Sarah Polley had a mess of a part that I would cite as a film killer. She did the best she could with a garbage role. If that was the Best Canadian film ever made, as of a film zine survey in 2002, I sincerely hope it's been toppled by My Winnipeg.

cal roth said...

Russell Crowe was fantastic in this movie and in The Insider. I thought he was gone, but then he was A M A Z I N G in Master and Commander, giving a performance that not even Gregory Peck or Burt Lancaster or any Hollywood legend could do better.

Oh, Jennifer Lopez in Out of Sight. Best Actress material, if you ask me. And it's not only Soderbergh. See U-Turn.

I lost interest in Zellweger. She was SO GOOD in Nurse Betty, Bridget Jones, and even in Chicago, and then came Cold Mountain and her career went nuts?

/3rtfu11 said...

Greg Kinnear, As Good As It Gets (Supporting was a total lie.)

He plays the 3rd wheel. He's supporting.

cal roth said...

Ok, I wasn't sincere. Zee, I still love you, no matter how many awful performances you deliver!

sars said...

Russell Crowe needs to do something more interesting, but I think he has a rare onscreen charisma like Denzel Washington's or even Harrison Ford's that makes him very suitable in this nameless (to me) genre of action films about dads going to ridiculous lengths to protect their family/country/kingdom.

I just saw Robin Hood, which I was prepared to dislike, but I just could not resist Crowe. It was like in Gladiator. He fills the hero shoes very well. He's capable of playing other roles, and he's proven that, but the hero role is a shoe-in for him. Maybe his problem is that he's not stretching.

Mysjkin said...

I too had this experience with DiCaprio. I loved him in Gilbert Grape and in Romeo+Juliet, but then came The Beach and Gangs of New York where I noticed his "I knit my eyebrows to convey great emotional depth"-approach and it hasn't stopped bothering me since.

On the female side, I loved Claire Danes in My So-Called Life and (again) Romeo+Juliet, but what has happened to her carrier since? What I have seen of her has left me lukewarm or cold. I haven't seen Stage Beauty though.

Devin D said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Volvagia said...

3rd Wheel? Even if that were true, he's in way too much of the movie screen time wise to be considered below lead in my book. Here's my math:

<5%: Tertiary
>5 but <25%: Definitely Supporting
>25 but <40%: A Supporting or Lead Debate
>40%: Definitely Lead

That allows for: Co-Leads without being absolutely ridiculous about designation. Allows discounting of scenery shots. Allows subplots to occur without shafting who a "lead" is. Disallows amount of stardom to become part of the argument (Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society is, frankly, almost tertiary. He was pitched as lead by the studios. Who knows why.) The truth is: I think it's ridiculous that the standard for "co-led" movie is it has to make it's co-lead dom Thelma & Louise blatant. The Misfits is a five lead movie. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf is a four lead movie. And, frankly, As Good As It Gets is a three lead movie.

Ryan T. said...

Not sure I have an actor like that, but back to Russell Crowe... he's always one of those actors I don't really get excited about and thus tend to be late in seeing their movies. But when I do I inevitably love it and/or his performance.

Off the top of my head, I've been surprised by Gladiator, A Good Year, The Sum of Us, A Beautiful Mind, and LA Confidential. All of these films I saw years later after their initial release and well much better than I expected.

Does that mean I'm going to rush out and see Robin Hood or The Next Three Days? Probably not. Interestingly enough, I did see State of Play in theaters if only because I very much enjoyed the BBC miniseries and the cast looked good on paper. Didn't like it at all.

sars said...

I'm gonna have to put in another vote for Edward Norton. He started out with really enjoyable performance(Primal Fear, Larry Flynt, Fight Club, Everyone Says I Love You), then he started laying turds like The Score and Frida. He's done many other gems, but I thought he'd always be solid, which is a bit naive of me. Lately, I've found his work to be good enough, but not impressive. Maybe like okinawaassault, I'm just finding it hard to ignore the idea that he's supposedly a real d!ck. That shouldn't matter, but I'm not immune to this gossip.

cal roth said...

I love Edward Norton in Larry Flynt. That monologue... Wow, I've seen a lot of court room monologues, but that was a special one. And it's short!

sars said...

Oh, and I can't forget Kevin Spacey. Jeez. I never recovered from the one-two punch of K-Pax and Pay It Forward.

stella said...

I don't know what all the fuss about Edward Norton is. Yes, he's obviously a difficult actor to work with, but it isn't so much because he's a dick as that he apparently gets extremely invested into the whole moviemaking process and will not hesitate to make a scene if he thinks something can be improved. There's a difference between diva-ish attitude and collaborative disagreement.

