Archive | October 2010

the FRIENDS and their film exploits, ranked

Holding that distinct spot as my favorite television series ever – believe me, it’s high praise; I’m an avid watcher (and past watcher) of probably several hundred of them – means that I have a soft spot for that six-some gaggle of goofballs known as the Friends cast. But when it comes to their continuing efforts for careers after (and during) their tenure on NBC, some have fared better than others. I present, a study (and some very high-tech scoring techniques).

Jennifer Aniston
**Friends fame (1 to 6 scale): +6
**Awards cache: Five Emmy noms (+2.5), One Emmy Win (+2), One Globe nom (+.75), One Globe win (+3), Two Individual SAG noms (+.75), One Indie Spirit nom (+.5), One Razzie nom (-1)
**Failed comedies (1 point docked per): She’s the One (-1), Picture Perfect (-1), The Object of My Affection (-1), The Switch (-1)
**Successful indie cred (1 point per): The Good Girl (+1)
**Cult/fanboy hits (1 point per): Office Space (+1)
**Laughable dramas (1 point per): Rock Star (-1), Derailed (-1),
Love Happens (-1)
**Box office biggies (1 point per $100-mil.): Bruce Almighty (+2.4), Along Came Polly (+.8), The Break-Up (+1.2), Marley & Me (+1.4)
**Later TV work (1 point per lead per season, .5 for guest): 30 Rock (+.5), Cougar Town (+.5)
**Behind the camera (1 point per credit): N/A
SUCCESS SCORE: 16.3
notes: He’s Just Not That Into You wasn’t counted due to its ensemble nature, and The Bounty Hunter was far too much of a toss-up to be considered either success or failure.

Courteney Cox
**Friends fame: +4
**Awards cache: One Globe nom (+.75), Two Razzie noms (-2)
**Failed comedies: The Shrink Is In (-1)
**Successful indie cred: The Runner (-1), November (-1), The Tripper (-1)
**Cult/fanboy hits: Scream (+1)
**Laughable dramas: N/A
**Box office biggies: Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (+.7), Scream (+1), Scream 2 (+1), Scream 3 (+.9), The Longest Yard (+1.6),
Bedtime Stories (+1.1)
**Later TV work: Dirt (+2), Scrubs (+.5), Cougar Town (+2)
**Behind the camera: Producer of Cougar Town (+1), Producer of Dirt (+1)
SUCCESS SCORE: 12.55

Lisa Kudrow
**Friends fame: +4
**Awards cahe: One Chicago Film Critics nom (+.5), Six Emmy noms (+3), One Emmy win (+2), One Globe nom (+.75), One Indie Spirit nom (+.5), One NY Film Critics win (+.75), One Razzie nom (-1), Three Individual SAG noms (+2.25), One individual SAG win (+1)
**Failed comedies: Hanging Up (-1), Lucky Numbers (-1), Marci X (-1), Bandslam (-1)
**Successful indie cred: The Opposite of Sex (+1), Wonderland (-1), Happy Endings (+1), Kabluey (+1)
**Cult/fanboy hits: Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion (+1)
**Laughable dramas: N/A
**Box office biggies: Analyze This (+1), P.S. I Love You (+.5),
Hotel for Dogs (+.7), Easy A (+.6)
**Later TV work: The Simpsons (+.5), Mad About You (+.5), King of the Hill (+.5), The Comeback (+1), Cougar Town (+.5), Web Therapy (+1)
**Behind the camera: Producer/writer of Web Therapy (+1), Producer/writer of The Comeback (+1)
SUCCESS SCORE: 21.55
notes: Analyze That and Paper Man were too divisive to consider them “hits” or “failures.”

