Friday, August 12, 2011

Favourites #14: Actors

Every so often you hear me name an actor as "one of my favourites" yet you've never actually seen me make some sort of an entry about my favourite actors. One reason I never did is because it is so goddamn hard. But what's the big deal, right? It's just a list. Well, that's another thing about me; I rarely commit myself to anything, but when I do, I don't do it half-assed.

"To be or not to be"... Little Hamlet
I don't want to make one list today, and wake up the next day feeling differently altogether. So I decided to shorten my list from twenty people to just five. That should make it a hell of a lot easier, right?

Right. Although it still took me an entire afternoon.

#1 Russell Crowe

Prior to the release of Gladiator [2000], I was not that open-minded. I remember thinking that the best movies were made prior to the 90s. I didn't think I could like any movie after that as much as I like the Terminator movies, the Star Wars trilogy and of course, Predator [1987]. But then the aforementioned Gladiator came out and I was totally blown away.

At the center of my attention was the man who played the protagonist, Russell Crowe. I didn't know who the guy was, but goddamn I thought he was good. He's been my favourite actor since, I can't quite figure out why but it is unlikely that will ever change.

Movies you should also see: A Beautiful Mind [2001], Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World [2003], Cinderella Man [2005], 3:10 to Yuma [2007], American Gangster [2007]

#2 Robert De Niro

This guy I just wish he could stay young forever. Not that I'm saying old people can't act, but I just imagine how great it would be if he could be young or old at will, think of all the roles he could play. *ahem*... Well, anyway, compared to Russell Crowe, Robert De Niro is a relatively new addition to my list considering that I wasn't aware of how great an actor he is until later in my teenage years.

I had always been aware of him, of course. I just thought of him as another one of those actors of a past era. But then my dad recommended that I watch Taxi Driver [1976], and boy what a way to start. This guy is a chameleon, making it seem so easy to immerse himself from one role to another.

Movies you should also see: The Deer Hunter [1978], Raging Bull [1980], The King of Comedy [1982], Midnight Run [1988], Awakenings [1990]

#3 Edward Norton

I can't quite put my finger on it, but I think it's a combination of everything; his personality, that gaze and of course, that voice of his. Anyone else wouldn't mind listening to him talk all day? Well anyway, like most people I recognised him from Fight Club [1999], but I didn't make much of it, thinking that he was just a good actor in a great movie.

But then I saw his feature film debut, Primal Fear [1996] and dang, he was uh-mazing. I shall not elaborate why just in case you're one of the three people who haven't seen it yet, still I wouldn't want to ruin it for you. I have yet to see all of the movies starring him that I've been planning to see, but it's hardly necessary to earn him a place on this list.

Movies you should also see: American History X [1998], Death to Smoochy [2002], Kingdom of Heaven: Director's Cut [2005], The Illusionist [2006], Pride and Glory [2008]

#4 Tom Hanks

If you don't like Tom Hanks, you're either a moron or a member of Al-Qaeda (yeap, I got that from Craig Ferguson). A familiar face even to casual movie-goers, Tom Hanks is probably best known playing ordinary guys caught in extraordinary circumstances, and he plays them so well. Most people would cite Forrest Gump [1994] as the exemplary Tom Hanks movie, but somehow I don't feel that way.

If you ask me, it has got to be Saving Private Ryan [1998]. A level-headed man with a calm demeanour juxtaposed against the hellish background that was World War II, it's amazing how he could be very subtle in everything he did yet still had an imposing screen presence. I doubt anyone could have done it better.

Movies you should also see: Apollo 13 [1995], The Green Mile [1999], Road to Perdition [2002], Catch Me If You Can [2002], The Terminal [2004]

#5 Leonardo DiCaprio

As I have said many times before, this was the guy whom I once dismissed as a pretty boy actor whom time will soon forget. That was ages ago, when he was still in the shadow of his Titanic [1997] fame, and The Beach [2000] was the talk of the week. Fast forward to 2011 and I'm still trying to finish eating this boiled crow.

Not only he has proven time and time again that few actors will ever have a career as diverse as his, he intrigued me time and time again with how he was able to fully immerse himself into any given role. Heck, he even ended up as one of the guys I would go gay for.

Movies you should also see: What's Eating Gilbert Grape [1993], Gangs of New York [2002], The Aviator [2004], The Departed [2006], Shutter Island [2010]

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