He's clearly brilliant, and his recent performances have been fantastic, so I don't know what's to complain about. I'm still praying for his rebound - I think he's still the most talented and brilliant of his generation. C'mon please don't leave us with Pitt/Damon/Clooney/Depp. The first three are decently talented at best and the last is....slacking off full-time.

stella said...

I think that's when people start confusing filmography with performance. Undoubtedly Leo Dicaprio has the most coveted and remarkable career in Hollywood right now, but not a single one of his performances can hold up to Norton's better ones. He could never be surreal as Norton is at his best.

chris na Taraja said...

My loyalties run pretty deep, and once I love an actor, it's hard for me to not love them anymore. Conversely, if I hate an actor, i might try to give them another chance.

There are actors I love that I thought would have better careers, but that's a whole different discussion.

OH, yes! Eddie Murphy. I love Eddie Murphy. His early films were lot's of fun, but then all these bad disney movies where he plays every character, and PLUTO NASH, what the hell was that!? OK, i've lost interest in Eddie Murphy.


OK, I'm losing interest in Jake Gyllenthal, though, I'm sure he could peak my interest again soon.

sars said...

stella, I'm completely guilty of letting tabloids/gossip "taint" my view of Edward Norton. Maybe I just have a problem with what he (supposedly) does *beyond* acting and the development of character, and maybe I'm wrongly faulting him for the failure, for lack of a better word, of some of his movies.

I really want him to succeed, but I too often hear about his disruptions, which is what many call these "collaborative disagreements," because they often seem to plague his mediocre to bad movies. Maybe his rewrites transformed "disasters" to "mediocre", but whatever he's doing, it's not doing the trick. I'm thinking Frida, The Hulk, etc. Although I think the former was largely a victim of Salma Hayek's lack of acting chops.

John T said...

I first half to say that I still relish every performance Naomi Watts puts on screen, and will be seeing Fair Game this weekend.

That being said, isn't the very definition of this in the last decade Scarlett Johansson (I'm surprised I'm the first to mention her). After 2003, I figured this was the next big thing in acting-Girl with a Pearl and LiT being so brilliant and diverse, and then she became a celebrity, married a boring pretty boy, and became a fashion plate without any other films to back it up. Even Match Point she was the least interesting aspect of.

Hayden said...

Helena Bonham Carter. She's just so good in The Wings of the Dove that even before her work with Burton became so redundant, I was over her. And I even really liked her in Conversations with Other Women.

I like her offscreen personality and will always wish her the best, but I can't say she really gets me excited onscreen anymore.

Jake said...

I guess mine is an obvious one, but I have to go with Vince Vaughn. I was discovering R movies when Old School came out, and thought his character was absolutely hilarious. Then Wedding Crashers came out a couple of years later and, while he was playing pretty much the same character, I liked that one too. Now, seeing Couples Retreat and The Dilemma coming out, I can't get the least bit interested.

The same almost goes for Will Ferrell with me. Anchorman was good until it became a phenomenon. I thought Talladega Nights was great too. Step Brothers, I didn't care for the first time I watched, but after subsequent viewings I'm liking it more and more. However, I just don't find him funny anymore.

Paul Outlaw said...

@ Hayden:

The King's Speech will change your mind. Lesley Manville needs to land in Best Actress, so that HBC can win Supporting this year. It's one of my favorite performances of hers EVER.

Paul Outlaw said...

RE: Edward Norton.
He got his hooks so deep in me at the start of his career that I've never lost interest or been that disappointed. And even though I'm not crazy about a good number of the films he's appeared in, in the past decade I've loved his work in Stone, Leaves of Grass, The Painted Veil, The Illusionist and 25th Hour, and enjoyed his cameo roles (like the hilarious one on Modern Family).

adri said...

If we're starting off with LA Confidential, it's Guy Pearce I'm frustrated with. He can be so fabulous, like in this and Memento, so why doesn't he do more work, get more jobs, so I can keep appreciating him?

Russell Crowe (and Edward Norton) I still love, including their recent work. I adore Hugh Jackman, but why can't he make a movie that I want to see? And Rachel Griffith and Toni Collette - stop wasting your time.

Usually though, it's the other way around. I grow to really like someone whose appeal I never got before. Sudden turning points, like Viggo Mortenson with LOTR, Nicole Kidman in The Others, and Johnny Depp in Finding Neverland.

The one I used to like but cannot stand now is (shudder) Gerard Depardieu, and not for his admittedly current repellent outer self, but for the more repellent being within.

NATHANIEL R said...

i'm loving htis comment thread. it's so interesting the ebb and flow of fandom.

it must suck to be a star with a short run of love though.

OtherRobert said...

