Cinecast Episode 147 – Top 10 Actors of 2009

Episode 147:
My favorite time of the year is approaching/here! Lists time. Despite some of the heavy hitters not in wide release quite yet (Lovely Bones, Crazy Heart, etc.), we start our series of annual top 10 lists this year with our favorite male performances of the year. Before we get to it, we’ve got a couple of quick reviews on current releases from Disney family fun to end of the world as we know it documentaries. Matt Gamble stop in to offer up his top ten as well as our weekly DVD picks (which tie in nicely with our top ten lists). If you’ve got some suggestion or a list of your own for top actor cred, by all means drop it in the show notes. We’ll be back next week for our top 10 female performances.
Thanks for listening!

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TIME LISTINGS:
Intros/Opening: :00
Princess and the Frog: 2:03
Collapse: 13:35
Me and Orson Welles: 22:15
Top 10: 31:19
DVD picks: 1:17:50
Next week (Avatar)/closing thoughts: 1:23:22
Outro music: 1:38:47 – 1:42:54

REVIEW:
The Princess and the Frog
Collapse
Me and Orson Welles

TOP 5 MALE PERFORMANCES IN 2009:

Andrew:
10) Sam Rockwell (Moon)
9) Fred Melamed (A Serious Man)
8 ) Ciarán Hinds (Life During Wartime)
7) Bill Pullman (Surveillance)
6) Peter Capaldi (In the Loop)
5) Liam Neeson (Taken)
4) Peter Sarsgaard/Alfred Molina (An Education)
3) Hugo Weaving (Last Ride)
2) Robert Duvall (The Road)
1) Christophe Waltz (Inglorious Basterds)
– – honorable mention: Jeremy Renner (Hurt Locker), Michael Stuhlberg (A Serious Man), Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart)

Kurt:
10) George Clooney (Up in the Air)
9) Michael Jai White (Black Dynamite)
8 ) Sam Rockwell (Moon)
7) Michael Ruppert (Collapse)
6) Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker)
5) Nicolas Cage (Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans)
4) Robert Duvall (Get Low)
3) Matt Damon (The Informant!)
2) Peter Capaldi (In the Loop)
1) Christophe Waltz (Inglorious Basterds)
– – honorable mention: Karl Urban (Star Trek), Christopher Plummer (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus)

Matt:
10) David Pasquesi/T.J. Jagodowski (Trust Us, This Is All Made Up)
9) Paul Giamatti (Cold Souls)
8 ) Kang-ho Song (Thirst)
7) Michael Stuhlberg (A Serious Man)
6) Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker)
5) Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover)
4) Steven McHattie (Pontypool)
3) Christophe Waltz (Inglorious Basterds)
2) Sharlto Copley (District 9)
1) Sam Rockwell (Moon)
– – honorable mention: Sam Rockwell (Gentlemen Broncos), Adam Sandler (Funny People)

DVD PICKS:

INGLORIOUS BASTERDS DVD GIVEAWAY!

Andrew:
Taking Woodstock (Andrew’s review)

Kurt:
Inglourious Basterds (Kurt’s review)

Matt:
The Hangover (Andrew’s review)

 

BLU RAY:
Andrew:
Inglourious Basterds

Kurt:
Inglourious Basterds

OTHER TOPICS:
Avatar (again)

 

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Kurt Halfyard
Admin

This Time Matt gets the bad-pronounciation Dunce-Cap award for his mangling of Song Kang-Ho a couple times.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Time has not been kind to my memory of Taken.

Matt Gamble
Guest

I'm totally comfortable that I mangle a foreign language that I don't speak. What's your excuse for decimating the English language week in and week out?

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

"Me fail English? That's unpossible!"

Mike Rot
Member

Jeremy Renner IS great in the Hurt Locker, and I tend to look at performances as not just acting skill but the whole package, the aura of the person, what they bring to it, and Jeremy Renner stands out as one of the best of the year.

