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Matty_b's 50 Male Performances of the decade - the best of the rest

 
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Matty_b's 50 Male Performances of the decade - the best... - 6/3/2010 12:12:11 PM   
matty_b


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As it says on the tin. Same rules apply - any that I watch between now and the end of the list that would have made it will be listed and beware of spoilers.

50) Robin Williams as Seymour Parrish (One Hour Photo, Mark Romanek, 2002)
 

 
Robin Williams usually does one of two things; play up to his gushy, sensitive, sentimental side, or goes somewhere dark and creepy. Needless to say, it's the latter that is the more interesting aspect of his career and One Hour Photo is the best example of it. As the photo technician working in a drab shopping mall, his day consists of little more than developing rolls of camera for whoever drops them off. The trouble is that Sy has nothing else in his life and thus fixates upon the Yorkin family which leads him to doing terrible and dangerous things. Sy is a desperately lonely character and Williams' performance takes you into that loneliness superbly. He's overly-friendly, grating and desperate to be liked. These aren't likeable qualities, but Williams treads the line between being an annoyance and being someone you feel sorry for, superbly. He channels both those qualities with a measured performance that finally tips into full-blown mania by the end when he sees something in somebody's snaps that he doesn't like. When he uncovers evidence of Mr Yorkin's adultery, Sy's lonely madness overwhelms him and Williams sells it scarily well, but never loses sight of the aspects he brought out earlier. Sy is not a psycho or a bad man as such - just someone with a lot of problems that were never dealt with. Williams remarkable performance is a masterclass of quiet understatement.

Key moment - when Mrs Yorkin notes that Sy has developed their photos for years, Williams outburst of "I almost feel like Uncle Sy" is perfect. It comes out a shade too quickly and with a shade too much enthusiasm for comfort, but it's also a deliverly that makes you feel sorry for him, but not sorry enough.

Up next - Get in the ring with him.

< Message edited by matty_b -- 18/8/2010 1:53:16 PM >


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RE: Matty_b's 50 Male Performances of the decade. - 6/3/2010 12:16:48 PM   
Pigeon Army


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Williams' performance in this is scary-amazing. It's probably my favourite performance of his, and Romanek's direction complements it perfectly. Definitely a film that deserves much more love than it's received.

Plus, there's that dream sequence in the all-white version of his department store - fuck.


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RE: Matty_b's 50 Male Performances of the decade. - 6/3/2010 12:43:44 PM   
matty_b


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Argh, shit, completely forget about that. Haven't actually watched the film in a while, but no matter, the performance is that memorable.

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RE: Matty_b's 50 Male Performances of the decade. - 6/3/2010 12:47:03 PM   
Cleveland Brown

 

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Hello

good call, although I thought Williams was also very good in Insomnia, he has the
ability to become a great actor if he gives himself a chance.


< Message edited by Pigeon Army -- 6/3/2010 10:28:15 PM >


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RE: Matty_b's 50 Male Performances of the decade. - 6/3/2010 1:54:50 PM   
jackassfan

 

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Excellent choice Robin Williams was fantastic in that film

He is a brilliant actor when doing serious films, not a fan of him when he does comedy

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RE: Matty_b's 50 Male Performances of the decade. - 7/3/2010 12:55:45 PM   
matty_b


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49) Clint Eastwood as Frankie Dunn (Million Dollar Baby, Clint Eastwood, 2004)
 


