Thursday, 26 October 2017

Alternate Best Actor 1988: Michael Keaton in Clean and Sober

Michael Keaton did not receive an Oscar nomination, despite winning NSFC, for portraying Daryl Poynter in Clean and Sober.

Clean and Sober loses itself in the third act a bit but otherwise I found it to be a mostly effective depiction the story of an addict going to rehab essentially just for a place to stay.

What helps the film along greatly is its cast including M. Emmet Walsh, Morgan Freeman and Kathy Baker. Michael Keaton though is of course the center of the film, and the one who makes it. In the same year as perhaps his most iconic role, or at least his most iconic role he doesn't have to share, with Beetlejuice where he played the madcap and grotesque "humanbuster", this should stand in quite the contrast as a very down to earth drama. Although that is true in some way but the roles, and films for that matter depend greatly on the unique presence of Keaton. Frankly it just seems like Keaton ought to have played a coke head at one time or another in the 80's, giving his always kinetic energy as a performer is perfect for this type of role. That is not all wasted by the film or Keaton who captures the role as basically this functioning, though barely, drug addict so effectively. In the early scenes Keaton's work grants the frantic pace needed for the character who is juggling his, embezzlement funded, stock playing, his drugs, and dealing with a fellow drug addled dalliance who dies after a one night stand with him. Keaton captures the cocaine fueled rush in every moment showing this constant excessive rate in his stressed yet so active speech pattern, and his physical energy that is enthusiastic yet pained at the same time.

What Keaton does here not only sets up the character so well, but he also keeps the tone from becoming too heavy in an effective way. It is not that this is a humorous performance by Keaton overall, however, as usual, there is a certain comic styling that Keaton so naturally delivers to the role. It isn't that he's making jokes, but rather makes things completely seem as though his Daryl would treat some of what's going around him with this certain levity. Keaton makes this work quite well particularly early on as he reacts to the other patients at the rehab with a definite lack of sincerity. Daryl after all is only there initially for a place to basically hideout due to his problems relating to his embezzlement and the deceased woman. Keaton reflects that well by portraying as more of an observer having the occasional laugh at those around him. Keaton keeps this so well in character, though he also does well to add just a few signs of withdrawal as he stays in the rehab. Keaton's approach is the right one for cocaine withdrawal as there aren't overt physical aspects, however Keaton does well to present the growing intensity in Daryl is gets further away from his last high. He builds this especially effectively as he loses any of that initial humor, before finally fully lashing out when the counselor (Freeman) refuses to let Daryl misuse the center.

Keaton is terrific in terms of realizing the gradual change in Daryl's character as he continues to stay at the rehab, as his problems do not diminish despite his efforts. Keaton never makes this easy showing well the right combination of desperation that grows in Daryl, but also the way his smarmy disregard for the place begins to slowly fade. Keaton never misses a step here and his work is remarkable in portraying the difficultly of the process. Keaton nicely never makes it this simple as though Daryl is just suddenly fixed by a single thing. He instead, in just the subtle reactions, conveys when the man truly takes something in, and generally loses that overt confidence of a man who thinks he knows all the answers. I find his scenes with M. Emmet Walsh are very strong, as Walsh plays the man who essentially insists on acting as Daryl's sponsor. Their chemistry together really works as Walsh emphasizes the patience, and support, though with a bit of strictness, against Keaton who throws a bit of venom in some of their interactions. Keaton though is great at making that wall Daryl builds real therefore earning the collapse of it as the Walsh's character's words slowly take hold. Again those reactions just are on point as every so often Keaton's eyes bring that sense of a man finally looking at himself, and understanding the chance to better himself.

The weakest portion of the film is its third act as we leave the facility and Daryl tries to reform his life. Now the problem with this is actually stops focusing on Daryl and moves over to this potential romance with a fellow attendee Charlie (Kathy Baker) dealing with her own recovering. Now there isn't anything wrong with Baker and Keaton together. Keaton is even good in not overly presenting the romantic angle too much, always keeping a certain emphasis on the genuine concern Daryl has for her. The writing here though falters as it just doesn't develop itself well enough, and the pacing of this aspect feels off. The film would have been better off just staying with Daryl's story wholly as the secondary one just seems rushed. Keaton to his credit is good in these scenes though they wrongly take the pressure off of him, until the last few minutes of the film. Keaton makes the most of those final scenes still though making his reaction to what happens to Baker's character appropriately moving even if its overall impact is diminished by the writing of it. Keaton then gets to end the film with Daryl's speech at an AA meeting. Keaton's great in this scene, although it's pretty interesting in that he probably gives one of the most realistic movie speeches because he handles it as a guy who isn't use to giving them. He stumbles a bit during it, and there isn't an overt emotion towards the audience, watching him, although we feel it through Keaton's understated approach to revealing what Daryl's word really do mean to him. Although this isn't a great film, Keaton elevates it brilliantly giving the needed substance and power to this study of an addict's recovery.

