Jan 072010

I’d like to offer a little diversion from the intense work we’ve been doing on cover bands, Nektar, and other Important Rock Topics. I’d like to launch a potential series, maybe a monthly event, in which we share our thoughts on a particular Hollywood actor or two according to a particular theory on acting that a Townsman developed years ago, the Six-Pack or Shotgun Theory.

Long ago my close personal friend, E. Pluribus Gergely, explained to me his Six-Pack or Shotgun Theory. It was late at night. Those of us at the table had had much to eat and, in some cases, drink. The topic of Great Acting came up. Gergs passionately launched into his belief that our assessment of acting talent has little to do with the actor’s craft or skill, which he was doubtful even exists.

“There’s no such thing as Acting Ability!” he said in typically definitive fashion, slamming his fist for emphasis. “When we watch any any actor in any movie it comes down to one thing: If that actor showed up unannounced at your back door, would you greet him or her with a six-pack or a shotgun?

In other words, would you welcome this person, as you perceive the actor to be in real life – no matter what character the actor was playing in any movie – into your home, or would you make it clear that he or she needs to get off of your property? To E. Pluribus Gergely, that’s what 99% of us use to base our judgments on an actor.

Over the years I’ve come to agree with this theory. It’s rare that I think an actor I like for his or her “good egg” or other generally appealing qualities is particularly bad in a movie, even a terrible movie. For instance, I’ve managed to dig Nicolas Cage‘s performances in a dozen horrendous movies. I simply find the guy to project an amusing and agreeable personality. It would be worth my while to hang out with an unannounced Nic Cage. Six-pack!

That night, E. mentioned a couple of other actors who project a loveable, easygoing nature as examples of Six-Pack recipients. We agreed with most of his selections, but it was clear from the start that this is a matter of highly personal choice. Your six-pack could easily be someone else’s shotgun.

He cited one actor who we readily agreed merited the shotgun:


  76 Responses to “Six-Pack or Shotgun?”

  1. 2000 Man

    I have a friend that went ot one of her shows and talked with her for a bit. He said she was really nice and seemed like she would have talked with him all night if he felt like it, but he figured she had things to do. That’s pretty nice of her. I think she’s a better actor than singer, and I really like the kind of music she does. It’s just that other people do that music better. I suppose she’s the Billy Bob Thornton of Garage Rock.

    I think that makes her a fraud, but apparently a really nice one.

    I’ve enjoyed a few James Wood movies, but man, he’s an economy sized douchebag and I’d definitely greet him with a shotgun.

  2. Mr. Moderator

    2K, your friend’s story is great to hear. I’ve imagined that she would be entertaining but maybe be one of those guests who stay too long. I’m confident I could politely get out of the situation without reaching for my weapon.

    Wow, EPG and I would agree that James Woods is up there with Glenn Close for the shotgun! Good call.

  3. hrrundivbakshi

    Oh, man! This is well timed for a mini-rant I was hatching last night as I watched Stanley Tucci’s “Big Night.” I was really struggling for a way to get into this in a rock framework — you know, “who’s Rock music’s Stanley Tucci?”, and so forth. But you’ve saved me the trouble.

    I’m a Shakespeare snob, and I actually watch that shit for fun. One of my fave movie adaptations is a Kevin Kline/Stanley Tucci/Rupert Somebody-or-other version of “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” which I made my girlfriend sit through early in our courtship. She liked it as well, and pointed out that the guy playing Puck was in a number of other interesting movies. So we Netflix’ed ’em.

    The first to arrive was this madcap, 1930s-era, zaaaaany ensemble piece about a couple of down-on-their-luck actors who get mixed up in a silly heist of some sort. It co-starred Oliver Platt, which seemed like a good thing. Boy, did that movie suck! I like zany, I like madcap, I like 30s, I like Tucci, I like Platt — but there was something smug and *actor-y* about that film that just pissed me off. That, and the script was idiotic.

    I had higher hopes for “Big Night.” Unlike that other turd (the name of which escapes me), it came with all kinds of critical kudos — and it was about food, something else I like. So we sat down to watch it last night. I should’ve smelled a rat when I saw the cavalcade of “serious actors” who had signed up for this thing. Seriously, movies produced/penned by actors that star all their buddies are *always* a bad thing. The real oh-Lord-here-we-go-again moment for me was when Ian Holm made his first scenery-chewing appearance as a rival restaurant owner and ACTED his way through the fact that he may have the most unbelievable fake Italian accent in movie history.

