Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Alternate Best Actor 1984: John Cassavetes in Love Streams

John Cassavetes did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Robert Harmon in Love Streams.

Love Streams may be the film I was warned A Woman Under the Influence was, in that I found that film very easy to get through. This one though it just about impenetrable most of the time. It has good scenes in there, yet seems to purposefully starve your patience through his long drawn out scenes of behavior, also on a side note John Cassavetes doesn't seem to be able to direct children very well.

Any my focus though is on Cassavetes as the actor not the director, and though he's perhaps viewed as an acting director these days he technically is an actor turned director despite having few prominent roles before his transition. This is actually one of his final performances as a director the role of Robert who we are introduced to as a playboy writer. Cassavetes isn't not an excessively charismatic performer, and there is something rather odd about casting himself in the role. The reason being Robert is the brother of Sarah played by Gena Rowlands's the wife of John Cassavetes. Although perhaps this is to show the undisputed closeness of the siblings not even in a romantic way, though the initial kiss upon meeting might be a touch too comfortable for non-Lannister siblings. Still that isn't exactly the focus, and it is not where the film starts. The film begins with Robert living his life which is that of slight relationships with only the occasional more substantial one when it is thrust upon him.

Cassavetes is more than convincing as the pleasure seeker in Robert as a man who just goes around looking for something to enjoy whether it is a drink or a woman. Cassavetes's performance sort of conveys this idea of an attempt of joy. In that there is always this intention and energy of someone trying to have a good time, even though he is not exactly always wholly capable in this regard. Cassavetes is good though in that he plays the part as though Robert is either just slightly tipsy or just has a bit of a hangover. Cassavetes is effective in realizing this day to day state of Robert as never exactly becoming too associated with anything. The film though decides to actually ram through his story rather quickly by having Robert suddenly having to deal with his son who is brought over by his estranged wife. Again the pacing of this element seems rather rushed, given how slow paced the film is in general. Cassavetes impresses himself to make something out of this in very short time. Cassavetes sort of does in just playing it as general frustrations of dealing with something that leaves him a little uneasy.

The film wraps that facet up and moves mostly to focusing on dealing with the mentally unstable Sarah who just commits one strange behavior after another. Cassavetes in the interactions between Robert and Sarah though suggest a bit of a different side to Robert. In that Cassavetes is rather good in at least portraying basically a loving brother's understanding of his sister in that he never reveals too rash of reaction, spelling out years of knowing her madness. Cassavetes doesn't limit this still showing that Robert is taken aback but holds back these frustrations to lashing out against her. Cassavetes is able to convey the complexity of that relationship and his performance works in that regard.. I have to say though his and Rowlands's performances work they never added to anything more than fulfilling the base need of to be a "good performance". Unlike A Woman Under the Influence and Faces this film never had a real emotional resonance. It felt more like acting for the sake of acting, behavior for the sake of behavior, uncomfortable situations simply to be uncomfortable situations. Now that acting for the sake of acting doesn't mean bad acting. In Cassavetes and Rowlands are both good in their roles, but their work simply laid there at a distance. Admirable in technique, but not engaging in terms of either crafting a truly empathetic or compelling character. 

103 comments:

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your rating for Rowlands.

Louis Morgan said...

3.5 as well.

Charles Heiston said...

I'd say this is a disappointing performance. Certainly coming in last.

Calvin Law said...

1. Yamazaki
2. Hurt
3. Stamp
4. Lemmon
5. Cassavetes

Luke Higham said...

Charles: Would've preferred Douglas, though I understand why Louis chose him.

Charles Heiston said...

Luke: Same here, but all's well and ends well.

Anonymous said...

Overlong film dragged his performance down even more.

Varun Neermul said...

1.Hurt
2.Stamp
3.Yamazaki
4.Lemmon
5.Cassavettes

RatedRStar said...