83 comments:

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Thoughts on the cast.

Anonymous said...

1. Dafoe
2. Neville
3. Keaton
4. Caine
5. Day-Lewis

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on the Downfall scene where Speer talks to Hitler for the last time.

Anonymous said...

Louis: your top 20 David strathairn acting moments

Anonymous said...

Louis: your top 20 sean penn acting moments

Bryan L. said...

Anonymous: I don't know if there's enough for even a Top 10 for Penn from Louis haha.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Bryan: Louis made a Top 20 for Keanu Reeves and Bruce Willis, Penn might not be a problem.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Could William Powell go up for The Thin Man.

Calvin Law said...

The first episode of Stranger Things 2 was way too fast paced and some of the supporting acting has gotten really amateurish, but I'm digging it otherwise I think.

Robert MacFarlane said...

So far I'm liking Stranger Things 2 way more than seasosn 1.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your cast and director for a 2010s Titanic (1997) and A Night To Remember.

Giuseppe Fadda said...

@Calvin: I’m curious, which actors did you think were off?

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

The first episode was really well done, I felt. Loved Schnapp's haunting reaction in the arcade.

Omar Franini said...

Just saw Hostiles, a solid western with a terrific performance from Bale;

Bale: 4,5/5
Pike: 3 (she could have been great)
Studi: 3,5
Bingham: 3,5
Plemons: 3
Foster: 4 (very limited but stole every scene)

Anonymous said...

Louis which out of the 3 versions of Titanic do you prefer and why?

Anonymous said...

Tahmeed: I can't see Powell getting upgraded to a 5.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Calvin: I'm also curious to know who bothers of you of the cast. The only one who bothers me so far is the guy playing Billy.

Calvin Law said...

Giuseppe: Just some of the very minor parts like the schoolkids. I do enjoy most of the new entries.

Calvin Law said...

I haven't moved past the first episode to be fair.

94dfk1 said...

Luke: I'm thinking J.A. Bayona for director. He did disaster pretty well in The Impossible.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Robert: I understand why you loved Joe Keery's work so much, he's grown on me more this season (as of the second episode).

Matt Mustin said...

Louis: What's your rating and thoughts on Peter Dinklage in Prince Caspian?

Michael McCarthy said...

For the heck of it, here are my MVPs per episode for Stranger Things season 2:

1. Noah Schnapp
2. Millie Bobbie Brown
3. Gaten Matarazzo

That's as far as I've gotten so far.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Just finished Stranger Things season 2, and I must say, it's even better than the first season. The performances, the direction, the special effects, everything is ramped up and so on point. While it wasn't flawless, it was overall a terrific (hopefully not last) season of one of the most enjoyable TV shows of the decade.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

My cast ranking-

1. Noah Schnapps- (more than makes up for his absence in the first season; he delivers a gut-wrenching, heartbreaking performance that is just a phenomenal portrait of trauma)
2. Millie Bobby Brown- (Builds on her initial outstanding performance, and takes it even further. To start with, she has amazing chemistry with David Harbour, and she handles every moment relating to her character's history perfectly. Even when the show might stumble, she never does)
3. David Harbour
4. Winona Ryder
5. Gaten Materazzo
6. Joe Keery (He's grown on me a ton. He is so poignant at the beginning of the season with his own trauma and heartbreak, and handles his character development astutely. Also, his dynamic with Materazzo and the other kids is ace)
7. Finn Wolfhard
8. Caleb McLaughlin
9. Sean Astin- (While I wasn't initially sure what to make of him, Astin fits in perfectly with the ensemble. He has an endearing dynamic with Ryder, and he is very good at portraying the swell guy that Bob simply is)
10. Charlie Heaton
11. Natalia Dyer
12. Brett Gelman- (Loved him in the little time he had, he makes Murray one enjoyable conspiracy theorist to watch)
13. Sadie Sink- (Hate to put her this low, but that's a testament to how good everyone else was. She is good in providing a new dynamic to the group, and I have to credit her for her chemistry with McLaughlin)
14. Paul Reiser-(Effectively fills in the void left by Modine, and he does reveal a little more when given the chance).
15. Dacre Montgomery- (The one miscalculated performance I felt. However, even he has some good moments, especially in the finale).

Robert MacFarlane said...