    I dunno, man… I guess my point is that Stanley Tucci confuses me. He’s undoubtedly a good actor, and he seems like a nice guy. He means well, I think. But these movies of his are insufferably — what’s the word I’m looking for — clicque-ish? Insider-y? It feels like they were made with the creative goal of being able to tell stories about the making of them on “The Actor’s Studio,” or whatever that ass-kiss interview show on Bravo is called.

    Maybe there is an analog in the rock world. I get the feeling Eric Clapton’s musical life has become a big Stanley Tucci production recently.

    Dunno where I’m going with all this but I’ll close by saying Tucci is in the DeNiro camp for me: meet him at the door with a six-pack, but keep that shotgun propped up against the kitchen table for the inevitable moment you have to shoo him out of your house.


  4. mockcarr

    Stanley Tucci is one of those guys who pauses to allow you to notice how he’s “acting”. That stowaways movie you are referencing is akin to the Ritz brothers doing a Night At The Opera crossed with Monkey Business instead of the Marx brothers, i.e., FUCK that – it’s a buncho guys running around expecting you to laugh because they say idiotic things quickly and get into trouble.

    I have to say though, I liked that scene in Big Night the morning after the dinner, where the brothers are just making themselves some espresso and eggs without talking. I barely eat anything civilized, and can’t cook worth a damn, but I kind of like to watch people cook. It’s perverse.

  5. mockcarr

    Mod, if someone’s a good actor, how do you know what they’re really like?

  6. Mr. Moderator

    My wife digs that stowaways movie – isn’t it called The Impossibles, or something along those lines?

    I like Big Night a lot. I totally get what you’re saying about the Actorly Motivations of Tucci/Campbell Scott/Tony Shaloub/Oliver Platt colaborations, but all four of those guys get six-packs from me – major ones for all but Tucci, whose six-pack is offered with reservations. You’re onto something Hrrundi! He was on Fresh Air last night and so many thoughts along the lines of what you expressed ran through my mind.

  7. Mr. Moderator

    mockcarr, if someone’s supposed to be a good actor and I never really care for their acting, I’m pretty sure I don’t like the person behind the mask, so I am often comfortable believing that the converse is true, that is, that “good actor” equates to person I’d be interested in hanging with.

  8. Mr. Moderator

    PS, mockcarr – I would never think that I know what any actor is really like, but I can feel whether I’m attracted to what that person projects. Does that make sense?

  9. mockcarr

    Well, the point is, they are not necessarily being themselves very much at all in any case.

  10. mockcarr

    Yeah, that’s the last comment basically.

  11. hrrundivbakshi

    To be clear, and faithful to the impressions I left with my g-friend last night: I didn’t dislike “Big Night.” It’s just that the Tucci-ness of it got in the way of me *really* liking it.

    I’d be very curious to hear what EPG thinks of Tucci and “Big Night.”

  12. misterioso

    Mr. Mod, of course, I, too, have friends who say crazy things late at night after a few too many beverages, things like praising the fascist anti-Semite punk Celine and dissing one of the greatest novels ever written, Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick.

  13. Mr. Moderator

    mockcarr, I disagree with that. Think about it in terms of music: whether a musician plays an E chord or a Bbdim7, there’s something about the musician that comes through. Or think about a singer: two singers can sing the exact same song in the same key and give off a completely different vibe. Actors surely have the training to “play” certain parts just the way musicians have the ability to play certain chord progressions, but there’s still something human that’s behind the acting. And there’s nothing wrong with that! If someone has to go through that much trouble to ACT – and if that person actually gives off no discernable core personality – then that person may be a fucking freak, like Glenn Close.

    Name another actor who doesn’t clearly give off something clearly of his- or herself. I’m sure there are others. The only other one who comes to mind for me is Peter Sellers, but the VOID that he projected resonated as much as any “warm” actor with obvious signs of humanity.

  14. Mr. Moderator

    Come on, misterioso, I thought we had something going here. You’re not going to cop out on me, are you? Answer the question: Juliette Lewis: six-pack or shotgun?

  15. I like Big Night too, although I haven’t seen it since I was 25 or so. I like when Tucci asks Campbell Scott the car salesman, “How did you break your arm?” and Scott, in salesman mode, answers “I don’t know.”

