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RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV)

 
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RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 11/7/2010 10:17:44 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54616
Joined: 1/10/2005
I like them both very much. And Ian Hart. Maybe I'm easily pleased

O'Brien really does walk away with Barefoot Contessa.  Goring is the only one who even comes close too matching him IMO. Favourite performance? May appear on my noir list! And I'm very fond of his role in Seven Days in May as well.

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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Post #: 61
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 11/7/2010 10:25:55 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
quote:

ORIGINAL: elab49

I like them both very much. And Ian Hart. Maybe I'm easily pleased

O'Brien really does walk away with Barefoot Contessa.  Goring is the only one who even comes close too matching him IMO. Favourite performance? May appear on my noir list! And I'm very fond of his role in Seven Days in May as well.


*Walter Brennan voice*
"What'sh that you shay? A film noir thread? Weeell, I heard about that once. But that wash a long time ago, boy! That thread'sh been dead for years! Haw haw haw!" *knee slap*


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"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
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"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

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Post #: 62
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 11/7/2010 10:27:52 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54616
Joined: 1/10/2005
Normally I hear it with a Norwegian accent, but that's close enough.

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

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Post #: 63
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 11/7/2010 10:31:29 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
These voices in your head just get worse every day, don't they? 

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Post #: 64
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 15/7/2010 10:15:35 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
43) Charles Grodin as Jonathan 'The Duke' Mardukas
Midnight Run, 1988




Let me start by saying that Charles Grodin is very much not the only reason to be watching Midnight Run. Not only is it hilarious, it's also one of the most robustly likable movies you're ever likely to run across - I've watched it with all kinds of vastly different people over the past couple of years and not one of them hasn't loved it. Mixing a fast-flowing stream of humour with equally fast-flowing action proves to be a brilliantly enjoyable combination - it's pure fun, but never brainless. However, the chief attraction is definitely the uneasy, flinty rapport between De Niro's Jack, a gruff bounty hunter and Grodin's chirpy ex-Mob accountant on the run. De Niro has shown himself repeatedly to be comfortable with comedy, pushing his tough guy act to the hilt with a knowing gleam in his eye, but Grodin works the hardest here, setting up and knocking down the movie's best laughs.

It's not a particularly 'acty' performance, but (much like Dick Powell or Cary Grant), what he lacks in natural dramatic genius he makes up for with a dead-on knack for dialogue. The verbosity of his character is married to Grodin's expert delivery, his endless musings running the gamut from sly manipulation of Jack to genuine affection for him without ever losing his sharp comic observation. Mardukas exhibits a level of consciousness unusual for this kind of movie - he satirises and lacerates De Niro's hardman attitude mercilessly, even acting out a conversation between the two which is much like the actual conversations they have been having up until that moment. "You have two emotions," he observes. "Silence and rage." And although this gradually proves not to be the case, it is emblematic of Grodin's wry, ironic assault on De Niro's gangster persona, which is one of the funniest, most rewarding running jokes in the film.


< Message edited by TheDudeAbides -- 15/7/2010 10:30:20 PM >


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The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

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Post #: 65
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 15/7/2010 10:21:49 PM   
matty_b


Posts: 14579
Joined: 19/10/2005
From: Outpost 31 calling McMurtle.
Great choice. Grodin is wonderful in this.

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Post #: 66
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 22/7/2010 8:37:55 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
42) Gene Wilder as Leopold Bloom
The Producers, 1968




Much as I love Mel Brook's original bad-taste theatrical farce, having seen the musical first always makes it feel somewhat lacking. Every time I instinctively expect a song, I am mildly disappointed not to get one. What is more, Zero Mostel makes a far less likable Bialystok than Nathan Lane's more palatable version, even if that is not necessarily a criticism - those weaned on pap find tougher meat hard to chew. However, I was always irked by Matthew Broderick, who was just that little bit too  naive, his character defined by the simple adjective 'nervous'. Which is why my particular pleasure in the 1968 original is Gene Wilder, who makes a perfect Leo Bloom - neurotic and anxiety-ridden but with an matchless comic edge.

Wilder rattles off endless earnest set-ups with a wide-eyed innocence which establishes him as a great straight-man, a role it is often said is harder than that of the outright comedian. His kinetic energy with Mostel is delightful and the two constantly have a tiny glimmer of supressed laughter in their eyes during their interactions, which proves contagious to the viewer. And he really comes into his own, dramatically speaking, in the courtroom scene at the film's end. I was astonished, upon rewatching the film recently, at the sincerity and emotive power he manages to achieve when defending his friend before the court. Dramatic moments in comedies are generally viewed as unfortunate necessaties towards wrapping up the story, which should be skimmed over as briefly as possible on the road to more jokes. It must be for this reason that dramatic acting in comedies is often an unpleasantly glib parody of genuine acting. But Wilder really goes for it here, and for a moment puts aside the comic contrivances which form his character and hints at the deeper tragedy of the mousy accountant's existence. I found myself welling up, even between laughing at the daft antics which are going on all around Wilder as he maintains a remarkable sober countenance and adds a moment of heart to an otherwise lightweight farce.

