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Favorite Performances

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I have a whole bunch of favorites but these are ones off the top of my head:

 

Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger. Loved her through all of the movie but specifically this scene:

 

 

Sam Rockwell as Guy in Galaxy Quest. Specifically this scene:

 

Salvatore Corsitto as Bonasera in the opening of The Godfather:

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It's not my favourite performance, but the first thing to come to mind was Anne Hathaway as Kym in Rachel Getting Married. In the hands of a lesser actress Kym could be difficult to care for because of some of the darker aspects of the character, but Hathaway made me like her despite some of her more negative characteristics. It's a funny performance at times, too, and there are so many good acting moments throughout. My favourite scene might be at the salon when someone from rehab approaches her and tells a touching story about a confession Kym made, and at first she seems amused, but as the scene goes on you can just tell that Kym has no recollection of meeting the man in rehab, making it clear that the story she told him was a lie.

 

Ellen Page is an actress I love no matter the project, but there's something about Juno, both the character and the movie, that I adore. I always enjoy the sarcastic, wise beyond her years teenager, maybe because I can't wisecrack to save my life, but there's a vulnerability to the character that I loved, too. Also have to mention her downright chilling performance in Hard Candy.

 

I also thought Hayley Atwell was the highlight of the first Captain America movie. Scarlett Johansson was the highlight of the Winter Soldier.

 

Drew Barrymore really surprised me in Scream. Very effective opening sequence.

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Another Anne Hathaway scene that I love, is her stone cold dialogue with Ennis when he found out that Jack had died.  Hard to believe she was only 23.

 

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Roony Mara in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. She made the character terrifying yet vulnerable and deeply caring. 

 

Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss in Jaws, just love their interaction. 

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Joan Allen's Pat Nixon is just so, so good. Bitter and angry and resigned. Equal parts empathy and exhaustion. Best biopic performance I have ever seen.

"When do the rest of us stop paying off your debt!"

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Katie Holmes in Pieces of April. And trust me, no one was more surprised than me.

I second that.  I really loved that movie. 

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Because I can't say it enough (as evidenced by several of my posts in various threads here lol), Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday in Tombstone

 

 

My favorite Morgan Freeman performance has to be as Joe Clark in Lean on Me (Robert Guillaume is awesome in this scene too)

 

 

Al Pacino's closing argument in ...And Justice for All still gets me hyped when I watch it (I wonder if this is the movie that broke his voice and why he sounds like he's been gargling with battery acid the last 20 years lol) *Pardon the subtitles*

 

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Because I can't say it enough (as evidenced by several of my posts in various threads here lol), Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday in Tombstone

 

 

Hell yes! He's had so many amazing roles, though. He completely channeled Jim Morrison in The Doors. A personal favorite of mine is Real Genius. I also love him in Willow and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

 

I absolutely adore Kurt Russell in Big Trouble in Little China. Everything about Jack Burton cracks my shit up.

 

Ian McKellen as Gandalf is just the best.

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Oh TCM.  How can you have 'Barbara Stanwyck day and not show 'The Lady Eve.'?

 

Is there a seperate thread for Turner Classic Movies?

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I'm sure I'll continue thinking of more, but the first two that popped into my head were Matthew McConoughy doing the final argument in A Time to Kill.  Rumor has it that he did it in one shot.  My husband used to work in the business and isn't convinced of that because of different camera angles and it's not that common to have more than one camera running at once, but maybe.....

 

 

And Tom Hanks doing what I've heard is the most realistic depiction of someone in shock that people who know what it looks like have ever seen in Captain Phillips. Even if you don't know what real shock looks like, it's an impressive performance:

 

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Matthew McConaughey was great in A Time To Kill; it's not an easy movie to rewatch but I will try to catch the closing arguments if I see it's on.

 

I haven't seen Captain Phillips yet, but my goodness...Tom Hanks is great in that scene. Speaking of Tom Hanks, as much as a lot of people (understandably) can't stand Forrest Gump, this scene here is why I can't dispute his winning the Oscar for it. Forrest's worry that his son may be like him hits me right in my heart every time

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Val Kilmer is brilliant in Real Genius, which is one of my favorite comedies of all time.

The best partnership on screen is Redford and Newman in both Butch Cassidy and, even more, in The Sting. Just watch them interact throughout the film, and you forget that Hooker is supposed to be much younger than Redford was.

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Speaking of Tom Hanks, as much as a lot of people (understandably) can't stand Forrest Gump, this scene here is why I can't dispute his winning the Oscar for it. Forrest's worry that his son may be like him hits me right in my heart every time

 

I love Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump. I don't care how many people hate on it. My favorite performance from him is in A League of Their Own, though. 