I have never really found Cassavettes to be that great of an actor if I am honest, just an ok one, I do think he is a very good director for the most part though, Faces I think is a hidden gem, especially in regards to Carlins work.

Jack Lemmons film doesnt look too good if I am honest, it looked really heavy handed, although I reckon Lemmon will do well enough I think, it is a little bit of a surprise that the two more acclaimed mainstream performances from Michael Douglas and Dudley Moore werent voted for in the Louis Morgan voting round as Lemmon and Cassavettes got a lot of support. John Lone might have been worth a look as well but ah well =D.

RatedRStar said...

Edge of the City seems to be regarded as his best work from an acting point of view, but in that I thought he was a tad overshadowed by Poitier.

Luke Higham said...

RatedRStar: Cassavetes only had 1 mention, whereas Douglas had 4.

RatedRStar said...

I still thought he was good in that film though, I dont think I would vote for him to get in though but I will vote for Poitier in supporting.

RatedRStar said...

Luke: True I didnt see that you had changed it straight after, it was one of his final films though so that might have helped.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

I actually have seen Micki and Maude and most of Romancing the Stone previously. Arthur is essentially the pinnacle of that type of character from Moore, at least from what I've seen. I will admit though that I did expect a more interesting performance, and better film based on the notices the Love Streams received and Cassavetes's previous films.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: That's fine, though I think your comment was meant for Daniel.

Anonymous said...

What would your rating for Moore be?

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: A 4 most likely.

Anonymous said...

Also Louis is Moores film any good?

Michael McCarthy said...

1. Tsutomu Yamazaki
2. Terence Stamp
3. John Hurt
4. Jack Lemmon
5. John Cassavetes

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Ratings/Thoughts on Jonathan Taylor Thomas and Matthew Broderick in The Lion King.

houndtang said...

What did you think of the scene with the dog/naked dude?

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

3.5. The role doesn't stretch him much, as Arthur did. He's just doing his hapless charming romantic routine, which with halfway decent material is more than enough to be honest.

Anonymous:

It's alright. It certainly isn't anything special, and more mildly enjoyable than ever laugh out loud funny. Moore's charm carries it well enough, but at best it's just a pleasant diversion.

Luke:

Both contend I suppose for the two least interesting vocal performances in the film, though I'd say Broderick is more so than Thomas. Both are technically overshadowed by everyone around them as Simba is more of a Dickens (non-Scrooge) lead than a Shakespearean one so that is fine. Broderick is just kind of bland, though not problematically so, throughout, but Thomas does have a few moments in there such as in Mufasa's death scene as well as giving a bit of ego fitting to the young king.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Any 2017 updates.

Louis Morgan said...

houndtang:

That moment I'll admit was striking in itself, but in the scheme of the film, though I could probably tell you what it means, it felt random almost for the sake of it.

Luke:

No.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Which films are you seeing in theaters this month.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Probably Free Fire, The Circle, if it's well reviewed, and maybe Fate of the Furious.

Calvin Law said...

Wish I could muster enthusiasm to go see Fate of the Furious *yawn*.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your top ten Edward Norton acting moments.

Charles Heiston said...

Louis: Also, your top ten Humphrey Bogart acting moments.

Calvin Law said...

RatedRStar: I completely forgot about Iceman being released this year, oh well.

Louis: I just watched Gallipoli. I'll need some time to gather my exact thoughts but I thought it was brilliant. Loved how it came out in the same year as Chariots of Fire, also about two runners, but what different films. My Best Picture winner and I see where Mad Mel got his Hacksaw inspirations from, albeit for a far more cynical story (don't let that out Robert MacFarlane off, it's a different beast).

I will say though that I found both Gibson and Lee equally good, but Hoskins is still my easy win for the year, and that Bill Hunter makes my too 5 for supporting.

Calvin Law said...

Also, your cast and director for a 2010s Gallipoli, Louis?

Louis Morgan said...

