Sunday, May 29, 2011

Joel's Top 50 Films Of All Time: My favorite actors and actresses (and two honorable mentions)

So, after giving you all the films I love.... I thought it might be nice to give you a short list of some of my favorite actors and actresses. This isn't too comprehensive, as I go through moods. These are the ones that consistantly stick aroun in my top spots, so that's what put them here. I've also included two 'honorable mentions'.

Why no writers or directors? Well, I'm not 100% sure why. If you're curious, I'd be happy to throw it together. Here we go!

Favorite Actors:

3) Chow Yun-Fat

Yes, I fell in love with Chow Yun-Fat like a lot of the rest of the world did.... because of Quentin Tarantino. I'm so happy that he brought him to the public's attention. He's an amazing talent and I keep hoping he'll work with Quentin someday soon. It has been said about Chow Yun-Fat that, "Give him a gun and he's a hero. Give him two and he's a god." That kind of sums it up. He is the master of the John Woo double gun action flick. Funny thing is that he started out being afraid of guns. Therefore, if you watch some of his early films with John Woo, you'll see him flinch, close his eyes or turn away whenever he's firing a gun. It's kind of funny to see in retrospect. Either way, he has established himself as not just an action hero, but a worthwhile actor in several genres and languages. If you haven't seen a film with him in it yet, take this as a gentle push to go and do it now. You won't regret it.

2) Bruce Willis

I'm not alone in my love of Bruce. He's an extremely popular actor and has been that way for decades. He has conqured several different genres, but his main bread and butter has always been action. (after a solid career in comedy-ish stuff.) In my mind, Bruce Willis is the American Chow Yun-Fat or vice/versa Chow Yun-Fat is the Chinese Bruce Willis. They mirror each other in a lot of ways. I am just happy that they're both working steadily and seem to be aging well and finding roles that match their advancing years. I am sure Bruce has years of acting to come and will probably end up like my #1 actor of all time. 'Hudson Hawk 2' anyone?

1) Jack Nicholson

I've already spoken to my love of Jack. He's maybe not quite the superstar he used to be, but he's still a legend and has an amazing catalog of work that he's done over the years. I know that just by saying his name people get a good impression. (Well, I hope it does.) I don't know what the first film was that I saw him in, but I think what cemented my love of Jack was as The Joker in Tim Burton's 'Batman'. The film hasn't held up extremely well over the years, but I still love it and The Joker. I have since seen a lot of his films, the majority of them I would say, and it just made me appreciate his work that much more. Even if you don't love everything he's done, like I do.... you can't deny that his work in the 70's and early 80's stands as some of the most amazing acting on film. End of story.

Favorite Actresses:

3) Gwyneth Paltrow

I know, I know.... not a popular choice, right? But this is my list damn it and I love Gwyneth. I can't put my finger on exactly what it is about her that I love so much, but I just can't get enough of her films. I own a lot of them and will watch a film based on her being the star. She's not a big surprise for a top 10 kind of list. She's an award winning actress who has an impressive resume and pedigre. She can do comedy as easily as drama and seems to just love working, I respect that a lot. When an actor or actress does it because they love what they're doing vs. just for a payceck.... that says a lot. Now I want to watch one of her films.

2) Julianne Moore

Perhaps a bit more popular choice, maybe not. She is no big surprise to be on my list as she is a favorite of Paul Thomas Anderson. I, again, own a lot of her films (just like my #1 choice) and I have seen even more than I own. She's a unique actress that can play beautiful or ugly, funny or serious.... she is a jill of all trades. I remember when I saw her for the first time in Robert Altman's 'Short Cuts'. She overshadowed almost the entire rest of the cast and after that, I was hooked. I look forward to seeing what else she ends up doing during her career. She's got a lot of talent and never ceases to amaze me.

1) Patricia Arquette

This one is a no brainer. I have never made any bones about who my favorite actress is. Ever since 'True Romance' I was in love with Patty. I've seen pretty much every film she's ever made and own over half of them. I love that she's crossed over into TV by doing 'Medium' and I was so happy that it did well. I have not seen it as regularly as I'd hoped I would when it started. I guess I figured it would be a backlog of stuff to watch of hers if I ever ran out. It's been on for years and has made her a household name and I couldn't be happier for her, she deserves it. She comes from a talentedy, although strange, family. She's not your typical leading lady and I think that's one of the reasons I like her so much, she's not typical. There are so many cookie cutter actresses out there that it's nice to see one make it that isn't like everyone else. I hope that you take some time to get to know her work if you're not already familiar with it, she's amazing.

Honorable Mentions:

Daniel Day-Lewis

I have to admit, he's on this list based only on 2 films, 'There Will Be Blood' and 'Gangs Of New York'. Those two performances are some of the greatest ever committed to film. I have seen only 1 or 2 of his other films, but if I never see any other of them.... I would be satisfied with just these 2. He has a way of transforming himself into someone else. He immerses himself so deeply in the roles that he's virtually unrecognizable. That is an amazing feat. He deserves all the praise he's gotten over the years and I hope he continues on in this industry for as long as he wants.... he's a legend.

Charles Bronson

I can thank my friend Dennis for this entry. He once said to me in a video store that (after I said I'd never seen 'Death Wish') that once he showed me a Charlie Bronson movie, I would become addicted. He was right damn it. After I saw my initial Bronson film, I proceeded to watch 34 of his movies over the next 30 days and that's not even HALF of his catalog! The man was a machine of movie making. Granted, he had a career that spanned decades and film and TV. He is considered a legend in the industry even if his films weren't always the best. As a matter of fact, for almot the entire 80's, he made some pretty horrific garbage. Granted, I still LOVE it and I'm not alone. It's just that in the 60's and 70's he was an icon. Sadly, we lost him several years ago and it was a great loss to the film industry. Luckily he left behind a library of films to enjoy. Several franchises and some classic stories. I doubt everyone is a fan like me, but Dennis was right.... I'm addicted.

Why is she not on this list?

Natalie Portman

The girl that I predicted would win an Oscar during her career, after seeing 'The Professional'. This year that prediction came true. Yup, she's pretty amazing.

Milla Jovovich

I just thought of one other person to include.... Milla Jovovich. I LOVE the 'Resident Evil' films and every movie I see her in, I am just mesmerized. There is something about her, she is a great actress to watch onscreen and I always look forward to her next film. The End.

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