I just finished episode 6 of Season 2. My top 5 so far:

1. Paul Reiser - Much better than Modine, who I ranked far too highly originally. Smartly refuses to let his character become slimy or sinister. There's a level of genuine kindness to the way he plays it even when the character is doing something shady.
2. Millie Bobbie Brown - Glad they're allowing her to use complete sentences now. Her best moments are still with her silent vulnerability (especially the scenes concerning her mom), but she's still great in the moments where we get to see her be an actual kid. Loved the scenes of her being brat to Harbour.
3. Joe Keery - I fucking told y'all Steve was great.
4. Sean Astin - This is a good example of how to play a character who's supposed to be boring. There's so much enthusiasm and dorky charm to his work that we care about him even though his character is sort of clueless. Plus it's nice seeing someone with virtually no issues or hangups just be there to help.
5. Amy Semeitz - Glad they actually gave her something to do this season, even if it's for one episode (so far? Don't spoil it for me). Her mixture of shock, regret, and warmth toward Brown made for a few of the more powerful moments this season.

Harbour is #6.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Once you finish watching Stranger Things Season 2, could I have:
-Thoughts on the season (you could post it in Film Thoughts)
-Updated thoughts on the cast
-Thoughts on new cast members
-Ranking the cast.

Michael McCarthy said...

Update on my MVPs per episode:

4. Noah Schnapp
5. Sean Astin
6. Joe Keery

Calvin Law said...

As someone who didn't like Steve all that much in Season 1, I have to concur Keery is great. McLaughlin and Schnapp have also made great strides.

Henry W said...

Guys, I have a couple questions. What is the most impressive child actor performance you have ever seen.

Second, name the most Brando-esque performance for each year from 2014-2016.

Anonymous said...

Luke Higham

Henry W: My favourite is Kravchenko in Come And See though the most impressive I've seen when it comes to portraying a kid is Tremblay in Room.

Calvin Law said...

Henry: I'll give you a top 10

1. Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
2. Natalie Portman, Leon the Professional
3. Patty Duke, The Miracle Worker
4. Jacob Tremblay, Room
5. Hugh O'Connor, My Left Foot
6. Dafne Keen, Logan
7. Martin Stephens and Pamela Franklin, The Innocents
8. Aleksei Kravchenko, Come and See
9. Abraham Attah, Beasts of No Nation
10. Leonardo DiCaprio, What's Eating Gilbert Grape

HM: Christian Bale, Empire of the Sun

Calvin Law said...

And for most Brando-esque performances,

2014 - Tom Hardy, The Drop
2015 - Emory Cohen, Brooklyn
2016 - Joel Edgerton, Loving

Henry W said...

What would you say about Gosling in La La Land and Affleck in MBTS as being Brando esque?

Matt Mustin said...

Henry: Gosling no, Affleck sort of, but Brando was usually more mannered.

Michael McCarthy said...

Aren't we forgetting about Michael Cera in Twin Peaks?

RatedRStar said...

Good Brando performances was the rule wasn't it lol?

Bryan L. said...

Watched The Meyerowitz Stories last night. It was ok.

Hoffman-4.5
Sandler-4
Stiller-4
Marvel-3
Thompson-3
Bergen-3.5
Van Patten-3.5
Miller-3

Robert MacFarlane said...

Finished Stranger Things 2. It gets a tad shaky near the end, but overall I consider a big step up from season 1. Also, I seem to be the only person who think episode 7 was a series high.

Anonymous said...

Watched Blade Runner 2049. Loved it.
Gosling: 5
Ford: 4
Armas: 4
Hoeks: 3
Wright: 2,5
Davis: 2,5
Juri: 3
James: 3
Bautista: 3,5
Leto: 4
Olmos: 3
Abdi: 3

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your top 10 Rosalind Russell and Irene Dunne acting moments.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Robert: I found the backlash for episode 7 to be quite odd, I thought it to be a pretty enjoyable and moving episode in its own right.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Tahmeed: I mean, maybe some of the gang members were a bit much, but in terms of filmmaking it's the best episode the series has ever had. If season 1 had any episodes with this level of stylistic flair, I probably would have been kinder to it.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Anyway, final cast ranking for the season:

1. Millie Bobbie Brown
2. Joe Keery
3. Paul Reiser
4. Sean Astin
5. David Harbour
6. Amy Seimetz
7. Charlie Heaton (mostly for his scenes with Will)
8. Gaten Matarazzo
9. Linnea Berthelsen
10. Finn Wolfhard
11. Noah Schnapp
12. Sadie Sink
13. Winona Ryder
14. Caleb McLaughlin
15. Natalia Dyer
16. Dacre Montgomery
17. Brett Gelman

Michael McCarthy said...

Just saw The Florida Project. I'll have to think about the ending a bit, but I liked it a lot.

Prince: 4.5 (could upgrade)
Vinaite: 4
Dafoe: 4.5
Rivera: 3
Murder: 3.5
Cotto: 3.5

Michael McCarthy said...

