Friday, 21 August 2015

Alternate Best Actor 1976: David Carradine in Bound For Glory

David Carradine did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite being nominated for a Golden Globe, for portraying Woody Guthrie in Bound for Glory.

Bound For Glory is a beautifully shot and well told story of the early days of folk singer Woody Guthrie's career.

The nominees for best picture for 1976 were the winner Rocky, Network, Taxi Driver, and All The President's Men. Each of these films are now considered bonafide American classics (personal opinions aside), but of course there were five nominees the fifth being Bound For Glory which for has become the forgotten selection. Perhaps it is Bound For Glory rather low key style that has pushed it into obscurity or maybe that it stars a lesser known actor than those other films since the star is David Carradine. Carradine does have notoriety as more of a cult actor through his work on the television series Kung-Fu, and more recently in Kill Bill, which Kung-Fu likely contributed to him getting that part. There's no Kung-Fu of any kind to be found in Bound for Glory though, although interestingly enough this performance is not truly all that far from his Caine in Kung-Fu, particularly not in the early scenes of the film where it shows Woody just trying to get a read on what he should do for his life. This mostly depicts Woody as he goes about his Midwestern town, spending time playing guitar, visiting with other locals, his family or his girlfriend (Melinda Dillon).

In these scenes Carradine actually plays Woody as a bit of sage of the Midwest in his particular way he acts towards life. There is a certain otherworldly quality that Carradine is able to manage within his portrayal of Woody. It is not that he is above human or anything in anyway like that, but rather Carradine finds a grace in the simplicity of the man. There's one very memorable early on when Woody is told to give a woman wasting away a fortune. Carradine is brilliant in this scene as Woody is in no way giving the woman a fortune in reality, in fact he's not even really pretending to give her one rather just telling her things that are realistic truths. Even within these words though Carradine captures almost something mystical within the calm and reassuring way that Woody manages to break the woman out of her daze. Although in a way he is moving about in these early scenes Carradine does not play this as Caine from Kung-Fu. Carradine doesn't necessarily do an exact imitation of the real Woody Guthrie but more importantly he manages to capture the essence of his optimistic spirit through the easy going demeanor that Carradine establishes.

Naturally being a film about a musician there are more than a few musical performances by Carradine throughout the film. The film actually chooses to let these sequences play out in a particular subdued way. They are never there to exactly be the center of attention in any given scene. Carradine in turn does not over accentuate any moment of his performance, and in no way changes, not really even his voice, when he goes about playing a song. Carradine shows so well is that the songs of this fluidity about them in the way he performs and sings them. They are Woody's natural state of being really, and the way the song comes out always feels in an unrehearsed fashion. He might as well just continue speaking when he sings, not due to the manner of his singing, but rather because Carradine makes it actually as though that is when Woody is able to connect most with people around him. This ends up being Woody's calling, when his unique manner as a man prevents him from being able to find any sort of steady work otherwise. Woody then goes about taking to the road, and seeing what there is for him in the rest of America.

Along the way through America Woody sees many of the former farmers turned into poorly treated pickers who often try to make their way through the train yard, where they find a non too sympathetic group of company men. Carradine is very effective in being a reactionary presence as seeing their difficult lives and often brutal treatment seems to offer him a specific purpose. Carradine expresses well a loss in actually that sort of optimism he had before, and Carradine plays it as though really perhaps Woody knows nothing of the real plight of people. It is interesting portrayal because Carradine actually makes Woody more down to earth as the film progresses as he learns more about the world. This even when Woody begins to find success where Carradine makes the biggest impact through Woody's playing. It no longer seems as part of him in either way really. When performing what he wishes to perform Carradine brings a greater drive presenting an intriguing way the powerful passion that develops in Woody for the cause, that's still within his unassuming personality though nevertheless quite palatable. His performances though are also quite a bit different when he is forced to play his songs, but only his songs that are without any overt sort of social statement. Again Carradine is terrific because he does not compromise the way he has set up Woody, even though Woody is forced to go against his nature. Carradine creates the considerable discontent and distaste in Woody in a striking fashion, while still in a subtle way fitting his subtle man. The final act of the film does not exactly resolve everything for Woody as he is still stuck between worlds it seems through his growing success as a singer, and his desire to fight for the plight of the less fortunate. This might have felt far more arbitrary of an ending if it were not for Carradine's performance. He realizes so well the personal style and philosophy of Woody that is that of the drifter in both mind and body, who could never be set in one place because that's simply isn't who he is. Carradine gives strong work here giving a memorable and unique portrait of the folk singer.

159 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, he was great. What did you think of Dillon, Cox and Strickland?
And just one final thing, Tropic Thunder in the 40's and 50's, cast and director.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and Louis, here's the thing. Apparently, The Conqueror was written with Marlon Brando in mind. How do you think Brando would have fared into the role?

Matt Mustin said...

Anonymous: It really just should've been an Asian actor.

Anonymous said...

Matt: Guess they just couldn't get one.

houndtang said...

Strange he didn't get higher profile parts after this...

luke higham said...

Louis: Can I have your thoughts on Sally Field in Norma Rae.

Calvin Law said...

This was actually a great year for Best Picture. A brilliant political thriller, an intensely impactful it ever so slightly overwrought media satire, a wonderfully heartwarming boxing picture (I stand by Rocky), this wonderfully understated biopic I just watched and really quite adored, even my least favourite out of the five Taxi Driver I still found very compelling, taut and with some great performances.

Calvin Law said...

Also kinda regret putting Redford and Eastwood over him now, seeing how positive this review is. I mean I think I kinda subconsciously pushed him down because Carradine had ranked lower than expected in 2004 alternate supporting (still kind of at odds with that but you know, never mind, Robert knows what I'm talking about haha)

luke higham said...

Calvin: It's certainly a very strong 4.5 from this review, but I'm still hoping for a 5 and a 2nd place finish for Eastwood. :)

Anonymous said...