 

Favorite Brad Pitt performance: Kalifornia and Interview with the Vampire. The latter is also my favorite Tom Cruise performance because he's actually playing against type for once, and he really nailed the Lestat character. Having said all that, I don't even particularly like either of those actors, but those roles do stand out for me.

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Oh Brad Pitt is so haunted in IWV. I agree, it's prrobably one if his best roles. He really nails Louis' suffering.

Now I disagreed w/Tom Cruise as Lestat. Then & now. Yes, he finally acts for once. Can u imagine the enthusiasm Johnny Depp would've had for the role? Or Gary Cole? Or Tom Selleck? Even John Schneider? Any of them would've been better. Though my preference would've been GC.

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Speaking of Tom Hanks, as much as a lot of people (understandably) can't stand Forrest Gump, this scene here is why I can't dispute his winning the Oscar for it. Forrest's worry that his son may be like him hits me right in my heart every time

 

Speaking of speaking of Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump, the screentests have just surfaced. Even without the accent he used in the movie(which I now realize he was copying the little boy who plays young Forrest) he's very effective. Also looking at it Robin Wright is sooooo great in it as well. Also Haley Joel Osment was adorable:

 

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Now I disagreed w/Tom Cruise as Lestat. Then & now. Yes, he finally acts for once. Can u imagine the enthusiasm Johnny Depp would've had for the role? Or Gary Cole? Or Tom Selleck? Even John Schneider? Any of them would've been better. Though my preference would've been GC.

 

Tom Selleck as Lestat just made me laugh out loud! Sorry. I just can't imagine such a thing. 

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Now that he's been mentioned, Gary Cole as Mike Brady in The Brady Bunch Movie and The Very Brady Sequel. He had Robert Reed's cadence down and it was hilarious:

 

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Face/Off is not a good movie...at all. But I love John Travolta, post face-swap, as "Castor Troy"...he's a great bad guy. In fact, I only really like John Travolta when he's a bad guy (or at least an anti-hero like "Chili Palmer" in Get Shorty )
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I'm in a group that discusses movies (kind of like a book club but with movies instead) and this week we are going to watch The Dallas Buyer's Club.  I offered to facilitate and have since seen the entire movie a second time (first time in theaters) and then certain scenes I want to focus on a third time.  I understand some of the controversy over Jared Leto, but there are some scenes in the movie where I'm more and more memorized by his performance every time I see it.  I'm also more and more impressed with Matthew McConoughy.

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My all-time favorite, Gregory Peck in To Kill A Mockingbird.  His portrayal of Atticus Finch was exactly what I'd imagined while reading the book.  And even my teenage self thought he was swoon worthy, even in black and white.

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Just seen Billy Wilder's brilliant and dark Ace in the Hole, which is as relevant about what it says about the media today as it was back in 1951 when it was released. Not only is Kirk Douglas fantastic as the cynical big-city reporter who exploits a man trapped in a cave in for his own benefit but Jan Sterling as the poor guy's wife who's just as hard-hearted:

 

 

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Face/Off is not a good movie...at all. But I love John Travolta, post face-swap, as "Castor Troy"...he's a great bad guy. In fact, I only really like John Travolta when he's a bad guy (or at least an anti-hero like "Chili Palmer" in Get Shorty )

LOL

 

I love Face/Off and I love JT as Castor Troy too. I also prefer Nicolas Cage as Sean Archer. As much as I love JT as a bad guy(watched The Punisher yesterday), I love NC as a good guy. Everytime I watch Face/Off, I squeal for the moment when NC says Well, if you are Sean Archer, then I must be Castor Troy.

 

A few off the top of my head:

Denzel Washington in Malcolm X and Training Day

Russell Crow in Gladiator (especially his My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius speech)

Can't mention Gladiator without mentioning Joaquin Phoenix.

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I could practically list Joaquin Pheonix's entire career here, but I will say my favorite performances from him are Commodus  (still wish he would've won the Oscar that year) and Johnny Cash.  

 

I have a few comedic performances I'll list, since they were the first that came to mind when I saw the thread.  My very favorite Reese Witherspoon role is Elle Woods.  Elle could've been shallow and silly, but Reese gave her real heart, and really sells that no only is Elle a good person, she's smart and capable, even when everyone around her has dismissed her entirely.  And she brought some real emotion to the role - she breaks my heart when she says to Warner "I'm never gonna be good enough for you, am I?"  

 

I also love Alicia Silverstone's performance in Clueless.  Again, it would've been very easy for an actress to make Cher just shallow and dumb, which granted, for quite a bit of the movie she is.  But Alicia makes her so very likable, and the movie's success hinges on her likability, and it just works.  