I never thought it could happen, but I've fallen out of love with Parker Posey. It's 100% her fault. No one put a gun to her head and made her get involved in that awful remake of one of the best psychological horror films of the past decade, The Eye, and now I can't take her seriously as an actress. Not when she goes along blindly, phoning it in, on a production that awful. I could accept her killing it in the otherwise awful Scream 3, but not here when she doesn't even try.

Cluster Funk said...

For me, it's the BSA winners of '95: Kevin Spacey and Mira Sorvino. Both deservedly won their Oscars but, my God, what a quick sleigh-ride to mediocrity for those two. (I haven't liked Spacey since...LA Confidential, actually; and, aside from that Will & Grace episode, Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion was the last high-water mark for Sorvino.) Pity.

remy said...

parker posey was great in scream 3, but I really can't understand her career since then...

Timothy Marshall said...

Would also pick Christopher Guest for Guffman.

"You know why I can't work with you people? Because you're BASTARD PEOPLE."

Catherine O'Hara was also hilarious in Guffman. She needs an Oscar at some point. She's a national treasure. (Funny observation considering her appearance in For Your Consideration)

Fernando Moss said...

Lindsay Lohan... after The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday and Mean Girls I really touhgt she was THE next big thing, then she doas an Altman film and take a supporting role in Bobby and I tought she was uber-smart for doing so and start building a stronger career. She's great in Georgia Rule and I even think she's good in I Know Who Killed Me (I think she understands the tone of the film)... but then it seems to me like she stop trying...

*Altough I think deep inside I wish for a comeback, she's too young for really be over...

Joe said...

Re: Russel Crowe ... I think he's an exceptional actor who just doesn't make a lot of films I'm interested in seeing. I'm not usually into the tough guy/cop/save-my-kid thing. He was sensational in L.A. Confidential, though--still my favorite performance of his. And, on a superficial note ... he was smokingly, ridiculously hot then. If he made Robin Hood in 1997, I would have actually seen it. And if he wore tights, I'd have bought the freakin' DVD. lol.

In terms of actors I am no longer keen on that I used to love ... I'm pretty damn loyal. I hate to say this, but Julianne Moore almost lost me in the lean years following 2002. Too many bad, bad films without enough memorable performances. Thank God for A Single Man and The Kids Are Alright. I'm pretty forgiving when I love an actor, though ... Moore and Kidman and Pfeiffer have had some rough patches, but I'm in it for the long haul with those gals.

A lot of people have mentioned Naomi Watts, but I think she is pretty sensational. I tend to not think of her when I think of my favorite actors, but she's quite gifted ... and Mulholland Drive is one of my favorite performances by anyone. Not many people bothered with it, but she was quite good in Mother and Child this year.

Christina Ricci and Rene Zelwegger are good calls. I'd throw in Reese Witherspoon, too. I used to like all three and enjoy a number of their earlier performances ... but now I could really care less what they do. I was never a super-huge fan of any of them, though.

I'll add a name to the list ... Winona Ryder. I used to really, really like her. I thought she was cool, glamorous, fantastic on-screen. Not the best actress ever, but she had something I liked. Then a series of turkeys, phoned in performances, straight-to-DVD films ... she kind of fell off the face of the earth for me (and for a lot of people, apparently).

Oh, I'll add Jennifer Connelly as well. She's done some good work, but she's kind of descended into one-note moping. She was never the liveliest actress, but she's become more stiff over time, seemingly.

George P. said...

Sanaa Lathan in Love & Basketball really wowed me the first time I saw it, as well as in previous viewings. After that, I liked her follow-up leading roles in Disappearing Acts and Brown Sugar, but soonafter, she kinda lost my interest. I didn't care for Something New at first viewing, but I revisited it (after a couple of years) just recently, and I liked her performance more now. However, lately I've lost track of her recent work, and her recurring voicework on The Cleveland Show doesn't entice me to watch it.

Glenn Dunks said...

Umm... Angelina Jolie. Occasionally she shows flourishes of why I fell for her (I'm thinking A Mighty Heart, her cameo in Sky Camptain), but other than it its empty blockbuster movies and vacant prestige pictures.

And Jennifer Lopez, actually. For a while there she was either giving great performances (Out of Sight, Selena) or appearing in really left field genre outings (The Cell, U-Turn), but then she fell victim to the "i want everyone to like me so all I'm going to make are romcoms HOLA!" curse and I've never looked back.

NicksFlickPicks said...