< Message edited by TheDudeAbides -- 22/7/2010 8:38:11 PM >


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The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to matty_b)
Post #: 67
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 22/7/2010 8:39:28 PM   
Miles Messervy 007


Posts: 6884
Joined: 11/2/2009
Brilliant film, fantastic performance.

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Post #: 68
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 22/7/2010 9:05:19 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54616
Joined: 1/10/2005
I love Midnight Run and Grodin generally. I think Broderick is OK in Producers but I'd go for Wilder over him - but of the 4 my choice would have to be Lane. Even if only for that astonishingly exertion he shows in the amazing jail scene (imagine doing that on stage every night!)

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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Post #: 69
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 23/7/2010 2:40:29 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
quote:

ORIGINAL: elab49

but of the 4 my choice would have to be Lane.


Over Mostel!?!?!??!?!?!?!

(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 70
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 23/7/2010 10:14:34 AM   
elab49


Posts: 54616
Joined: 1/10/2005
Just - that scene tips it.

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

(in reply to rawlinson)
Post #: 71
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 23/7/2010 11:01:00 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
But surely smugness removes points? 

(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 72
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 23/7/2010 11:24:52 AM   
elab49


Posts: 54616
Joined: 1/10/2005
Nope.

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

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Post #: 73
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 23/7/2010 11:30:05 AM   
Gimli The Dwarf


Posts: 77947
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Central Park Zoo
Mostel was better in The Muppet Show than he was in The Producers, which was quite naff in both film versions.

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Post #: 74
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 3/8/2010 11:14:40 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
41) Frances McDormand as Doris Crane
The Man Who Wasn't There, 2001




Conventional wisdom says that Frances McDormand's best performance in a career filled with memorable turns as backwater hussies and under-bright Average Joes is to be found in Fargo, but I disagree. Whilst I am a great fan of the murderous tundras of Brainerd, and McDormand is justly superb, the role that really mesmerises me every second she is on the screen is as Billy Bob Thornton's trashy wife in the Coen's sublime neo-noir drama. Ostensibly a supporting character to Thornton's dead-behind-the-eyes brooder, her perenial spark proves vital in counterbalancing the potentially wearing numbness of the quasi-silent protagonist's existence.

McDormand's take on the role is clearly heavily influenced by Barbara Stanwyck. Manipulative but not very bright, she knows she has found a sucker in the lifelessly passive Ed and she plays him for all he's worth. The scene in which he shaves her legs in particular recalls the famous shoe scene in The Lady Eve, although the performance as a whole draws more from Double Indemnity and its theme of small-time schemers overtaken by the consequences of their actions. And it is this crucial element of their downfall which eventually induces sympathy for this sort of character, as it does in The Man Who Wasn't There. Doris' end is largely of her own making, but her manipulation is too much mere low cunning to be truly despicable - she is ignorant and narrow-minded rather than bad, and McDormand has a perfect handle on this nuanced, flawed character which makes her immediately arresting. The way she can play the vulgar humour of the family party scene followed by bewildered, animalistic horror when arrested for a murder she did not commit is the mark of an actress without visible limits.

< Message edited by TheDudeAbides -- 4/8/2010 2:39:06 AM >


_____________________________

Reviews, film chat and the like at http://resilientlittlemuscle.blogspot.com

The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to Gimli The Dwarf)
Post #: 75
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 4/8/2010 12:12:28 AM   
elab49


Posts: 54616
Joined: 1/10/2005
A brilliant, welcome and very well-argued choice. I love Man Who Wasn't There and she's a big part of that.

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

(in reply to TheDudeAbides)
Post #: 76
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 4/8/2010 12:58:02 AM   
Pigeon Army


Posts: 14612
Joined: 29/1/2006
From: Pixar HQ, George Lucas' Office.
One of my favourite films, and while she isn't my favourite performance in the film (Billy Bob and Tony Shalhoub trump her), she is really quite fantastic in it. Good choice.

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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.

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Post #: 77
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 6/8/2010 12:12:58 PM   
rick_7


Posts: 6151
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: The internet
Great work on Grodin and McDormand (I think that's a very underrated film but I hadn't really zoned in on her performance), though The Producers is just terrible in every way. Well, apart from the premise. What's next?

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Post #: 78
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 6/8/2010 1:12:33 PM   
MOTH

 

Posts: 3479
Joined: 3/10/2005
From: Sittin' on the dock of the bay
I caught about half of Midnight Run a week or so back on TV and it really is a superior action-comedy. Grodin particularly makes me laugh when he agonises over whether to buy coffee or tea, and in the scene in Red's bar. But then everybody is good in this. Plus it's still the only film in which Robert de Niro is actually funny.

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Post #: 79
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 6/8/2010 1:32:21 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
Glad you asked, Ricky, old thing. 

40) Debi Jones as Micky
Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988)




Well, blow me down with a feather. There I am wondering why Debi Jones only made one film and I find out that these days she plies her trade as a Conservative councillor in Merseyside. What David Cameron has gained, however, we have lost in a glowing actress who brings the indomitable humour desperately needed to balance the frequent tragedy of Terence Davies magnificent chronicle of post-war working-class Liverpool. As best friend to the daughters of the central family, she is their escape from the home ruled by their violent and authoritarian father. Their spontaneous singing and dancing together provide a warming counterpoint to an otherwise grim portrait, and the joy of these scenes come largely from Jones as the witty loudmouth who has all the confidence the two sisters lack.

Jones exhibits a fantastic flair for the fast-flowing humour of Scouse dialect, a assured mixture of contempt and affection which seem to assure her escape from the abusive marriages into which her friends fall. Despite her vocal dismissal of the equally self-assured Red, they end up in what seems like the only happy marriage in the film. And yet, there is an unnerving little moment in one of the film's many pub scenes in which he tells her sharply to drink up and she starts to do so - the others, surprised, ask her if she is afraid of him. She quickly dismisses the idea and they go on as before, but Jones manages to convey an uncertainty which leaves the viewer wondering if her life might eventually follow the same path as those of her friends. I, at least, prefer to think not, as her lively and engaging portrayal of Micky is one of the film's most memorable features and a rare gleam of happiness in the shadows.


_____________________________

Reviews, film chat and the like at http://resilientlittlemuscle.blogspot.com

The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to rick_7)
Post #: 80
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 6/8/2010 1:48:10 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54616
Joined: 1/10/2005
GOod grief, really

It really is a very telling moment you've highlighted - all those angry men and what they do to their wives and that bright vibrant personality might turn out to be one of them.

Do you prefer it to Dowie's performance though?

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

(in reply to TheDudeAbides)
Post #: 81
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 6/8/2010 2:07:50 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
Well, I prefer it in the sense that it had more of an impression on me. Dowie is really good but I don't think it deserves more praise than any of the other central characters. All of them fit so perfectly that she doesn't really stand out particularly to me. I feel I must be in the minority on this, though, since her name is usually put forward as the standout. 

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Reviews, film chat and the like at http://resilientlittlemuscle.blogspot.com

The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 82
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 6/8/2010 2:13:04 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54616
Joined: 1/10/2005
It's that face, almost beatific in its suffering. Which did make me wonder rewatching Dreyer's Passion whether Davies was also partly influenced by that.

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

(in reply to TheDudeAbides)
Post #: 83
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 6/8/2010 2:14:42 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
Ah, but that's how I feel about Celia Johnson in Brief Encounter, and you hate that 

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Reviews, film chat and the like at http://resilientlittlemuscle.blogspot.com

The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 84
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 6/8/2010 2:17:52 PM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
Dad's Army does Brief Encounter better than Brief Encounter did. True fact. 

I think Dowie is the stand-out as well, but excellent choice of performance. 

(in reply to TheDudeAbides)
Post #: 85
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 6/8/2010 2:20:32 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54616
Joined: 1/10/2005
'cause she gives a terrible performance.

In a terrible film, admittedly. Lean did often seem to choose underpowered actresses oddly - Johnson in one lot, Todd in another. Or just exclude them entirely. If it wasn't for the likes of Brenda daBanzie you'd wonder just how fundamental the apparent problem was.

_____________________________

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

(in reply to TheDudeAbides)
Post #: 86
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 16/8/2010 12:04:04 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
Sorry for the delay, guys. My laptop refuses to let me post (if you are computerally inclined, feel free to hop over to the Bugs and Glitches thread and have a look at my extremely irritating problem) so I've manged to elbow my way onto the family one.

39) Blythe Danner as Izzy Huffstodt
Huff, 2004-2006




There's a fair few similarities between Huff and Arrested Development, now I come to think about it. Although the first is a drama and the second a comedy, they were both fantastic, both vastly underappreciated and both unceremoniously yanked off life support by their respective networks. Most interestingly, though, both concerned off-kilter families headed by an acid-tongued, liquor-swilling matriach who expertly plays them off each other to maintain her power. Whilst the Bluths' manipulative ice maven was immortalised by game old gal Jessica Walter, the Huffstodts had to deal with Danner's Izzy, who might have occasionally had softer moments than Lucille Bluth but was not one whit less scheming.