Also to round out my Stranger Things episode MVPs:

7. Millie Bobbie Brown
8. Sean Astin
9. David Harbour

Omar Franini said...

Michael: can i have your thoughts on Prince, Dafoe and Vinaite?

Henry W said...

Question: Best put-on American accents by non Americans?

Vincent said...

Hey guys, been a big fan of this blog for a long time. Just started my own blog doing TV cast reviews and rankings. Would be awesome if you guys could take a look and give me some tips on how to improve haha.

https://justatvreviewer.blogspot.sg/

Luke Higham said...

Vincent: For me, I like your design and aesthetic fairly well, so I have no problems with it at all. It's nice to have a TV Centric review blog as well to add to the many film blogs that I've read including this one.

Anyway, I look forward to your GOT cast rankings per season. :)

RatedRStar said...

With Halloween coming up, what does everybody think of Hocus Pocus (1993) because I have never seen it, everybody keeps telling me its this wonderful cult classic, Louis and everyone, is that actually true? whats everyone reckon?.

Luke Higham said...

RatedRStar: It's not great, but you can enjoy it for what it is. Bette Midler I thought was quite entertaining.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

I'll save Walsh for the moment.

Freeman - 3.5(He's terrific in just being the perfect straight man against everything that Keaton does throughout the film. His "I'm not having this face" is consistently great. Freeman however though brings the right quiet passion in the role and subtle moments to reveal the characters genuine concern for those trying to better themselves.)

Baker - 3.5(Her performance eventually suffers a bit just again from the underdeveloped nature of her aspect in the third act, though again I do think her chemistry worked with Keaton. Her best scenes are inside of the rehab setting in portraying well the subtle emotional distress throughout the scenes, and slowly alluding to some improvement.

Titanic directed by John Crowley:

Rose: Saoirse Ronan
Jack: Emory Cohen (Just trying to guarantee chemistry)
Cal: Richard Madden
Ruth: Toni Collette
Old Rose: Vanessa Redgrave
Lovejoy: Ian Glen

A Night to Remember directed by J.A. Bayona:

Charles Lightroller: Joel Edgerton
Ismay: Clive Owen
William Murdoch: Toby Kebbell
Captain Edward J. Smith: Liam Cunningham

Anonymous:

An effective scene again for Ganz as he portrays as less overt reaction of rage, but is interesting as he shows instead almost a resignation in his anguish towards Speer's words suggesting his relationship with perhaps an underling he had more respect for making his "betrayal" all the more painful.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Strathairn:

1. Shootout - Matewan
2. First discussion with Lincoln - Lincoln
3. First stand against McCarthy - Good Night and Good Luck
4. Forcing Derringer to look at the letter - Memphis Belle
5. The Well - Dolores Claiborne
6. Refusing the evictions - Matewan
7. TV speech - Good Night and Good Luck
8. Raise denial - Eight Men Out
9. Communist association - The Trial of Robert Oppenheimer
10. Setting up the lobbyists - Lincoln
11. First Scene - Dolores Claiborne
12. Response to McCarthy - Goodnight and Goodluck
13. Awkward handshake - Trial of Robert Oppenheimer
14. Poor performance - Eight Men Out
15. Hearing of Hollenbeck - Goodnight and Goodluck
16. Boat - Dolores Claiborne
17. Sheriff Intro - Matewan
18. Watching the military trials - Goodnight and Goodluck
19. Meeting Pierce - L.A. Confidential
20. Reprimand - Simon Birch

Penn:

1. This world - The Thin Red Line
2. The execution - Dead Man Walking
3. The Ending - The Thin Red Line
4. Time flies - Dead Man Walking
5. In the battle - The Thin Red Line
6. The truth - Dead Man Walking
7. Kleinfeld is threatened - Carlito's Way
8. First Meeting - Dead Man Walking
9. On being a puppeteer - Being John Malkovich
10. Seeing his family - Dead Man Walking
11. Asking Carlito for help - Carlito's Way
12. A Mistake - Sweet and the Lowdown
13. The pier - State of Grace
14. False version - Dead Man Walking
15. Ending - Taps
16. Meeting Django - Sweet and the Lowdown
17. The hospital - Carlito's Way
18. Entering prison - Bad Boys
19. Trial - Casualties of War
20. The River - Mystic River

Anonymous:

A Night to Remember though that is basing it wholly on a viewing long ago. As a film though I recall it most focused on the disaster in a more of docudrama perspective, effectively so, or at least as I recall.

Louis Morgan said...

Matt:

Dinklage - (It's an entertaining performance that contributes very well to the film given he brings some much needed life to the proceedings and nicely brings enough of a welcome comedic bent within his character's grumpiness. He quite easily steals every one of his scenes, and offers the right degree of charisma that is somewhat lacking otherwise in that film.)