Tahmeed:

Norton:

1. "Good for you Marty" - Primal Fear
2. Baldwin's Goodbye - Kingdom of Heaven
3. Shiner's intro - Birdman
4. Balian meets Baldwin - Kingdom of Heaven
5. Curb Stomp - American History X
6. Meeting Aaron the first time - Primal Fear
7. Drunk Shiner - Birdman
8. Parlay - Kingdom of Heaven
9. Scout Master Ward saves the day - Moonrise Kingdom
10. After the first preview - Birdman

Charles:

Bogart:

1. Dobbs looks for Curtin - The Treasure of Sierra Madre
2. Unveiling the Falcon - The Maltese Falcon
3. Who sleeps first - The Treasure of Sierra Madre
4. "Let's go see your boss" - The Maltese Falcon
5. Meeting Goldhat again - The Treasure of Sierra Madre
6. "The things dreams are made of" - The Maltese Falcon
7. Show us your badges - The Treasure of Sierra Madre
8. Dobbs begins to reveal his true nature - The Treasure of Sierra Madre
9. "All the gin joints" - Casablanca
10. Duke's entrance - The Petrified Forest

Calvin:

Always happy to hear appreciation for that criminally underrated film.

Gallipoli 2010's directed by John Hillcoat:

Jack: Hugo Weaving
Wallace Hamilton: Guy Pearce
Major Barton: Russell Crowe

I'm afraid the leads stumped me, only because the Australian leading men I am aware of currently are either too old, Hugh Jackman, Joel Edgerton, Sam Worthington, Jason Clarke, or just don't quite have it in them from what I've seen, the Hemsworth brothers, Jai Courtney.

Calvin Law said...

Yeah going for two unknown leads seems like the way to go.

Calvin Law said...

Although in the 2000s Heath Ledger would have been perfect in Gibson's role.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the endings of Chinatown and White Heat.

Matt Mustin said...

Louis, what are your top 10 acting moments for Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke?

Alex Marqués said...

Louis: What do you think of the synth score in Gallipoli? I found it very distracting and out of place, to be honest.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your rating for Robert Walker in The Clock.

Charles Heiston said...

Louis: Could Ngor go back in supporting for 1984?

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on De Niro and Pesci in A Bronx Tale.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Could either Hawkes or Mendelsohn go up for 2010 Supporting.

Calvin Law said...

RIP Don Rickles.

Luke Higham said...

RIP Mr. Potato Head

Charles Heiston said...

R.I.P Don Rickles.

RatedRStar said...

RIP Don Rickles

Anonymous said...

R.I.P. Don Rickles.

Luke Higham said...

Everyone: What're your 10 favourite performances that Louis' yet to see.

Anonymous said...

Luke: Man, that's a tough one.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your Ratings for Burgess Meredith in The Story Of G.I. Joe and Clash Of The Titans.

Anonymous: You don't have to name 10, if your having trouble with it.

Anonymous said...

Luke: All right. Here's some of my favorite performances that Louis hasn't seen.
Robert Mitchum in Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (This is probably Mitchum at his most charming)
Boris Karloff in The Body Snatcher (I hope Louis gives him a 5 despite the film being like 77 minutes long)
Burt Lancaster in The Leopard and The Swimmer
Edward G. Robinson in Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet
Robert Ryan in The Set-Up

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: Little Caesar was 79 minutes long, so length shouldn't be a problem, as long as the performance is very compelling from start to finish.

Charles Heiston said...

Luke: Yeah, that's a difficult one, but here's some i love and can't wait for him to see.

Alex Frost in Elephant
Robert Ryan in The Set Up
Tahar Rahim in The Prophet
Robert Mitchum in anything
Mads Mikkelson in anything
Christian Bale in The Machinist
James Mason in Murder By Decree
Burt Lancaster in The Leopard and The Swimmer

Luke Higham said...

Charles: What ratings would you give to all the Mikkelsen performances you've seen.

Luke Higham said...