Great picks all around guys… aside from the people I mentioned in my own post, the only one I would add is Charlotte Gainsbourg in AntiChrist. Not that the Globes matter, but a bit of an oversight not including her as best actress nominee.

and regarding me ramming Collapse down your throat Andrew, it would appear you were not listening close enough to the fact that I mentioned its available as Movie on Demand.

Mike Rot
Member

Oh wait you mean actors like men, not actors like all performers. gotcha.

Goon
Guest

is "Mike Ruppert" really pronounced "Rupert"? Do we have a bingo on another Kurt gaffe?

I just came back from Avatar, caught the midnight screening, in 3d and wanted to post an immediate reaction.

There may be a comedown, a point where I go "yeah that part was stupid", or numerous other nitpicks, however for now I am feeling pretty giddy. It's one of those 'make you feel like a kid again' adrenaline ride type movies, giving me at times the feeling from a Jurassic Park, or yes, Star Wars, or even Cloverfield or Apocalypto or District 9.

Is the plot basically Dances With Wolves? Yup, but going back to what Ebert often says to combat Kurt's line about the story, it's how it is about it, not what its about, really. And I'd say its probably a lot more tightly plotted than Star Trek, the plot of which everyone kind of glossed over because they were just happy to have a movie going so fast you couldn't think about what was stupid.

I guess that's what Avatar was for me. It's a lot of movie. It's a lot of action, the dialogue can be clunky but there's actually not a whole hell of a lot of it. It's kept terse or necessary.

I did care about the characters, but it comes more from their expressions, the look in their eyes, smiles and hisses… which of course brings to the CGI, which yeah, is the best I've ever seen, and the 3d is incorporated in such a way that was never distracting for me, to the point I forgot I was watching a 3d movie, and thus now think 3d is the only way to watch this on an initial viewing.

So in a way, its kind of a hard movie to review because its a battle of your visceral experience vs. your Monday Morning Quarterback. I think this movie is designed for the former though, and I have to say it completely delivered on its promise there, and what's done right so overwhelmingly overwhelms what's wrong that I can only give it a 5/5

If you feel otherwise I suggest heading over to the AV Club boards, which seems to already be headquarters for the haters, most of which proudly declare to have not seen it and are leeching off of the AV Club staff who seem to have universally been unimpressed.

But fuck them. They liked GI Joe.

kurt
Guest

I will be catching it Sunday Night. And I am sure it will factor heavily into next weeks cinecast.

rot
Guest

the very fact that Avatar could start off with impossible hype then bring out a trailer that most people shat upon and then somehow convert those same people back into hype, that is something only the King of the World could pull off.

I am back to being excited about it.

Henrik
Guest

More important rot, is his ability to actually deliver a movie worthy of what he's been saying.

Kurt
Guest

Yea, but it's a kids movie, right?

rot
Guest

I still expect Bergmanesque pathos.

Goon
Guest

"Yea, but it’s a kids movie, right?"

I'm not sure if that was a swipe at Henrik or a legit question

but i'll answer it straight anyways 🙂

It's less of a kids movie than Speed Racer (another movie that gave me similar glee, though this is far more populist), but more of a kids movie than Aliens 🙂

hah, i mean there's lots of death, but its not District 9 splatter gory, monsters designed with similar intention to frighten as the snow monster in Star Trek, alien tatas but carefully done so that they're not even National Geographic tame nudity (unless you're a furry, then congrats on your new wank material).

The dialogue is very very simple for the dumbest person in the room, I don't think there's a word in this movie over 3 syllables, except for the names of the characters, just about none of which I can remember.

Sam Worthington is good enough to get behind and get you invested, but to me it's all about Zoe Saldana as the Na'Vi princess, who I didn't realize is also Uhura in the Star Trek movie.