Calvin: Damn right, it was a great year.
1. Taxi Driver
2. Network
3. All the President's Men
4. Bound For Glory
5. Rocky

luke higham said...

1. Network
2. All The President's Men
3. Taxi Driver
4. Bound For Glory
5. Rocky

Calvin Law said...

1. All the President's Men
2. Network
3. Rocky
4. Bound for Glory
5. Taxi Driver

Anonymous said...

Luke & Calvin: I found it funny when Ebert said that Stallone was the new Brando.

luke higham said...

Anonymous: I wonder, if he ever regretted writing that in his review, if not, LOL. :)

Calvin Law said...

Anonymous: I can see why to be honest, I thought Stallone was great in Rocky personally shame he never really lived up to it beyond First Blood.

Calvin Law said...

My ideal Rocky would've been a buffed up Albert Finney though, in the 1960s.

Calvin Law said...

Or Richard Harris come to think of it...

luke higham said...

Calvin: Make him British too, we've never had a good inspirational boxing film.

Calvin Law said...

Luke: Exactly what I was thinking mate :) Tony Richardson as the director. Gwendolyn Watts as the love interest. Brock Peters as Apollo Creed. Claude Rains as the ageing mentor.

Calvin Law said...

Luke: Check Twenty Four Seven out, that's a great British boxing film I just remembered. Bob Hoskins is terrific as always in it.

luke higham said...

Calvin: Thanks for the recommendation. :)

Calvin Law said...

Luke: performances you hope Louis may bump up his ratings for.

John Hurt in The Elephant Man (4.5 to 5)
Sidney Poitier in Lilliee of the Field (4.5 to 5)
Tom Courtenay in The Dresser (4.5 to 5)
Carey Mulligan in An Education (4.5 to 5)
Omar Sharif in Lawrence of Arabia (4.5 to 5)
James Stewart in Harvey (4.5 to 5)
Hailee Steinfield in True Grit (4 to 4.5)

Calvin Law said...

Also Trevor Howard in The Third Man, 4 to 4.5.

luke higham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
luke higham said...

Calvin: I'll include some that will never happen.
Michael Fassbender in Frank (4 to 4.5)
Sean Bean in The Fellowship Of The Ring
Sean Astin in The Return Of The King
Russell Crowe in Master And Commander
Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver
Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction
Daniel Day-Lewis in Gangs Of New York
Carey Mulligan in An Education
Omar Sharif in Lawrence Of Arabia
Ewan McGregor in Moulin Rouge
Tom Hardy in The Drop
Simon Pegg in Shaun Of The Dead
Christian Bale in Rescue Dawn
Michael Sheen in The Damned United (4 to 4.5)
Andrew Garfield in The Social Network (4 To 4.5)
Liam Neeson in The Grey
Domhnall Gleeson in Ex Machina (4 To 4.5)
Martin Stephens in The Innocents
John Hurt in The Elephant Man
Gregory Peck in The Omen (4 To 4.5)

Calvin Law said...

Luke: completely agree with all of them, especially Hardy and McGregor.

Calvin Law said...

And Jackson and Stephens.

luke higham said...

Louis: Your top ten most hated actors & actresses.

Anonymous said...

Luke: I bet that Tommy Wiseau, Anthony Franciosa, Jamie Foxx, Adam Sandler and Sean Penn are on the list.

luke higham said...

Anonymous: Rob Schneider. :)

Anonymous said...

Luke: Kristen Stewart is likely his most hated actress.

Michael McCarthy said...

I doubt Tommy Wiseau is on that list. Regardless of the reason, it's hard not to enjoy his performance.

Also on Luke's list I totally agree with De Niro, Astin and Day-Lewis. I personally would also add Morgan Freeman in Gone Baby Gone, Chris Cooper in Adaptation, Masayuki Mori in Ugetsu, Alan Arkin in Wait Until Dark, Bruce Dern in The Cowboys, Monty Woolley in The Pied Piper, Erich von Stroheim in Grand Illusion, Marcel Herrand in Children of Paradise and Kebbell & Serkis in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

luke higham said...

Anonymous: I don't think so, He's stayed away from a lot of her work, including The Twilight Saga & Snow White And The Huntsman. To my knowledge, he's only seen her in Into The Wild and Still Alice.

luke higham said...

Michael: Agree with you on Wiseau.

Anonymous said...

Luke & Michael: The Room is a so bad it's good classic, but who would be a great cast and great director for the film?

luke higham said...

Anonymous: The material's so bad, that I'm having a hard time thinking about it. I'd probably put Tatum or Wahlberg in Greg Sestero's role.

My pick for director is Judd Apatow and it's intended as a comedy.

Anonymous said...

Luke: Well, you could rewrite the plot and flesh out the characters with a competent writer.

luke higham said...

Anonmous: Sure. :) I have it as a drama then.
Johnny: Jake Gyllenhaal
Lisa: Jennifer Lawrence
Mark: Channing Tatum
Danny: Jonah Hill
(Denny's a horrible name)

Director: David Lynch


Robert MacFarlane said...

Having Gyllenhaal as Johnny would be perfect since his best performances are almost always. as weirdo characters.

Anonymous said...

And who would play Chris-R? He was the best actor of that film!

luke higham said...

Anonymous: His Physical appearance alone reminds me of Schoenaerts in The Drop, so I'll go with him.

Anonymous said...

And Peter, Steven and Claudette?

luke higham said...

Anonymous:
Peter: J.K. Simmons
Steven: Robert Downey Jr.
Claudette: Ellen Burstyn

Robert MacFarlane said...

Oh God, Ellen Burstyn is too perfect.

Anonymous said...

Luke: Wow, Burstyn as Claudette would be amazing.

luke higham said...

Anonymous: :)

With Steven, I picked randomly.

Anonymous said...

Calvin: Well, here's the ratings I hope for Louis to change:
John Hurt in The Elephant Man
Daniel Day-Lewis in Gangs of New York
Carey Mulligan in An Education
Omar Sharif in Lawrence of Arabia
Russell Crowe in Master and Commander
James Stewart in Harvey
Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver (I know that he downgraded it up to a 4,5, but I think Louis could likely change his mind on it)

luke higham said...