 

One dramatic role that always sticks with me is John Cazale in Godfather Part 2.  Other roles in that movie might be flashier, but his Fredo just kind of punches you in the gut.  His "I'm smart and I want respect!" just kills me. 

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Favorite Brad Pitt performance: Kalifornia

 

My God, someone besides me has seen and loved Kalifornia. Juliette Lewis was great as Adele, Early's dim-bulb girlfriend. Honorable mention goes to Michelle Forbes, if only for the line, "God, Brian, they look like Okies."

Face/Off is not a good movie...at all. But I love John Travolta, post face-swap, as "Castor Troy"...he's a great bad guy. In fact, I only really like John Travolta when he's a bad guy (or at least an anti-hero like "Chili Palmer" in Get Shorty )

Bite your tongue, Face/Off is awesome. I do roll my eyes a bit at the names (Castor? Pollux? Really?) but the scene where Nicolas Cage is dressed like a Catholic priest and twerking his way across this huge expanse of floor makes that ridiculousness worth it.

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I'm not a fan by any means and this movie came out right in the midst of Leo-Mania but Leonardo DiCaprio in Man in the Iron Mask really impressed the shit out of me. I watched that movie because of my never ending love for Gabriel Byrne, Jeremy Irons and John Malkovitch but Leo just impressed me. You could tell which twin he was in moments just by the way his eyes would move. 

 

I had to give it up to him in that one.

 

(This movie also has the unintentionally hilarious moment of 'Magnificent valor!' when the Musketeers make their charge. Seriously, the guy who says it seems like he's coming in his pants at the sight of the Musketeers and their valorous charge.)

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Sorry to go off topic, but there isn't one for my question and there's no need for a new topic.  I'm putting it here, because the movie won Best Picture, so there has to be some great performances in it:

 

I need your opinions.  My 8th grade daughter said that on Back to School Night next week, her history teacher is thinking of asking parents permission to watch 12 Years a Slave. I know I should watch it and make up my own mind, but I get way too emotional over movies like that and, while I understand how important they are, I just have to wait until I'm sure I'm ready for them.  My daughter's a pretty strong kid emotionally, but, is 13 too young for this movie no matter what kind of kid you may have?  What would you say to the teacher?

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My suggestion: you and your daughter should watch it together-which should be easy if you have HBO, since it makes its TV premiere tonight at 8 P.M., EST. As someone who has seen 12 Years A Slave, I thought it was a powerful film with brilliant performances, but it does have many disturbing moments. If you and your daughter do watch it together, you should talk about it afterward, because I think that it could help you both to deal with it. 

However, it does have a "happy" ending, so it's worth all the pain IMO.

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The first one that comes to mind for me is Ellen Burstyn in Requiem for a Dream:

 

 

"I like thinking about the red dress and the television, and you, and your father." The way she says that line just breaks my heart. That Julia Roberts beat her to the Oscar that year is still a travesty.

 

Christian Bale in American Psycho is another favourite. And in Fighter. The man may be an ass, but he's a fantastic actor!

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Thanks, DollEyes.  It just so happens that we were getting a free HBO preview this week, so I'll record it and if the teacher does ask permission, then we'll watch it together.  Also, I don't want you to think that we shelter our kids--we talk a lot about what's happening in the world and history, but it's whether or not the images are too much at this age. 

 

Let me get back on topic:  Princess Sparkle mentioned comedy performances and I agree that they shouldn't be dismissed (I loved Alicia Silverstone in Clueless for the same reasons you mentioned).  I thought Marissa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny was brilliant.

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I also loved Sam Rockwell in Galaxy Quest (it helps that I love that movie). 

 

The person I thought of when I saw the title of this thread was Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean. Roger Ebert said: "It can be said that his performance is original in its every atom. There has never been a pirate, or for that matter a human being, like this in any other movie." I've seen performances that I thought were great, but I can't think of one I saw where the performer made the part so original, taking nothing whatsoever from the past. 

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My suggestion: you and your daughter should watch it together-which should be easy if you have HBO, since it makes its TV premiere tonight at 8 P.M., EST. As someone who has seen 12 Years A Slave, I thought it was a powerful film with brilliant performances, but it does have many disturbing moments. If you and your daughter do watch it together, you should talk about it afterward, because I think that it could help you both to deal with it. 

However, it does have a "happy" ending, so it's worth all the pain IMO.

I have to say, I agree with this.  I mentioned this in a different thread, but as a 7th grade (or it might have been 6th), we had to watch Schindler's List as a large group, and let me tell you, it didn't get out of my head for awhile.  If I had been able to watch it with my parents beforehand, I think it would've made for a much better experience.