Clint Eastwood has spent so much time being arguably The Greatest Living American, we sometimes forgot he was an actor first, director second. And if his acting roles have become more and more rare over the years, then we really should treasure them, especially one as good as this. As Empire rightly pointed out this month, Eastwood's films usually deal with regret, and a masculine regret in particular. Frankie Dunn is a great example of this and part of the lineage that Eastwood explores as an actor from Unforgiven to Gran Torino. As an elderly boxing trainer with a decent, if unspectacular gym to run, he reluctantly agrees to take on Hilary Swank as a protege, against all his instincts. His instincts eventually prove tragically right, and Eastwood makes Frankie a monumentally tragic figure in his own right. From the way he snarls his prayers out night after night, you know there's a lifetime of regret in his life and he seemingly spends the whole time holding this regret in with his clenched jaw and whole ram-rod frame of his body suggesting he's only just keeping his demons at bay. He also excels at convincing as an ex-fighter and someone who knows nothing else but boxing. Remarkably lithe for his age (no wonder there were rumours he could portray an ageing Batman), he moves with ease of someone with not only a lifetime of pain etched into his body, but a lifetime of nimble training on his feet. What's truly great about this performance is that Frankie is a character is someone who has clearly lived and has had nothing but a lifetime of lemons to make into lemonade. Eastwood fully convinces you of this lifetime and by the end, as his heart is breaking with guilt at the unfairness of Maggie's fate, that raging grief is in his eyes and trembling hands. Still holding it in. Still full of regret. Still nothing else but Frankie Dunn in there.

Key moment - For a film full of bitter and sad moments, it seems to unusual to highlight Eastwood's deadpan comic delivery, but it's a wonderful tool in its own right. I'm thinking of the numerous times he winds up his local priest, particulary suggesting that Jesus is a demigod, leading the priest to explode "There are no demigods, you fucking pagan!"

Up next - one of the best debuts ever.

< Message edited by matty_b -- 7/3/2010 12:56:39 PM >


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RE: Matty_b's 50 Male Performances of the decade. - 7/3/2010 1:00:36 PM   
Deviation


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Micheal Fassbender can't be so low..............

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RE: Matty_b's 50 Male Performances of the decade. - 7/3/2010 1:08:41 PM   
matty_b


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Nope...

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RE: Matty_b's 50 Male Performances of the decade. - 7/3/2010 8:22:27 PM   
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Williams's performance in OHP is indeed superb. I'm not overly keen on Eastwood's in MDB, though.

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RE: Matty_b's 50 Male Performances of the decade. - 7/3/2010 8:37:07 PM   
rawlinson

 

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ORIGINAL: matty_b
Clint Eastwood has spent so much time being arguably The Greatest Living American




Did most other Americans die and nobody told me?

Eastwood got an Oscar nom for M$B because the Academy have a help-the-aged campaign around this time every year. Just one Oscar nomination for a past their best actor or actress helps all those in nursing homes feel happy for a day. Then they get their dreams crushed when the nominee loses to someone younger and prettier. It's quite cruel when you think about it. So by supporting Eastwood in M$B you're really supporting breaking the hearts of people like Ernest Borgnine and that's just mean and you should all feel ashamed of yourselves for mocking the elderly.

Good choice with Robin Williams though.

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RE: Matty_b's 50 Male Performances of the decade. - 8/3/2010 11:27:37 AM   
matty_b


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I do feel ashamed now

And of course any hyperbole by me should be taken firmly as tongue in cheek

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RE: Matty_b's 50 Male Performances of the decade. 48 up! - 8/3/2010 3:32:38 PM   
matty_b


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48) Sharlto Copley as Wikus Van De Merwe (District 9, Neil Blomkamp, 2009)
 


As Wikus, company man in charge of moving crashlanded aliens (nicknamed "Prawns") out of a South African ghetto who accidentally gets infected with the alien DNA thusly resulting in a slow transformation into one, Copley has a great deal of work to do in the part. Wikus starts off as an ingratiating, but selfish man who laughs at the sound of baby alien eggs popping open as they burn, but tries to win alien children over by calling himself "the lollipop man". He then has to become a man infected with alien DNA with all the resulting fear and horror that this entails, portray the cowardice of a man ready to seperate an alien father from his son, before finally gaining the courage to fight back against his own kind. He has to make this dramatic arc completely believable and progressive and he does all this and more. Pretty impressive for someone's debut performance. Oh yeah, and it's all improvised for the most part. It is truly a staggering job that Copley does here, making Wikus one of the most memorable heroes in action sci-fi cinema of, not just the decade, but pretty much all time. It's a part that calls for the whole spectrum of human emotion to be used and Copley betrays not a bit of his lack of experience. He's utterly convincing as a weedy corporate drone and just as convincing as a man undergoing a hellish change. He makes you hate him, then root for him with ease and he's got a great way with one liners (his exclamation of "He hit me with a fokken lollipop!" is one for the ages). The performance it most compares to is Jeff Goldblum's in The Fly. Like that one, he never surrenders to the effects work on top of him, and keeps that core of humanity burning bright. And just like when the end of The Fly had you believing that an FX prop was still Goldblum, the very last shot of District 9 works ONLY because Copley has convinced you that that CGI figure is still Wikus. Hollywood looks to have come calling for Copley now, but I dare say he'll never be as good as he is here.

Key moment - strapped into alien weaponry by the human militia, Wikus is forced to execute Prawns to show them how the hardware works. His complete horror at this is palpable.

Up next - Back in the 1920s, this performance was pretty standard stuff

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RE: Matty_b's 50 Male Performances of the decade. 48 up! - 10/3/2010 1:10:42 PM   
swordsandsandals


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Ooh, my prediction was right when I saw the debut clue.
It is indeed a great performance, even if does say the word fok a little too much.

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RE: Matty_b's 50 Male Performances of the decade. 48 up! - 10/3/2010 5:49:00 PM   
matty_b


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47) Robert Downey Jr as Kirk Lazarus (Tropic Thunder, Ben Stiller, 2008)



Comic roles are almost always underappreciated, critically. So it says something that Downey Jr is so good in Stiller's spoof of pampered actors undergoing boot training for a war film but ending up in a real-life conflict, that he was recognised with an Oscar nomination. He didn't win, of course, but the nomination itself is recognition of just how good he is in the role. It helps that Downey Jr is a naturally charismatic actor and he is generally the best thing in any film he's in. That's doubly important for the role of Kirk Lazarus as, infamously, he spends the vast majority of the film blacked up, such is Lazarus' immersion in roles. It's a joke that could have backfired spectacularly, could have been a smug joke that only industry people got, but Downey Jr takes this concept of pretentious actors and has an absolute ball with it. Refusing to break character, uttering his dialogue in a low growl throughout and taking umbrage at the phrase "you people" being bandied about, he's a joy throughout. Not just puncturing the ego of the method actor, but making Lazarus a genuinely unhinged individual, he disappears into the role completely, and not just because of the make-up, either. The brilliance of it is that Downey Jr plays it utterly straight - not once does he acknowledge how ludicrous a character Lazarus is and that's why he's so memorable. It's a brave performance, but it also bears mentioning he's just as good out of make-up. We see clips of Lazarus on talk shows, talking about his art and sounding suspiciously like Russell Crowe. It's clear that in his years in the Hollywood wilderness, Downey Jr was taking notes and responded with a performance that showed he's one of the smartest men in Hollywood.

Key moment - painstakingly explaining to Stiller's fellow actor that the key to winning to an Oscar is to "not go full retard."

Up next - ship's doctor.



< Message edited by matty_b -- 10/3/2010 6:10:26 PM >


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RE: Matty_b's 50 Male Performances of the decade. 48 up! - 10/3/2010 5:51:01 PM   
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Mmmm - and if I were to make a 'mature' guess?

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RE: Matty_b's 50 Male Performances of the decade. 48 up! - 10/3/2010 6:08:11 PM   
matty_b


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Damn, you're too good at this, Elab 

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RE: Matty_b's 50 Male Performances of the decade. 48 up! - 10/3/2010 6:23:16 PM   
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I await the raft of zombie related guesses with amusement

In fairness, you've hit on one of my favourite directors,

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RE: Matty_b's 50 Male Performances of the decade. 48 up! - 10/3/2010 6:27:21 PM   
matty_b


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Mine, too - damn his Malick-esque age between films 

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RE: Matty_b's 50 Male Performances of the decade. 48 up! - 10/3/2010 9:15:19 PM   
swordsandsandals


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I think I know what you are talking about! Great, performance, great film, and I can't wait for his next - out this year I believe.