Matt LeBlanc
**Friends fame: +2
**Awards cache: Three Emmy noms (+1.5), Three Globe noms (+2.25), Two Razzie noms (-2), One individual SAG nom (+.75)
**Failed comedies: Ed (-1), All the Queen’s Men (-1)
**Successful indie cred: All the Queen’s Men (-1)
**Cult/fanboy hits: N/A
**Laughable dramas: Lost in Space (-1)
**Box office biggies: Lost in Space (+.7), Charlie’s Angels (+1.3),
Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (+1)
**Later TV work: Joey (+2)
**Behind the camera: Producer of Jonah Hex (-1)
SUCCESS SCORE: 4.5
notes: Though it pained me to do so, Joey lasted two season and gained LeBlanc a Globe nomination, so sticking by the rules it earned a +2.

Matthew Perry
**Friends fame: +3
**Awards cache: Four Emmy noms (+2), One Globe nom (+.75),
One individual SAG nom (+.75)
**Failed comedies: Almost Heroes (-1), Three to Tango (-1), Serving Sara (-1), The Whole Ten Yards (-1)
**Successful indie cred: Birds of America (-1)
**Cult/fanboy hits: N/A
**Laughable dramas: N/A
**Box office biggies: The Whole Nine Yards (+.6),
Disney’s The Kid (+.7), 17 Again (+.6)
**Later TV work: Caroline in the City (+.5), Ally McBeal (+.5), The West Wing (+.5), Scrubs (+.5), The Ron Clark Story (+1), Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (+1)
**Behind the camera: Director of Scrubs episode (+.5)
SUCCESS SCORE: 7.9
notes: Fools Rush In wasn’t such a critical hit, but it did relatively well in theaters. Not ranked as a result.

David Schwimmer
**Friends fame: +1
**Awards cache: One Emmy nom (+.5), One Razzie nom (-1)
**Failed comedies: The Pallbearer (-1), Kissing a Fool (-1)
**Successful indie cred: Nothing But the Truth (+1)
**Cult/fanboy hits: Run Fatboy Run (+1)
**Laughable dramas: Six Days, Seven Nights (-1)
**Box office biggies: Six Days, Seven Nights (+.7), Madagascar (+1.9), Madagascar Escape 2 Africa (+1.8)
**Later TV work: ER (+.5), Band of Brothers (+.5),
Curb Your Enthusiasm (+.5), 30 Rock (+.5)
**Behind the camera: Director of Friends episodes (+1), Director of Joey episodes (+.5), Director of episodes of Little Britain USA (+1), Producer of Kissing a Fool (-1)
SUCCESS SCORE: 7.4

So there are my final results, my friends – comment away on my extremely flawed system (which is completely meant for entertainment purposes, just to be clear; I don’t actually consider myself a pop culture scientist). It looks like Kudrow comes out the winner in a landslide, and LeBlanc’s failed attempts at movies and lack of work post-Friends did him in. If you’d like to see more of “Ranked” in the future, please let me know!

50 best film casts, part 2

The cast listing continues with the second half. Here are my top 25 best casts in film – not by quantity alone but quantity of quality!

25. The English Patient (1996)
Ralph Fiennes, Kristin Scott Thomas, Juliette Binoche, Colin Firth,
Naveen Andrews, Willem Defoe

24. For Your Consideration (2006)
Catherine O’Hara, Parker Posey, Harry Shearer, John Michael Higgins,
Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Ricky Gervais, Eugene Levy,
Fred Willard, Jane Lynch, Ed Begley, Jr., Jennifer Coolidge, Larry Miller

23. The Hours (2002)
Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Ed Harris,
Toni Collette, Miranda Richardson, Stephen Dillane,
John C. Reilly, Margo Martindale

22. Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
Cary Grant, Josephine Hull, Jean Adair, Raymond Massey,
Peter Lorre, Priscilla Lane, John Alexander

21. Ghostbusters (1984)
Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis,
Rick Moranis, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, Alice Drummond

20. Fargo (1996)
Frances McDormand, William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare,
Kristin Rudrud, Harve Presnell, Larissa Kokernot, Melissa Peterman