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Thanks, DollEyes. it just so happens that we were getting a free HBO preview this week, so I'll record it and if the teacher does ask permission, then we'll watch it together. Also, I don't want you to think that we shelter our kids--we talk a lot about what's happening in the world and history, but it's whether or not the images are too much at this age.

 

  Not only do I not think that you're sheltering your kids, that never even crossed my mind in the first place, so no worries. Image-wise, there are many graphic ones to worry about, which IMO is all the more reason why young kids shouldn't watch it alone.

 

  On-topic, speaking of 12 Years A Slave, of all its great performances, the ones that spoke to me the most were those by Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender and Lupita N'yongo. As Solomon Northrup, Ejiofor was perfect. His plight moved me from the start. The more he suffered, the worse I felt. Next, there's Michael Fassbender. Fassbender's Epps was a monster, but he showed just enough humanity to make me almost feel sorry for him. Then, there's Lupita N'yongo's Patsey. To call her performance devastating would be an understatement. Like Solomon, Patsey's story not only moved me the whole time, it showed why Lupita N'yongo's Best Supporting Actress Oscar and its other wins, including for Best Picture, were so well-deserved.

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Katie Holmes in Pieces of April. And trust me, no one was more surprised than me.

Whenever I hear anyone say Katie can't act I always tell them to watch Pieces of April, "The Gift", and "Wonderboys".  With good material and a good director, she always impresses. 

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Bruce Willis in Unbreakable--it's probably his best acting ever. I know that's not saying much.

 

Bruce Willis had two awesome performances, both on tv.  When he was a mob boss in "Miami Vice" and the cops found out that his wife had hired a hit man to kill him.  And in "The Twilight Zone" when he plays a man who is literally fading away.

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Joey King really impressed me in two of the films that I've seen of hers: as Ramona Quimby in Ramona and Beezus, and as Emily Cale in White House Down. The Ramona role of hers really impressed me in how close the film was to the Cleary stories, and personally, I think that Joey was the better of the two actresses who have portrayed Ramona (Sarah Polley was the other one, in the 1988 PBS Ramona series; I saw some of that from YouTube, and, IMO, it really wasn't all that). 

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Bruce Willis in Unbreakable--it's probably his best acting ever. I know that's not saying much.

I have to say, I think my favorite performance he's ever turned in was in Death Becomes Her.  It's a shame he doesn't do more comedy, because he was so freaking funny in that.  "The morgue??  She'll be furious!"

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And in "The Twilight Zone" when he plays a man who is literally fading away.

 

"Shatterday." Soooo cool!!  Based on the Harlan Ellison short story. I saw that when it was first broadcast and really liked it a lot.

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I have to say, I think my favorite performance he's ever turned in was in Death Becomes Her.  It's a shame he doesn't do more comedy, because he was so freaking funny in that.  "The morgue??  She'll be furious!"

And you never think of Meryl Streep being able to pull off a zany role like Madeline either. "Ernest! You pushed me down the stairs."

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Don't forget the utter genius delivery Meryl makes of "She's dead??? These are the moments that make life worth living."  That movie is seriously one of the most underrated black comedies ever made.

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Don't forget the utter genius delivery Meryl makes of "She's dead??? These are the moments that make life worth living."  That movie is seriously one of the most underrated black comedies ever made.

Couldn't agree more.  Although I have to say as great as Meryl and Bruce are I adore Goldie Hawn in it.  She is used to doing more over the top zany comedy so it was nice to see her play the comedy "straight".

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I've been on a bit of a weird Apollo 13 kick, rewatching it a few DVD chapters at a time over the last few days, and I'm once again thoroughly enjoying Ed Harris's role as Gene Kranz. Kranz isn't an easy person to play without lapsing into a 'good guy' parody - this is the guy who wrote and delivered what came to be known as the Kranz Dictum in response to the Apollo 1 tragedy - but Harris never fails to make him entirely realistically human. It'd be easy to make him too nerdy or too much of an optimist. Instead, he's a consummate professional who won't even entertain the idea of losing three astronauts, simply because it's his job to get them home safely. And when they do get home, that's when he can quietly collapse. Truthfully, I'm still a little pissed that he lost the Oscar on this one.

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Has Ed Harris ever turned in a performance that wasn't good? He's not the flashiest of actors, but he's one of the ones you can always depend on getting your money's worth from.

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One of my favorite Ed Harris performances is in a little-known George Romero film from 1981 called Knightriders.  The film is about a troupe of motorcycle performers who act like knights jousting in their act, but it's a take on King Arthur and the round table. Harris plays the leader of the troupe named Billy, but his is the King Arthur role.

 

Here's the trailer:

 

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