Five movies I love, with actors I Meh

imageI have watched many a bad Western because, well, Western! None of them has beat out Silverado‘s place in my heart. It’s so much a favorite that it’s one of the movies we took to Italy with us. Because: Danny Glover! Linda Hunt! Scott Glenn! Kevin Kline and a soupcon of John Cleese!

But, also… Kevin Costner. Wooden, dull, square-jawed Kev. He’s inexplicably good in this, and not just when he’s showing off how well he rides the horseflesh. He is even, at points, funny. Good direction and the fact that he’s still working hard to make his name, I think, are the explanation.

There’s something in me that resists Renee Zellweger. She’s a terrific performer, and I heart both Chicago and Down with Love with a mindless fannish passion. I wouldn’t want to see anyone else in either of those roles. And yet… some hardwired thing within makes me want to dislike her. (Chicago also gets bonus points for being my favorite Richard Gere movie.)

He makes my gorge rise, but I thought Woody Harrelson was very well-cast in The Hunger Games. I find him convincing as a hard-boozing asshole. (I know he does a similar thing in True Detective, but hours on end of that was too much Wood for me. Plus it’s not a movie.)

I actually pulled up Tom Cruise’s filmography to see if I could find something other than Minority Report that I loved, and found zippo, nada, nothin’. Phillip K. Dick and Neal McDonagh FTW!

(Tried the same with Julia Roberts and didn’t find a single thing I’d rewatch unless the plane was going down and I really needed distraction.) So instead I’m going with Angelina Jolie and Sky Captain & The World of Tomorrow. I’m not strongly against Jolie, and I enjoyed the Tomb Raider films, but she’s not someone I seek out, or get excited about.

What are your love the film, hate the actor faves?

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About Alyx Dellamonica

After twenty-two years in Vancouver, B.C., I've recently moved to Toronto Ontario, where I make my living writing science fiction and fantasy; I also review books and teach writing online at UCLA. I'm a legally married lesbian, a coffee snob, and I wake up at an appallingly early hour.

11 Responses to Five movies I love, with actors I Meh

  1. For recent stuff, try EDGE OF TOMORROW. Normally I don’t like Cruise, but that was -really- good, in my opinion: smart, actually blackly funny in parts, and Emily Blunt was -dynamite-. Cruise was very acceptable; he was really trying. They way he developes the thousand-yard stare over the course of the movie is excellent.

    Agree on Danny Glover. He was the image I had in mind for Will Hutton in DIES THE FIRE. Agree on Chicago; it’s hilarious.

  2. They had a big red-carpet premiere here, same day and theater that K and I saw X-men. We’ll keep an eye peeled for it when it hits Netflix.

  3. Misty Massey says:

    Edge of Tomorrow was surprisingly entertaining. I’m one who prefers not to send any of my money in Tom Cruise’s direction whenever I can help it, but this movie was worth the sacrifice.

    • So it sounds as though this is indeed a movie you love with an actor you meh! Thanks, Misty and Steve!

      • Well, I always knew Cruise could act, within a certain set of roles, and it looked to me that in this movie he or someone (the director, with his collaboration?) was deliberately tailoring the role to his strengths and weaknesses. As a general rule I just don’t -like- him for some reason.

        Blunt was the kicker as Rita.

        She effortlessly takes every scene she’s in. I’d never been much conscious of her as an actor before, but it was a big meaty damaged-hero role and she played it strong and subtle. This is the sort of movie that could go into cartoon (in the negative sense) territory very easily, and she didn’t. Rita’s looked into the abyss, the abyss has looked back, and she told it to kiss her ass.

        We saw it twice, and I’ve concluded that Rita’s actually the lead character. It’s done from Cage (the character Cruise play’s) p.o.v., and he has somewhat more screen time, but he’s structurally there to help her get to where she needs to be to do what she’s determined to do. Right from the first time he sees her, looming over him like a goddess with her helicopter-blade sword in hand.

        “Of course you’re not [a solidier]. You’re a weapon”, she says to him, and it’s true(*). He’s a weapon she creates and uses.

        She’s actually the mentor and leader, and the superior at the action stuff right to the end (though Cage improves vastly). Every time he meets her again it’s the first time for her, but she’s always on top of it.

        The scenes where she shoots him in the head over and over to “reset” are hilarious, and then you realize that from -her- perspective (since she doesn’t get to reset but will be left there with a corpse) she’s -dying for real- every time she does that and knows it. Shooting him gives him another try, but leaves her alone in a world that’s utterly doomed.

        And it’s a jolt.

        It was actually a fairly bold decision by Cruise to take this disciple role and not insist on changing that, which presumably he had the clout to do if he wanted to throw a hissy.

        Clever script, very good performances.

        (*) scene in trailer, cut from movie for some reason.

  4. K C Maguire says:

    I’m VERY “meh” about Brad Pitt, but boy did he do a good job in “Twelve Monkeys”. Why can’t he always act that well?

  5. I did like “Twelve Monkeys”. OTOH Troy. Agghg agghg twfffpt. OTOH, the trailer for “Fury” looks good and I’ll watch it.

  6. coreyredekop says:

    I’m arguing with you on every choice you’ve made. That said…

    Part of me pushes back at Melissa McCarthy for some reason. Don’t know why, I’ve enjoyed her in everything I’ve watched so far.

    Roddy Piper? He seems a jerk, can’t act a damn, yet They Live is on constant rotation in my DVD player.

    Stephen Baldwin! That’s the one! Love The Usual Suspects, despise the actor and the man.

    And Jon Voight! So many good performances, but I can’t stand him, mostly because he’s become a Tea Party shill.