    Regarding this thread’s concept, a question: Say you have a friend who, while not without redeeming qualities, is basically an asshole. Can you then reliably assume that the actors this friend deems six-pack-worthy are also assholes?

  16. mockcarr

    Campbell Scott was playing the Sig Ruman part. Not that badly, I suppose.

  17. Mr. Moderator

    Oats asked:

    Regarding this thread’s concept, a question: Say you have a friend who, while not without redeeming qualities, is basically an asshole. Can you then reliably assume that the actors this friend deems six-pack-worthy are also assholes?

    No way! This asshole friend is friends with you, and you’re not an asshole (the conceptual friend and you, that is). We contain multitudes, although some actors don’t intersect with any part of our personality, at which point we deem them as actors who don’t interest us in films.

  18. Mr. Moderator

    I had to look up Sig Ruman, but now that I think of it the isn’t “comic portrayals of pompous villains” Scott’s stock in trade? Come on in, Campbell! (Can I call you something else?) Let’s crack open a six-pack!

  19. mockcarr

    Holy crap – “we contain multitudes”?

    Assholes often have taste in matters that bely their assholery.

  20. Mr. Moderator

    mockcarr, that’s not you pulling up in the Cop Out mobile too, is it? I know you want to get at something, but something’s holding you back.

  21. mockcarr

    What about a guy who used to be a smug sonofabitch who always plays smug sonofabitches, and quite well, but is now grown up and isn’t a smug sonofabitch anymore, but a sad, wiser rueful bastard?

  22. hrrundivbakshi

    Mockcarr — when did you become an expert on the taste of assholes?

  23. mockcarr

    By the way, Sig Ruman would have gotten a keg if he showed up at my door.

  24. mockcarr

    Hey, HVB, it’s not like those slam dancers in mid-80s didn’t like the Minutemen.

  25. mockcarr

    Mod, as always, I can not articulate that which is beyond my comprehension or limited imagination. Can we truly know another? And if we do, is it just for that moment, and how they seem to us, or have we discovered their personal truth?

    Sadly, this fact does not shut me up.

    However, I have not stooped to italics yet.

  26. mockcarr

    Please forgive me, I had a few beers at lunch and suddenly became voluble.

  27. mockcarr

    How about Kevin Spacey. I like a lot of stuff he’s done. But I’ll be damned if I’d give him a feckin sixpack.

  28. mockcarr

    Juliette Lewis gets a shotgun. That remake was ridiculous, and actually the original seemed encumbered by how long it took Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum to say their lines.

  29. misterioso

    Modman, sorry: but it had to be said. Not as a way of avoiding a question the criteria of which I find retarded, per se. Clearly someone who references Walt Whitman is not about to adopt the standards of some Celine-loving Melville hater.

    Sig Ruman’s greatest moment–greater even than in A Night at the Opera–is as “Concentration Camp Erhardt” in To Be or Not To Be.

    Backed into a corner: shotgun for Juliette Lewis, if only for the godawful Natural Born Killers.

  30. Mr. Moderator

    I’m with you on Spacey, mockcarr, but do you also feel that his “acting” skills have diminished over time, the longer you’ve gripped that shotgun? I’m tired of the guy and his bag of tricks. I’m starting to think that the turd that was American Beauty milked him dry, leaving nothing but the perceived creep I’d turn away at my kitchen door.

  31. mockcarr

    Oh, Captain, my Captain Ahab.

  32. mockcarr

    I think Spacey should just make the “Jack Lemmon Story” and retrench as a stage guy who can chew scenery in London or something.

  33. Mr. Moderator

    I’m glad we’re still cool with each other, misterioso and mockcarr. I see where you’re coming from.

    mockcarr, I disliked that remake of Cape Fear so much that Lewis’ “performance” stood out like a corn-studded turd, or something ruder that I could use as an analogy based on the photo of her in this piece but won’t do. The original was no gem either, and I’m glad you brought up Gregory Peck. I know he’s lauded for being some kind of humanitarian and having the ability to make his voice echo just like Lou Gerhig’s, but he gets the SHOTGUN from me simply based on how friggin’ boring his essence seems to be. What did that guy do to be considered a great actor, give eyesight to the blind?

  34. Mr. Moderator

    I’d greenlight that The Jack Lemmon Story with Spacey only if Matthew Broderick could also play Lemmon after Spacey kicks off under shady circumstances midway through filming.

  35. misterioso

    We’re Kool and the Gang and all that. But it was Gary Cooper who played Lou Gehrig.

  36. Mr. Moderator

    Damn, you’re right, misterioso. I’m ashamed to think how often I’ve confused Cooper and Peck! Gary Cooper’s even worse, and he wasn’t even a great humanitarian, was he?

  37. mockcarr

    I think that description of Peter Sellers is a little glib. That HBO movie (which I enjoyed) about him might have been bullshit and he could have had a soul. It could be that Geoffrey Rush is the same way for playing him and other over-the-top characters similarly. But I don’t know the guy.

  38. mockcarr

    Gary Cooper got a lot of trim though, and THAT is rock and roll, people.

  39. mockcarr

    At least Gary Cooper had that one moment in High Noon where he looked scared shitless, and I believed it.

  40. mockcarr

    Hey, what fun is discussing if you can’t get disgusted?

  41. misterioso

    I’ll go to bat for Cooper more than Peck, in general; but Peck is good in some things (Spellbound, Twelve o’Clock High, The Gunfighter, Roman Holiday, To Kill a Mockingbird, a few others). Limited range, for sure. Cooper was great in a lot of things in the 30s before he got locked into strong, silent types exclusively. Not as Marco Polo, though. That wasn’t too smart.

  42. Six Pack:
    M Emmett Walsh (12 pack)
    Harvey Keitel
    John C Reilly
    Phillip Seymour Hoffman
    Harry Dean Stanton
    Julliette Lewis

    David Mamet (both barrels)
    Oliver Stone
    Robin Williams
    Geoffrey Rush
    Bruce Dern
    Jerry Lewis

  43. mockcarr

    Matthew Broderick will be tied up doing the Michael J Fox musical. Luckily, there will free shotguns available after the performance.

  44. mockcarr

    Oh, the working title of that project is I Love You, Alex P. Keaton.

  45. Not many people answering the question regarding JL. I’m gonna say six pack, on the strength of the photo alone. And let’s face it: any straight guy who’s not afraid of his wife would do the same.

    But that’s copping out, since it doesn’t discuss acting. Her flakiness was original in is moment, but grew tiresome with overexposure. She gets the six-pack and can stay at my place, but only for two years.

  46. hrrundivbakshi

    Trying to keep this, uh, on target, I choose to make my list of rocker-actors/actor-rockers:


    Bruce Willis
    Steven Seagal
    Billy Bob Thornton
    Keanu Reeves
    Paul McCartney
    Dennis Wilson


    The Fresh Prince (Will Smith)
    Kevin Bacon
    Elvis Presley
    Mos’ Def
    Ice Cube
    Bob Dylan
    John Lennon
    Ringo Starr
    Eugene Hutz
    Beyonce Knowles


    Russell Crowe
    Tom Waits
    Mick Jagger
    James Brown
    Ray Davies

    Seriously, Mod is onto something here. When you imagine these lists as dinner party invitees, you begin to sense the wisdom of this method of analysis. My Sixpack Dinner would be a ballin’ good time. Not so my Shotgun Dinner!

  47. mockcarr

    I was thinking of Russell Crowe too as a dividing line. I kind of like that the guy assaulted someone with a telephone. I hate phones, but that seems like a good way to use one, and you don’t end up breaking a knuckle or something.

  48. mockcarr

    I know it’s a terrible movie, but I have to watch Mallrats when it’s on because I enjoy Jason Lee’s performance so much. Six Pack for that dude!

  49. mockcarr

    HVB, don’t you think Mick and Ray would deny your offer of Schiltz? Actually, I take that back, Ray would take it and spray it all over you.

  50. 2000 Man

    cdm, Jerry Lewis gets a bazooka. Maybe even a double barrelled bazooka. I’d like Dean Martin to stand immediately behind him, too.

  51. underthefloat

    I think Gregory Peck get’s props for “To Kill a Mockingbird”. His rather normal boring screen manner worked and rose to a level of “quiet dignity”. That said, shotgun for him. But I think Cooper is even more wooden then Peck. Double shotgun for Cooper.

    The guy that sprang to mind for me is Tom Cruise. SHOT GUN GOD GET THE SHOT GUN!!

  52. BigSteve

    I’m mostly staying out of this, partly because I have no clue who Juliette Lewis is.

    But this discussion reminds me of the many times we’ve agreed that liking a musician’s work bears no relation to liking him/her as a person. Didn’t we?

    I think mockcarr’s point was right on — an actor’s job is to pretend to be someone else. It’s not possible to know what they would be like to hang out with.

    My experience with actors, not famous ones of course, is that they’re generally hard to get to be friends with. You never know who you’re talking to.

  53. Mr. Moderator

    Hrrundi, after posting some spot-on analyses of rocking actors, said the following:

    Seriously, Mod is onto something here.

    I take no credit for this concept; the work was all E. Pluribus Gergely’s. It’s one of his finest theories ever, in my opinion. I’m only a proponent of the theory because Gergs is too humble to spread it himself.

    BigSteve, warming up the CopOut Mobile, wrote:

    But this discussion reminds me of the many times we’ve agreed that liking a musician’s work bears no relation to liking him/her as a person. Didn’t we?

    I wouldn’t venture to apply this theory to musicians, and I don’t think E. would either. What you say may be true about musicians, but the same goes for politicians, librarians, editors, and poets. This theory is meant to be applicable to actors, and any attempts to simplify what E. was getting will prevent you from fully experiencing the power of the theory.

    Put it this way: Is any actor skilled enough to change the expression of his or her eyes? If we think of the eyes as the “windows of the soul,” or whatever the saying is, then the eyes are beyond an actor’s control. Juliette Lewis has Crazy Eyes, a bit like Karen Black’s, but her’s are not so crazy that she’d be tormented by a little Zuni fetish doll in a suitcase.

    Karen Black: shotgun
    Juliette Lewis: six-pack, with reservations

  54. Two fast points.

    HVB Will Smith, sixpack?

    Mr. Mod, on the night of this discussion, I think you mentioned that you had not seen Natural Born Killers. Regardless of any opinions about the quality of the movie, it is certainly required viewing for you in light of your scholarly interest in Oliver Stone’s dependence on hairpieces as his primary directorial tool.

  55. BigSteve

    I’d say that changing the expression of their eyes is exactly what actors do. Good ones anyway.

    You know, I understand that behavior is what actors work with, and it’s behavior you want to experience, or not, in person. But it’s also true that most actors don’t write the parts they play. It’s the most overrated profession on earth.

    I don’t have a problem with the gun/6-pack exercise as such, as long as it doesn’t bleed over into only wanting to see movies by the 6-pack actors. Just like in music, sports, or your personal place of employment, jerks can do good work.

    And face it, the people we do actually hang out with can be shotgun-worthy sometimes.

  56. Mod, a shotgun against Karen Black is no defense at all.

  57. Mr. Moderator

    BigSteve wrote:

    I don’t have a problem with the gun/6-pack exercise as such, as long as it doesn’t bleed over into only wanting to see movies by the 6-pack actors. Just like in music, sports, or your personal place of employment, jerks can do good work.

    We agree on that. As much as I don’t want Glenn Close in my house and recoil at the thought of her appearing on screen, even she’s been in some films I like and been a key contributor. And please, I can’t speak for the creator of this theory, but I don’t honestly think that I know that any one of these actors is actually a jerk or a good egg or whatever. I’m just reacting to what I see on screen and my own biases. Also, please don’t think I would exclude jerks from my kitchen. Some of my best friends are jerks.

    I am curious, Steve, if you could cite an example of an actor who actually is able to change the expression in his or her eyes on a given performance. I’ve been trying to think of examples, but none comes to mind. To me, they all maintain their inherent twinkle or glazed-over look or whatever regardless of the character they play.

  58. “could cite an example of an actor who actually is able to change the expression in his or her eyes on a given performance”

    Hoe about Marty Feldman?

  59. mockcarr

    Jimmy Stewart is good at flipping that switch in his eyes to display the latent madness in a few characters, like Scotty in Vertigo when he wigs out after realizing he’s been a pawn in an elaborate murder, or George Bailey when after 30 some-odd years of sacrifice and good-eggedness, he’s facing jailtime, disgrace, and a bunch of whinging kids and plastic models of things he’ll never get to design.

  60. Mr. Moderator

    Sure, mockcarr, but that’s expected in a Jimmy Stewart performance – his turn from All-American, idealistic Everyman to desparate, outraged Everyman Under Attack. It’s his ace in the hole, or whatever the card-playing term is. I love Jimmy Stewart – don’t get me wrong – but has Stewart ever played an outright “Bad Guy,” one that doesn’t have the Jimmy Stewart Essence lurking under the surface? In The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, which I’ve never seen, isn’t he the Black Hat? If so, my guess is that he played his hand in reverse, going through most of the film as the cornered, rabid dog and ending as some sort of Idealistic Everyman.

