Sunday, 28 June 2020

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2014: Chris Pine in Stretch

Chris Pine did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Roger Karos in Stretch.

Stretch is an entertaining off-beat film about a limo driver, Kevin (Patrick Wilson), trying to solve a series of problems in a single night.

Chris Pine is an actor most would take as someone who largely plays a certain variation of different traditional leading man roles, with different degrees of success, though in the past decade has shown some impressive work in that regard, but even within those it is definitely within a certain type of role. This is what most would see Pine as unless they've seen the films of Joe Carnahan. His work in Smokin Aces, one of the few things that truly works in that film, and this film, you see a completely alien side of Pine that has no connection with his other work. In the earlier film playing a deranged gun toting hill billy uses a dead Ben Affleck as a forgiveness puppet, and here something perhaps somehow even weirder than that. Pine appears as a client for Kevin randomly by falling from the sky nearly featuring...a different side of the actor to say the least, but nearly nude anyways. This dressed up in a way like someone hit random select for a "create a character" in a fighting game. Pine is basically unrecognizable even beyond the bizarre costuming, as again this isn't anything even remotely like what you've seen from him, even in his best straight forward. Pine here speaking with growling breath and pure unadulterated insanity in his eyes. I almost forgot how bizarre this performance was but watching again, it someone got even weirder. This almost something hard to look at in the traditional sense in that everything Pine is doing here is completely insane. His blathering through words with such randomness of voice and emphasis, and his whole movement that is just whatever it needs to be, is hard to describe at times. I suppose one can say he suggests he does bring to life a wealthy man who is doing whatever he desires to do, although somehow it seems even weirder than that. This is as Pine's initial scene really only he beginning with the only expectation one can create is to expect the unexpected. Pine suddenly appearing as a deranged geisha, BDSM, samurai...I think, sure it happens, and Pine doesn't wish to be overshadowed by his appearance. This as he randomly brims with a glee, then a strict conviction of a dire manner, than a cry out of some battle cry I suppose. It is all there and the one thing I can say for sure, is that Pine's work at the very least is inspired. What more is it though? Well he is nefarious, entertaining in a strange way, energetic, jovial, bizarre, sleazy, irreverent yet irreverent with conviction. I still don't know exactly what to make of this performance if I'm being completely honest. He's just basically everything at once, and completely brutally weird. It definitely is something that doesn't not work, but I can't quite say for sure what it does exactly either...something. I thought watching the film again would clear things up, but it didn't. All I can truly say is it's something else, and I guess I'll except my defeat, throw up my hands and give him a 4....sure why not.


Luke Higham said...

Louis: Thoughts on Olive Kitteridge and the cast.

Michael McCarthy said...

Well this certainly seems to bode well for Ricardo Darin.

I actually just watched Stretch for the first time a few days ago, it was hard for me to pin down a rating/ranking for Pine as well, but I will say I absolutely lost my shit when he punched himself in the face. Also, I thought Patrick Wilson was terrific in a role that seemed like it was especially written for Joel McHale, and I’d probably give him a solid 4.5.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Any rating changes.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Michael: Joel McHale’s lackluster filmography will never cease to depress me, especially after rewatching the Community finale the other night. The dude has dramatic potential.

Calvin Law said...

Definitely interested to hear your thoughts on Olive Kitteridge, that’s one I’ve been meaning to check out too. Also glad Pine is a 4 for this here, madcap stuff.

Louis: your thoughts on the cinematography to Coming Home (2014)

Mitchell Murray said...

Definitely adding this film to the watch list, if only to see Pine's crazy turn.

Louis: Would you say that Pine is, in some weird way, underrated as an actor? I mean, he's definitely given a number of performances in more standard leading man roles, yet even within those parts, I generally thought Pine was functional. I think the criticism he gets at times really stems more from the film's characterizations than his own blandness; After all, the majority of performers can only do so much with so little. And as shown so wonderfully in...well..."Wonder Woman", Pine can be very strong and charming even with a seemingly straightforward character.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Robert: I know, right? The man deserves far more than just supporting roles in films like Ted of all things.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: I just noticed that you put an Uppercase I for Pine in the header.