Anonymous: He did say that he saw it many times already, so I doubt it.

Robert MacFarlane said...

The ones I hope Louis upgrades are usually 3.5's or 4's. Currently I'm hoping he sees the light on Sam Neill in The Piano, Peter Sarsgaard in Boys Don't Cry, Kieran Culkin in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and Leon Vitali in Barry Lyndon. As for 4.5's I'd like to see upgraded, wouldn't mind Philip Baker Hall in Magnolia, Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker, Peter Sarsgaard in Shattered Glass, and Al Pacino in Donnie Brasco.

Anonymous said...

Luke: I know that he watched it many times, but still, I think that Louis could give him a 5 again, but I'm doubting too. I guess I was hoping too much.

luke higham said...

Everyone: Are there any Fantasy Books/Novels, that you would like to see adapted into a film franchise or a TV series.

And your Top Ten Mini-Series/TV Films.
1. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
2. Wolf Hall
3. I, Claudius
4. The Six Wives Of Henry VIII
5. Elizabeth R
6. John Adams
7. Band Of Brothers
8. The Hollow Crown
9. Elizabeth I
10. The Firm
Hon. Anne Frank: The Whole Story, Stuart: A Life Backwards, Bloody Sunday, Boy A, Conspiracy, Exile, Bleak House, The Pillars Of The Earth, The Pacific and The Missing.

Calvin Law said...

Paradise Lost, Terry Pratchett's Mort and The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents and Hogfather, and Ishiguro's The Buried Giant, just off the top of my head. Oh, and cinematic adaptation of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale.

1. House of Cards (UK)
2. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
3. Little Dorrit
4. Wolf Hall
5. I, Claudius
6. Jane Eyre
7. Brideshead Revisited
8. Citizen X
9. The Firm
10. Elizabeth I

ruthiehenshallfan99 said...

Luke: I only really have one miniseries that I really love and that is Jesus of Nazareth (1977). Though I do consider it to be part of my top 10 favorite films. Les Miserables 10th Anniversary Concert (TV Movie I suppose) is in my top 10 as well. I also really loved The Scarlet and the Black (1983). I also love the 25 anniversary concerts of Phantom of the Opera and Les Mis (filmed for TV as well). The Bible (2013) was alright but AD (2015) was terrible.

luke higham said...

Calvin: For Me, The Chronicles Of Prydain and The Dark Tower.

luke higham said...

Calvin: There was a TV Film adaptation of Hogfather back in 2006.

Calvin Law said...

Luke: I've seen it and...it's okay. I want a feature film though, with a very certain someone as Death :) The Dark Tower would be another excellent choice.

Ruthiehenshallfan99: ratings for the cast of Jesus of Nazareth?

Calvin Law said...

Luke: Thoughts and ratings for the following if you don't mind?

Bleak House: Anna Maxwell Martin, Carey Mulligan, Gillian Anderson, Patrick Kennedy, Charles Dance, Burn Gorman

The Six Wives of Henry VIII: Keith Mitchell, your favourite of the 6 wives, Anthony Quayle, Bernard Hepton

I, Claudius: Jacobi and Hurt

Branagh and Tucci in Conspiracy (IMO Branagh was fine, Tucci was brilliant)

luke higham said...

Calvin:
Bleak House (It's been 6 years, since I've seen it, so a rewatch is needed)
Lawson - 4.5
Martin - 4.5/5
Anderson - 5
Kennedy - 4
Gorman - 3.5/4
Mulligan - 4
Dance - 4.5

The Six Wives Of Henry VIII
Michell - 4.5/5
Hepton - 3.5
Crosbie - 4.5 (Catherine Of Aragon)
Quayle - N/A (Narrator)

I, Claudius
Jacobi - 5
Hurt - 4.5

Conspiracy
Tucci - 4.5
Branagh - 4

Calvin Law said...

So Quayle's narration is just plain narration then? :(

luke higham said...

Calvin: It's mostly Non-Existent, I'm afraid.

luke higham said...

Goodnight.

Anonymous said...

Luke: Oh, goodnight, Luke. :) Found another nominee for bonus rounds: You Only Live Once (1937) with Henry Fonda.
Oh, and Louis, ratings and thoughts on:
Fredric March in The Affairs of Cellini and Anthony Adverse
Henry Fonda in The Trail of The Lonesome Pine
Gary Cooper in Morocco and Love in the Afternoon
Arthur Kennedy in Trial and Bend of the River
James Cagney in Come and Fill the Cup

Anonymous said...

Oh, and rating for:
James Cagney in Ragtime
James Mason in Pandora and the Flying Dutchman

ruthiehenshallfan99 said...

Calvin: I don't think I could do ratings fairly, but I can give you my thoughts. I'll start from the bottom

Tony Lo Bianco as Quintillius: Do not really remember him.

Claudia Cardinale as the Adulteress: She only has one scene but I suppose she does well in one of the most memorable scenes in this epic.

Ralph Richardson as Simeon: Also only has one scene but handles it well.

Isabel Mestres as Salome: Really only appears in three scenes. Can't say much.

James Earl Jones, Donald Pleasence, and Fernando Rey as the Magi: They also do well, but have limited screen time.

Ernest Borgnine as the Centurion: I honestly think he did very well here, despite his small part.

John Duttine as John, the Beloved Apostle: John is an apostle who is usually tossed to the side (at least in most of the adaptations of the story I see) up until the crucifixion. This is not the case here. He does get sometime to shine, but not enough to really impress.

Regina Bianchi as Saint Anne (Mary's mother): I liked her, but her part was brief and was done before the first hour had passed.

Marina Berti as Elizabeth: She too, has a brief part. Can't really judge. Fun fact: She had Peter Ustinov as a costar in 1951 in Quo Vadis.

Stacey Keach as Barabbas: He has this great scene with Powell, but does not really get much to do afterwards.

