Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Alternate Best Actor 1970: Peter Boyle in Joe

Peter Boyle did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Joe Curran in Joe.

Joe tells the story of a wealthy man Bill (Dennis Patrick) who befriends a working class man after he accidentally kills his daughter's drug dealer boyfriend. It is an interesting enough film even though it is very dated, and not in a good way.

Peter Boyle plays the working class man who comes later into the picture than Dennis Patrick, but the film is very much about both of their stories. Boyle plays the titular Joe who we first meet in a bar that Bill runs into after having killed a man. We meet Joe in the middle of a tirade about everything that he hates from politics, to race, to young people, to music, he pretty much hates everything. Boyle handles this scene while conveying the casual discontent he has. Boyle shows that Joe is very much ticked off and the anger is real, but Boyle says every line as if Joe has been saying it his whole life and he is. In the scene Boyle is just a bit much, but a bit much in a wholly natural fashion to the character of Joe.

Boyle importantly tones it down when we meet Joe in his day to day life showing properly that his bar rant was what he does at the bar with a few drinks in him. Boyle is effective in making Joe a well average Joe the rest of the time. He is rather genuine with his wife and at home. Boyle does not make him a great guy by any means but he does not have that intensity in the bar, and shows him to be a man who is able to function in his day to day time with even a certain charm. Boyle importantly in these scenes shows there nothing all that special about Joe making him a man who does seem to take his life in stride most of the time, even if there is always that barroom Joe within him.

The film takes a turn when Joe figures out that Bill murdered a man and decides to meet with him, not to blackmail him but rather to merely meet a man who has done something that he always talks about. Boyle has an effective chemistry with Patrick. They both have a certain nervousness and disconnect in regards to their differing social perspective, but where they connect is their connection of a hatred. What I like is that neither overplay this hate, keeping it the underlying tissue of their friendship, but still making it obviously what keeps the two together as they always keep their social disconnect a very strong factor between them throughout.

The film eventually follows them into the world of the young people which they hate, but they eventually embrace. This whole section of the film does feel somewhat contrived, but Boyle does well with these scenes nevertheless. Boyle once again calls back onto Joe as just a normal man when you get right down to it. He is very good in giving Joe just standard needs for a man that leads him into trying just about everything that he hates. Although the film does portrays it as far too swift of a transition, Boyle realizes the very human elements in the situation as something believable drives Joe to this behavior, something that Dennis Patrick fails to do.

Joe and Bill's fall into the antics of though is swift, but just as swift is the violent of the film when Joe and Bill go after the property the hippies stole from them. Boyle is good in this scene as he reverts to the barroom Joe, and it is is believable because Boyle established this side to Joe so well in that first scene. It does not quite carry the impact it should though mostly because of how instant it is. Yes it's trying to be jarring by how fast it is, but in doing so it does not make the ending as powerful as it could have it was a little more character based. Boyle still is solid in his performance at the end, as he is throughout his performance, but the way the film ends fails to realize the full potential of this performance.

42 comments:

luke higham said...

Louis, what are your top 5 favourite films this year

Louis Morgan said...

At the moment they are:

12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street
Gravity
Mud
Dallas Buyers Club

Matt Mustin said...

Oh, wasn't The Wolf of Wall Street AWESOME?

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

I like the performance much more than the film.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

For clarification, I'm speaking about Boyle.

luke higham said...

I'm really looking forward to seeing The Wolf of Wall Street, when it comes to The UK. Also I'm very happy that 12 Years a Slave is your number 1.

luke higham said...

Louis: This is definitely Mcconaghuey's Year

luke higham said...

What were your thoughts on Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in Gravity

Louis Morgan said...

Matt: It sure was.

Luke Higham: It is remarkable that he topped his 2012 output with 2013.

I thought Bullock was great. I did not mind Clooney, but that is as far as I'll go.

RatedRStar said...

bahhhh I thought Clooney was miscast completely, George Clooney playing an astronaut is about as believable as James Stewart playing a serial rapist lol or Claude Rains playing a model.

Louis Morgan said...

Don't get me wrong, I did not like him there as I thought he played the part in too breezy of a fashion, but since I was spared any facial mugging I did not mind him.

luke higham said...

RatedRStar: Who would you've cast instead of George Clooney.

RatedRStar said...

Simply because he didnt wink at the camera lol I think I might have laughed if he did that, or if he had a martini in his hand while in space lol.

RatedRStar said...

Err someone less hollywood like lol Luke.

RatedRStar said...

@Luke, I'm not the biggest fan of George Clooney. I'm sure you ll find that out the more ur on the blog, same with Mr Joaquin.

luke higham said...

I Thought Clooney was serviceable in his role. I have followed this blog for the last 3 years, although I only started commenting a month ago as an anonymous. I do understand that Phoenix isn't everyone's cup of tea. Never liked him in most stuff, but surprisingly loved his performance in the Master, although as a character I prefer Hoffman's Lancaster Dodd

Matt Mustin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt Mustin said...