Tahmeed:

No, but I do really like that performance.

I'll start with the ranking, get to the rest soon.

1. Millie Bobby Brown
2. Joe Keery
3. Sean Astin
4. David Harbour
5. Paul Reiser
6. Gaten Matarazzo
7. Noah Schnapp
8. Finn Wolfhard
9. Sadie Sink
10. Charlie Heaton
11. Winona Ryder
12. Caleb McLaughlin
13. Natalie Dyer
14. Dacre Montgomery
15. Linnea Berthelsen
16. Brett Gelman

RatedRStar:

I didn't care for it when I was younger, so I probably really wouldn't like if I watched it now.

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Russell:

1. Ending - His Girl Friday
2. Asking for Divorce - His Girl Friday
3. Secret - Mourning Becomes Electra
4. Fight - The Women
5. Finding the Prisoner - His Girl Friday
6. Revenge - Mourning Becomes Electra
7. Performance - Auntie Mame
8. Apologetic - Picnic
9. Gossip - The Women
10. Murder - Mourning Becomes Electra

Dunne:

1. Hidden Suitors - The Awful Truth
2. Reconciliation - The Awful Truth
3. Divorce - The Awful Truth
4. Restaurant - The Awful Truth
5. Sabotage - The Awful Truth
6. Court - The Awful Truth
7. Hospital visit - I Remember Mama
8. Final accidental meeting - Love Affair
9. Baptism pledge - Life With Father
10. Ending - Penny Serenade

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Seen any other 2017 films.

Louis Morgan said...

Henry W:

Matthias Schoenaerts
Guy Pearce
Nicole Kidman
Toni Collette
Cillian Murphy
Hugh Jackman
Daniel Day-Lewis
Naomi Watts
Gary Oldman
Joel Edgerton

Michael McCarthy said...

I'd throw Christian Bale in there as well.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

No.

Tahmeed:

Start with the reprises.

Brown - (She's once again the best part of the series, and she effectively continues the growth of eleven here. In one hand she once again carries that certain "cool" of the part, although this time she adds just a touch of self-awareness to the character herself that actually works quite well in creating a sense of the growing confidence in Eleven. She still brings the right sense of discovering in the role and is good in showing her towards the next gradual step in the character's journey. There is still that sense of the desperation and underlying pain though and she once again is very affecting in that regard. My favorite aspect was probably her chemistry with Harbour, because they don't make it easy but rather naturally create a real tough dynamic though though slowly earn that real tenderness at its core.)

Keery - (I was glad he got sort of his expansion after having so successfully subverted the trope the first season, and now he goes even further with it to the point, I'm fully on team Steve. I loved what they did with him in this season in every regard. On one end I thought he really carried the love triangle aspect on his shoulders, because I didn't feel that was the strongest element on the other ends, he made me care about it by so earnestly portrays the character's frustrations but also his decency. I loved him though as the reluctant action heroes for the kids bringing a real nice comedic energy to both portraying Steve's confusion at dealing with the kids, but also his certain projection at attempting to be the "badass" action hero even though he really wasn't.)

Harbour - (Once again great as the legitimate badass reluctant hero here. Even though his arc was sort of complete in the first season I found he successfully worked within the smaller scale growth the character had this season in regards to his scenes with Brown. Once again they're great together in part because of how honest Harbour makes the anger in Hopper over the difficultly of it all while still keeping the underlying sense of the pain that goes in his concerns basically for everyone while striving very hard to do what he sees as the right thing even if it is a lot harder to do.)

Louis Morgan said...

Matarazzo - (Once again the most confident of the boys group overall with his performer and once again just a comedic delight. He's given an even greater focus in this regard once again and does not waste it. I especially loved every one of his interactions with Keery throughout the season.)

Schnapp - (Obviously given a lot more to do this season than he was last, and he certainly delivers. Once again, though with a lot more time devoted to this, is quite moving in portraying the intensity of his emotional anguish of his experiences and is consistently haunting in portraying what it does to Will. In the second half of his performance he's quite good again in actually downplaying the angle of what his character is doing, there was another path there I think, but it is quite effective in making what his character does a bit more subtle and enigmatic.)

Wolfhard - (Given far less to do this season, in that it almost felt like he had to runoff to film It between scenes, however this felt natural to the character, and I think he did a good job of creating the sense of withdrawal in the role to suggest how Mike's dealing with season 1 throughout. In addition, though they come pretty late for the most part, I thought he successfully delivered with all his major emotional moments something that wasn't quite the case for season 1.)

Heaton - (Thought he was quite great in his scenes with Schnapp, and once again really made you care about the relationship between the brothers. I found his work though rather limited the rest of the time as he seemed to revert to the same function must of the time. In addition I felt there just wasn't quite what there needed to be in terms of his chemistry with Dyer, not terrible in that sense, but definitely something missing.)

