Saturday, 7 February 2015

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2014: Gary Poulter in Joe

Gary Poulter did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Wade in Joe.

Joe is a decent enough drama about a teenager Gary (Tye Sheridan) who find an unlikely mentor in an ex-con named Joe (Nicolas Cage).

Gary Poulter was not a professional actor when he was cast in the film. The casting of non-actors in important roles is a risky endeavor sometimes it pays off in handsomely, such as the Oscar winning performances of Haing S. Ngor and Harold Russell, but that's is not always the case such as Dexter Gordon's Oscar nominated performance or the supporting cast of Gran Torino for example. Gary Poulter actually does share one thing with Dexter Gordon in that both have not necessarily the most cinematic of voices, nor are either of them the most charismatic of performers, a major difference though is Gary Poulter actually has screen presence, Gordon did not. Poulter plays the father of Gary who very much fails to be the father Gary needs. Wade at first we find is an alcoholic, and basically the ugliest sort possible. Poulter effectively plays him as someone who's always somewhat intoxicated, at least the to the extent he can be intoxicated. He's not pained by it nor does he really receive an pleasure from it, but rather Poulter shows it as more or less the natural problematic state of Wade.

This sort of role certainly can be overplayed, look no further than Marco Perella's work in Boyhood for such an example though he was more of a middle class drunk, but Poulter only ever feels very real in his portrayal of this. One great scene for Poulter is one where he is just hanging out with his son, and they technically are just fooling around a bit. Poulter is very effective in this scene by showing that there is a lighter side to Wade. Poulter is good in the moment as he does bring a certain ease and even a bit warmth suggesting that there is a bit of love in Wade, although not much. Poulter though in no way diminishes the more negative qualities in Wade as he still is rather uncouth, and it seems the only reason he's easy to get along with at all is that he happens to have a drink in hand at the time. It's an important scene though as Poulter and Sheridan to establish that there is at least some pleasant moments between the father and son, and perhaps even makes it understandable why Gary is willing to take Wade's punishment even though he has no patience for anyone else trying to push him around.

Wade is not a good father though and Poulter is brutally cruel in the scenes where Wade abuses Gary. Poulter does not show any hesitation in this, nor really any guilt when he slaps his son hard or punches him down. It's a very casual thing and Poulter makes it quite disturbing because he presents it as just standard procedure for Wade to violently accost the boy whenever he has a moment of frustration. There is not a second thought he gives the action but rather Poulter plays it merely as the standard procedure for Wade. What does set Wade off is dealing with any judgments from anyone else such as when Gary finds a job for himself as well as Wade in tree removal company run by the titular Joe. While Gary is much more than a natural in the job, Wade consistently falters in his work. Poulter is excellent in portraying the searing anger in Wade that comes to the surface whenever he is pushed into a corner, but actually being called on his behavior. Poulter brings a raw messy intensity that suggests something very dangerous about such a man.

As Gary becomes closer to Joe he steps away from his father, and stops really supporting him which leads Wade to become even worse than he already is. In his attempt basically to keep getting money for alcohol Wade does some truly evil things. One such scene is when he finds a vagrant with wine and begins talking to him. At first he speaks about his wife dying from cancer, the film does not specify how much of this is a lie, but Poulter is rather moving in portraying the pervasive sadness in the old drunk. That moment of humanity though is abruptly ended when Wade bludgeons the man to death merely to steal his drink and whatever he has in his pockets. Poulter is horrifying in this scene because of how meaningless the violence is in the moment and shows it to be just a natural course for such a desperate man. Wade after taking anything kisses the dead man on the forehead, and Poulter manages to make sense of this in the jumbled mind of such a man. There after all was not true malice in his attack, but rather it was the only way that Wade was going to get a drink.