Charles: You may need to request Mason in Murder By Decree, since I'll be requesting either one of the Stalker leads next.

Charles Heiston said...

Luke: I actually need to see more of Mikkelson myself, and Mason might get my next request.

The Hunt - 5
Flame and Citron - 5
A Royal Affair - 5
Open Hearts - 4.5

Luke Higham said...

Charles: Your quick thoughts on his performances in The Hunt, Flame & Citron and A Royal Affair. And your rating and quick thoughts on Mikkel Folsgaard in A Royal Affair.

Luke Higham said...

Charles: He's obviously really good in Casino Royale, though I'd recommend watching his work in Valhalla Rising next.

Charles Heiston said...

Luke: Valhalla Rising or After The Wedding would be my next watch for him.

The Hunt(A powerful and remarkably controlled performance, sublime work. He is simply outstanding in his complex portrayal of Lucas' horrific situation. There is not a single moment wasted in Mikkelson's magnetic and fascinating characterization. His scene in the church rises above being called an 'acting moment'.

My rating for Folsgaard would be 4.5, i'll get you the rest of those thoughts after.

Luke Higham said...

Charles: Do you consider Folsgaard Co-Lead or Supporting.

Charles Heiston said...

Luke: He's on the border, but i'd say co-lead.

The Royal Affair pair(Two compelling performances, Mikkelson carries quite some charm and chemistry through his performance as Johann, his chemistry with the rest of the cast is very electric and both are very convincing in their roles in this historical piece. Calling their performances 'lively' would be an understatement)

From what i have seen i think Mikkelson is incapable of giving anything else besides a great performance.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Two of the great endings of all time, Chinatown with the bluntness of the tragedy, and White Heat with one of the best, most fitting, villain sendoffs ever.

Alex:

I can easily have an aversion to a synth score, but I felt it worked well for the film due to Weir's sensible use of it. In that he only uses it in the lighter scenes where I found it more or less fitting. It's no Chariots of Fire when it comes to synth scores, but I think it's okay.

Matt:

Washington:

1. The Tale of his father - Fences
2. Final confrontations with Corey - Fences
3. Telling the truth to Rose - Fences
4. Midnight breakdown - Fences
5. Seeing Gabriel the first time - Fences
6. Fireside Prayer - Glory
7. Confrontation with his mother - American Gangster
8. First speech - Malcolm X
9. Steve's trial - Cry Freedom
10. Before the last speech - Malcolm X

Hawke:

1. Bathtub - Training Day
2. Making the record - Born to be Blue
3. Graduation Advice - Boyhood
4. Celine and Jesse's decision - Before Sunrise
5. The Plan - Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
6. Confrontation with Miles Davis - Born to be Blue
7. Bowling - Boyhood
8. The initial meeting - Before Sunrise
9. Confronting Harris - Training Day
10. Funeral - Before the Devil Know You're Dead

Luke:

3.5.

Covered Pesci and De Niro in the 93 supporting comments.

It's possible.

3.5/4

Charles:

No.

Louis Morgan said...

RIP Don Rickles

Anonymous said...

Louis: What are your thoughts on Joseph L. Mankiewicz as a director?

Calvin Law said...

Luke: (in no particular order)

Anthony Quayle, Ice Cold in Alex (my request)
Mads Mikkelsen, The Hunt
Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr, Heaven Knows Mr Allison
Jesse Eisenberg, The Double (my request)
Paddy Considine, A Room for Romeo Brass (my request)
Denzel Washington, Man on Fire
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Synedoche New York
Ralph Richardson, Q Planes
Samuel L. Jackson, Black Snake Moan

Calvin Law said...

Oh, and Robert Shaw and Donald Pleasance, The Caretaker

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Luke-
Amitabh Bachchan in Black
Mads Mikkelsen in The Hunt
Darsheel Safary in Taare Zameen Par (my request)
Aamir Khan in Lagaan (I'll rewatch the film to decide if he's going to be my request)
Shahrukh Khan in Chak De!
Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Synecdoche, New York

Anonymous said...