19. The First Wives Club (1996)
Diane Keaton, Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler, Dan Hedaya,
Eileen Heckart, Marcia Gay Harden, Stephen Collins, Victor Garber,
Sarah Jessica Parker, Maggie Smith, Elizabeth Berkley

18. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Wilkinson,
Elijah Wood, Kirsten Dunst, Jane Adams, David Cross

17. L.A. Confidential (1997)
Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kim Basinger, Kevin Spacey,
Danny DeVito, James Cromwell, David Strathairn

16. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Alan Arkin, Paul Dano, Abigail Breslin,
Steve Carell, Beth Grant, Bryan Cranston

15. Best in Show (2000)
Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy, Christopher Guest, Parker Posey,
Michael Hitchcock, Michael McKean, John Michael Higgins,
Jane Lynch, Jennifer Coolidge, Larry Miller, Fred Willard

14. All About Eve (1950)
Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders, Celeste Holm,
Gary Merrill, Thelma Ritter, Marilyn Monroe

13. Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway,
Randy Quaid, Roberta Maxwell, Anna Faris, Linda Cardellini,
Kate Mara, David Harbour

12. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O’Connor, Jean Hagen,
Millard Mitchell, Cyd Charisse

11. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
Mia Farrow, Michael Caine, Barbara Hershey, Dianne Wiest,
Woody Allen, Max von Sydow, Maureen O’Sullivan, Carrie Fisher

10. Marvin’s Room (1996)
Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton, Leonardo DiCaprio, Gwen Verdon,
Hume Cronyn, Margo Martindale, Dan Hedaya, Robert de Niro,
Hal Scardino, Cynthia Nixon, Kelly Ripa

9. Closer (2004)
Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Clive Owen

8. Junebug (2005)
Embeth Davidtz, Alessandro Nivola, Amy Adams, Celia Weston,
Scott Wilson, Benjamin McKenzie, Frank Hoyt Taylor

7. Young Frankenstein (1974)
Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman, Teri Garr, Cloris Leachman,
Madeline Kahn, Peter Boyle, Kenneth Mars

6. Waiting for Guffman (1996)
Christopher Guest, Parker Posey, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara,
Fred Willard, Michael Hitchcock, Deborah Theaker, Don Lake,
Larry Miller, Linda Kash, Paul Benedict

5. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal, Sandy Dennis

4. The Godfather (1972)
Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Diane Keaton,
John Cazale, Talia Shire, Robert Duvall, Abe Vigoda,
Gianni Russo, Sterling Hayden

3. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter, Karl Malden

2. Clue (1985)
Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean,
Lesley Ann Warren, Martin Mull, Madeline Kahn, Colleen Camp

1. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Stewart, Ruth Hussey,
John Howard, Roland Young, Virginia Weidler

50 best film casts, part 1

Going through my plethora of lists on this blog (I just can’t help myself – sue me), I discovered that one integral part of a successful film has not been covered here. So in order to honor the casts with them mostest, I give you a two-part rundown of the all-time best movie casts.

50. Happy Endings (2005)
Lisa Kudrow, Maggie Gyllenhall, Steve Coogan, Bobby Cannavale,
Tom Arnold, Jason Ritter, Jesse Bradford, David Sutcliffe, Laura Dern

49. The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
Susan Sarandon, Cher, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jack Nicholson,
Veronica Cartwright, Richard Jenkins

48. The Goonies (1985)
Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Martha Plimpton, Corey Feldman,
Jeff Cohen, Jonathan Ke Quan, Kerri Green, Anne Ramsey,
John Matuszak, Joe Pantoliano

47. White Christmas (1954)
Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Vera-Ellen, Danny Kaye,
Dean Jagger, Mary Wickes

46. White Oleander (2002)
Alison Lohmann, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robin Wright, Renee Zellweger