Spacey and Norton are major candidates for me here, too. Jude Law has experienced a pretty sheer drop-off in my estimation since being the best thing in Cold Mountain. But the real epitome for me during my moviegoing lifetime is Anthony Hopkins, who could not have been more exciting to follow than through the Lambs-Remains-Nixon trifecta and then, suddenly, Anthony was always bored. Almost always. And almost always boring. Total De Niro-itis, who is almost a patron saint of this phenomenon.

At risk of being churlish about someone everyone seems to love, I really need Catherine Keener to take fewer roles or play them more distinctly. Stuff like Cyrus and Please Give just diminish too much of what was special to me about her persona before she got trotted out into so many movies to be neurotic or acerbic or both, in well-established ways. That said, I really appreciated her in Where the Wild Things Are and in her short bit in The Soloist, even though it was hardly a break from typecasting.

(My '97 actors, btw, are Crowe, Guest, Nicolas Cage in Face/Off, Billy Connolly in Mrs. Brown, and Al Pacino in Donnie Brasco, though it pains me to leave out Samuel L. Jackson in Jackie Brown.)

NicksFlickPicks said...

Oh, and Crowe isn't bad in The Next Three Days, but he's not great in a way that's bound to be overlooked because the film looks so standard-issue, as happened last year with his offhandedly magnificent work in State of Play.

cal roth said...

Nicolas Cage was awesome in Face/Off! Good call.

Volvagia said...

I could never choose Russell Crowe or Guy Pearce in that movie. Not enough acting. Nic Cage: Interesting choice, but could also be WAY too gimmicky for my tastes. Guest: Will have to see the movie.
Pacino and Depp in Brasco: Will have to see the movie.
Connolly in Mrs. Brown: Will have to see the movie.
Also: Have to see In the Company of Men all the way through to judge Eckhart.

Probability of choices making it:

Nic Cage: 35%
Guest: 40%
Connolly: 40%
Pacino: 45%
Depp: 55%
Eckhart: 90%

Castor said...

I'm with you with his performance in L.A. Confidential. He is one of the main reason that movie is one of my very favorite of all-time.

Actors never become a personal fav simply because of a performance or even several of them but I usually know they will end up being a favorite down the road from seeing that big performance, if that makes sense.

Rahm said...

I'm starting to fall out of love with Marion Cotillard. Ever since Inception, which I thought she was pretty awful in, my love has been dwindling. Hopefully she'll be in something soon that will make my love bounce back.

badmofo said...

Actually, I've only recently started to fall in love with Cotillard. She was the best thing in Public Enemies, managed to take my attention away from Penelope Cruz for more than 5 seconds in Nine and was my favorite special effect in Inception. I'm in Nathaniel's camp when it comes to La vie en rose -- which I thought was a respectable (albeit godawful) misfire -- but I'll have to give that one another shot since I just found out Nick awarded it five stars and that guy usually knows what he's talking about.

Volvagia said...

To clarify: I like showy parts, yes, but so much of the movie is about gunfighting that I don't get it as a performance movie. Spacey is the only actor I'd nominate for it. Of the five I currently have as nominees, I'd say Eckhart will likely phase out Nicholson (he's good, but he's played the part too many times to really be any sort of surprise) and then Kinnear is next to go, if at all.

Volvagia said...

There's showy, then there's naturalist, and then there's "why would you praise a performance in this film?" The last is my personal feeling on L.A. Confidential. Phenomenal movie, but, like The French Connection, not one I'm enthusiastic about giving acting noms to. (I'd rather give acting noms to voice work than this movie, which is why I think Crudup is closer to making my lineup than Crowe.)

Markku said...

Anthony Hopkins, definitely. After the emtional, powerful, undoubtedly draining work he did in Nixon, he stopped trying. Granted, he had some nice moments in Amistad, but everything else has been sheer boredom ever since.

Michael said...

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pomme said...

George Clooney also for ONE&ONLY reason: i live in France and i see 70 times per day the "wat's else" coffee commercial so when i see a movie with Clooney, i see Clooney and not the character

Sheila Kind said...

It's really fun to read these comments, some of which I wonder what to make of. Edward Norton more surreal than DiCaprio in all his performances??? Really? What the heck does that mean? I've never actually found him to be terribly surreal in anything, although he can sound a bit dweebish at times. But with that aside, I can't really think of many leading men who haven't lost me at some point or other, and that includes both DiCaprio and Norton. Even the greatest actor can lose his audience, if only for awhile. Think Brando, think Clift, think DeNiro and Pacino, think even Kidman -- who has been known to knit her brow (when it wasn't overly botoxed, that is) a few times. Still, her greatest triumph for me was overcoming that awful nose in The Hours. She earned brownie points for that one. I think one actress who's mentioned here definitely deserves what seems to have become of her and that is Jennifer Lopez. She had real talent but where the heck has it gone?