Ryder - (Reverts once again to the occasional over the top bug eye routine, and I didn't care for those scenes once again. I did really like her scenes she shared with Astin though and I thought they created a real endearing chemistry with one another.)

McLaughlin - (Once again his work is just a few touches away from being natural, and this is even more apparent I feel this season where the other boys I feel have become more confident. There is a sense just rehearsal really with most moments of his performance. He isn't terrible by any means, but he's not all that good either.)

Dyer - (No real sense of growth within her performance here and in portraying the pain from the previous season I felt basically everyone else did it a whole lot better. In addition she and Heaton once again do leave something to be desired in their scenes together, as I didn't feel they built it well enough here to truly make it work. In addition her drunk scene was quite dire...I'm here all week folks.)

Omar Franini said...

Just saw I, Tonya, i really liked it and Janney is coming for that Oscar.

Robbie: 4,5
Janney: 5
Stan: 3/3,5
Nicholson: 3
Hauser: 4

Louis Morgan said...

Alright and for the new class.

Astin - (Loved his performance and I'm glad to see him in a role of any sort of any real prominence, possibly his first since LOTR. Astin's work is terrific though as bring such a natural abundance of warmth to the role. Again his chemistry also really works particularly on his end because of how pure Astin makes though he doesn't make it one dimensional. Astin still brings the right degree of shyness within it, and makes Bob wholly endearing in showing the way he's trying to break down the walls in the family. He's especially good in his "technically terrible" advice to Will as he brings such earnestness in every word. Later on he's such an enthusiastic and incredibly sympathetic presence in every scene. I'm glad he got this opportunity and he certainly did not waste it.)

Reiser - (This is was brilliant casting to begin with by having it seem like Reiser is reprising his role from Aliens. In that while he seems so earnest in his moments of concern for Will and his general affability you just have to second guess him since how could you trust Burke? When the twist comes though, twist of sorts anyways, I love it as technically Reiser was simply telling the truth the whole time with his performance, and do so incredibly well. He's great in all of his scenes especially those later on where we see the true color of the man, who see that his colors were always true perhaps. )

Sink - (A nice addition to the gang though I'd say her chemistry with someone is a little underwhelming mostly just because his performance is always a little underwhelming. Sink's good in providing the attitude but not overplaying that ever too much granting the character an innate likability. Furthermore though she's quite effective in all the more emotional scenes, and is good in creating the interplay in a more general sense in suggesting the right awkwardness in the interactions as she's not quite part of the gang yet.)

Montgomery - (He really took the Billy name to heart in providing the Billy Zabka performance to the series, by the way can be get Billy Zabka sometime? Anyway he should have recognized that though Zabka's pretty intense at times as old Johnny Lawrence in the Karate Kid there is a bit of subtly there. Montgomery goes for more of a caricature of Zabka's performance and it is a bit much. He's also a bit all over the place in just how big he goes with this intensity in that there are times where he seems almost psychotically so. I will say I did enjoy his one scene outside of that approach with Cara Buono though.)

Berthelsen - (Ah yes Episode Seven, which I liked, except for the acting of the gang I thought all went a little too broad collectively, Berthelsen's probably the most subdued even then she's a touch much at times. She has good moments in her quieter scenes with Brown, though then again Brown the one who still carried them and that entire episode. Though she was the best the gang she still felt more from the caricature club. A side note I have to say, that episode probably would have been hated all the more outside of the Netflix distribution model for the episode(which I kind of hate) given its cut from the main action just as the climax seems to be starting.)

Gelman - (I actually enjoyed his performance as the weasel casino owner in Twin Peaks, however seeing him here suggests he's got a very limited range. I will say it's a bit of a shame with this part as say a Dennis Hopper in the 80's would have knocked this out of the park. Gelman goes too cartoony pretty much the whole time. Although the character is meant to be funny, the problem is Gelman tries for laughs the entire time which ruins the character. He doesn't come off as a guy who is a little funny in the head (which could result in humor), he comes off as a guy who is constantly trying to funny which was the wrong approach.)

Matt Mustin said...

The only thing I've seen Brett Gelman in is The Other Guys, where I thought he was terrible. And I actually like that movie.

Michael McCarthy said...

Omar:

Prince - (Honestly brings a whole new meaning to the word "naturalism" when it comes to child acting. Her work is so organic that it almost feels like they just let her live her own life and just added characters and a story around her. Prince is perfect at being the "annoying" child while only ever coming across as earnest and endearing to the audience. No matter how many problems she causes, she always makes it clear that Moonee's intentions are purely playful in nature through her honest performance. Because of this, she's absolutely devastating in her final scenes where she finally has to deal with a frightening situation.)