"…then somehow convert those same people back into hype"

It won't convert everyone. bluntly, the movie is part James Cameron slick-cool and part Dragonforce lyrics come to life, so you have to kind of embrace the inherent cheesiness of that fantasy world. I don't think anyone on R3 would have a problem with this, but other people might have their sexuality threatened by the colorful cat people and just give a one word "gay" review.

And there'll be others who went too far down the anti-Avatar trail to come back, some people too scared to flip flop or something or admit they were wrong.

And others will just legit hate it, as is the case with anything. Unfortunately though those months of anti-hype make sorting out the former from the latter more difficult than most other movies.

Goon
Guest

I think Avatar's real danger is that there's so damn much to look at, and for so long, that it could pummel people to a point where they just can't take it anymore.

Goon
Guest

oh, and the movie subtitles are in Papyrus 😀 – ridiculous, but awesome at the same time.

Which reminds me – Kurt, I just rewatched the Class on DVD and was very upset to find that the subtitles were no longer overly large, fat and bold. Movie still rules, but its just not the same.

Kurt
Guest

I seem to recall the subs for THE CLASS actually changing font at one point for about 3 lines of dialogue, then changing back. Weird.

Kurt
Guest

(That was the theatrical release, not the DVD)

Henrik
Guest

"Yea, but it’s a kids movie, right?"

I too feel this is a swipe, but it is born out of a misunderstanding. One that is created out of Kurts feelings of discomfort with his reality! (I will try and write less ridiculous now):

Children are allowed in the world. People are allowed to like children. People are allowed to like stuff that is meant for children. I like model trains. I like wooden castles, and I like tin soldiers. I just don't pretend they are psychological and sophisticated ways to interpret my psyche or the human condition. I mean, Inglorious Basterds is my favourite movie of 2009, but I would never accept anybody saying it is a deep movie.

The problem that children have with childrens movies, is that they think they are movies for adults. A child has no perception of what adulthood is really like, so when they see stuff like Ratatouille and experience nuances they have never experienced before, they claim it to be a masterpiece. This is fine, if you are 7 years old I expect nothing else and encourage this practice, but if you are 30 years old, I will look at you with a strange face and ask if you are serious. If you say yes, I will ask with a straight face: "Are you a child? This is a movie for children."

Kids movies can be awesome. Adult movies can be awesome. There are differences in awesomeness (I am currently in early stages of planning a theory about how I perceive film, which I won't go into here), that allow each film to be amazing on its own terms. If you ever hear me say that Avatar meant something emotionally or intellectually to me, you may also stop up and ask me if I am a child.

Goon
Guest

Henrik apparently lives in a world where things are only for adults or only for children. You can keep looking at me with a strange face about Ratatouille, you're living in the crazy world.

Henrik
Guest

Things aren't only for children or only for adults in generel, but SOME things are. Like the intellectual content of Pixar movies, or Clerks 2.

I don't want to sound too mean about stuff like Ratatouille, I understand why people like it and it's fine, I don't really care, people can like whatever they want, it's worse when they start preaching. I just used the example here for (I would think) obvious reasons.

Goon
Guest

You deserved Kurt's swipe. On FilmJunk and R3 lately you've really been baiting a lot more than usual.

Henrik
Guest

I have? Where?

Goon
Guest

well for example, on a number of the 'best of the 00s' pages, it seemed you were really poking for a fight from someone, and it seemed people generally ignored your posts. in some cases you kept reposting as if seeking attention, or just upped the snark as the days went on. go look for yourself.

Henrik
Guest

Maybe the lord of the rings stuff? That's just one of my major pet peeves, people who praise Lord of the Rings. I also have been pretty heavily drinking these past weeks, so maybe there's one or two ill-thought out arguments in there that seem like just blabbering on for the sake of it.

Andy
Guest

Henrik, very rarely will I ever agree with you about anything, but I definitely agree with your point here. I think you have to be able to qualify movies so that you can give them a fair shake. It wouldn't be fair to say that because something like 'The Lion King' elicits emotions from a 9 year old kid (I'm not saying I cried in the theater when Mufasa died… okay, don't judge me) that it's just as powerful of a movie as 'Schindler's List', which makes adults cry.