45. Soapdish (1991)
Sally Field, Kevin Kline, Robert Downey, Jr., Elisabeth Shue,
Cathy Moriarty, Whoopi Goldberg, Teri Hatcher

44. 9 to 5 (1980)
Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda, Dabney Coleman

43. Traffic (2000)
Benicio del Toro, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones,
Topher Grace, Erika Christensen, Don Cheadle, Luis Guzman,
Benjamin Bratt, James Brolin, Albert Finney, Dennis Quaid

42. Secrets & Lies (1996)
Brenda Blethyn, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Timothy Spall,
Phyllis Logan, Claire Rushbrook

41. A Serious Man (2009)
Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Kind, Aaron Wolff, Fred Melamed,
Sari Lennick, Jessica McManus, Amy Landecker

40. Parenthood (1989)
Steve Martin, Mary Steenburgen, Rick Moranis, Harley Jane Kozak,
Tom Hulce, Jason Robards, Martha Plimpton, Joaquin Phoenix,
Dianne Wiest, Eileen Ryan, Helen Shaw

39. Howards End (1992)
Emma Thompson, Anthony Hopkins, Helena Bonham Carter,
Vanessa Redgrave, Adrian Magenty, Samuel West

38. Being John Malkovich
John Cusack, Catherine Keener, Cameron Diaz,
John Malkovich, Orson Bean, Mary Kay Place

37. A Prairie Home Companion (2006)
Garrison Keillor, Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Lily Tomlin,
Lindsay Lohan, Maya Rudolph, Virginia Madsen, John C. Reilly,
Woody Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones, Marylouise Burke

36. Juno (2007)
Ellen Page, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Allison Janney,
Michael Cera, Olivia Thirlby, J.K. Simmons

35. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Will Sampson, William Redfield,
Christopher Lloyd, Danny DeVito, Brad Dourif

34. Sense & Sensibility (1995)
Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant,
Gemma Jones, Tom Wilkinson, Emilie Francois, Elizabeth Spriggs

33. Rachel Getting Married (2008)
Anne Hathaway, Rosemarie Dewitt, Debra Winger, Bill Irwin,
Anna Deavere Smith, Tunde Adebimpe, Carol Jean Lewis

32. The Color Purple (1985)
Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, Margaret Avery, Danny Glover,
Willard Pugh, Desreta Jackson, Dana Ivey, Akosua Busia

31. Steel Magnolias (1989)
Sally Field, Olympia Dukakis, Dolly Parton, Julia Roberts,
Shirley MacLaine, Darryl Hannah, Tom Skerritt

30. In America (2003)
Samantha Morton, Paddy Considine, Djimon Honsou,
Emma Bolger, Sara Bolger

29. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969)
Maggie Smith, Pamela Franklin, Celia Johnson, Diane Grayson,
Jane Carr, Shirley Steedman

28. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings (2001)
Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin,
Orlando Bloom, Sean Bean, John Rhys-Davies, Christopher Lee
Dominic Monaghan, Billy Boyd, Liv Tyler, Cate Blanchett

27. Sneakers (1992)
Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, Dan Aykroyd, Mary McDonnell,
David Strathairn, River Phoenix, James Earl Jones

26. Casablanca (1942)
Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Peter Lorre,
Paul Henreid, Joy Page, Dooley Wilson

Check back soon for Part 2!

merylfest: SHE-DEVIL (1989)

Oh, the comedy subset of Meryl’s filmography. Oh, how I outwardly pretend her high-brow, sob-inducing dramatic performances are the pinnacle of her career and inwardly adore when she utilizes her fantastic comedic timing. I’ve got to say – when preparing to tackle this oft-maligned blip on Streep’s past work, I was a little, shall we say, nervous. I mean, her co-stars probably make for the most random trio of actors you could assemble for this silly little bit of move – Streep with Ed Begley Jr. and Roseanne Barr?? Yeah, not exactly the first grouping that comes to mind when you think of casting a successful comedic romp (though it sort of make sense considering Roseanne’s rising popularity at the time and Meryl’s incoming burst of funny-woman roles). In She-Devil, Streep plays Mary Fisher, over-the-top, breathy-voiced romance novelist and part-time husband stealer. Fisher lives in a giant Barbie’s Dream House wannabe and making a living peddling dirty books to housewives. The “she-devil” is unleashed, though, when Mary meets Bob (Begley, Jr.) at a party and steals him away from frumpy wife Rose (Barr).