Dafoe - (Honestly just a delight all the way through as he infuses such a genuine kindness into the role of Bobby, but in a much more down-to-earth way than say his work in The Life Aquatic. He goes further than that though by portraying a constant fatigue in Bobby fitting to the character of a motel manager who constantly has to put up with the most eccentric and volatile of people. These qualities make for some very amusing reactions, especially in his scenes with any of the children where he finds the perfect balance between exasperation and genuine care. I also have to give special mention to a brief but hilarious scene where he talks to birds.)

Vinaite - (I can see why some would hate her performance because it is technically very one note. I would say this works for her character, who basically seems like she never learned how to deal with things like an adult. I'd say she finds depth in her one note, finding both a proper lack of self-awareness which causes her to act out constantly as well as a certain charm that makes it believable that some would put up with her for so long. The only time she falters is in her last scenes, which I think should have been more affecting, especially since it's juxtaposed Prince's fantastic last scenes.)

Calvin Law said...

Well I just finished Stranger Things 2. I'll say that while I don't think it quite came together as perfectly as the first season for me, it had some really beautiful high heights and in the end I loved it overall, even with the reservations, since it did so much not just to repeat itself but bring new life to its story and most importantly, characters new and old. And yeah, Team Steve but also, um, Team Dustin too! :')

For a cast ranking:

1. Brown (everything that was great about her in the first series is still here, and she's incredible in every moment showing the growing maturity but also growing pains of her past and present, and has great chemistry as before with Wolfhard and the boys, and particularly Harbour)

2. Matarazzo (loved every second of his performance, granted I loved the character to begin with so seeing him get more to do was just great. I thought he was as hilarious as ever with Dusty's antics, but also had some surprisingly heartfelt moments with Keery and with his own entrance into teendom)

3. Astin (adored his work and I think he may have left one of the most lasting impressions from such a newly introduced character in a television series, about on par with some of the Twin Peaks new entries, anyway I thought he was just the sweetest fella ever and had great chemistry with just about everyone he interacted with on the show, his 'inspirational speech' to Will was great, his enthusiasm about the maps was great, and he's terrific at amplifying the tension of the later episodes too)

4. Keery (well I love Steve now, and I'll admit I've perhaps misjudged him from Season 1, Bobby Briggs in Twin Peaks has helped me appreciate the character a lot more. Anyway he's a hilarious presence whenever he's trying to keep the kids in order as a babysitter, actually quite badass whenever we need him to be, and effortlessly balances the two sides while conveying the tensions of the situation particularly well)

5. Schnapp (great expansion of what he did so well in the original series in small doses, as in the first half of the series he's such a haunting and sympathetic victim and in the latter half, an enigmatic and yet still sympathetic, but terrifying presence. Excellent work)

6. Harbour (great as before, with less of an arc perhaps, but I still liked how he brought that good old badassery of the police chief back into play, with the strain of looking after Eleven too, but also such a tender and heartfelt humorous touch when needed)

7. Wolfhard (limited, and I'd say he didn't even get most focus out of the boys this time round, but I thought he absolutely nailed every single emotional moment he had this time round, and particularly shone in the last two episodes)

8. Seimetz (fantastic in her limited screentime as she helped to so swiftly build up Eleven's backstory with Brown and created such an affecting warmth, however brief, between the two as well as the tragic history)

9. Sink (really liked her chemistry with McLaughlin and thought she brought a lot to the table as the new girl, with just the right amount of snappy attitude and hints of her troubled home life that made her a particularly likable if occasionally distant character)

10. McLaughlin (I'd have to disagree with Louis here as I thought he improved considerably from Season 1, I really liked his chemistry with Sink and his onscreen sister and also his comic timing, he is still the slightly weaker actor out of the boys but I thought he was pretty good on the whole)

11. Heaton (as always great with Schnapp and in more limited doses with Ryder. With Dyer he's fine but I'd say the love triangle was far from the most engaging part of this season. He's not used in nearly as substantial a capacity in the previous season and thus less impactful, but he's still really good when doing what he does best as the supportive brother)

Calvin Law said...

