Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Monday, Sheila had a post up about the upcoming Coen brother's movie Burn After Reading. Somewhere in the comments, I got inspired. Not that uncommon, Sheila's got an uncommonly good blog.

Anyway, we went off on Brad Pitt and our likes and dislikes. Like I said, somewhere in there, I got inspired. I don't know what it was, but I started thinking about actors and how one actor means one thing to people (generally) and another means something else. Again I'm speaking in generalities here. For example, you may or may not like Tom Hanks as an actor but you have to agree that with few exceptions he plays the affable good guy. There are some actors who are everymen and some who are just themselves.

So, here's my exercise: Think of an actor. Think about who that actor is or what that actor means. Now, find that actor's opposite. And by opposite, I don't mean "This actor is good and this other one is bad." No, try and qualify your decisions. Here are a couple I thought of:

Gary Oldman (Clip from True Romance -- WARNING NSFW language, in case you haven't seen this):

Oldman is, in my opinion, one of the most fluid actors in film today. He can play anything, believably. Even when he's over the top, it's still just so ... enjoyable. He becomes his character. When I see Gary Oldman on screen, I often forget I'm watching Gary Oldman. I believe his character.

Is opposite to:

Bruce Willis (Clip from Death Becomes Her):

I love Bruce Willis, but I have no illusions about him being a versatile actor. No, Willis always plays variations of the same theme -- the affable everyman in extraordinary situations. Now, he might be a high-priced, hitman or mob enforcer, but somehow he still gets our sympathy or becomes the main character. That's because Willis is a real guy playing himself up there. He's who he is if he was who he is playing on screen. That translates to a likability even when he's the bad guy.

Another I thought of

John Wayne (Clip from The Green Berets)

I don't think I could write anything better than Sheila already has about the Duke. Suffice it to say, John Wayne personified machismo in a very pure way.

Is opposite to:

Nathan Lane (Clip from The Birdcage, yes that clip)

Because, while Wayne can walk like Wayne and look like he'll wipe the floor with anyone who crosses him, Lane can walk like Wayne and look fragile and demure.

Anyway, those are a couple I've come up with so far. Think about it, I'd love to hear everyone's ideas.

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