Monday, August 10, 2009

Strong performances

Beautiful photo, John. It's such a strong image.

The photo, as well as some great movies I've been watching lately, have been inspirational to me. I thought I'd post today about some of those movies, particularly performances by certain actors in those films.

In my humble opinion, these are the strongest performances by actors in movies. You know what I mean - roles that haunt you for days after you leave the theater or watch the DVD. Feel free to add your own in the comments section. In no particular order:

Daniel Day-Lewis as Bill the Butcher in "Gangs of New York." He was captivating on screen, probably the most riveting performance I've ever seen. Honorable mention goes to Liam Neeson in the same film; he was only on screen for maybe ten minutes, but he stood toe-to-toe with Bill the Butcher.

Meryl Streep as Sister Aloysius in "Doubt." Incredible performance. Yesterday my wife and I saw Streep in the new film "Julie & Julia." Check it out. Streep was terrific as usual, but "Doubt" is her best in several years.

Paul Newman as Hud O'Bannon in "Hud." Newman is great in everything, but as the evil Hud, he reached new highs - or should I saw lows? Newman also gives terrific performances in "The Verdict," "The Hustler," and my personal favorite, "Cool Hand Luke," plus the two films he did with Robert Redford: "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" and "The Sting."

Heath Ledger as The Joker in "The Dark Knight." This might be a trendy pick, but seriously, Ledger was phenomenal in that movie.

Tom Hanks as Andrew Beckett in "Philadelphia." And really, everything else he's been in. There's a great scene in the movie "Road to Perdition" where Hanks' character kills Paul Newman's character. Right before, though, Newman says to Hanks, "I'm glad it's you." Watch that scene and tell me that's not Newman, in one of his last roles, passing the torch to Hanks.

Gosh, there's so many more. Please, please add your own in the comments section. I'd love to get a long list going.

One last thing I might point out - notice how several of the roles I listed above are villians? Bill the Butcher, The Joker, Hud O'Bannon were all the "bad guys" in those films. Interesting...

-- Matt Kelsey

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