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RE: Matty_b's 50 Male Performances of the decade. 48 up! - 11/3/2010 9:26:16 AM   
matty_b


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RE: Matty_b's 50 Male Performances of the decade. 48 up! - 11/3/2010 2:49:38 PM   
matty_b


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46) Paul Bettany as Dr Stephen Maturin (Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Peter Weir, 2003)
 

 
Bettany's performance as Maturin is absolutely pivotal to Weir's naval-faring drama. As the ship's doctor he's the ice to the firery leadership of Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe) providing sage advice and cool logic when the situation demands it. And the situation demands it quite often as we're thrown into action time and time again. Maturin is the buffer between Aubrey and the men of the ship, whispering gently into Aubrey's ear when his demands on the men are too great, but also reinforcing Aubrey's command at all times. It's a real balancing act of a role, and Bettany's sensitive and intelligent playing of Maturin is superb, coming across as the best friend you'd want at your side at all times. His chemistry with Crowe is also superb, as it takes a hell of an actor to not be overshadowed by Crowe, but Bettany is never dwarfed in any of the scenes they share together. They share a lot, too, Weir understanding exactly the importance of Maturin to the narrative as our eyes into the ship, Maturin not being a nautical man. As intelligent and as authoritative as he is here, Bettany is also hugely likeable - in fact, if Crowe is the driving force behind the film, then Bettany is its heart, keeping you involved and worried at all times that the characters you like (and we have to REALLY like Maturin, and we do) will make it through alive. So much so that the sequence when Bettany suffers a gunshot wound and hovers between life and death, is quite possibly the most tense scene of all. And just to make Maturin even cooler, he operates on HIMSELF. So far, whispers of a sequel, have been only that - a whisper. But Bettany's performance is crying out to be explored further.
 
Key moment - his angry rage when Aubrey informs him that they don't have time to stop off at a new island and let Maturin inspect the local flora and fauna is doubly impressive - it's the only time we see Maturin lose his calm exterior and it's also a genuinely emotional moment.
 
Up next - the brother with three initials.

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RE: Matty_b's 50 Male Performances of the decade. 48 up! - 11/3/2010 6:36:15 PM   
swordsandsandals


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YaY! I was right! I love this film, and particularly this performance. Would probably be higher for me.

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RE: Matty_b's 50 Male Performances of the decade. 48 up! - 11/3/2010 7:10:16 PM   
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I haven't seen the film in ages, but remember really really liking it. Should re-watch it...

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RE: Matty_b's 50 Male Performances of the decade. 48 up! - 11/3/2010 7:43:08 PM   
matty_b


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Thanks, Swords - I like to think some really good peformances are relatively "too low".

Miles - you really, really should rewatch it.

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RE: Matty_b's 50 Male Performances of the decade. 48 up! - 11/3/2010 9:38:46 PM   
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Brilliant film, brilliant actor, brilliant performance. Paul Bettany is one of the most underrated actors working today (hell, he was magnificent in Creation, and elevated that film beyond the trappings of dullness), and it always pleases me to see him praised.

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RE: Matty_b's 50 Male Performances of the decade. 48 up! - 11/3/2010 9:55:04 PM   
matty_b


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Yarp, should have got an Oscar nomination at the very least that year.