The story ambles on as we follow Rose’s routes to vengeance against wandering-eyed Bob and floozy Mary to show them the error of their ways and to reinvent herself as a powerful, confident woman in the meantime. It’s by no means an excellent film, to be sure, but it’s at least an agreeable revenge comedy. Streep is typically well-timed in this, a far less becoming character than she’s used to. Mary is a bitch, plain and simple, and you find yourself rooting for the typically trashy Barr in this, a surprisingly sweet-natured performance. But it seems that Streep is rather well-suited to playing a comedic villain (see Death Becomes Her for evidence of that), and, though the pairing for Streep/Barr on a marquee is probably the most bizarre one in her career, the two of them play rather well off each other, representing two opposing sides of the womanhood spectrum – the beautiful brat versus the mumsy sweetheart.

Now, I can understand the ill will toward the flick. Streep has very clearly been better in countless other roles, and the writing is, for the most part, bordering on ludicrous, but it’s a pleasant mindless departure from the doom and gloom of her ’80s work. Mary and Rose are big, brash caricatures of the ladies they’re trying to represent, and, though this fact creates some problems with plotholes and inconsistency, the stars are endearing and doing rather well with the predominantly silly script they’re working with.

Meryl’s Performance: B
The Film: B-

then and now: SOAPDISH (1991)

Having just discovered this sorta silly but definitely entertaining gem recently, it seemed only fitting that a return to the Then and Now series would very much suit this very cast-driven bitchy-fest. Following the goings-on and melodrama of a soap opera set, Soapdish features a cast of well-knowns that seems almost impossible to achieve considering the ridiculous content. But I’m very thankful that they were assembled. So here we go – the cast of Soapdish in their earliest (or at least earliest to find footage of) and latest work.

Kevin Kline as Jeffrey Anderson
In the 1980 TV movie Pirates of Penzance
And in the 2010 movie The Extra Man

Sally Field as Celeste Talbert
In a 1966 episode of the TV series Gidget
And in a 2010 episode of the TV series Brothers & Sisters

Cathy Moriarty as Montana Moorehead
In the 1980 film Raging Bull
And in a 2010 episode of Law and Order: Criminal Intent

Robert Downey, Jr. as David Seton Barnes
In the 1970 movie Pound
And in the 2010 movie Due Date

Elisabeth Shue as Lori Craven
In the 1983 movie Somewhere, Tomorrow
And in the 2010 movie Piranha 3-D

Whoopi Goldberg as Rose Schwartz
In the 1985 film The Color Purple
And in the 2010 film For Colored Girls

Teri Hatcher as Ariel Maloney
In a 1985 episode of the TV series The Love Boat
And in a 2010 episode of the TV series Desperate Housewives

’70s cinema: the new wave stars and their modern-day counterparts (PART 2)

The comparisons – and possible blasphemy considering your take on these guys and gals – continues. Here are few more stars, from the decade that was, and their modern complements.