And I also found myself having that same discussion about 'Inglorious Basterds' this week. I had to explain the difference between my favorite movie (I.B.) and what I thought the best movie of the year was.

Henrik
Guest

Well, I don't really hold one higher than the other, my favourite film is always the best film in my opinion. I think The Lion King is a better film than Schindler's List, kids movie or not.

kurt
Guest

I too look forward to appreciating THE WHITE RIBBON may more times to come. It's a heck of a film. Overwhelming to process the first time around.

Rusty James
Guest

Andrew, I don't get it. How are you evaluating "the best film"?

It's almost like when people fixate on this they're trying to distinguish between the subject and the objective. But it's impossible. Artistic value is always subjective.

kurt
Guest

I agree that there is not possiblity of objectively coming up with 'the best film' so simply go with what you are passionate about. I'd sooner read a passionate defense of Semi-Pro than a wrote 'it's art' description of The White Ribbon. And that is me even liking The White Ribbon.

rot
Guest

its easy for me because my star ratings are directly in line with how a film affected me, considering those that resonate stronger, that are more than just a two hour escape, and of higher value than something else.

I just watched Avatar and it is great, I enjoyed the hell out of it, but it is also largely spectacle and lasts as much with me as fireworks. So I don't consider it one of the best films of the year, and I don't really care about the gamechanger hype, like I have said before I am not a film archivist. It is a solid film though.

Best film of the year is the film that you can't stop thinking about.

rot
Guest

I enjoyed The White Ribbon, and only because of the sheer number of quality films, it didn't make my top ten. Quality of craft is a means to an end, not an end in itself to justify something being the best.

Rusty James
Guest

It's sort of empty to talk about how Film X is "meaningful" if you yourself failed to take much meaning from it.

Meaning is a necessary qualifier for all films that I would consider great. And I would argue passionately that all the film I hold dear have great meaning; from Holy Mountain to Eraserhead to Back To The Future to Solaris to Inglorious Basterds.

Rusty James
Guest

One of the reasons I don't like a lot of the acclaimed artsy directors is that I feel like they presume to lecture me about their own importance. They take the stance of being great artists but I don't see it in their work.

Quentin speaks to me on a more profound level than Kiarastami or Manuel De Oliveria could ever hope.

Henrik
Guest

Yeah, I'm with Rusty on this. The other position seems like saying: "I may not be smart enough to get anything out of this, but I better proclaim it to be great art so as not to be ridiculed". People should stick to their guns, and embrace the fact that they like what they like, instead of what other people would claim is worth liking.

I watched It Might Get Loud by the way and it was dreadful.

I also watched Collapse and it was awesome. I don't recommend it to people who have children though.

rot
Guest

There is a perverse thrill to show Collapse to people who have the capacity to think but are also too preoccupied with partisan politics to really absorb the big picture.

Goon
Guest

"I’d sooner read a passionate defense of Semi-Pro than a wrote ‘it’s art’ description of The White Ribbon. And that is me even liking The White Ribbon."

You need to read some Chuck Klosterman books then.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_Drugs_and_Cocoa_

Kurt Halfyard
Guest

Stephen Lang in Public Enemies.

Rusty James
Guest

Kurt, you're obsession with that film is weird. That film didn't have characters. Stephen Lang was in it? How many lines did he have? Was he one of the Arizona law men?

Kurt Halfyard
Guest

Um, he is kinda the guy who shoots Dillenger, He is kind of the guy who has the last line of dialogue in the film. Yea, He's in the movie, and he is pretty awesome.

I found Public Enemies far more compelling to watch than Avatar, and not just Lang. Different strokes however. I guess my 'game-changer' movie was Miami Vice.