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RE: Matty_b's 50 Male Performances of the decade. 48 up! - 12/3/2010 2:24:14 PM   
matty_b


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45) Steven Culp as Bobby Kennedy (Thirteen Days, Roger Donaldson, 2001)
 

 
I've read history books stating that while JFK was the charmer, the guy to win people with his schmoozing abilities, Bobby was the kind of guy that would fire people up. A brimstone-and-righteous anger orator, he got people on his side by demanding they do the right thing, and convincing them it was God's own will that they do it. It is precisely this quality that Culp brings to his performance as RFK in Roger Donaldson's superb docu-drama about how the Kennedy administration handled the Cuban missile crisis. Bruce Greenwood plays JFK (and in some ways this placing should be a joint award for them) and is calmly authoritative in the role. Culp, meanwhile, has the demeanour of a man raring to go, madly ambitious and who isn't afraid of a scrap to get what he wants. It's an unbelievably fraught situation but Culp makes RFK's incisive and intelligent view point seem logical at all times. Wisely, he plays the man and not the icon so we get the sense of an actor digging really deeply into what makes someone tick. Culp is wired and balled-up with energy throughout, seemingly pacing or badgering others with his unshakeable belief in what is right and wrong throughout the film. He deserves a lot of the credit for making sure that the film never becomes dry or dull - his line delivery is intense, his body language steely, clever little tricks that always clue you in as to how potentially catastrophic this situation was. As I say, Greenwood deserves a lot of credit too, but whenever Culp is on screen you can't help but be drawn to his lively, crackling performance. Other elder actors go up against him as various department or military official, but Culp never backs down. There's only one winner when he's on screen in this film.
 
Key moment - at the end, the key to avoiding nuclear conflict rests seemingly on Bobby's shoulders and his conference with the Russian minister. Bobby looks him right in the eye and gives it to him straight and Culp doesn't waver one little bit, either.
 
Up next - a man struggling with his own sexuality

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RE: Matty_b's 50 Male Performances of the decade. 48 up! - 15/3/2010 2:32:20 PM   
matty_b


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44) Dennis Quaid as Frank Whitaker (Far From Heaven, Todd Haynes, 2002)
 

 
Firstly, Todd Haynes deserves a great deal of credit for casting Quaid in the first place. Quaid had made his career out of playing dishy, handsome leading man, full of fiery heterosexuality, so casting him as Frank, a homosexually-repressed 1950s husband, is automatically interesting. But Quaid does so much with it that he deserves to be listed alongside anyone else when it comes to great performances of the decade. What's interesting about his performance is that he's playing the role of someone playing a role. He fits perfectly into the 1950s aesthetic of the film, bringing to mind the likes of Rock Hudson is his likeable bounce and easy-going smile. But this is all a facade, as Frank struggles to deny and repress his homosexuality and Quaid vividly brings to life a man, who is desperate to not be the man he knows he truly is. We can see when he goes for sexual reorienteering therapy that he desperately does want to be a good husband and family man. He wants to fulfill the role he has been given and Quaid expertly suggests the inner torment of Frank and it is precisely because of Quaid's performance that we can't condemn him outrightly for the hurt he causes his wife, Cathy (Julianne Moore). When he succumbs to his desires and he has to tell her, we feel his anguish, just like we feel his joy when he thinks the therapy is working and he can play the dashing husband. We know he's a weak, false individual, but Quaid's playing of him is so sensitively attuned that we can't outright hate him - and so we shouldn't. It's a superb, detailed and subtle performance that shows how good Quaid can be when he's not appearing in trash like Pandorum.
 
Key moment - at a party, drunk, he boorishly demolishes Cathy's glamourous appearance as all "smoke and mirrors". Frank is again trying to fit in as the life and soul of the party, but instead just reveals the inner demons tearing him apart.
 
Up next - he's not salty...

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RE: Matty_b's 50 Male Performances of the decade 44 now... - 16/3/2010 8:55:10 AM   
matty_b


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No love for Culp or Quaid? For shame 

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RE: Matty_b's 50 Male Performances of the decade 44 now... - 16/3/2010 9:24:30 AM   
Pigeon Army


Posts: 14612
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.
Well, I was hoping you were going for Quaid in Frequency, but you let me down. 

_____________________________

quote:

ORIGINAL: Rinc
She's supposed to be 13! I'd want her to be very attractive though


quote:

ORIGINAL: MonsterCat
quote:

ORIGINAL: Pigeon Army
Stop being mean to Deviation

No.

(in reply to matty_b)
Post #: 30
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