Charles, is Mikkelsen lead or supporting in Open Hearts?

Alex Marqués said...

Louis: Well, it's used in one of the final climatic moments, so I'm not sure about that... but hey, to each his own :D

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Mankiewicz's directing work actually begins a bit flashier than it ends, though still fairly light in terms of the flash. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and a Letter to Three Wives have these moments that are very much director moments, and not ineffectively so. He seemed to drop this in just a couple years as a director and moved to becoming more of a William Wyler type of director, which is to direct very much to amplify what's in the story already rather than attempting to fashion the story in a whole new way through his direction. As this type of director could make a mistake given he made the unmitigated disaster Cleopatra. Sleuth, 5 Fingers, All About Eve, and Julius Caesar are all effectively directed films though in a rather unassuming way with the focus often narrowed onto the performances.

Alex:

Which scene? The final moment is Albinoni's Adagio before it was overused.

Calvin Law said...

I'll admit Gallipoli's soundtrack hit me in all the right spots. I'm generally very lenient on film scores, though, being one of the few who thought the soundtrack to Manchester by the Sea amplified the film.

Louis: 2010s cast for Don't Look Now and The Friends of Eddie Coyle, and directors? I was thinking Ray Liotta could be a pretty good Eddie Coyle.

Alex Marqués said...

Calvin: I'm talking about the synth score. I loved the use of that classical music piece.

Alex Marqués said...

And I agree on Manchester. I liked the contrast it created better than in Lonergan's previous film.

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

Don't Look Now directed by Nicolas Winding Refn:

John: Ryan Gosling
Laura: Carey Mulligan
Heather: Imelda Staunton
The Inspector: Mads Mikkelsen

The Friends of Eddie Coyle directed by Michael R. Roskam:

Eddie: Ray Liotta (I agree)
Dillon: David Harbour
Foley: Matthias Schoenaerts
Jackie: John Gallagher Jr.
Scalise: Jon Bernthal

Charles Heiston said...

Anonymous: I find him supporting.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: The top ten actors you feel wasted their potential or were misused throughout their careers, and brief thoughts on why you feel that way for each.

Charles Heiston said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Joe Pesci in The Good Shepherd.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your top five John Cazale acting moments.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your rating for Dana Andrews in Laura.

Matt Mustin said...

Louis: What are your top 10 acting moments for Tommy Lee Jones?

Luke Higham said...

Everyone: Do you remember the first film you ever saw in a cinema/theater.

Luke Higham said...

The first I ever saw was A Bug's Life.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Luke: Toy Story

Anonymous said...

Luke: Andrews is a 3,5.

RatedRStar said...

Luke: 101 Dalmatians

Anonymous said...

So you were only like 2 years old when you saw Toy Story, wow =D.

RatedRStar said...

That was me that just typed that message just now I misclicked on Anonymous instead of my name lol.

Luke Higham said...

Anonymous: Thanks.

Louis: Lastly, your ratings for Robin Williams in The World According To Garp and Eddie Murphy in 48 Hours.

RatedRStar: I don't think anyone could remember being 2 years old. :)

Anonymous said...

Luke: I don't really remember which was the first film I saw in a cinema. I don't have the best memory for these kind of things.
Louis: Your casts/directors for 1950's versions of The Sting and The Friends of Eddie Coyle.

Charles Heiston said...

Luke: The Return of The King.

Luke Higham said...

Charles: It upsets me to this day that I didn't see Return Of The King, when I did see The Two Towers the year before.

Charles Heiston said...

Luke: Well i didn't see the first one in theaters, my father took me to Two Towers and ROTK. I was only 7-8 at the time.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Luke: Pirates of the Caribbean (I was 3-4 years old at the time)

94dfk1 said...

E.T. the Extraterrestrial for the 20th Anniversary re-release

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Thoughts on "I'll Make a Man out of You" from Mulan.

mcofra7 said...

The first movie I remember seeing in theaters is probably Lilo & Stitch. I was 4 or 5

Alex Marqués said...

Luke: Tarzan.

Michael McCarthy said...

I wanna say Hercules?

Calvin Law said...

Toy Story 2.

ruthiehenshallfan99 said...

Luke: Pretty sure it was Elmo in Grouchland. I think it was a musical

Louis Morgan said...

Tahmeed:

Tyrone Power - (Apparently he really wanted to do Nightmare Alley so perhaps that explains his bland leading performances in so many films. He was perhaps just before his time since as deeply flawed protagonists he excelled, and unfortunately was stuck as the romantic lead that just wasn't fitting to him.)

John Travolta - (Post-Get Shorty to be exact. Travolta has the opposite problem as Power, in that his role should have been as the romantic charming leads not as the villain. It seems as though perhaps it was a misinterpretation of his success in those gangster roles, since those worked through his charm, not some idea of menace.)

David Thewlis - (His work in Naked, and other films where he is given the chance suggest a very talented actor so wasted as "scholarly type" in so many prestige pictures. His later career should be a warning to Ben Whishaw.)

Johnny Depp & Robert Downey Jr. - (Both have the same problem of being in such a repetitive rut, though Downey is in a better place than Depp, their early work suggests a wasted potential.)

Mickey Rourke - (Wasted his potential at stardom then wasted his comeback, which is a shame given his talent.)

Can't think of any other really obvious ones at the moment.

Charles:

Pesci - (Good to see him again as he tears through the scene giving you the idea of the years of the mobster, and offers a really striking moment in questioning Damon's character. I wish there had been more of him and more scenes like his in that film.)

Anonymous:

Cazale:

1. "I'm your older brother Michael" - The Godfather Part II
2. Wyoming - Dog Day Afternoon
3. How to Fish - The Godfather Part II
4. The temple of the lord - Dog Day Afternoon
5. Kiss of death - The Godfather Part II

Matt:

Jones:

1. Bell visits Ellis - No Country For Old Men
2. Pete calls Rachel - Three Burials
3. Two Dreams - No Country For Old Men
4. Last burial - Three Burials
5. Clay Shaw's testimony - JFK
6. Offer to protect Llewellyn - No Country For Old Men
7. After the fight - Coal Miner's Daughter
8. "I don't care" - The Fugitive
9. Hank calls his wife - In the Valley of Elah
10. Ever look at the stars - Men in Black

Luke:

Snow White, no I'm not that old, it was a re-release, although seeing some of your answers are making me feel rather old.

Both 4's.

Anonymous:

The Sting directed by Billy Wilder:

Johnny Hooker: Kirk Douglas
Henry Gordorff: James Cagney
Doyle Lonnegan: James Mason
Luther Coleman: Paul Robeson
Ly. Snyder: Brian Donlevy
Singleton: Sig Rugman
Kid Twist: Eddie Albert
Billie: Joan Blondell

The Friends of Eddie Coyle directed by Raoul Walsh:

Eddie: Humphrey Bogart
Dillon: Edmond O'Brien
Foley: Walter Matthau
Scalise: Jack Palance
Jackie: Richard Jaeckel

Louis Morgan said...

Tahmeed:

A great song that feels rather underrated as Disney songs go, I'll never understand why both it and Hunchback were ignored by the academy in that regard. Love everything about the song from the particularly spirited vocals, to the combination of snares with the strings giving an elegant yet military style to the song. The whole structure of the how it actually makes each chorus all the more triumphant leading to its powerful end is great. In terms of montage training songs there are few better.

Anonymous said...

Louis: While Marvin was good in The Iceman Cometh, is there someone you think could have done better in the role?

Louis Morgan said...

I hear Jason Robards was quite good.