Yorgo Voyagis as Joseph: He (and Olivia Hussey) are the primary focus in the first hour. He does a pretty good job and might be the best Joseph I have seen.

Cyril Cusack as Yehuda: Fictional character with a decent size part. Honestly don't remember him.

Anthony Quinn as Caiaphas: I don't really remember him either, but I believe I liked him well enough.

James Mason as Joseph of Arimathea: I wish I paid attention to him more, but I think he did well.

Laurence Olivier as Nicodemus: He has a very great scene with Robert Powell, but is not a major standout in his other scenes.

Ian Holm as Zerah: Another fictional character who is key in the arrest of Jesus. He does very good in his scenes.

Michael York as John the Baptist: He is over the top at times, but I feel like that is required for the part. He does his part quite well, at least in my opinion.

Rod Steiger as Pilate: I really liked him. He is one of the more aggressive Pilate's that I have seen.

Peter Ustinov as Herod the Great: Is over the top, but when is he not. He does very well in his scenes and is more subdued than in Quo Vadis (Though I loved him there as well, and in his role as Prince John in Robin Hood).

Valentina Cortese as Herodias: Her accent threw me off for a second, but I quickly got used to it. She handles her scenes very well, especially with Plummer. I wish she had more scenes than she was given more scenes.

Christopher Plummer as Herod Antipas: He is quite good here and has great scenes with Cortese IMHO. I also wish he was given more to do.

Anne Bancroft as Mary Magdalene: One of the best performances in the series. She holds her own against the others and is a true standout!

James Farentino as Peter: Another great performance. He is yet another standout and holds his own against the others.

Ian McShane as Judas: Another Excellent performance. Takes command in all of his scenes and is probably the second best performance (IMHO).

Olivia Hussey as Mary: SHe is essentially the lead in the first 90 minutes. She does quite well against the more experienced actors, though the birth scene is a little awkward. Regardless she does vey well.

Robert Powell as Jesus: Hands down the best performance. Takes command as the lead and truly owns the role. I have never seen a better performance as Jesus!

Overall, this is an excellently made miniseries (though there are a few problems and I would count it as #7 in my top 10 favorite films (I include miniseries and tv movies). It makes excellent use of its all star cast.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Louis, I noticed you didn't have Alessandro Nivola in A Most Violent Year in your ranking. After rewatching it the other day, I actually found him the most impressive of the supporting actors, and I say this as someone who usually doesn't like him.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Damn, forgot one final rating, Tracy in 30 Seconds Over Tokyo.

ruthiehenshallfan99 said...

Everyone: Good night from Michigan! While on the subject, I was wondering where you all are from, since the blog is generally inactive during the day over here.

Anonymous said...

ruthiehenshallfan93: Goodnight. :) I'm from Portugal.

Robert MacFarlane said...

The inescapable hell known as South Jersey.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Cox - 3(Cox offers some fine support by offering a similair presence to Carradine's, but presenting him as frankly less extraordinary of a figure)

Dillon - 3(She isn't given too much to do, this really is Carradine's show, but she has very good chemistry with him since you wholly understand and believe their relationship even though the screentime for it is limited)

Strickland - 3(She also has rather effective chemistry with Carradine, but manages to differentiate it well from Dillon as there is more of distance between them. She does well to show her interactions more of the admiration of a fan)

Tropic Thunder (1940's directed by Preston Sturges)

Tugg - Joel McCrea
Lazarus - Cary Grant
Portnoy - Laird Cregar
Alpa Chino - Sammy Davis Jr.
Sandusky - Eddie Bracken
Four Leaf - Brian Donlevy
Peck - William Demarest
Cody - William Bendix
Les Grossman - James Stewart

Tropic Thunder (1950's directed by Alexander MacKendrick)

Tugg - Tony Curtis
Lazarus - Alec Guinness
Portnoy - Ernest Borgnine
Alpa Chino - Rupert Crosse
Sandusky - Joe Mantell
Four Leaf - Edward G. Robinson
Peck - Paul Newman
Cody - Robert Strauss
Les Grossman - Burt Lancaster

Anonymous:

Brando could have gone either way since 1956 was right when Brando was turning to his lesser period, so it would depend on where the film would have fallen. The Conqueror being a bad film probably wouldn't have helped. Of course I feel I should note that The Conqueror isn't quite as bad as it's made out to be. It's just kinda standard bland outside of the casting, and the romantic music played in an early scene that alludes to potential rape.

houndtang:

I think the failure of his film with Bergman might have unfortunately sunk the opportunity for him.

Luke:

Field - (I think her work here is one of the very best examples of the woman crusading for a cause sort of role. It really is a great example of what's not so great about Julia Roberts's Oscar winning turn. Where that felt quite artificial, Field's work feels wholly honest. From the intensity of the passion she depicts in her character's efforts, but also in the quieter moments of the film where she effectively paints a genuine portrait of a woman in her position. It's fantastic work.)

Eh not an ideal list to make. I'm sure I've used hate before, but I prefer not to attach it to a individual person too often.

Calvin:

You're letting your old favorite down for your British Rocky. Trevor Howard would be a perfect Micky.

Anonymous:

March - 2(He's way over the top here, which is bizarre in that only really he and Frank Morgan play the film as a comedy. I suppose that would be perfectly fine if March were funny here, but he just simply is not)

Adverse - 2.5(Just not a particularly interesting leading turn from him. He's mostly bland in this case, and mostly just overshadowed by some of his colorful supporting players)

Fonda - 2.5(He for the most part was decent enough, but whenever he tries to play one of the scenes as overt hillbilly it comes off as a bit much)

Cooper - 2.5(Just a fairly dull performance from him. Not terrible or anything, but there just isn't much charm there either)

Cooper - 2.5(One of the few times I feel Hepburn did not quite muster up chemistry with her co-star. Cooper's horribly miscast, and does not have the innate charm to make up for it like say Cary Grant would)

I reviewed Kennedy for Trial, he was nominated for it. I gave my thought on Bend of the River as well.

I believe I covered Cagney before.

Anonymous:

Cagney - 3(It's not really much of a role to be honest. He mostly just has to give off various exposition which Cagney manages to give a little character to through just his natural presence)

I believe I covered Mason before.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Tracy - 3(Completely an expository role, but he handles it well)

Anonymous said...

Louis: Oh, forgot Kennedy was nominated for Trial. But can you repost Cagney's rating for Come Fill a Cup. Oh, and your top 10 Bogart, Cagney and Robinson performances.

ruthiehenshallfan99 said...

Robert: What's it like over there? In Michigan, we have every season but spring. It just becomes a cold summer. So yeah, Michigan is awful yet I choose to stay here for college.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I go to Michigan every Summer to meet family, so I've heard the stories. Jersey suffered from a rather blistering Summer right after a murderous Winter. Very strange weather.

Michael McCarthy said...

ruthiehenshallfan: I'm from Maryland, closeish to DC, but going to school in Ithaca, NY.

Psifonian said...

Just got back from "The Gift." I really hope it gets a screenplay nod. Edgerton, Bateman and Hall were tops. Here's hoping Edgerton doesn't go the Charles Laughton route; he deserves to have a directorial career comparable to Clint Eastwood.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I have to admit I have grown to find the ending of The Gift problematic, I'm glad you like the main trio.

Psifonian said...

I would also like to FYC Ben Vereen for Supporting Actor for "Time Out of Mind." It features a strong performance by Richard Gere (Moverman is great at getting terrific performances from his actors), but Vereen waltzes away with the film.

Robert MacFarlane said...

@Psifonian: Did you get to see that at a film festival?

Calvin Law said...

So just looked at 1980 Lead and saw that John Hurt is now a 5, and #2 for the year, for The Elephant Man...

YES, vindicated. Louis was it a re-watch, or re-think? And could you elaborate why?

Also in your statement, 'I have a confession to make which is watching Ordinary People again really made me lose a lot of my enthusiasm for Timothy Hutton's performance. I still think he is great, but actually watching it this time Donald Sutherland left the bigger impression on me'; does he still make the bigger impression on you? Or does Hutton, as the rankings indicate, edge him slightly?

Calvin Law said...

Also, yes, Trevor Howard would've been a great Mickey, how could I snub him like that?

luke higham said...

Louis: Thanks for giving John Hurt his first Lead Five. :)

luke higham said...

Calvin: Another performance, I would like to see bumped up to a 5 is Marion Cotillard in Inception.

John Smith said...

Lous, thoughts on the movie Y Tu Mama Tambien as well as thoughts on the two leads plus your ratings on their performances.

John Smith said...

And your top ten movies of 2001

Calvin Law said...

Luke: your ratings for Bright Star, also would you say Whishaw is worthy of an Alternate 2009 review? I just re-watched the film today, and it's grown so much on me, especially Campion's direction and the performance of the poetry.

Whishaw: 4.5/5
Cornish: 5
Schneider: 4.5
Fox: 4

Calvin Law said...

Also, had an email from a friend in America who just saw The End of the Tour. Like a previous correspondent over the same matter he's adamant that a snub for Jason Segel, regardless of the competition, will be one of the biggest mistakes in the Academy's history. Now I really want to see it.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I hear Segel is great so long as you never met the real David Foster Wallace. (A few critics who knew him personally have taken a lot of umbrage with the film)

Anonymous said...

Wow, Hurt is now a 5 for The Elephant Man. Guess a rewatch made you changed your mind, huh?
Luke: Great as Cotillard is in Inception, I'm not expecting for Louis to bump her to a 5, and she's just a 4,5 for me. I don't think she does enough to warrant a 5.

tahmeed chowdhury said...

YES!! John Hurt's now a 5 for The Elephant Man :).
Louis always said a rewatch of any film could bump up the scores of the actors. I really hope Jesse Eisenberg gets a 5 on rewatch for The Social Network.

Anonymous said...

thameed chowdury: I'm not betting on Eisenberg getting a 5 even if Louis rewatches The Social Network.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I think it's possible. Louis said he was a possibility anyway, plus multiple people I know (myself included) find something new to his performances on every revisit. Hell, on the second or third viewing I noticed small things that added to much more. Like sometimes his eyes would glaze over after someone insulted him, like he was legitimately hurt, or the way his eyes just totally droop in the last scene. Actually, I could probably write an entire thesis on Eisenberg's eyes in that movie.

luke higham said...

Anonymous: It's a personal opinion, though I'm not expecting it to happen either. As you know, I have a deep love for Cotillard and hope that she gets more fives than any other actress. :)

Calvin:
Whishaw - 4.5 (Any review for Whishaw is good enough for me. I would like to see him reviewed for Perfume though)
Cornish - 4.5
Schneider - 4.5
Fox - 4

Anonymous said...

Luke: I'm sure Simone Signoret is proud of Cotillard.
Louis: Ratings and thoughts on:
Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum and Jessica Lange in Cape Fear (1991)
Matt Salinger, Scott Paulin and Ned Beatty in Captain America (1990)
Dustin Hoffman and Bob Hoskins in Hook
Robert De Niro in Meet the Parents and Wag the Dog

luke higham said...

Anonymous: :).

Anonymous said...

Luke: While I hoped Hurt would get a 5 for The Elephant Man during a rewatch (Which he got), wasn't expecting Louis to put him above De Niro in Raging Bull. Would also love to see Sharif get a 5 for Lawrence of Arabia. That performance really sticks with you everytime you watch it.

luke higham said...

Anonymous: De Niro's performance is one that he greatly admires instead of loving it deeply. In regards to Sharif, I'm hopeful for an upgrade, his introduction is one of the greatest in film history. :)

luke higham said...

Anonymous: To see John Hurt having only 2 fives before the upgrade hurt like hell for me, he's one of those actors that I could watch in anything, as well as one of the best to come from these isles. :)

Anonymous said...

Luke: Yeah, I know that he isn't a big fan of De Niro in Raging Bull. Anyway, since Cagney will get reviewed for 1939 Alternate Lead for his performance in the Roaring Twenties, what rating do you expect for him and Bogart? And Fonda in Young Mr. Lincoln?

Anonymous said...

Luke: Yeah. Hurt is one of those British actors who always gives his best in a performance.

luke higham said...

Anonymous:
Cagney - 4.5/5
Bogart - 4
Fonda - 4.5/5

Anonymous said...

Luke: What rating do you think Louis would give to Marlon Brando in Mutiny in the Bounty?

luke higham said...

Anonymous: 2/2.5.

Anonymous said...

Luke: I would like to see Louis review Anthony Perkins in Trial for Alternate Lead 1962.

luke higham said...

Anonymous: I'm sure there's room for him, Louis' bound to review 10 for that year.

ruthiehenshallfan99 said...

Luke: 1962 is one of my favorite years, but the year I look forward to most is 1939.

Anonymous said...

Luke: Well, Luke, here's another nominee for bonus reviews.
Robert Williams in the Platinum Blonde (1931)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4_R5cQVU1o

luke higham said...

Anonymous: It's only one scene, but his acting does feel ahead of its time.

Anonymous said...

Luke: It's such a shame that he died the year the film was released. He sure had a career ahead of him in comedies and dramas.

ruthiehenshallfan99 said...

Anonymous: Sad that both he and Harlow died so young. I wonder how far Harlow could have gone?

Anonymous said...

ruthiehenshallfan99: I'm sure that if Robert Williams had survived his battle with the disease that ended his life in 1931, he could have been a huge star in comedies and likely dramas. Poor, poor Jean. :( When I asked Louis what would have likely happened to her hadn't she died, her career would have likely slowed down after the Pre-Code Era, but I think she could land a role in some dramas and would continue her comedies. If you haven't seen The Women (1939), there was one part that seemed to suit well for Jean. It's really a pity. They had their whole life ahead of them.

ruthiehenshallfan99 said...

Anonymos: I have seen The Women... twice in fact. I love it! I think Paulette Goddard's part could have been given to Jean had she been alive. Fun fact: In early production, she was considered for the part of Scarlett in Gone with the Wind, as was Goddard. Personally, I don't think she would have been able to do the part, but it would have been interesting to see a screen test from her, which of course, was never done. And Harlow was also supposed to lead the "Maisie" films that MGM did in the 40s and they were a higher budget. But due to her death, the budget was reduced and the part was given to Ann Sothern. She could have gone really far.

As for Williams, I am not sure what he would move onto after this, since his filmography is not really big. It really does not give a good indication of where he would. Maybe romantic dramas?

As for

ruthiehenshallfan99 said...

Anonymous: I also feel Harlow could easily be a femme fatale in film noir in the 40s.

Anonymous said...

ruthiehenshallfan99: Harlow in a noir? That would be interesting.
Marilyn Monroe, Steve McQueen, James Dean, Montgomery Clift, Robert Shaw, Raul Julia, John Cazale, Louis Wolheim, Laird Gregar...all of these people had huge talent.

ruthiehenshallfan99 said...

Anonymous: I heard great things of Cazale and Gregar. The others had great talent and their careers and lives were cut short.

Matt Mustin said...

I saw The Gift. I have to think about the ending a bit but overall I thought it was pretty brilliant. Ratings for the cast:
Bateman-4.5(I'm actually *really* tempted to go higher, this a very interesting performance from him)
Hall-4
Edgerton-4

Anonymous said...

Matt: The Gift's ending js weird, huh?

Anonymous said...

Matt: *is

Robert MacFarlane said...

It took me a week to admit the ending wasn't good, to be honest.

ruthiehenshallfan99 said...

Robert: How was the movie as a whole?

Robert MacFarlane said...

Before the last 20 minutes or so it was great. Cache-like themes were a smart road for Edgerton to go down for a commercial thriller, plus the three principles were all wonderful . However, the end does turn it from a great thriller to a good thriller. Still, I'll take it over most blockbusters.

Matt Mustin said...

I don't know how I feel about the ending.

Calvin Law said...

I thought the ending was fine, personally. A tad bit excruciating but I thought the acting and direction carried it well enough.

Calvin Law said...

I think 2015 has been the year of pleasant surprises for me, all in all. I did not expect to like/enjoy the likes of Testament of Youth, The Gift, Mr Holmes and Mad Max as much as I did.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: your ranking and thoughts of Polanski's films.

Anonymous said...

Calvin: Chinatown is his favorite Polanski movie, by the way.

Calvin Law said...

Oh yes I'm sure that'll be his number one.

Retroactive castings anyone?

1950s Once Upon a Time in the West
Harmonica: Robert Mitchum 
Frank: Clark Gable
Cheyenne: Ernest Borgnine
Jill McBain: Lauren Bacall

Anonymous said...

Calvin: I'll do Chinatown in the 1940's, directed by John Huston.
Gittes: Humphrey Bogart
Evelyn: Lauren Bacall
Noah Cross: Walter Huston

Calvin Law said...

Louis: I see you've seen The Red Shoes. Thoughts/ratings for the cast, as well as your thoughts on the film? It's my #3 P+P, probably.

Anonymous said...

Calvin: All I know is that Walbrook is a 3,5.

Anonymous said...

Chinatown (1930's directed by Michael Curtiz)
Gittes: James Cagney
Evelyn: Joan Crawford (Loaned to Warner Bros. by MGM)
Noah Cross: Harry Carey
Chinatown (1980's, directed by Michael Mann)
Gittes: James Woods
Evelyn: Kathleen Turner
Noah Cross: Orson Welles
What do you think of these choices, Louis?

Calvin Law said...

Anonymous: Woods and Cagney would've been great Gittes.

Also Louis and anyone else, who would you cast in a 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s version of Silence of the Lambs?

