“Shouldn’t we assess actors based on their best work and mostly ignore their worst work?”
To cop out, I actually agree but disagree. There are some actors who, in the right role or with the right director, can give usually excellent performances, and then make merely decent movies the rest of the time (for instance, P.T. Anderson has the remarkable ability to get Oscar-worthy performances from pretty much everyone in a huge cast, including someone like Mark Wahlberg, who I don’t think I’ve seen give a particularly good performance outside Boogie Nights). So I think it’s very possible for actors to be cast well and shine in the right role.
Basically, I suppose I believe in giving actors credit for what they do and don’t do well. I controversially maintain that Nicolas Cage is talented based on his performance in Adaptation, but that doesn’t mean I can get behind the last 10 years of Nicolas Cage blockbusters/thrillers.
As for Brad Pitt, I admire him they way I admire (to a greater extent) Leonardo DiCaprio, for making the leap from heartthrobs to more serious roles. I think Brad Pitt (like Will Smith) can be both an actor and a movie star. Actors disappear into roles, and movie stars lend their personae to otherwise ordinary genre flicks. In my mind, Brad Pitt can do both, and is of course far more interesting in the former, when he has a role that doesn’t fit his persona (like, say, the energetic dimwit in Burn After Reading, or the total nutzoid psycho of Twelve Monkeys). I’ll defend the guy.
I pretty much agree with what Josh Ryan and Blue K had to say on the previous page, but on the other hand . . .
. . . they could have made a whole movie about Floyd.
Love Brad Pitt. I think he’s certainly improved throughout the past 20 years and his performances in Fight Club and The Assassination of Jesse James stand out as what I would consider “great” performances. I think he was the best part of both Snatch and Burn After Reading, was hilarious in True Romance; despite the shit he gets for Seven, I feel like he knocked the final scene out of the park, conveying several tough emotions simply with his facial expressions. He has strong screen presence, natural charm and charisma. You pay attention when he’s on the screen. And I think he’s become a subtler actor, as of late, Inglourious Basterds aside – sidenote: he was supposed to be over-the-top/cartoonish in that film, which a lot of you seemed not to have gotten. Anyway, he’s not a chameleon like DDL, and he won’t go down in history as one of film’s “brilliant” actors, but he’s believable and he chooses (for the most part) quality projects to invest his time and energy in. Read some interviews with him (his “Time” interview about The Tree of Life for example); he cares about film, as an art form, and I think that’s more than you can say for your standard movie star. So… yeah, he’s not one of the best actors around, but he’s pretty damn good in my opinion and he cares about the shit he’s doing. He tries and when it works, it’s great.
Lousy leading man. Great character actor.
he is a good actor but most of the time his films are hit and miss
He needs a certain type of director to draw a good performance out of him.
I don’t think he is, but I admire him for his choices. He works with interesting filmmakers and doesn’t just chase box office receipts like many of his peers. That’s admirable.
He’s a good actor with a very small range.
I also though he was the best thing about Burn After Reading
Are you all serious, or are you trolling (Strawdawg and Blue)? Have you actually ever seen a Brad Pitt film? Not only is he an incredible actor, but he is one of if not the best American actor of this generation along with Spacey, Washington, Norton, Depp, and Penn. Bad in seven? That final scene when he’s holding back the tears before he shoots John Doe is amazing, not to mention the tense car ride when he tells him that he’s a tee shirt at best. His tone, inflection, and expression during that scene are flawless! It’s not over the top or too subdued, but perfect and feels completely natural and real. A lot of his characters don’t call for incredible range, or risk taking, but he chooses smart roles which is also part of being a great actor. He has been in very few bad films and has stood out in an abundance of great films. Though his characters may sometimes be seen as safe, he completely submerges himself in each character, makes clear decisions, and it feels like he has become the character because his acting is so natural and effortless. However, he is able to take chances and show his range from time to time, playing characters very far from who he is as a person, such as in Snatch, Twelve Monkeys, Burn After Reading, and Benjamin Button. If you haven’t seen Snatch you should see it because he is incredible and his thick Irish accent is awesome and hilarious. It never feels like I’m watching Brad Pitt the actor, but rather his character and for each role he takes on he is able to make it his own and add a sort of intrigue and charisma that is unparalleled. It is unfortunate that his “movie star” persona overshadows his outstanding talent and thus people that are unfamiliar of his body of work just assume that he is a “pretty boy movie star” that isn’t actually gifted in his craft. :(
I don’t believe you.