Lucas Saavedra said...

Louis: your top 10 performances, from TV and film, that you like in on themselves, but dislike in terms of the impact they've had in the actor's career?

Bryan L. said...

Lucas: Johnny Depp in the first Pirates HAS to be one of them.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: thoughts on the ‘Diamonds’ scene from Girlhood? Also highly recommend it guys, I liked it even more than Portrait of a Lady on Fire.

houndtang said...

Lucas - Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest? Great performance but he did pretty much variations of it ever after

Louis Morgan said...


Overall it reminded of a less obnoxious version of John Irving adaptation, in kind of similar overall style, that being slice of life though with always some extreme potentially melodramatic element within it though not often focused upon. I didn't love it by any measure but overall it is fine sort of series of vignettes that largely works as a showcase for McDormand more than anything...speaking of...

McDormand - (Speaking of this is in her later wheelhouse of the curmudgeon though a different one here than later in Three Billboards. This in her work her is more directly internalized in that regard conveying the certain bitterness that often defines her Olive as something nearly insidious though she carefully never goes too far with this in her performance. This in the moments of her most critical and most intense towards her husband and son, McDormand plays with an honest sort emotional need or desperation associated with the act that is never lacking in connection. Her performance though nicely balances this though by not overemphasizing this. She shows it to be Olive's sort of standard approach to be cynical though McDormand naturally balances this with a bordering on kindly manner. Her best scenes though are later on in the series where it appears she's looking into a void, and McDormand is great in portraying the internalized desperation of Olive coming to the forefront where she's is indeed fantastic in portraying this raw emotion. It is great work from her as to be expected honestly, and the biggest reason to watch the mini-series.)

Jenkins - (Okay, I always like Jenkins but Mark Rylance was ROBBED of the Emmy win. Jenkins is good here though in portraying well the sort of two layers of his character. This being on the surface in that always the kindly the pharmacist who wants to be everyone's friend and tries to smile through everything. Jenkins is good in he shows that this is largely not a facade, but at times to keep it on it becomes one. He's very good in the moments where he alludes to the strain in the breaks in the moments in fighting with his wife, or the moments of seeming to consider potentially leaving her for a younger woman. It is a good performance, but again, it beat a legendary one.)

Kazan - (She's more than fine in bringing sort of a bright sprightly energy to her role, though that is what largely defines it. She does at least find enough variation in a few moments, namely her moments of portraying the grief pushing through that manner her characters suffers.)

Louis Morgan said...

Gallagher - (I will say this is a thankless role he has as his character basically is only ever onscreen when he is whining about his mother, which is easy to become tiresome very quickly. I won't say Gallagher avoids this unfortunate boxing in by the part, but Gallagher doesn't get completely swallowed whole by it either. He finds at least some nuance in there at times, and at least finds the sort of vulnerability of it in an honest way, even if the character's note still becomes a bit tired.)

Murray - (Working of course in the "Sad Murray" framework though a fine low key rendition of it. He's actually not in the series a lot but he brings his dry humor effectively here without seeming out of place. More often than not though he's actually just called upon to be charming within his somber Murray manner, and Murray's more than decent in that regard here. I don't think this is one of those performances from him that really brings out something we haven't seen before from him, but it is a fine turn.)

Everyone else is fine, though don't have enough to work with to really make an impression, Peter Mullan in particular is wasted to the degree that I'm not sure why they cast him.

No, but I'll probably move Wilson up a few spots.


I mean as to be expected it is some beautiful work to be sure. This with sort of a few sort of seemingly divergent approaches. This is that it manages to go for fairly wide scale in the composition of shots, yet grants them an intimacy in how these are realized. The color palette is muted, yet the film still feels very vibrant in the colors it does use. It manages to grant really this sense of really a winter right within the cinematography, that effectively reflects the state of the characters.


To a degree, yes.