I thought Clooney did what he had to, nothing more, nothing less.

luke higham said...

RatedRStar: If I was casting the role, I'd probably pick Guy Pearce, who hasn't had a good to great role since his performance in the proposition.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

After seeing some of his lesser known roles (like We Own the Night) I can say that Phoenix was always a good actor, he was just not well known for the right stuff (well, barring my singular love for him in Gladiator). You just had to know where to look (i.e. the films of James Grey).

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

@Luke: My God how I wish I didn't agree with you on that one, but I do. Pearce needs to take a LONG break from playing villains.

Michael Patison said...

Robert Downey, Jr. was originally slated to play Clooney's part.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

That's... perfect casting.

Matt Mustin said...

luke: Guy Pearce was GREAT in Animal Kingdom.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Shit, I keep forgetting about that one.

luke higham said...

I'd forgotten about Animal Kingdom, he was very good. Also Downey Jr would've been a significant improvement over George Boring Clooney. I think Guy Pearce would fit the role very well if the character was played straight

Michael McCarthy said...

Mine would be

1. 12 Years a Slave
2. Gravity
3. Her
4. Dallas Buyers Club
5. American Hustle

I didn't think Clooney was amazing in Gravity, but I thought he fit the role well, and the easygoing nature of his character worked for me as it distracted from the constant tension of the film and made it believable how Bullock's character grew so fond of him.

I really liked Wolf of Wall Street, but I thought it was about 30 minutes longer than it needed to be and it's narrative arc was almost identical to that of Goodfellas, which made it feel kind of unoriginal. It was still a lot of fun though.

luke higham said...

I saw Gravity a couple of hours ago, and is my 2nd or 3rd favourite film of 2013. Cuaron's direction was excellent, Lebezki once again proves why he is probably the 2nd best cinematographer currently working after Roger Deakins, with another Masterful Job and Sandra Bullock, Who I don't usually like much gives the best performance of her career by a long distance. Overall it's one of the best films I've ever seen from a technical aspect and if Sandra Bullock were to win a oscar, it should be for this role and not that crapfest, The Blind Side

luke higham said...

McCarthy: I thought American Hustle was the most Overrated film I've seen this year, Jennifer Lawrence was incredibly disappointing, Renner should've been given more material to work with and overall, to me it was a very pale imitation of Scorsese's Masterful Goodfellas.

Also I honestly do not get the hype for O' Russell, who Is only just above Average as a filmmaker

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

My top 5 is currently this:

1. Frozen
2. 12 Years a Slave
3. Before Midnight
4. Inside Llewyn Davis
5. The Wolf of Wall Street

The only real "contender" I saw that I didn't like that much was Saving Mr. Banks. Very saccharine. Farrell saves it from being a complete misfire. As for most overrated of the year, that award goes to the shitfest known as The Way Way Back. It's just so... deceitful. It creates so many childish caricatures and then tries to say at the last minute "See, they're sort of complex!" when they aren't. Even Rockwell couldn't save it.

luke higham said...

Louis, have you seen Inside Llewyn Davis and if you have, what did you think of Issac's Performance.

RatedRStar said...

@Kook160: I think Phoenix can do good work, on occasion, maybe its just a personal dislike I have of him.

As for Pearce, I think Guy Pearce would have been better than Clooney, I still have cautious approach to Guy Pearce as an actor, he can be very poor when choosing his movies, I mean Prometheus was just painful, the film and his performance.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

He was worse in Lawless. I stand by that.

Matt Mustin said...

Guy Pearce was also very bad in Iron Man 3, although a lot of that came from the writing, I think.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke: Haven't seen Inside Llewyn Davis, although I am very much looking forward to it.

In regards to Guy Pearce, I think he would have been a perfect fit for Clooney's role. Also he needs to never pick a villain role ever again. Blatantly evil characters just seem to bring out the worst in him.

RatedRStar said...

In terms of predictably, the best actress contenders this year are real forgettable in my opinion, unlike last year when we had truly memorable performances like Lawrence and Riva, this year, its just so forgettable, Judi Dench and Emma Thompson are fine and forgettable. Hell even Cate Blanchetts due for possibly the most unmemorable oscar win in quite some time.

RatedRStar said...

Cate Blanchetts win will remind me of Colin Firth when he won for The Kings Speech, just so forgettable and nobody will be mentioning 2013 best actress in 10 years from now as being really great lol.

RatedRStar said...

2013 is thankfully really all about Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor as the interesting memorable contenders.

Mark said...

I like the unpredictability of this year in all of the categories. I have no clue who's going to win any of them. Or maybe I don't pay enough attention to the precursors. I don't know.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Best Actress would certainly be more interesting if Delpy or Larson were in the running.

luke higham said...

RatedRStar: I never liked George Clooney either, who is such a kiss ass and like Louis said, he lacks conviction for all four of his nominated performances.

luke higham said...

Although he was great in his against type role in the American.