movies, music and everything else

This blog is about pretty much what the title implies... movies, music and everything else.

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Sunday, January 15, 2006

2005 HUMBY'S: supporting actor

This was a great year for supporting actors and it was tough to narrow it down to just ten, but here it goes…

10. Terrence Howard - CRASH

This is really Terrence Howard’s year. When you compare his performance in a movie like HUSTLE AND FLOW to a movie like CRASH, it is amazing that it is the same person. He is strong and solid in CRASH. He is a good husband and a good man that is confronted by a series of conflicts motivated by the fact that he is African-American. This is a source of issues not only from the white police, but also from other African-Americans and his light skinned black wife. These are complicated issues and relationships and Howard turns what could be an uninteresting character into a fascinating one. Great job in a great year.

9. Clive Owen – SIN CITY

Clive Owen is just COOL AS HELL in this movie. In a movie that is filled with saucy characters, quick witty dialogue and badass action, Clive is simply the coolest. He can kick your ass, screw your girlfriend, drive a big car, and smoke a cigarette all at the same time… and look good doing it.

8. Matt Dillon - CRASH

This is career resurgence for Matt Dillon. He had a very promising career as a young actor in movies like THE OUTSIDERS, RUMBLE FISH and DRUGSTORE COWBOY, but then kind of fell off the radar. Well… HE’S BACK! He is a bitter, racist asshole cop in this film, but as you watch his story, you understand why he is who he is. It does not excuse his behavior, but it helps to understand it. He is a good person deep down and given the opportunity, that part of him comes to the surface. His performance here is so good that he can make you cringe at the things that he says, but you get why he says them.

7. Mickey Rourke – SIN CITY

He is the lead of the best story in SIN CITY. Like Matt Dillon, Rourke was filled with potential in his youth and was once touted as the “new Brando”. Then he started to believe the hype, it went to his head, and he self-destructed. Now, many years later, he resurfaces and delivers a great performance. Without believable performance like the ones from Owen and Rourke, SIN CITY just would have been silly. “Marv” is tough as nails, but with a soft sport for a particular prostitute. When she is killed, he goes on a rampage and you see him in his glory. Rourke pulls off not only the toughness, but also the tenderness of Marv. He becomes the character.

6. Kevin Costner – THE UPSIDE OF ANGER

In a way, Costner is playing an older version of “Crash” from his film BULL DURHAM. An all-star pitcher, past retirement, that has a talk radio show and is now a depressed alcoholic. When he meets the right woman, he turns his life around and he is able to discover the happiness that has eluded him his entire life. He is great here. He is cocky, charming, hurt, damaged, and a really good guy. In a movie that is about a mother and his daughter, Costner is a real standout as the one man in a house of women. It takes a particular man to deal with a house of all strong women and it takes a particular actor to deliver such a strong performance.

5. Clifton Collins Jr. – CAPOTE

I have said this before and I will say this again. CAPOTE is about more than the great performance by Philip Seymour Hoffman… As “Perry”, Collins plays a very tricky character. This is a man that has killed an entire family, but when we meet him and get to know him, he is more like a wounded puppy than a monster. Through his friendship with Truman, Perry becomes the focus of a book and his motivations are thoroughly investigated. He is not that smart and is manipulated by Truman who is extremely intelligent. But just as you start to feel sorry for him, you are reminded of what it is he has done. It is a fine line that Collins walks, but he does it like a pro.

4. George Clooney – Syriana

No one should be this talented. Sure he is a good-looking guy. He wrote and directed one of the best films of the year… and one more thing… he is a great actor. There are many strong performances in this film from the likes of Matt Damon and Jeffrey Wright, but Clooney is the one that you simply just can’t ignore. He put on something like 40 pounds for this role. This was not a gimmick to win awards. He plays a CIA agent whose job it is to go under cover and blend. Clooney as he normally looks wouldn’t even blend in at a Hollywood party. So to look like a “mere mortal”, he put on a lot of weight and grew a big bushy beard, making himself unrecognizable. All of this and he gives a great performance of a man that is going through a complicated and confusing journey.

3. Richard Jenkins – NORTH COUNTRY

In a movie with three academy award winning actresses, the performance that stuck with me the most was that of actor Richard Jenkins (best known as the Dad from SIX FEET UNDER). He is so good in this film. He loves his daughter, but is ashamed of her. Ashamed of her past, her failed marriage, her choice of a career and what she is doing to his life and his world. He seems like the worst father, but as the character is developed, you learn what he is all about and then his story reaches its climax at a town hall meeting. His speech at this meeting is one that I thought was his “Oscar moment”, but this performance has been consistently over looked and ignored. It is a real shame.

2. Jake Gyllenhaal – BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN

It takes two to tango… or eat pudding. All kidding aside, Jake is overshadowed by Heather Ledgers performance, but this is a great example of a subtle, emotional and brave performance. For a love story to really work, both people have to step up and in this case, the challenge was greater than usual due to the controversial subject matter, and both actors more than rose to the challenge. With all of the accolades going to Heath, it seems like the “other cowboy” is being forgotten.


The Oscars ignored Paul Giamatti last year for his work in SIDEWAYS. I hope that they don’t make the same mistake this year with his extraordinary work as the trainer and friend in CINDERELLA MAN. On the surface, this is not a great character. He is the “trainer”. We have seen that before. What Giamatti brings to the movie is a deep layering of the character that elevates every performance around him. He just makes everyone better. You feel the pain that he experiences, yet hides from everyone around him. Giamatti is truly one of the best actors around and he shows exactly why in this overlooked film. While he has not gotten the attention for CINDERELLA MAN that he did for his role in SIDEWAYS, his work is every bit as good. This is an emotional story about an underdog… but in this film, the lead is not the only underdog. In the time of the great depression, everyone was struggling and doing what they could to get through it. Giamatti is as much a representation of the "struggle of the common man" as Russel Crowe is. As he does with most of his work, he seems to personify normal people.


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