1940s: directed by Carol Reed (British version)
Hannibal Lecter: Ralph Richardson (bit young perhaps, but he was always good at playing older than he actually was)
Clarice Starling: Deborah Kerr
Jack Crawford: Michael Redgrave
Buffalo Bill: Trevor Howard
Chilton: Elisha Cook Jr.

1950s: directed by Orson Welles
Hannibal Lecter: Orson Welles
Clarice Starling: Lee Remick
Jack Crawford: Walter Brennan
Buffalo Bill: Eli Wallach
Chilton: Joseph Cotten

1960s: directed by William Wyler
Hannibal Lecter: Peter Sellers
Clarice Starling: Elizabeth Hartman
Jack Crawford: Robert Ryan
Buffalo Bill: David Hemmings
Chilton: Frank Overton

1970s: directed by William Friedkin
Hannibal Lecter: Robert Shaw
Clarice Starling: Jane Fonda
Jack Crawford: James Stewart
Buffalo Bill: Dennis Hopper
Chilton: John Savage

1980s: directed by David Cronenberg
Hannibal Lecter: Max Von Sydow/Raul Julia
Clarice Starling: Sissy Spacek
Jack Crawford: Harry Dean Stanton
Buffalo Bill: Mark Hamill
Chilton: Tom Selleck

Anonymous said...

Uhh, Calvin, I just can't see Peter Sellers as Lecter. But most of your other choices are great.
Silence of the Lambs (1920's version)
Hannibal Lecter: Lon Chaney Sr.
Clarice Starling: Janet Gaynor
Jack Crawford: Lionel Barrymore
Buffalo Bill: James Cagney
Chilton: Louis Wolheim
Silence of the Lambs (1930's version)
Hannibal Lecter: Boris Karloff or Charles Laughton
Clarice Starling: Barbara Stanwyck
Jack Crawford: Walter Huston
Buffalo Bill: James Cagney (again)
Chilton: Don't know...

Calvin Law said...

Porter Hall would be a good choice for 1930s Chilton. As he would be for my 1940s cast, I'll change him to that.

Sellers was actually my favourite choice of them all, haha. I think he would've been fascinating in terms of the vocal and physical approach he'd take to the part, and as he showed in Never Let Go, he could be absolutely terrifying when he wanted to.

Anonymous said...

Calvin: Oops, Lew Ayres is Buffalo Bill in the 1920's version while Cagney in the 1930's.
Chinatown (1960's version, directed by Richard Brooks)
Gittes: Steve McQueen
Evelyn: Marilyn Monroe
Noah Cross: Walter Brennan
Chinatown (1990's version, directed by Curtis Hanson)
Gittes: Nicolas Cage
Evelyn: Michelle Pfeiffer
Noah Cross: Gene Hackman

Michael McCarthy said...

I'd kinda like to see Travolta as an 80's or 90's Gittes.

Anonymous said...

Michael: Those are great choices as well.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Everyone cast a 1990's version of A Most Violent Year. I've got nothing.

Anonymous said...

Robert: Neither do I.

Michael McCarthy said...

A Most Violent Year (1994)

Abel: Andy Garcia
Anna: Elisabeth Shue
Lawrence: Andre Braugher
Forente: Mandy Patinkin
Julian: Ralph Macchio
Walsh: Peter Falk

Anonymous said...

Superman (1940's version)
Superman: Gregory Peck
Chinatown (1950's version)
Gittes: Robert Mitchum
Evelyn: Ava Gardner
Noah Cross: Boris Karloff

Robert MacFarlane said...

@Michael: That is perfect on paper, though somehow I doubt Andy Garcia could ever pull off a role like Abel Morales. Plus Patinkin was going through his "step aside, people, I'm a serious Goddamn actor" phase in the 90's in an ugly fashion, so something tells me his interpretation of Forente would be more showboating than Nivola's.

Anonymous said...

For a version of A Most Violent Year in the 1970's, Raul Julia is the only choice for Abel.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Actually, Julia for 1980's, Pacino for 1970's.

Anonymous said...

Robert: Who would be the cast for A Most Violent Year in the 1930's for you?

Robert MacFarlane said...

I actually don't think AMVY would work in any other time period unless it took place specifically in 1981. The general feeling makes it that the political and social landscape of that time in New York effected the way the character acted and behaved.

Anonymous said...

The Godfather (1930's Pre-Code)
Vito: Lon Chaney Sr.
Michael: Paul Muni
Sonny: James Cagney
Chinatown (1960's British version)
Gittes: Michael Caine
Evelyn: Maggie Smith
Noah Cross: John Gielgud
Chinatown (1970's British version)
Gittes: Tom Courtenay
Evelyn: Helen Mirren
Noah Cross: Trevor Howard

Michael McCarthy said...

Robert: I'm shitfaced right now but I really do think Shue would be a great Anna, what do you think?

Robert MacFarlane said...

I could totally see that working, though Jennifer Jason Leigh also crossed my mind given her string of similar roles in the 90's.

Calvin Law said...

A Most Violent Year (1990s)
Abel: Benicio del Toro
Anna: your choices are all great, I'd go for Leigh myself.
Lawrence: Adrian Lester
Forente: Pantikin is a good choice
Julian: As is Macchio
Walsh: Robert Duvall

Robert MacFarlane said...

I love Del Toro, but I feel like he would have been a better Julian in 1994). However, by 2000 or so he would have made a perfect Abel.

Calvin Law said...

Oh certainly, he would've been a bit too young in 1994. I don't think anyone could've been better than Isaac though. His performance only strengthens upon re-watches.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Yeah, there's a damn good reason I named him my win last year. I was actually torn in a 6-way death match between Oyelowo, Keaton, Fiennes, Gyllenhaal, Cooper, and McConaughey before I saw him. He ended up being the tie breaker. Hell, I'm very adamant the film is perfect outside of Eyles Gabel's mugging in his last scene, even then I didn't mind him as much on the second viewing.

Calvin Law said...

He's in my top 5 now.