  61. misterioso

    No, in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance he is the “good guy” Stoddard who gets credit for offing Valance when, in fact (spoiler alert!) it was John Wayne’s character Doniphon who actually fired the shot.

    See Stewart in the Anthony Mann westerns from the 50s (Winchester 73, Bend of the River, Naked Spur, and esp. The Man from Laramie). Unusually edgy.

    Can Gene Pitney’s “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” hereby be nominated for the best movie theme song that was not in the movie?

  62. Regarding actors in real-life versus the characters they play, Bob Dylan had this to say:

    “The character in the song reminds me a lot of the guy who is in the song ACROSS THE BORDERLINE.

    Bob: I know what you’re saying, but it’s not a character like in a book or a movie. He’s not a bus driver. He doesn’t drive a forklift. He’s not a serial killer. It’s me who’s singing that, plain and simple. We shouldn’t confuse singers and performers with actors. Actors will say, “My character this, and my character that.” Like beating a dead horse. Who cares about the character? Just get up and act. You don’t have to explain it to me.
    Well can’t a singer act out a song?
    Yeah sure, a lot of them do. But the more you act the further you get away from the truth. And a lot of those singers lose who they are after a while. You sing, “I’m a lineman for the county,” enough times and you start to scamper up poles.

    Funny thing about actors and that identity thing. Every time I run into Val Kilmer, I can’t help myself. I say, “Why, Johnny Ringo – you look like somebody just walked on your grave.” Val always says, “Bob, I’m not Johnny Ringo. That’s just a role I played in a movie.” He could be right, he could be wrong. I think he’s wrong but he says it in such a sincere way. You have to think he thinks he’s right. “


  63. Juliette Lewis gets a shotgun. She exudes the self-centered art school chick vibe who makes everyone uncomfortable with her weirdo pretentions. I imagine her as the annoying dinner party guest who gets up and dances by herself when a good song comes on. She would twirl around like Stevie Nicks while everyone has to pretend it isn’t awkward; she’s just artistically in the moment. Of yeah, she’s naked in that image too.

    You can’t list Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C Reilly without rounding it out with William H Macy. Six Pack Guys. I also include Sam Rockwell. Zach Braff gets a shotgun. Christian Bale gets a six pack, but I’d have the shotgun handy.

  64. BigSteve

    Dylan also wrote that great song Brownsville Girl with Sam Shepard where they kind of wrap a love story around a Gregory Peck movie. It’s a really long song, and it goes into great detail, but they end up with:

    Well, I’m standin’ in line in the rain to see a movie starring Gregory Peck,
    Yeah, but you know it’s not the one that I had in mind.
    He’s got a new one out now, I don’t even know what it’s about
    But I’ll see him in anything so I’ll stand in line.

    Mod, I don’t know how to explain the eyes thing. Ian Holm can be a teddy bear in one movie to being the evilest guy in the world in another. Yeah, he’s got the same face, but he wears it differently.

    I recently saw Seven Samurai for the first time. It’s an incredible movie, but I was really surprised by Toshiro Mifune’s performance. I’d always seen him in movies where he’s the waggish samurai, but in this he plays pretty much a total asshole. He’s almost unrecognizable from his other roles.

  65. misterioso

    BigSteve, Seven Samurai is an excellent example. Great actors make simplistic (ok, if amusing) judgements like 6-pack or shotgun moot.

    Anyway, if someone’s watching Seven Samurai and thinking about whether they’d like to crack open a beer (or some sake) with Mifune or Takashi Shimura (the older, “boss” samurai) then there is a very good chance they’re watching the wrong movie.

  66. Mr. Moderator

    I’ll grant you Ian Holm, BigSteve. I haven’t seen The Seven Samurai in too long, and I get the actors in Kurusawa (sp?) movies mixed, but I will acknowledge that some actors are much more flexible than others. Now that I think of it, the Australian actress Toni Colette is the most “chameleonic” actor I can think of – I love her work and find her anywhere from charming to heartbreaking to disturbing but I would be leery about offering her the six-pack.

  67. alexmagic

    This thread and the Seven Samurai talk reminds me that you all failed to rank the actors in The Magnificent Seven in orders of rockin’-ness back in that Most Rockin’ Movie Star thread.