12. Ryder (her freak-outs did not work nearly as well this time round and never built to anything quite as great as the Christmas lights scenes, and she overacted quite a bit at points, but I did like her chemistry with Astin and her quieter moments with Schnapp, Harbour, and Brown)

13. Buono (I actually wish she'd get a bit more screentime on the whole as I did find her little comic interludes quite entertaining)

14. Berthelsen (I liked Episode 7, and the performances of her and the gang to an extent, although I did think they overacted a tad bit I never thought they were terrible and served their purpose overall, and for Berthelsen I liked her quiet chemistry with Brown, though it really was Brown's show that episode)

15. Montgomery (yeah Not Zac Efron didn't really do all that much for me, though I did find his scene with Buono pretty funny on the whole, otherwise he's a fairly standard one-note brute which he does well with I suppose, although it's a bit too simplistic still)

16. Dyer (re-watching the first season did no favours for her performance, and unfortunately she's one of the weak links of this season. She has good moments, very good ones actually towards the end, but mostly just relied on the same bag of tricks and her drunken scene was pretty bad, I'll admit)

17. Gelman (ehhh yeah I think I'd have rather had a bit more of Mr Clarke, and like Louis I did enjoy him a lot on Twin Peaks, but he wasn't terribly entertaining here and more than a bit obnoxious, kept waiting for the Mitchum Brothers to come in at some point to spice things up)

Calvin Law said...

Also,

Reiser, who would be my #5, loved his casting choice and sthe surprising amount of warmth and tenderness with just enough cheeky self-awareness and humour to make for a very entertaining new character.

Anonymous said...

When I see people that come out, I often feel sorry for them as they can get bullied at school even in this era, could have been worse, they could have had a coming out like Kevin Spacey just had.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Anonymous: It's really unfortunate that what is supposed to be a deeply personal revelation had to be expressed in that manner. If the sexual assault allegations turn out to be true, I'd be even more disturbed than I already am.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: Your top ten film romances in terms of the chemistry between the actors, and your top ten TV romances.

Henry W said...

Guys, most complex performances ever?

Alex Marqués said...

1. Neil Breen in any of his films
2. The rest of performances ever given by any actor

(just kidding)

Calvin Law said...

From the youtube compilations of Neil Breen, he seems to be the unheralded Wiseau-esque genius of the age.

Luke Higham said...

Well, there goes his chance of a nomination and if true, the end of House Of Cards.

I'm very disappointed with the way he handled this situation, though as always I'll separate the actor from the person.

Calvin Law said...

Luke: it was an awfully handled situation but you know, I wouldn't be surprised if Hollywood try to cover this up again. I mean, Polanski still gets work, as does Casey Affleck (although of course that's a different circumstance), and in a different context Mel Gibson.

Stranger Things 3 could also be in a bit of a pickle due to Charlie Heaton being deported from the US. Though they could write him out I guess, it'd be a shame since I loved Jonathan in Season 1, but they could probably do without him going forward.

Calvin Law said...

Henry W:

I'd say the most complex performance of all-time would have to be something like Jeremy Irons in Dead Ringers.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your top ten scores in Average or Worse films.

Calvin Law said...

Saw Call Me By Your Name. Really liked it, though there were a few distracting directorial choices and a few overly simplistic dialogue, it was truly affecting, and in a very genuine fashion, and the ending is pretty great.

Chalamet - 4/4.5 (very good work in a tricky role as he carries the right amount of boyish enthusiasm mixed with his refined pretensions and really makes his soulful and heartbreaking journey resonate by the end.)

Hammer - 4 (the chemistry between the two is superb, and I thought he really made the dynamic work with just how much vibrant and endearing energy he brought to his performance, while effectively showing the doubts in his character's mind at the same time)

Stuhlbarg - 4 (wasn't quite sure about his whole Puckish intellectual routine to begin with, but it was enjoyable enough, and he's a nice sweet fatherly presence. His big speech though is amazing and I'd say a nomination would be deserved)

Casar - 3.5 (smaller version of Stuhlbarg's performance and effectively conveys a parent's love and understanding)

Garrel - 3.5 (good chemistry with Chalamet and managed to make the secondary relationship also fairly affecting)

RatedRStar said...

=D I need to go eat a peach xD.

Omar Franini said...

Calvin: Is the peach scene in the movie?

Calvin Law said...

Omar and RatedRStar: yeah and I do think it works well, though not one of the most impactful moments.

Louis Morgan said...

Tahmeed:

Film:

1. Nick & Nora - The Thin Man
2. George & Lorraine - Back to the Future
3. Sean & Mary Kate - The Quiet Man
4. Peter & Ellie - It Happened One Night
5. George & Mary - It's A Wonderful Life
6. Driver & Irene - Drive
7. Rocky & Adrian - Rocky
8. Various Aliases & Reggie - Charade
9. Jesse & Céline - Before Sunrise
10. Sebastian & Mia - La La Land

TV:

Hmm I'd struggle for a ten just based on the shows I've watched, Breaking Bad for example is not known for its healthy relationships.

Luke:

1. The Mission
2. Dragonheart
3. Star Trek: The Motion Picture
4. 1492: Conquest of Paradise
5. Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story
6. The Black Dahlia
7. The Phantom Menace
8. The Exorcist II
9. Only God Forgives
10. Revenge of the Sith