Robert Redford to Jake Gyllenhaal – Though his fame over the past couple decades has been primarily through the Sundance Film Festival and his later directorial efforts, Redford’s pretty-boy charms and romantic flair got him his break in 1967’s Barefoot in the Park and 1969’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. He went on to star in some of the most enduringly popular films of the decade, The Way We Were (1973), The Sting (1973), The Great Gatsby (1974), and All the President’s Men (1976). Gyllenhaal may’ve gotten started as a child star thanks to his director/producer parents, but his true break-out came as an uneasy sex symbol in The Good Girl (2002) – though his indie beginnings came two years earlier before with the now-cult-classic Donnie Darko (2001). Since, Gyllenhaal has eked out a similar career to Redford’s as the romantic lead in Brokeback Mountain (2005) and Love and Other Drugs (2010), as well as the central character in thrillers such as Zodiac (2007) and Brothers (2009).
Most Desired Remake – Jake Gyllenhaal in The Sting

Diane Keaton to Ellen Page – In the unlikeliest of scenarios, gawky but lovable Keaton became a symbol of ideal ’70s womanhood thanks to collaborations with Woody Allen – particularly Annie Hall (1977) and Manhattan (1979) – and her performances in the Godfather films as uneasy future matriarch to the Corleone family. And though probably their easiest comparison is their penchant for rocking traditionally malecentric clothing, Keaton and Page might yet travel a similar path. Though Page’s big break came in the form of a divisive anti-hero in Hard Candy (2005), she’s become an ideal of sorts for the hipster tomboy in her own right. She donned the lah-dee-dah Keaton attitude in 2007’s Juno and 2009’s Whip It, and her recent dip into the dramatic thriller venue – a la 2010’s Inception – insinuates a possible Godfather/Reds in her near future. Oh, and that entire wardrobe in 2008’s Smart People had to be borrowed from Keaton’s one-time closet.
Most Desired Remake – Ellen Page in Baby Boom (I know, utterly bizarre, but wouldn’t you pay to see a Page-inspired modern take on this ultra-shoulder-padded ’80s classic?)

Al Pacino to Ryan Gosling – Taking on some of the most iconic characters of the ’70s, Pacino and de Niro (featured in the previous post) sort of owned the decade for the men. With a flair for the dark and brooding, Pacino nailed both Godfather films (I like to pretend the third doesn’t exist) and turned Serpico (1973) and Dog Day Afternoon (1975) into enduringly important works both then and now. He’s perhaps the most courageous actor of the decade in terms of choosing characters that have some seriously disturbing flaws. Though Gosling had some television roles as a teen – most notably Young Hercules, if you’ll recall – and has dipped into the saccharine at times (case in point, 2004’s The Notebook), his best work has come from obscure and often troubling roles, much like Pacino before him. Half Nelson (2006), Lars and the Real Girl (2007), and assumedly Blue Valentine (2010) feature Gosling in abnormal and sometimes disturbing positions. And they’ve both got that makes-you-uneasy scowl down to an art.
Most Desired Remake – Ryan Gosling in Dog Day Afternoon (and I’ll take suggestions on who should take the John Cazale part)

Woody Allen to Emma Stone – Wait, wait – before you pishaw this, hear me out. If you think about it in terms of acting, I may not be as crazy as you first thought. Sure, Allen is most notable for his writing and directing, but he happened to star in a lot of his most notable ’70s films, so he makes the list as a result. Without his acting work as neurotic geeks in Bananas (1971), Annie Hall (1977), and Manhattan (1979), goofballs of the new wave would’ve avoided an entire new subset of male lead that is ever-present even today – the the funny-looking-but-funny romantic interest. Now, it’s not to say that Stone is at all funny-looking, but if her impressive comedic timing is any indication of her abilities in playing neurotic, she could be on the right track. Through Superbad (2007) and Easy A (2010), she’s proven to be a great comedienne, and, if anyone bothered seeing The House Bunny (2008), you’ll also know that she can be quite convincing and totally lovable as the awkward geek. So, no, she’s not headed toward screenwriting or directing as far as I know, but dammit if Emma Stone doesn’t have a little bit of the eccentric comedy stylings of Woody Allen.
Most Desired Remake – Emma Stone in Hank and His Brothers (a gender-opposing take on 1986’s Hannah and Her Sisters – don’t you think Stone could play the semi-obnoxious hypochondriac Mickey to greatness?)

