Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Underrated Actors

Maybe the term “underrated” isn’t exactly accurate here—the very fact that these guys are paid, working actors in an industry that is virtually impenetrable is a testament to the ways in which their talents and assets have been recognized. I simply mean to suggest that it would be nice to see more of these actors—I would love to see any of these guys try their hands at Leonardo DiCaprio’s Frank in Revolutionary Road, Matt Damon’s Will Hunting in Good Will Hunting, or Brad Pitt’s Tyler Durden in Fight Club.


  • To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar; Moulin Rouge; Carlito's Way; Romeo and Juliet (1996); Spawn; Summer of Sam


  • Million Dollar Baby; She Hate Me; Haven; Half Nelson; Notorious (2009); We Are Marshall


  • Chasing Liberty; Imagine Me and You; The Look-out; Matchpoint; Brideshead Revisited (2008); Watchmen


  • Antwone Fisher; Pieces ofApril; Biker Boyz; Friday Night Lights; Lions for Lambs; Catch a Fire; Miracle at St. Anna; Definitely, Maybe


  • American Dreamz; Harold and Kumar go to White Castle; The Air I Breathe; Smiley Face; American Pie; In Good Company


  • Without Limits; Waking the Dead; Jesus's Son; Almost Famous; Big Fish; Trust the Man; Stage Beauty, Watchmen
My favorite of the bunch. I know he's already famous and was in the tabloids for ditching his pregnant girlfriend, but Billy Crudup always seems to mean what he says, no matter how shoddy the script, direction or co-star. I would watch him read the phone book.


  • All the Real Girls; George Washington; Elizabethtown; The Family Stone; The Assasination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford; Lars and the Real Girl


  • Tigerland; Minority Report; Phone Booth; Daredevil; The New World; Miami Vice; Cassandra's Dream; Alexander; Ask the Dust

I don't care what anyone says, I stand by my choice. I've gotten into more than one debate over whether or not Colin Farrell can actually act. I say objectively, hands down, he is one of the best working actors out there. The only reason I include him in this list is because his personality seems to loom larger than his skill. I understand why the drinking and the drugs and the porn are distracting, but his John Smith in The New World was heartbreaking. And I'm not just saying that because he's cute.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Gregory Crewdson

"What I'm very, very interested in is a moment that hovers between before and after. A moment that is unresolved, that remains a question. And necessarily, I think the ultimate meaning needs to remain a mystery for myself. Else, it wouldn't be as interesting."
Gregory Crewdson interview, Day-to-Day interview

Lately, I have found myself more and more intrigued by color photography, which sounds amateurish, I know - I like color pictures - but my unexperienced little eye needs to start somewhere. I went to a bookshop a few months back looking to spend twenty dollars and found "Twilight," a collection of staged, color photography by Gregory Crewdson with an introduction by one of my favorite writers, Rick Moody.

Crewdson's pictures revolve around seemingly ordinary people and places animated by something slightly disordinary. The suburban landscape and all of its curiosities and questions are foregrounded in his photographs, and they are at once lonely, beautiful and cinematic. I like the way he uses light to tell stories, how his images are moments difficult to pin down, and how, as Rick Moody explains in his foreword, "the twilight photographs we have before us both seem to be easy to interpret and very difficult at the same time."

Open car doors, wandering wildlife and people staring at something just beyond the eye of the camera are some recurring motifs. What I find to be most eerie are the pictures depicting something very elaborate happening in one section of the photograph (a young girl in her pajamas stands outside her house watching a man climb out of an empty school bus), while other people in the photo are seemingly unaware (the girl's parents are sitting in the living room watching television).

More Gregory Crewdson images can be found here and here.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Outliers, Malcom Gladwell
Carnal Knowledge, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Darjeeling Limited, Outsourced, Torn Curtain