Kang: Have you seen Marisa Tomei in Cyrus? Pretty good film and a great performance from her, though Jonah Hill steals the show.
Dave: “Captain, can you elaborate on why you do not accept Carter, Winstone or Owen (even if Owen, it seems, has been in some good films). Not enough star power?”
You keep saying Carter, but I assume that you are referring to Chris Cooper.
As far as Cooper and Winstone, I like them both (especially Winstone) but wouldn’t consider either of them stars. I could probably ask 100 people who Cooper is and maybe one would know. I could probably ask 10,000 American people who Ray Winstone is and none of them would know (I’m sure he is much more popular in Britain). Both have participated in very high profile, esteemed films, and done great jobs, but they just haven’t tapped into stardom.
As far as Clive Owen, he is a star, and personally I think he has been in some amazing films. A personal favorite is Gosford Park. If you don’t consider that film to be an iconic/influential/whatever kind of film, I don’t know what you’re looking for. It was an ensemble piece though, so no one actor/actress really had the spotlight. But he also did Children of Men, which has been lauded often by many critics as well as being on many top ten year-end lists, and he was front and center for that one. I believe that it is also very well liked on this site.
“Marisa Tomei. Un-dislikable. Yet only ever appeared in crap”
I thin Tomei’s been good in a lot of supporting roles and some leads, just never one that has synched up with the vagaries of stardom.
Cooper and Winstone aren’t stars like Norton or Tomei (In the Bedroom is a pretty essential film from the perspective that it’s probably one of the best films she’s been associated with – though a rather flawed film as well IMO), etc. Most people would most likely know the latter but be completely clueless as to the former.
This is kinda where the premise of this thread breaks down (with all due respect) because we return to the idea of “the star” as in someone who is ingrained in the general public’s consciousness … and how many truly great commercial films have there been lately?
Maybe I’m pessimistic and overly critical (entirely possible), but one could probably count the number of great commercial films featuring knowable stars on the fingers of one hand. So its a rather restrictive discussion unless we’re going to debate the merits of such stars as Jolie, Pitt, what-have-you.
Roscoe, I thought about that exact Onion article as well as soon as I saw the name of this thread!!
Two thoughts come to mind:
1) Clearly I haven’t seen enough of the movies of even the actors I was trying to champion. A number of you have mentioned films that I had not heard of (i.e. Cyrus) or are recommending films that I purposely passed over and would be open to, time and opportunity permitting (i.e. Gosford Park). I’m up for a Clive Owen or Marisa Tomei film anytime.
One caveat (excuse?) is that I am living in Seoul and the selection of foreign movies that plays here is eclectic at best. It is all I can do to see the new Mike Leigh film when it plays somewhere in Seoul with no fanfare for a scant three weeks before it’s gone.
I do not keep up with entertainment news or watch American TV (HBO dramas excepted) and have a pretty jaundiced eye when it comes to Hollywood productions. But I should probably loosen up, especially when talented actors are involved.
2) Perhaps, as Deckard Croix suggests, the topic is inherently flawed. The Meryl Streep article is very much along the lines of what I was imagining. Also, I used to ask friends, as a cinephile test, to name two Burt Lancaster movies. The question is less effective here in an online cinephile forum and in the age of imdb but the fact remains that his career, though distinguished, was not blessed by the immortal cinematic highs we associate with a star of his caliber—even though From Here to Eternity won an Academy Award. I quite liked him in Birdman of Alcatraz, though. :-)
It’s perhaps a problem, as Deckard Croix states, with the quality of commercial film but also the artificial elevation of certain talent (Nicole Kidman) over others (Marisa Tomei) due to focus groups, agents and the fawning glitterazzi media.
I noticed no one’s bitten on my Nicole Kidman bait. Is there a thread that I’m not aware of…?
I don’t think this applies to the topic exactly but I will throw this in anyway:
To those who have never seen Blythe Danner in any important role, she should have been a great star.
Sidney Lumet directed her in “Lovin’ Molly” which is, admittedly, a mess. (The book, “Leaving Cheyenne,” is one of Larry McMurtry’s best books—a kind of American “Jules and Jim”) She is still great in this film.
There is a TV version of “Eccentricities of A Nightingale” which is a restaging of “Summer and Smoke,” that should be available somewhere. She is wonderful in this role.
@Kidman: I agree on her mannequin-like acting style. As you say, Dave, she’s worked with a staggering variety of great filmmakers but have her contributions ever really added to the overall quality of the films themselves? I think not. She’s serviceable because she never overacts but that will only carry one so far. I mean, even in a role where one would expect her to emote ferociously (Dogville comes to mind) she’s completely static. Of course, emotion happens but it’s like Gardeners’ Question Time – merely going through the motions, so to speak.
I’m still bemoaning how great Dead Calm could have been … Orson Welles probably rolled over in his grave when that came out – not that that’s her fault, but yeah, I digress.
EDIT: By the way, Dave, I read the first few entries of your blog and it’s great. Some really insightful thoughts on Dog Star Man!
Dakota Fanning. Love her to death but she needs to do either a really teeny tiny indie (maybe The Motel Life or Mississippi Wild will be good?) or a film by a European director. Nine Lives is the only good movie she was ever in but I don’t really count it as one of her movies. although Man on Fire wasn’t terrible and she was the best part!
Elle Fanning on the other hand….
After seeing Chopper I realized that Eric Bana has more range than we’ve been allowed to see. I’ve also long admired Sam Neill but he’s always a supporting character or one among a large roster of leads.
And this is more of a “where are they now?” type of comment, but I was just lamenting today that Emily Lloyd hasn’t had a bigger film career since her dazzling debut in Wish You Were Here.
good call on Lloyd
she has been great in everything, even Under the Hula Moon
sad news about her health from wiki:
In 1997, immediately following the Pygmalion production problems, Lloyd went to India. She was scheduled to make a film about a blind girl and she had an audience with the Dalai Lama. While waiting for the audience, she claimed that she was bitten by one of the temple dogs. The effects of the injury and having taken too many Lariam tablets resulted in her claiming that she had contracted rabies. This was later changed to Attention Deficit Disorder. She was “released” from the film, as the medication she was taking caused her to “have difficulty remembering her lines”.78
Lloyd’s health challenges are now recognized as having been more complex than originally understood. Since 1992, she has been struggling to overcome depression and anxiety,7 in connection with which she spent two weeks under institutionalized psychiatric care at The Priory in the early 1990s.8 At various points, in addition to attention deficit disorder, she has been diagnosed with mild schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder and Tourette syndrome.910
The Lloyd blurb reminds me of Frances Farmer, certainly a rare beauty and more known for her tragic travails than her memorable works.
Also, I’m not a huge fan but considering that he was in EVERY movie made in the ’70’s what is Burt Reynolds’s legacy? The Longest Yard? Deliverance?
“Burt Reynolds…” don’t forget Boogie Nights. But yeah, I haven’t seen The Longest Yard, but I would say that Deliverance is the big one for him. Oh yeah, also don’t forget that he was the voice of Charlie B. Barkin in All Dogs Go To Heaven :)
legacy with audiences would mean
Smokey and the Bandit plus Cannonball Run, Hooper and a mustache.
legacy in terms of quality
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex
Breaking In (his best film)
Julian McMahon and his co-star from Nip/Tuck whose name I cannot seem to recall. I never enjoy television but I find there are really talented actors making a living with it, yet when they go into the film business all they seem to get are the shittiest roles which make their possibilities inevitably limited, both for them and an audience.