With Gary away Wade only continues his horrible acts which ends with Wade trying to prostitute Gary's mute sister to a couple of Joe's local enemies. This ends with a violent conclusion for the two men who are killed by Joe in a fight. Wade does not fight back and when confronted by Joe merely asks "Are you my friend?" by Wade. It is heartbreaking moment by Poulter because he does not portray Wade as a wholly evil man, even though he does very evil things, but rather just a lonely pathetic man. It is unfortunate to have to note that Gary Poulter died shortly after the completion of the film. Despite this being his only performance in film Poulter does not give the work of an amateur. He knows how to make an impact in a scene and is able to stand in a scene next to Tye Sheridan and Nicolas Cage. This is a great performance by Gary Poulter because he realizes the complexity of a man like Wade. He's never simply is a one-note drunk as the character very well might have been in lesser hands. Poulter realizes the randomness of Wade into a single cohesive character and creates a harrowing depiction of a broken man.

57 comments:

luke higham said...

Louis: So glad you liked him.

luke higham said...

Louis: Your Ratings & Thoughts on Cage & Sheridan.

Psifonian said...

I don't know how I can put it any better than you did, Louis. Poulter was a revelation, and the Haing S. Ngor/Harold Russell comparisons are apt; this is that "lightning in a bottle" once-in-a-generation performance by a non-actor that completely and utterly shatters all other comers.

Cage himself has said that he thought Poulter had it in him to be the next Richard Farnsworth; ever since Farnsworth died, we needed someone to fill that niche and Poulter does have that air about him. Shame we shall never see if he could play more gentle roles, but he gave us an all-time great performance that will endure.

luke higham said...

I do think Simmons will win the overall though.

RatedRStar said...

Umm I might see this, maybe.

Who was everyones number 7 of their top ten films of 2014, mines was..drum roll....

A MOST VIOLENT YEAR

@Psifonian: Speaking of that erm, one handed man that Louis and well some others like I guess, who would be your choice for Best Supporting Actor 1946?

luke higham said...

RatedRStar: Locke

Psifonian said...

RatedRStar: I heartily recommend "Joe." It's top-shelf Cage, proving that if he's got the right material and the right director behind him, he is one of the best actors working. Sheridan shows a steely, tortured edge that has been absent in his other films; this is probably his first real "adult" performance and it shows major potential for the future. But as great as the two of them are, Poulter is the real gem, and I can't recommend it enough.

As for your question, Harold Russell edges out Claude Rains for me. I rewatched "The Best Years of Our Lives" a while back and it floored me; I'd originally rated it a 6/10 but now it's a 10/10. The biggest positive change in a Best Picture rewatch for me.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

@RatedRStar: Two Days, One Night

RatedRStar said...

Well I do really like The Best Years Of Our Lives, so thats something I guess lol.

Anonymous said...

@RatedRStar: Where would you have ranked TBYOOL on your top 10 of 1946?

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Louis, what are your bottom ten films for 2014 now that you've had the misfortune of witnessing ASM2?

RatedRStar said...

@Anonymous: 4th

Michael McCarthy said...

Daniel: Nightcrawler

Michael McCarthy said...

This was a very good performance in many ways, but I still think Simmons (or Kebbell) should win the overall.

RatedRStar said...

The Baftas are soon, I think Redmayne will win Best Actor, and I will feel a little underwhelmed if he wins the Oscar because I feel, he is still young and will get more Oscar Nominations in the future, whereas I feel Michael Keaton will never get Oscar nominated ever again, I see it sort of as a Mickey Rourke nomination.

Michael Patison said...

On a completely unrelated note, who are some actors (and actresses) y'all like a lot despite not thinking they're particularly great and/or versatile.

2 of mine are Nathan Fillion and Tom Selleck.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

I have a big guilty pleasure for Jason Statham, and I don't have a logical reason why. Same for The Rock.

RatedRStar said...

@Michael Patison: I would say Clifton Webb and Sam Lee as mine, Webb was never really diverse he usually played roles the same way every time as posh and slightly effeminate, but I think it usually worked, as for Sam Lee as Louis has seen he pretty much always played the comic sidekick to the main character but usually brought a nice energy and endearing nature to his characters (Dog Bite Dog was the only film where he played completely against type)

John Smith said...

Micahel: Salman Khan, Jeff Goldbleum, ,Madsen

I just watched Tinker, Tailor, Soilder,Spy yesterday and I loved it.

The performances were great and definetely the best casting in a movie that i have seen from this decade and has Gary Oldman giving a performance of extreme subtility and excelling at marvelously. I can see why you included it in your lists of great performances of this decade and the there wers also Mark Strong giving a great suporting perfromance worthy of an oscar in a movie full of great performances.