1. Marlon Brando - On the Waterfront
2. Forest Whitaker - The Last King of Scotland
3. Morgan Freeman - The Shawshank Redemption
4. Robert De Niro - Midnight Run
5. Johnny Depp - Pirates of the Caribbean
6. Robert Downey Jr. - Iron Man
7. Jeff Goldblum - Jurassic Park
8. John Malkovich - In the Line of Fire
9. Jeremy Irons - The Lion King
10. Helena Bonham Carter - Big Fish

I like houndtang's choice, however I feel really Batman is kind of where he went "oh I can be as indulgent as I want and people will still heap praise on me?", as the majority of his work from there on carried that quality, though I don't love that performance.

Louis Morgan said...


I mean it is pretty obvious, with this along with the fire choir scene in Portrait of a Lady, she really should direct a musical. This as there's just something about the way she realizes music with the visuals, here that glorious blue tinting, that just realizes it in such an evocative way.

Bryan L. said...

Louis: Would you also qualify John Travolta in Pulp Fiction/Get Shorty? I think you once said something along the lines of him taking the wrong idea from his success in those roles.

Bryan L. said...

Also, thoughts on Joe Carnahan as a filmmaker?

Tim said...

if this was an actual ranking and not just a list i would put Downey on 1

Louis Morgan said...


No, well first that was a come back for him, but his real mistake would be marked by Battlefield Earth, where he not only took a villain role, he was willing to be in schlock.

Joe Carnahan is difficult to give thoughts on a filmmaker exactly only because of the insane differences between each of his films. Though I don't think he's made a great film yet, though has made two very good ones, those two (The Grey and Narc) though if you notice are built around a great performance and I'd say he's someone who needs probably an anchor. I say this more because his worst film is easily Smokin' Aces because it is all over the place, and feels like a perpetual first act. Although that film isn't bereft of potential, his sort of Tarantino attempt there faltered (also known as becoming a Robert Rodriguez attempt instead) and I don't think that's his strength, though I think with Stretch he came closer by pairing it down. I think aesthetically though he seems more positioned for a realistic tone, as sort over the top visuals is where he's less successful. When he pars it down, when he pars the story down, he's most successful. I think he's someone he definitely has a voice, though has trouble refining it, leading largely to successful films overall, but not achieving greatness. Thinking about it honestly, I kind of see him as the far better David Ayer in both specialize in the Manly men's films about men, where when Ayer is good it seems like luck, Carnahan on the other-hand seems like he's got something there if only he can pull it out.

Anonymous said...

Louis whats your reasoning for that 10?

Louis Morgan said...


Brando (On the Waterfront) - (Really due to the Oscar win more than anything, as being accepted by all probably encouraged his unfortunate indulgences, and as Christopher Reeve noted, him getting praise for everything did him no favors. So when came his bad work in Sayonara, and he got praise for it, no reason to be great anymore.)

Whitaker - (Going "BIG" gets him an Oscar, and basically that's all he does anymore unfortunately.)

Freeman - (Delayed a little bit since Seven came right after, but after forming that presence in Shawshank his roles became far less talent, making far less use of his considerable talent...I feel like people almost forget what he did in Street Smart at this point.)

De Niro - (Also delayed, but this was his foray into commercial, if only he brought as much devotion to his other commercial turns that he brought here, alas.)

Depp - (Combination of De Niro and Brando, great first foray into overt blockbuster work and an Oscar nomination (nearly a win), sadly led towards indulgence and basically only blockbuster work.)

Downey - (Great as Stark, but he can do other things...that's hard to do when you are only playing Stark. Also basically has all the sway in the world and he goes with Dolittle?....)

Goldblum - (Although he's found a way to come back around through the same approach, this was the creation of really the Goldblum, where his 80's work was less specific presence based.)

Malkovich - (The turn towards being the Malkovich, where he was a different actor entirely in the 80's. He can still be entertaining but I'd like to see that quiet devotion again.)

Irons - (A lesser example as he still shows his A-game in his TV work, and does have some interesting performances here and there. Still moved into too many villains in commercial fair that didn't really push him.)

Carter - (I mean she essentially became a parody performer in her work with Burton, which sadly stretched even outside of that work.)

Anonymous said...