    Robert Vaughn would definitely get the shotgun.

  68. Juliette and the band comes through Stockholm pretty regular. She did “Gilbert Grape” with Johnny D. directed by the Swede, Lasse Hallström. Definite 6 pack for her.
    Not really on topic, but a friend has a theory about DeNiro and Robin Williams. He thinks that on the set of “Awakenings” that there was some mind meld transfer between the two where from then on, Williams became the serious actor and Bobby went comedic. Each with disastrous results.

  69. Mr. Moderator

    geno, your friend may be onto something! That story is definitely on-topic in terms of this palette-cleansing thread.

    Stockholm is a wonderful city! I got to spend a few days there once on business, during some huge festival that took place around the summer solstice. I’m terrible when it comes to matters of space and time. I touched down in Stockholm and checked into my hotel room around 2:00 pm. I had a bite and took a nap. When I woke up I didn’t bother to look at the clock. It was sunny outside, so I jumped out of bed and hit the streets of Stockholm to see what was happening. I walked into the middle of this citywide festival, surrounded by tall, beautiful people having a great time. I walked for a few blocks through the crowd, then out of the corner of my eye I spotted a clock that read “10:30,” then another one and another! I felt like I was in an episode of The Twilight Zone. I finally stopped a couple of women and asked them what time it was. It was 10:30 at night and I’d been walking around in broad daylight. I hadn’t paid attention to how far north I was on June 20th! Anyhow, I stayed up almost the entire night, marveling at the slightest bit of nighttime sky that hit around 4:00 am, if memory serves. I drank more coffee than usual the next day, during the program that I flew to attend. That evening I saw the Leningrad Cowboys play at a cool square in town. Very cool trip.

  70. Mr. Moderator

    Whoops – I really am an idiot in matters of space and time! I just remembered that the summer solstice festival part of my “Stockholm” story actually took place a few years earlier in Helsinki, Finland. Stockholm in June was cool as well, although my major rock-related memories involved an ABBA exhibit/wing at the Stockholm Art Museum and seeing Philadelphia’s own The Hooters on a Swedish talk show. This would have been a few years after The Hooters had petered out in the US, even in Philadelphia.

  71. mockcarr

    Stewart is pretty much a dick in Rope. Then he gets outed as a weak dick who didn’t really want to be taken seriously.

  72. underthefloat

    Love the idea of DeNiro and Williams swapping paths when meeting during Awakenings. Yeah, both seem to have better days behind them. There was a period where Williams used to grow a beard for the “serious” roles and then be clean shave for the “wacky” roles. I think he’s started to mix that up a bit.

    The eyes know…Despite his recent bad films and blog blow ups..I still would say Christian Bale can look different in his eyes in roles. Ignor his stoic non-acting in Batman and The Terminator (so I hear, what was he thinking?). What I mean is compare “Rescue Dawn” (almost a twinkle in his eyes of determination and belief in his survival) vs “Harsh Times” (cold, dead eyes of an anti-social type).

    BigSteve-Regarding acting being the most overrated profession. I disagree. All it takes is going to a play and seeing one performer’s self conscious performance verses another’s that takes you into the moment. You know when your in front of an artist. Like music and all art…a wide range between the talented and the pretenders.

  73. Mr. Moderator

    Geo wrote:

    Regardless of any opinions about the quality of the movie, it is certainly required viewing for you in light of your scholarly interest in Oliver Stone’s dependence on hairpieces as his primary directorial tool.

    I meant to say when I read this last night, thanks for the tip. I have not seen that movie, and I had no idea it featured the work of Stone’s crack hairpiece crew. I should expect that all his films feature those glue-dripping rugs and facial trim. I should probably hole up for a weekend and analyze his body of hairpiece work.

  74. hrrundivbakshi

    I watched “Ronin” for the 50th time the other night (man, I love that movie), and I have a question: did that movie need DeNiro to be as great as it is? I say no — but I could be wrong.

  75. Mr. Moderator

    I think DeNiro brings it up to just the right notch. I’m not sure what other actor his age could have pulled off that role as convincingly. Gene Hackman’s as good as anyone, but it’s tough to get an audience to believe a good-looking young woman is falling for him.

  76. alexmagic

    Ronin probably needed DeNiro to get made and released. It does remain, I’m pretty sure, the last great movie he was in, and I wonder if it is a coincidence that he got remarried right around the time it would have been finishing up.

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