A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Wednesday's List

Haven't done one of these in a while, so why not on a Wednesday? I saw Tombstone a few days ago (yes, I know its over 10 years old, but I hadn't seen it before) and was fairly impressed with it-- quite a bit better than I expected. Part of the reason was Val Kilmer's portrayal of Doc Holliday. He was excellent-- stealing the show from Kurt Russell's more reserved, pragmatic Wyatt Earp.

It occured to me that Mr. Kilmer has been excellent in everything I've seen him in-- though checking this filmography, I haven't seen the majority of his work. Still, I think he is under-appreciated as an actor. Started me thinking about other actors that are under-appreciated, and voila:

Top 10 Underrated Actors/Actresses

10. Cate Blanchett. Doesn't seem to get the same recognition of the Gwyneth Paltrow's of the world, but she is sublime in everything she does. She has a chameleon like nature and an ability to go from cold to warm to sexy in just a heartbeat.
9. Lee Marvin. Old school, bay-bee. Never got the same recognition as some of his contemporaries, but his work in The Dirty Dozen, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and Paint Your Wagon is just fine, thank you. And he does comedy pretty well, too.
8. Clint Eastwood. Gets a lot of recognition for his directing, and deservedly so, but the man can act, too. Dirty Harry and the spaghetti westerns, sure, but his work in The Outlaw Jesse Wales, Honkytonk Man, Play Misty for Me and Two Mules for Sister Sarah is very very good. Far more wide ranging than most people know.
7. Harrison Ford. Certainly a known, A-List name, but doesn't really get enough credit for his actual acting. His work in Blade Runner is generally overlooked, as are his roles in Working Girl, Witness and Regarding Henry. And with Han Solo and Indiana Jones, Ford virtually defined the action hero for an entire generation.
6. Kevin Spacey. Gets quite a bit of press, but he's still underrated in my mind-- I would put him up there with the Deniros and Pacinos of his generation. His work in American Beauty, L.A. Confidential and The Usual Suspects was just superb. He's not quite as good in A Time To Kill and The Negotiator, but he does a great bad guy voice in A Bug's Life.
5. Vincent D'Onfrio. A bit annoying, at times, as the uber-genius cop in Law & Order: Criminal Intent, but he's got serious acting chops across a wide range of genres and much of his work on L&O: CI is riveting. Awesome performance as the "bug" in Men In Black.
4. Bill Murray. A comic genius, of course-- Ghostbusters, Caddy Shack, Stripes, Meatballs-- but also skilled with less over-the-top comic material and more serious fare. Scrooged, Groundhog Day, and Lost in Translation.
3. Sigourney Weaver. Comic gold in Ghostbusters and Galaxy Quest and not your typical damsel in distress in Alien and Aliens. Bad ass "warden" in Holes and bad ass boss in Working Girl.
2. Val Kilmer. Has done a bit of everything, and done it well. Comedy? Johnny Dangerously and Real Genius. Drama? The Doors and Tombstone. Action? Batman Forever and Tombstone.
1. Michael Keaton. Kinda got stereotyped with Mr. Mom, I think, but he ranged from Beetle Juice to Bruce Wayne with ease. Has a Tom Hanks like every man quality, but plays the bad guy as well as he does the good guy.

Now it is entirely possible that some, or all, of these actors have sucked out loud in the films I haven't seen, but in the ones I have seen they have been excellent, yet don't get A-List press. And I'm sure I've forgotten lots of folks, but it's late and I'm getting sleepy. Add nominees as you will in the comments.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Remember how lucky you are to be living, to be free, and to have all the blessings you have in your life tomorrow. And eat lots of Turkey.


I'd add Ian McKellan to that list somewhere. Anyone who can redefine how I see Gandalf in my mind's eye deserves kudos.

Other than LotR and the X-men series most people haven't seen much of his work (Gods and Monsters, Apt Pupil, etc). He and Cate Blanchette are two people who always amaze me in how they just disappear into the a given character.
Kate Winslet. Anyone seen one of her first movies, "Heavenly Creatures"? Talk about riveting.
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