’70s cinema: the new wave stars and their modern-day counterparts (PART 1)

As The Godfather, Annie Hall, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest that came before them, I decided to take a gander at the new decade’s counterparts of the American new wave’s stars of the ’70s. Feel free to scrutinize to your heart’s desire in the comments, but here are my humble choices…

Jack Nicholson to Jeremy Renner – Making a name for himself as a snarky hoodlum in movies like Easy Rider (1969), Five Easy Pieces (1971), and Carnal Knowledge (1971), Nicholson found himself one of the broadest performers of his generation. His R.P. McMurphy in Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) and Jack Torrance in The Shining (1980) are clear-cut evidence of that. And Renner has eked out a similar career through his beginnings – he played bad boys in North Country (2005) and The Hurt Locker (2009), and his most recent turn in The Town (2010) had the broad choices found in an iconic Nicholson role.
Most Desired Remake – Jeremy Renner in The Shining

Jane Fonda to Rebecca Hall – After her kitschy beginnings in Barbarella (1968), Fonda went on to become the edgy performer who led Klute (1971) and They Shoot Horses Don’t They? (1969), eventually becoming the critical darling (despite her political slants) garnering accolades for her work in Julia (1977) and Coming Home (1978). Hall got a big start early on thanks to her expert turn in Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008). And, following some small roles in prestige pics such as Frost/Nixon (2008) and Red Riding (2009), she’s gone on to some major roles in buzzy flicks such as The Town (2010).
Most Desired Remake – Rebecca Hall in Barefoot in the Park

Robert de Niro to Leonardo DiCaprio – Gaining early traction as the 1970s quintessential tough guy, de Niro has Martin Scorsese to thank for his early success, in essence. From Mean Streets (1973) to his star (and Oscar-winning) turn as young Don Corleone in The Godfather, Part II (1974) to his arguably most important roles in Taxi Driver (1976) and Raging Bull (1980), de Niro played best with Scorsese and other ’70s visionary Francis Ford Coppola. In perhaps a too-obvious comparison, DiCaprio has taken a similar path. After some humble beginnings as a child star, Scorsese, too, helped him gain his cred as a leading man in Gangs of New York (2002), The Aviator (2004), and particularly 2006’s The Departed.
Most Desired Remake – Leonardo DiCaprio in The Deer Hunter

Dustin Hoffman to Emile Hirsch – Hoffman obviously made his mark late in the ’60s with The Graduate (1967) and Midnight Cowboy (1969), so by the 1970s, he was a full-fledged movie star. With an incredibly diverse career for such a distinctly atypical actor, Hoffman was perhaps best loved as flawed heroes in Lenny (1974) and Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and full-on thriller heroes in All the President’s Men (1976) and Marathon Man (1976). As an actor of equally unusual skills, Hirsch went edgy like Hoffman in the beginning, taking roles in The Secret Lives of Altar Boys (2002) and Imaginary Heroes (2004). But Hirsch channeled his Hoffman Oscar cred with a supporting turn in Milk (2008) and his mesmerizing role in Into the Wild (2007).
Most Desired Remake – Emile Hirsch in The Graduate

Ellen Burstyn to Maggie Gyllenhaal – Critical darling Burstyn made a name for herself from playing careworn ladies, often with hellish children – enter The Exorcist (1973). And this was years before her now best-known role in Requiem for a Dream (2000). From The Last Picture Show (1971) to Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974), she rocked the bob and the over-worked gal to a tee. Then there’s Gyllenhaal, who, though she’s had her fair share of glamour roles in Mona Lisa Smile (2003) and The Dark Knight (2008), her best work has come from her scrappier, bob-headed turns in fare such as Happy Endings (2005), Sherrybaby (2006), and of course Secretary (2002).
Most Desired Remake – Maggie Gyllenhaal in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore