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TomJH

Name An Outstanding Performance From An Actor You Don't Normally Think Is That Good

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I just saw The Boston Strangler for the first time, and was extremely impressed by the complexity of Tony Curtis' performance as Albert De Salvo. Mind you, I had seen Curtis do good work in the past, in particular, in Sweet Smell of Success and, in total contrast, Some Like It Hot. Still, on the whole, I tend to dismiss him as pretty superficial as an actor. It could be, to be honest, simply a case of his roles being superficial more often than not. Certainly in these three films, though, Curtis is outstanding.

This brings up the issue of any times other TCM posters on these boards have been impressed by the depth of a performance produced by an actor or actress that you normally tend to dismiss as a performer.

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Curtis really nailed a split personality who was afraid to discover that other person within him in The Boston Strangler.

 

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Interesting idea for a thread.

Here is an unusual candidate - John Loder. In just about every movie he's in, he seems  to be blah. But  as one of the sons in How Green Was My Valley, I think he gives his best performance, especially in the calm but firm way in which he stands up to his father (Donald Crisp).

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Marlon Brando was terrible in "The Godfather". Then again, I didn't like the movie as a whole 

 

I personally didn't care for Audrey Hepburn in "My Fair Lady" 

 

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Well Tom, you know that British actor who shall remain nameless that you absolutely despise AND who I always thought was very often a big ol' STIFF in many of his film performances?

Well I gotta say, after I caught the film Room at the Top a few years ago, I have to admit the guy was pretty good in THAT one, anyway.

(...hey dude, AT LEAST I didn't mention the guy by NAME here, RIGHT?!) ;)

LOL

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Alice White made a brief and colorful career of being cute, as opposed to acting. But in The Widow From Chicago (1930) she steals the show from Edward G. Robinson (although he wasn't exactly putting up a fight).

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10 hours ago, scsu1975 said:

Interesting idea for a thread.

Here is an unusual candidate - John Loder. In just about every movie he's in, he seems  to be blah. But  as one of the sons in How Green Was My Valley, I think he gives his best performance, especially in the calm but firm way in which he stands up to his father (Donald Crisp).

It's been a long time since I saw Valley but I certainly agree with you about how  bland John Loder can be. Just the other day I watched him in Game of Death, a remake of The Most Dangerous Game, in Joel McCrea's old role. In the original there's a scene in which McCrea, after having survived being hunted, returns to Count Zaroff's castle for vengeance. McCrea looks genuinely intimidating as he slowly approaches the Count (probably his best moment of acting in the film). When Loder had the same moment in the remake he looked like he might be ticked that someone left the cap off a toothpaste tube. I can't think of a film in which Loder impressed me but, again, I haven't seen the John Ford film in a long time. Thanks for mentioning this performance, Rich.

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7 hours ago, Dargo said:

Well Tom, you know that British actor who shall remain nameless that you absolutely despise AND who I always thought was very often a big ol' STIFF in many of his film performances?

Well I gotta say, after I caught the film Room at the Top a few years ago, I have to admit the guy was pretty good in THAT one, anyway.

(...hey dude, AT LEAST I didn't mention the guy by NAME here, RIGHT?!) ;)

LOL

For which I thank you. I have great hopes for you eventually becoming a member of that never say his name club yet, Dargo.

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10 hours ago, MusicalsGalore said:

Marlon Brando was terrible in "The Godfather". Then again, I didn't like the movie as a whole 

 

I personally didn't care for Audrey Hepburn in "My Fair Lady" 

 

The idea of the thread is to name a performance that you liked from a performer you normally don`t think is good.

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8 hours ago, Dargo said:

Well Tom, you know that British actor who shall remain nameless that you absolutely despise AND who I always thought was very often a big ol' STIFF in many of his film performances?

Well I gotta say, after I caught the film Room at the Top a few years ago, I have to admit the guy was pretty good in THAT one, anyway.

(...hey dude, AT LEAST I didn't mention the guy by NAME here, RIGHT?!) ;)

LOL

 

11 minutes ago, TomJH said:

For which I thank you. I have great hopes for you eventually becoming a member of that never say his name club yet, Dargo.

I agree with both of you regarding this actor. There is a performance of his which isn't really "an outstanding performance" but one which made me vary my view of him always being so stiff and stoic.

From THE MAGIC CHRISTIAN:

 

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Keanu Reeves is one of my least favorite actors, although I think he was well cast in both The Matrix and John Wick series. I do think he gave a surprisingly effective performance as a violent jerk in The Gift (2000).

thegift1.jpg

 

Another of my least favorites is John Travolta. However, I thought he did a good job as the Bill Clinton-esque lead character in Primary Colors (1998).

primary-colors-John-Travolta.jpg

 

Adam Sandler consistently makes some of the worst comedies of the past 25 years, but he was excellent in Punch-Drunk Love (2002).

960full-punch--drunk-love-(2002)-screens

 

And I second the above mention by skimpole regarding Elizabeth Taylor in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

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11 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

...Adam Sandler consistently makes some of the worst comedies of the past 25 years, but he was excellent in Punch-Drunk Love (2002).

You might have heard Sandler is also getting very good reviews for his performance in his latest release Uncut Gems, Lawrence.

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2 hours ago, TomJH said:

The idea of the thread is to name a performance that you liked from a performer you normally don`t think is good.

And in that spirit (and reminded to me by  MusicalsGalore) I'd place   AUDREY HEPBURN, an actress I often felt rested on the "unearned" laurels  given her by critics (and I mentioned this in another thread a few days ago...)  And her performance as a blind woman in WAIT UNTIL DARK ('67)  proving(as I also said earlier) she does "blind" much better than AL PACINO, who did win an Oscar for his "effort", but Audrey was only nominated.  

Sepiatone

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George Peppard in Home from the Hill.

Peppard normally does nothing but irk me (think of that non performance in Breakfast at Tiffanys) but in this family saga I found him incredibly likeable and charming playing a good old Southern boy. It seems like he used up all of his charm on this film, though, as I never saw a sign of it again.

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A correction:  Peppard was also surprisingly good in How the West Was Won.

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George Peppard was also good in The Strange One. Notice how we're mostly mentioning films from the beginning of his career? And George Hamilton is really quite good in Home from the Hill, too.

Great idea for a thread, Tom. Since I was unkind enough to omit June Allyson from a list of the stars in The Opposite Sex, it's only fair to note that she is excellent, and very attractive, in High Barbaree, a little-known 1940s romantic gem. She's also good as the unsympathetic stepdaughter in The Secret Heart and as Jose Ferrer's unkind wife in The Shrike.

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1 hour ago, kingrat said:

George Peppard was also good in The Strange One. Notice how we're mostly mentioning films from the beginning of his career? And George Hamilton is really quite good in Home from the Hill, too.

Great idea for a thread, Tom. Since I was unkind enough to omit June Allyson from a list of the stars in The Opposite Sex, it's only fair to note that she is excellent, and very attractive, in High Barbaree, a little-known 1940s romantic gem. She's also good as the unsympathetic stepdaughter in The Secret Heart and as Jose Ferrer's unkind wife in The Shrike.

As much as TCM posters love to pan Allyson, Dick Powell sure saw something in her. (Ask Joan Blondell).

I have yet to see The Shrike but it's an Allyson performance that usually gets praised.

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Norma Shearer in Marie Antoinette

I find the "grand" acting style of this MGM queen to be rather dated and unrealistic. But she's effective as the title character in this opulent studio production and, in the final chapters of the film, even quite moving. Her scene in a prison cell in which Revolutionairies come to take away Antoinette's children is probably the finest moment of acting I have seen from the actress.

marieantoinette1938.png

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How about that actor sometimes called the "The poor man's Clark Gable"...James Craig. A guy who I've always listed even above the stone-faced George Raft on my list of bad actors who sounded extremely unnatural while delivering their dialogue and with little or any natural facial expressions while doing so.

jamescraig14.jpg

Well, I happened to catch him a while back in that Mickey Rooney-starring B-movie The Strip, and know WHAT?! I thought the guy wasn't half-bad in it, and played his role as the smooth-talking underworld gang leader pretty darn well.

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18 minutes ago, Dargo said:

How about that actor sometimes called the "The poor man's Clark Gable"...James Craig. A guy who I've always listed even above the stone-faced George Raft on my list of bad actors who sounded extremely unnatural while delivering their dialogue and with little or any natural facial expressions while doing so.

jamescraig14.jpg

Well, I happened to catch him a while back in that Mickey Rooney-starring B-movie The Strip, and know WHAT?! I thought the guy wasn't half-bad in it, and played his role as the smooth-talking underworld gang leader pretty darn well.

Solid choice.     Even the book Film Noir (Ward \ Silver),   says that Craig does a good job in The Strip.    

 

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On 12/28/2019 at 12:09 PM, LawrenceA said:

Keanu Reeves is one of my least favorite actors, although I think he was well cast in both The Matrix and John Wick series. I do think he gave a surprisingly effective performance as a violent jerk in The Gift (2000).

thegift1.jpg

 

Another of my least favorites is John Travolta. However, I thought he did a good job as the Bill Clinton-esque lead character in Primary Colors (1998).

primary-colors-John-Travolta.jpg

 

Adam Sandler consistently makes some of the worst comedies of the past 25 years, but he was excellent in Punch-Drunk Love (2002).

960full-punch--drunk-love-(2002)-screens

 

And I second the above mention by skimpole regarding Elizabeth Taylor in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

i totally agree with you Larry about Travolta in Primary Colors he was outstanding in it,i always said it was his best as forAdam Sandler i'am certain you are right  but I cannot watch a film with him in it

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I'm not the biggest Brad Pitt fan by any means, but I have to admit he really wowed me in SEVEN (or SE7EN which is spelled a lot on other forums, whichever you prefer)…..

Especially at the end of the film when (SPOILER ALERT):

John Doe (Kevin Spacey) deliberately spells it out that not only did he kill Pitt's wife, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, but she also begged for her life AND the life of their unborn child. Pitt's character had no idea that she had been pregnant. Hearing this, Pitt is so full of shock and anguish and he is very convincing and devastating as well.  Little wonder he blows Doe away, very hard to blame him under those circumstances either.

 

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Eddie Murphy in his dual roles in BOWFINGER.

He plays an eccentric conspiracy minded action film star on the verge of a breakdown as well as his quiet, nerdy brother, and I thought he was brilliant in both roles. Murphy's brash in-your-face comedy style does not appeal to me (way too much strutting self satisfied ego there for my palate) but he actually managed to make the nerdy brother a rather sweet character. In fact, Murphy was so good in his two roles that there were moments when I wondered if it was the same actor.

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I've always thought Tom Cruise was somewhat over rated. He's good in action flicks, but I consider him more of a movie star than an actor. However, his performance in RAINMAN really impressed me.  I also liked him in A FEW GOOD MEN.

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55 minutes ago, Hoganman1 said:

I've always thought Tom Cruise was somewhat over rated. He's good in action flicks, but I consider him more of a movie star than an actor. However, his performance in RAINMAN really impressed me.  I also liked him in A FEW GOOD MEN.

For me seeing the change come over Cruise's character in Rain Main is the primary reason to watch the film.

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James Belushi as Dr. Rock in Salvador (1986).

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