1. Hardy (The Drop)
2. Hardy (Locke)
3. Keaton
4. Isaac
5. McConaughey

Sorry Gyllenhaal. I really liked him but these 5 were just too strong, and pushed his performance out of my top 5. And even then I'm quite tempted to move Pearce and Oyelowo above him.

Calvin Law said...

McConaughey went up after a rewatch of Interstellar. Funnily enough the flaws of the film were all the more prominent that time round, but McConaughey's performance ended up impacting me all the more.

As for AMVY though it grew on me a lot on re-watch along Isaac's performance.

Anonymous said...

Calvin: Isaac has certainly improved a lot as an actor.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Gyllenhaal's only my #5, actually. He's wonderful, but I have to admit that there isn't all that much to Louis Bloom on paper. Ignoring the lack of arc (which I would be hypocritical to deride given my Best Actor wins from 2011 to 2013), Louis Bloom doesn't have all that much to him other than being a complete monster. A fascinating, viscerally effective one, but still lacking in the contradiction I seem to crave in my winning choices more and more each year.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

3.5

Bogart:

1. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
2. The Maltese Falcon
3. Casablanca
4. Dead End
5. The Big Sleep
6. High Sierra
7. To Have and Have Not
8. The Petrified Forest
9. Sahara
10. The Caine Mutiny

Cagney:

1. Angles With Dirty Faces
2. White Heat
3. One Two Three
4. The Strawberry Blonde
5. Public Enemy
6. Yankee Doodle Dandy
7. A Midsummer's Night Dream
8. Great Guy
9. Mister Roberts
10. Come Fill The Cup

Robinson:

1. Double Indemnity
2. Little Caesar
3. The Sea Wolf
4. Soylent Green
5. Scarlet Street
6. Key Largo
7. The Woman in the Window
8. The Ten Commandments
9. The Cincinnati Kid
10. The Stranger

Calvin:

With Hurt I'll admit I was looking over the performances everyone listed, and for him I just thought actually "why isn't he five". I couldn't come with a reason as he actually always fulfilled my usual criteria, and it's unfortunately it's basically the same case as Cagney for Angels.

The same thing happened to me with Ordinary People actually, and Sutherland is my favorite out of the cast.

1. Chinatown - (The screenplay is masterful of course, as it tells a complex story so well, while never forgetting to create quite the complex characters within the simplicity of the noir types. Polanski's atmosphere is incredible as he really makes you feel every location that Gittes visits. The performances are uniformly excellent from Nicholson's particularly charismatic turn, to Dunaway especially alluring and heartbreaking one, and of course Huston's devious one. It's a film worthy of its status as a masterpiece, because it is one)
2. The Pianist - (Extremely well told personal tale of survival as Polanksi once again creates such a sense of place as he realizes the seclusion, the fear, the claustrophobia in the situation, but even still keeps a bit of hope there that feels particularly well earned)
3. The Ghost Writer - (Although I've always felt that the secret frankly isn't strong enough of a motivating factor, it still is a great paranoid thriller well lead by McGregor with again great atmosphere)
4. Rosemary's Baby - (Could use a re-watch, but I recall it being quite effective)
5. Death and the Maiden - (I love this sort of tension sort of piece which Polanksi builds quite wonderfully with palatable atmosphere. Ben Kingsley's work is memorable and leaves things appropriately open to interpretation. The other two leads though leave something to be desired particularly (and surprisingly) Sigourney Weaver)
6.Carnage - (Polanksi's direction doesn't really add much to this one which is unfortunate since the story fails to really go anywhere. There is a bit of fun to have in moments, mostly from Christoph Waltz, but it doesn't go anywhere)

Louis Morgan said...

John Smith:

Both are four for me, and I like both of their performances that are appropriately naturalistic and honest. The film itself is one that I respect, and see why others love it more than I love it myself. I don't have any actual problems with it, it's just a film that never quite captivates me as it does some. I certainly like it, I just don't love it.

2001:

1. The Fellowship of the Ring
2. Mulholland Drive
3. The Royal Tenenbaums
4. The Man Who Wasn't There
5. Sexy Beast

Anonymous:

Peck - (It's a good cameo, but not more than that)

Lange - 2(I don't think much is required of her other than too look scared, which does alright, but in her confrontation scenes with Nolte or the final one with De Niro her performance becomes a bit over hte top.)

Mitchum - 3(The best part of the whole re-make. Mitchum brings some real gravitas in his few scenes, and is excellent in the scene where he recommends that Nolte's character take matters into his own hands)

Hoffman - 3.5(I know some people really don't like him here, often saying he's over the top. But he's playing Captain Hook! He's not exactly a subtle character. Hoffman to his credit disappears into the role actually, which is quite surprising when you think about it. Hoffman is a consistent and enjoyable hoot playing Hook's sport of villainy for all that's worst. I've always loved his delivery of "What would the world be like without Captain Hook" in particular.)

Hoskins - 3.5(The best scenes in the film are between Hook and Shmee (especially the whole "don't stop me Shmee" scene.) Hoskins is perfectly cast in the role and does well with it. He's a great hapless henchman)

De Niro - 3(I kinda hate Wag the Dog, but De Niro is fine as the government fixer though there's nothing great about his work either. I do think he's overshadowed by Hoffman, and I'm not exactly infatuated with that performance either)

De Niro - 2.5(The performance feels like a missed opportunity as there are moments where it feels like De Niro might be on the right track, but then falls off. The simple problem I find with most late De Niro's attempts at comedy is that he never brings the right conviction to his roles, as odd as that sounds. He never bothers to bring any of the qualities from his great performances to this, as it would have been much funnier if he had that intensity in his older performances, but used for such ridiculous purposes)

Salinger - 1(Charisma less vacuum. There isn't even anything slightly inspirational about his portrayal of Captain America. He's actually rather off putting to be honest)

Beatty - 2.5(I feel bad for Beatty because he tries to bring a bit of character to the film in his scenes, but he can't help just how awful the film is)

Paulin - 1(Call upon some pretty lame attempts at menace such as sneering. A terrible performance)