As said, I think he is making excellent excellent career choices. These last 15 years he has worked with so many great directors.
If you’re unable to recognize as a truly gifted actor then that is unfortunate.
recognize *him as
Oh, I forgot to mention in my initial post that I think him being cast as Jesse James is perfect, spot-on casting. It actually uses his “movie star” persona to the role’s (and film’s) advantage and works beautifully I think.
When Brad stays in his realm, i.e. Snatch, he does just fine, but please no more Benjamin Buttons.
Caleb, ease up on the “that’s unfortunate” routine. Explore the site, the medium; you might challenge/revise some of your inchoate conceptions.
Welcome to the forum.
Good directors can make him look like a good actor. In his early films he had some great roles and I wanted to believe he’s talented.
Now I think he has no variety plus nothing special to offer for the audience.
I prefer natural actors like Benicio Del Toro or Forest Whitaker.
Brad Pitt, Russel Crow and Matt Damon are all overrated handsome actors.
Of corse this post won’t be popular but i’m just being honest.
It’s good you mentioned Burn After Reading because I think he’s horribly bad in it. Just shows that he has no variety. By this I mean he got a great and funny role to do a lot with it and he just threw the opportunity away.
When people watch a great or just a very good scene with colorful characters, they also think the actor is good.
Nan, thank you for your advice you are right. I have no clue what I’m talking about, haven’t even seen a Brad Pitt film. Please enlighten me about the medium.
Well. You’re either under 12 or just beyond pathetic. Because I didn’t say that you haven’t seen any of his films.
Your anger and probably uncertainty led you to misunderstand posts.
Llawrence, my post wasn’t even addressing what you said, it was to Nan. I’m sorry if I offended you, but I think you are the one that is angry. Besides Burn After Reading, what is your opinion on some of his other performances, and why do you automatically attribute him “looking like a good actor” to the directors?
I thought Malkovich was the best part of Burn After Reading. Now there is a great actor, capable of assuming many different roles. You are right Lawrence, in that Pitt is very one-dimensional, but it seems he desperately wants to transcend this image. I would say that he is more watchable than other one-dimensional actors like Tom Cruise, but both he and Cruise were upstaged by a young Kirstin Dunst in the insufferable Interview with a Vampire.
The key is to cultivate your image and stay within your limits, much like Cruise did after fiascos like Vampire, returning to the type of roles he can play and even getting a best actor nomination for Jerry Maguire, which surprisingly many critics thought was his for the taking. Mercifully, Geoffrey Rush won with his great role in Shine.
Pitt has made great choices, yes. His roles are dream roles for movie stars, and some of them—True Romance, 12 Monkeys, A River Runs Through It, Fight Club, Tree of Life—allow him to traverse the valley of Leading Man into the much more interesting peaks of Character Actor.
He’s good in these roles. But even then, he’s incapable of altering the cadence of his speech (much like Keanu Reeves) so as to completely disappear into a character. Thus I say he’s not a very good actor. He’s a movie star who really tries hard. Ultimately, great acting is beyond his talent, but I respect his choices.
Who wouldn’t want to play Tyler Durden? Achilles? And so on. He also helps directors secure funding (see Tree of Life ) and that shouldn’t be minimized, since there’s an example of an incredible arthouse film made possible in no small part due to his participation. It’s also his most humane and believable portrayal yet, so wins all around.
But to call him a ‘great actor’ and place him next to Brando, et. al. is a mistake.
House of Leaves has written the only sentence in this thread actually based on evaluating an actor’s prowess.
As far as I’m concerned, he’s a good actor but I don’t like his kind of movies.
I liked him in Legends of the Fall, a river runs through it and especially in the Oceans movie and burn after reading. I would say he is a good actor not a great actor but certainly entertaining and believable in most of his movies.
He was OK in certain movies(Babel,Inglorious Basterds),but you can’t say he’s one of the greatest American actors.I just saw him in Malick’s latest film,The Tree Of Life and I found him utterly ridiculous.