I cant't believe that the academy could overlook a movie with a great cast, great directing,great script.

How can Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close get a Best Picture nomination while Tinker, Tailor, Soilder, Spy was the best movie of that year?

Fuck The Academy



John Smith said...

Gary Oldman and Mark Strong are new additions to great performance from thi decade.

Has anyone seen the original superior Swedish version of Let Me In? If you have then please share your toughts on the film and performances.

luke higham said...

Michael Patison: JASON STATHAM! & Dwayne Johnson.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Cage - 4.5(A particularly withdrawn performance from Cage, and he's great. Cage does not at all really forgive the convict side of his character, and really portrays a rough exterior with the intensity in brings in portraying the character's short temper. Cage though earns the softer moments for his character in just some small subtle moments where he does convey Joe's decency, and is great in the scenes he shares with Sheridan quietly finding the bit of warmth that Joe has to offer)

Sheridan - 4.5(I have to say I'm very much looking forward to his output this year to see how he does out of his "comfort zone". This is not a retread of his performance in Mud at all though. His character in Mud technically lived basically a good life that's not the case in Joe. Sheridan expresses the wear in the character incredibly well as he has the innate roughness and ferocity for someone who's basically suffered casual abuse his entire life)

RatedRStar:

#7: Foxcatcher

Robert:

1. Men, Women and Children
2. Dumb and Dumber To
3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
4. Sabotage
5. The Expendables 3
6. The Amazing Spider-Man 2
7. The Fault in Our Stars
8. Honeymoon
9. Big Eyes
10. Pompeii

Michael Patison:

The Rock and Reb Brown.

John Smith:

Happy to hear you loved Tinker Tailor as well.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

I love how most of us just said The Rock without thinking.

Lezlie said...

John Smith: Yes I have seen Let the Right One In a few years ago. I would have to rewatch it to rate the performances, but I generally loved the movie. As for the guilty pleasure actors, I don't know why, but I really love Tommy Flanagan (if you watched Sons of Anarchy he'd be familiar). If I were to do a fun Harry Potter recast, he would be my choice for Mad-Eye Moody :P

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that despite you putting Honeymoon and The Fault in Our Stars in the worst movies of the year you still fairly liked Rose Leslie and Shailene Woodley.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

ASM2 is too low.

Kevin said...

Louis, what are your thoughts on Sabotage, Dumb and Dumber To and Pompeii?

As well as your thoughts on Arnold in Sabotage, Carrey and Daniels in Dumb and Dumber To, and Kit Harrington and Kiefer Sutherland in Pompeii?

As for my winning request, I will be holding it for a while as I can't really think of a worthy performance right now.

Kevin said...

And your ratings for the actors in the previous question

luke higham said...

Louis: Please give Sutherland at least 1 Wiseau instead of 1 Brennan.

Also, do you feel that there's currently a Golden Era for Male Acting.

Lastly, I can't wait for the Baftas, hope Keaton wins, so that the best actor race remains somewhat unpredictable and I'm very much pleased with Inarritu's DGA Win last night.

RatedRStar said...

Do they show The Baftas in the US?

luke higham said...

RatedRStar: BBC America

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

Happy for Inarritu as well.

Looking at the BAFTA leading actor lineup, I can't help but think that would have been so much better. Gyllenhaal and Fiennes over Carrell, definitely, and Cooper's gone down on re-watch to a 4.

On a separate note, re-watching The Imitation Game I noticed a lot I missed out on last time with Cumberbatch and now he's a very strong 4.5, very very close to a 5.

luke higham said...

RatedRStar: I know this is somewhat related to the one year from now, nominees question on the Oyelowo review, but which 2015 performances, would you predict getting a 5 from Louis, as well as performances for the Bonus Rounds, 2010 onwards. This includes Female Performances as well.
E.g. Mads Mikkelsen in The Hunt or Marion Cotillard in Rust and Bone.

luke higham said...

The previous question is for everyone else, if they want to.

RatedRStar said...

oh god Luke err lol, in terms of 2015 films I would go with the safest bets for 5 star ratings, so, Hardy, Fassbender, Cotillard, Jake, Nicole Kidman, and Leo but its too early to tell.