The key to Danner's performance is her mastery of nuance and subtlety. Izzy often comes off as a hard women, even cruel, especially when it comes to her dismissive attitude towards her mentally-ill son Teddy. But her hardness is realistic for many people of her age who have seen the tougher side of life - it is a defence mechanism more than a
genuine insensitivity and one which is intended to protect not only herself but also her family. The hospital scenes with an old friend, who has been cruelly paralysed by a stroke, are a fantastic mix of genuine sadness and the black humour which is really human nature in such scenarios but that most TV shows wouldn't include. Even though she is constantly putting her relatives down with cutting one-liners and will turn them against each other to her own advantage at the drop of a hat, Danner understands that Izzy deeply loves her family. The genius of her performance is not in the sardonic jibes, but in the subtle touches that explain why she can only express herself through sardonic jibes. As she explains to her lovestruck teenage grandson: "You learn over time that the harder you love and the harder you're loved back, there's always somebody in line to fuck you over."


< Message edited by TheDudeAbides -- 24/8/2010 3:06:30 PM >


_____________________________

Reviews, film chat and the like at http://resilientlittlemuscle.blogspot.com

The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 87
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 16/8/2010 12:22:40 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54616
Joined: 1/10/2005
Dude, can I suggest you post that as a new thread in Knowledge base? It might get lost in that thread and as it is strictly a general computing/internet thing and not empire specific, I don't think it'd be a problem. And I think the PC genuises are more likely to notice it there too.

< Message edited by elab49 -- 16/8/2010 12:25:00 PM >


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

(in reply to TheDudeAbides)
Post #: 88
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 19/8/2010 7:23:24 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
Ooh, thanks for the tip. Just done it. Hopefully it'll be resolved - it's a real headscratcher.

EDIT: FIXED! Sort of - can post if using Internet Explorer

< Message edited by TheDudeAbides -- 20/8/2010 3:27:10 PM >


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Reviews, film chat and the like at http://resilientlittlemuscle.blogspot.com

The Oxford Student - proud home of a film section somewhere between Siskel and Ebert: http://oxfordstudent.com/?cat=11

"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to elab49)
Post #: 89
RE: 50 Favourite Film Performances (and some TV) - 24/8/2010 3:05:19 PM   
TheDudeAbides


Posts: 783
Joined: 15/1/2006
From: In the neighbourhood, feeling a bit daffy.
38) Rhea Perlman as Zinnia Wormwood
Matilda, 1996



I am an unabashed fan of Matilda. I loved it as a kid and it holds up beautifully to this day. In fact, it's better now that I can fully appreciate the surprisingly sharp script and the gusto with which it is executed by three fantastically hammy performances in the shape of Danny DeVito, the wonderfully game Pam Ferris and, my personal favourite, Rhea Perlman. Between the three of them, they lift what might easily have been a fairly standard children's movie into one of my favourite comedies.

For those of you who haven't seen the film (heaven forfend), Perlman plays the mother of the titular prodigy. 'Trashy' does not even begin to describe this ludicrous horror of a woman, clad from head to foot in leopard print and heading out to play bingo all day, leaving her six-year old with a can of soup for sustenance. Very much in the Miss Hannigan model, Zinnia Wormwood isn't outright cruel, but she is breathtakingly ignorant and nonchalant to the point of neglect with regard to her children. Perlman goes all out in her rendition, never seeking a moment of redemption for the ghastly woman, New York twang wrapping its way around every line and making it infectiously funny. For instance, at uni last term, I held a little Matilda-watching party in my room. Not only did a worryingly large number of people show up, an even more worrying amount managed to mouth every line of dialogue along with the characters. But aside from some Trunchbull classics (the pigtails scene, Bruce Bogtrotter), the one line that every single person in the room was moved to chorus in unison was the banal-on-paper but electrified by Perlman 'I won! I hit the double bingo, AHHH!'. The whole performance is an example of comic delivery so unerringly accurate that humour runs out the character's very pores and seeps into every scene in which she appears. Added to Perlman's natural rapport with on and off-screen husband DeVito, the result is a caricature which us clearly larger than life and yet fits into the movie's extravagant universe perfectly.  

< Message edited by TheDudeAbides -- 25/8/2010 11:55:26 AM >


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"Hammy is a stretch, I personally think he was just over zealous."
- IMDb reviewer on Dick Powell

"Good night, Papa. Machs gut."

(in reply to TheDudeAbides)
Post #: 90
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