Rusty James
Guest

I love Miami Vice. Even more on rewatch. Public Enemies is lame.

And yes, we should all be mad that Avatar isn't more like Miami Vice. Waaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!

Rusty James
Guest

@ He is kind of the guy who has the last line of dialogue in the film.

I bet the line was "Dillinger, I'm gonna shoot you because you're a Public Enemy…'s".

Kurt Halfyard
Guest

Have you seen Public Enemies, Rusty?

And your 'crying' thing ("Waaaaah") – are we taking, are we having a conversation here? Or is throwing hyperbole at me and shouting what this conversation has devolved in.

I'm seriously trying to articulate why Avatar was not as 'satisfying' as perhaps the rest of the folks around here. I'm not trying to change anyones opinion or browbeat them verbally, I'm seriously trying to have a conversation. I hope I am not the only one…

Henrik
Guest

Stephen Lang in Public Enemies has an epic introduction, then shows up sporadically. His character is the same as in Avatar, only has less lines and thus fools Kurt.

Henrik
Guest

"I’m seriously trying to articulate why Avatar was not as ’satisfying’ as perhaps the rest of the folks around here. I’m not trying to change anyones opinion or browbeat them verbally, I’m seriously trying to have a conversation. I hope I am not the only one…"

I certainly hope you don't feel I am not trying to engange in a serious conversation about the movie. I think I've been pretty respectful, though I did open with a biting joke, as is customary.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

@Henrik,"His character is the same as in Avatar, only has less lines and thus fools Kurt."

He has far more dialogue in Avatar than Public Enemies. Mann is far more about the image and the fell than Cameron is. Cameron makes sure everyone, even the deaf people, have gotten the point before moving on. He has a great imagination, but hammers, hammers, hammers in his story points.

Henrik
Guest

"He has far more dialogue in Avatar than Public Enemies."

Yeah that's what I said. In terms of character, he plays the same one, I think your argument is more directed towards how the character was utilized. I guess that is a big part of characters in movies in general, I mean people love Chewbacca, but if he were the main character, they probably wouldn't. I mean Jar Jar is basically Chewie or R2-D2, only he speaks english.

Rusty James
Guest

@ Stephen Lang in Public Enemies has an epic introduction, then shows up sporadically

yeah, off the train right? One of the several elements of the film that comes in, looks around for something to do, and then drops out awkwardly.

It really can barely said to be a performances.

I can't quite put my finger on why I MV works but PE doesn't. Their both off in similar sort of way. MV doesnt have much going on with the characters either. But it adds up to a strange and beautiful sum. Like someone spent $150,000,000 recreating their favortie episode of COPS.

It also helps that I think MV is one of cinematographic highlights of the decade.

Rusty James
Guest

@ I mean people love Chewbacca, but if he were the main character, they probably wouldn’t. I mean Jar Jar is basically Chewie or R2-D2, only he speaks english.

ha ha. I was just thinking this exactly the other day. Or another way; R2 with lines would just be C3PO. And in Attack of the Clones he gave Boba Fett lines revealing once and for all that the characters entire appeal was that he had a cool jet pack.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

@Rusty, "It also helps that I think MV is one of cinematographic highlights of the decade."

On this we can wholeheartedly agree.

Goon
Guest

I'm with Team Gamble on Miami Vice. I couldn't get through the whole thing, it was a pain to watch.

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

Back. Infidel. Back. The Power of Vice compels you. The Power of Vice compels you.

😉

Kurt Halfyard
Admin

A couple of other Honorable Mentions:

Jackie Earle Haley in Watchmen

Tom Waits in Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus

Isaach de bankole in Limits of Control

Viggo Mortensen in The Road

Mads Mikkelson in Valhalla Rising

Rusty James
Guest

@ Isaach de bankole in Limits of Control

N O W A Y ! it's not even a real performance. That film is complete horse feathers.

And I love Isaach de Bankole. And Jarmusch. But forget that movie.