Gotta agree with your thoughts on Jenkins. I like the minisseries more than you do, and he was certainly good in it, but "winning against one of the greatest performances in TV history" good? Hell nah. Also, Foy should have been nominated, Lewis (who was way better in Wolf Hall than in Homeland IMO) should have won over Murray (who I also really like), and Wolf Hall in general should have easily swept in the non-acting categories, in my view. Shame it's such an underrated show.

Matt Mustin said...

I would put Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler on that list, too.

Anonymous said...

What about Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman? I know you're not a big fan of the role, but after that and his Oscar win, he basically started only acting turned up to eleven

Calvin Law said...

Agreed with all your choices Louis, especially Whitaker (god I miss his early minimalist work), Malkovich, and actually Matt on Nightcrawler to an extent (I do miss some of Gyllenhaal’s earlier work though I did think he was great in Stronger, which honestly hearkens back to early Gyllenhaal more). Another one that comes to mind is Jennifer Lawrence, I liked her in that but she took the COMPLETE wrong idea as to what her strengths as an actress were from that.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Well, I found a very intriguing website that definitely made me reconsider a few category placements I’ve made over the years:

A friend of mine created a new rule for himself after finding this: No performance below 25% screentime can be considered lead, but none above 40% can be considered Supporting. Anywhere in between is up to your discretion. I’m considering adopting this policy myself (it’ll mean moving Stallone up to my lead win for Creed).

Calvin Law said...

Anonymous: I disagree as he did Donnie Brasco a couple years after, Insomnia as well, and his television work continued to show an actor capable of restraint and subtlety.

Matt Mustin said...

Anonymous: He had already done Scarface, which is like the blueprint for over the top Pacino, before Scent of a Woman.

Calvin Law said...

Robert: love that website, I’ve been using that website for quite some time, it’s an easy one to quote for specific arguments.

Anonymous said...

Matt: Sorry, forgot Scarface.
Calvin: Yeah, he did have some good roles after SoaW/Scarface, but so did most of the actors in Louis' list (Depp had Black Mass, Brando had Godfather and Apocalypse Now, Downey had The Judge (crap movie, but good performance), Malkovich had Being John Malkovich (if that counts) and Freeman (after Se7en) had... Bruce Allmighty?, never mind about him).

Louis Morgan said...


Agreed about Foy, who definitely should've been in over Kazan at the very least, and I agree Lewis should've won there as well.


Well I don't love Scent of a Woman...or Scarface as performances.


I think screentime is a very good starting point (one I'd like the academy to implement), but I do think there are exceptions to it. For example Robert Strauss actually has way more screentime than William Holden in Stalag 17, but in the scheme of that film William Holden is definitely lead while Strauss is definitely supporting.


Regarding Brando I was referring to phase 1 of his career until Godfather which was phase 2, where he set to deliver again to make a comeback...though he went back to over indulgence even faster.

I'll say Malkovich in Being Malkovich is a good example of it, but it is definitely Malkovich playing up his Malkovichness.

Although I should say my list wasn't based on if they never had a good performance again, but rather the general trend of their career/performances afterwards.

Emi Grant said...

To add to the points about screentime, I think the context of the story and the nature of the film also plays a lot into it. Casey Affleck I feel is pretty much indisputably lead, yet his percentage is just below 40%, which is due to the large cast as well as the extended runtime.

Either way, Anthony Hopkins in SoTL is my Lead Win for '91 while John Goodman in Barton Fink (who I'm perfectly aware has more screen time than Hopkins) is my supporting win for the same year and I sleep well at night knowing that.

Matt Mustin said...

Emi: I still don't get how Hopkins is lead in any way and don't tell me it's because he's iconic or because the character has impact.

Matt Mustin said...

Emi: Sorry, not intending that to sound mean, I just don't think that's a good argument.

Calvin Law said...

Holden is spot on. Peter Finch in Network is another good example of screentime/percentage not being everything. And yeah Hopkins is definitely not lead for me, I can’t even think of that many scenes which involve his direct POV.

Michael Patison said...
This comment has been removed by the author.