As for the bonus rounds, there are far too many to mention, Mads Mikkelsen in The Hunt would be one, umm I honestly dont know any others just yet off the top of my head.

@Louis: Speaking of the bonus reviews, are you planning on just reviewing one performance at a time or are you gonna do a predictions contest like you are currently doing now with 5 random nominees perhaps?

Louis Morgan said...

Kevin:

Sabotage - (Sabotage seems like it suffered from hacked up editing job as it's just kinda all over the place in terms of revealing its plot then suddenly attempting to bring some sort of character. It's simply too much of a mess.)

Dumb and Dumber To - (I have to take exception with some of the critics, who claim to like the original, then proceed to say maybe that one wasn't that funny based on their reaction to this one. No many of the problems with this one can be noticed through the way it differs from the original. First of all the guys actually are dumber, which seems dumb itself but true. They're so dumb that their more tiresome than anything else. Also their dumbness here has a certain cruelty that was not apparent in the original, whereas their cruel behavior usually came from naivety. The villains worked as a straight man of sorts for them, whereas here they are also trying to be funny which does not work, well maybe it would have if they were actually funny. Worst of all there was a certain heart in the original, such as Lloyd's speech early on in that film, whereas this is just a hollow husk)

Pompeii - (I got a bit more enjoyment out of this than I probably should have. Paul W.S. Anderson is not much of a director with his rather inadequate attempts at dramatics, slow-mo means important, and some bizarre moments in some of the action scenes. The script also was just basically slamming Spartacus and Gladiator together, removing the good lines, and chopping off the last third and replacing it with Dante's Peak. I have to say that scene where the gladiators win a historical battle, that the people their representing lost, which involves the Gladiators working together, then their is that pivotal moment with dramatic music playing where Maximus uh I mean Milo rides a horse around the Colosseum, and then are saved by the crowds wish for a thumbs up, uh I think that might have been in Gladiator first I might have to check on that. It's definitely not good, but I have to admit I did not mind watching it and I actually rather liked Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje's performance)

Schwarzenegger - 2.5(He's actually fairly decent here particularly in his more emotional moments, but his performance also seems a bit chopped to bits as well)

Carrey and Daniels - 2(Both really are shells of their former performances. I maybe chuckled once or maybe twice at their antics, but they don't really have it here. The material does not help them this time, since as written Harry and Lloyd became far less endearing, but Carrey and Daniels aren't able to make up for that either)

Harrington - 2.5(I think he does have potential as an action hero, although I don't think this was the best vehicle for that. He mostly has to just stand around showing off his flowing locks of hair, while having no chemistry with his very bland romantic co-star. He's good in the action scenes though, and to be fair there was not much a character here other than he's a good gladiator)

Sutherland - 3 Wiseaus(Now this was something else. I have to say he looked so out of place in the Roman uniform that it looked like his head was Photoshopped onto another body. I guess he was trying to be Laurence Olivier from Spartacus but he was as scary as Biggus Dickus from Life of Brian. His John Lithgow voice was so bizarre I'll admit it was somewhat intriguing because of just how bad it is. Every reaction of his is so strange here and he even manages to make squeezing grapes seem unnatural, I mean how does one do that? I was waiting for a performance like this as I found it, that being the train wreck that is just so wrong that it becomes something so strangely fascinating)

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

It's certainly an exciting time with so many getting their chance like Oscar Isaac, Tom Hardy, Michael Fassbender, Ben Foster (Come on Icon), or those on a roll like Joaquin Phoenix, as well as those upping their game like Jake Gyllenhaal and Matthew McConaughey.

Loved the DGA win as well.

RatedRStar:

I'm going to do fives performances from groupings from consecutive years.

luke higham said...

RatedRStar: Well, My hope is that Fassbender or Dicaprio, preferably the former wins the Lead Overall for Macbeth or The Revenant. I personally am getting a bit tired, seeing Fassbender in Supporting, way too often and with the right director in Justin Kurzel, I'm feeling fairly confidant that it will be his Career Best, despite not seeing a trailer for it.

Bonus Round 5s - 2010s
Mads Mikkelsen in The Hunt & Valhalla Rising
Woody Harrelson in Rampart
Edgar Ramirez in Carlos
Peter Mullan in Tyrannosaur

Marion Cotillard in Rust & Bone
Adele Exarchopoulos in Blue is The Warmest Colour
Brie Larson in Short Term
Tilda Swinon in We Need To Talk About Kevin
Olivia Colman in Tyrannosaur
Julianne Moore in Maps Of The Stars

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

Thoghts/rating on Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje?

luke higham said...

Louis: I'm happy, that you liked Sutherland, although for the wrong reasons.

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

@luke: both father and son seem to have a tendency to REALLY ham it up if the film's no good. Although Kiefer doesn't nearly have enough natural charisma to compensate for that.

Lezlie said...

I think Adewale has great screen presence and he definitely has talent (admittedly I've mostly only seen in Lost and Oz, but I loved him in both). I'm excited he's gonna turn up in Game of Thrones as well. I wonder how big his part will be in it, though I guess a few episodes at most. I also heard rumours that he's very difficult to work with, but I really believe he's the kind of actor who makes every scene he's in a little better.

luke higham said...

GDSAO: Agreed, but he was hilarious, albeit unintentional. I admit that Pompeii was my guilty pleasure for 2014.

RatedRStar said...

Why are Kasabian playing live at the Baftas? lol it just looks so odd, Julianne Moore and Benedict Cumberbatch aint exactly rocking to it lol.

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

It's great that Redmayne's winning all these awards but I hope he doesn't turn out to be the next Adrien Brody (if he wins the Oscar), with nowhere to go but downhill from here.

RatedRStar said...

Looks like The Imitation Game will lose all of its Oscar Nominations since it lost all of the Baftas nominations, the Baftas itself was ok I guess, bring on the Oscars =D.

Louis Morgan said...

In regards to Baftas, they were very disappointing. I was hoping they would have been the ones to deny Arquette, in favor of Knightley who had home field advantage. Hopefully Oscars will ignore Bafta and take PGA/SAG/DGA notions for picture/director, and Keaton will pull a Chris Cooper.

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar:

Akinnuoye-Agbaje - 3.5(Interested to see what his role on Game of Thrones will be like. He really has a commanding presence in this film in what is essentially an expanded version of Woody Strode's part in Spartacus. He brought the kind of conviction and passion a film like this sorely needs. Also any man deserves credit that makes being killed by a volcano look bad ass)

luke higham said...

Louis: When is the review up.

Michael McCarthy said...

It's nice to see Akinnuoye-Agbaje getting some praise, he was one of my favorite characters on Lost, and I liked almost every character on that show.

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

Louis rooting for Knightley who I know you generally dislike, over Arquette, you must really dislike Arquette lol

I guess we can all hope for a Marcia Gay Harden lol , if anyone is going to pull that off it'll probably be Fern actually, call me crazy but I would not mind at all if she won. Knightley and Stone are just coming into their prime and should be getting more noms in the years to come (feel free to lambast me all you want everyone, I do think Keira is a great actress), and though the Academy loves Streep I don't think they're quite ready to give her what is it, her fourth Oscar?

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

Dern, not Fern.

luke higham said...

GDSAO: God No, When is enough, enough with the academy, awarding Streep with 20+ Nominations and 3 wins. I'll never ever advocate a fourth win for her, highly overrated career.

luke higham said...

Make that 19, not 20+, but still, It's same old shit as always.

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

@Luke: Fair enough, I do think Streep is an overrated Actress generally. I am probably in the minority here when I say Into the Woods would be a deserving win for her. In fact I don't even mind Arquette that much as I did like Boyhood quite a bit, I just don't like seeing Louis angry lol

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

The weird thing about the Supporting actress nominees this year is that I don't hate any of them, but I don't like any of them enough to care. So basically I'm totally apathetic to who wins.

Oh well, I'll just pretend Chastain won in my fantasy world.

luke higham said...

GDSAO: I did like her in Into The Woods, but it's just getting ridiculously boring, having to see her nominated year in, year out, I personally just want Stone to win, End Of.

Fisti said...

I wanted to just say that I'm really happy you highlighted this performance. It's a remarkable one, and one that too few actually talk about.