Underrated Acting Performances

Holy Shit. It’s been a long three weeks since my last post. My apologies. I’ve been working through some personal thing recently. I haven’t been watching many films and the ones I have been are older and have been talked to death. For the first time in my life, I’m watching the Indiana Jones Trilogy. I know, I know. I think I just missed the boat when I was little and whenever it popped up on television, it was in the middle or something so I didn’t watch it. Last Crusade is next and so far I enjoyed the hell out of Raiders and was very disappointed by Temple of Doom. It wasn’t that it was a bad film, more of a movie that just doesn’t hold up to something like Raiders. All the humor seemed forced and was made worse by two incredibly annoying supporting characters. I also saw Interstellar and was left baffled by it which is why I have not written about it yet. That is coming though.

Today, I decided to do a little feature about underrated acting performances. These are personal choices and by no means a definitive list. Each one is a shining example of a role that was either completely forgotten by everybody or only appreciated by certain people. Let’s get into it…

Jack Lemmon in “Glengarry Glen Ross”

One of my favorite performances ever. At this point in his career Jack didn’t have to prove a thing to anybody but the old man pulled this incredibly layered performance out of his hat. I love the incredible amount of sadness in his eyes during every scene. He really needed those leads.

Olivia Colman in Tyrannosaur

I could have went with Peter Mullan in this film as well but I think Colman outshined him. This little seen film from actor Paddy Considine punched me in the gut the first time I saw it and I couldn’t shake it for days. Colman was just simply devastating. People need to see this one.

Ted Levine in Silence of the Lambs

What can I say? I think the man got robbed of a best supporting actor nomination in a film that seemed to get nominated (and win) for pretty much everything. He made Buffalo Bill into one of the most frightening characters ever in a film that he shared with probably THE most frightening character ever. Levine has a creepy voice to begin with but he took it to another level with Bill.

Paul Dano in There Will Be Blood

Another straight robbery of a nomination. Dano was the absolute reason why that film has the reputation it has. Like Daniel Plainview, the viewer grows to loath Eli Sunday that we can’t help but not be shocked during the famous ending. The scene with Plainview in the church is one of my favorite scenes of all time.

Denis Levant in Holy Motors

The driving force behind one of the most batshit crazy films I’ve ever seen. The man plays like nine different characters ranging from old men to leprechauns. He approaches each role with absolute dedication and really transforms with each one following. He plays the damn accordion and then gets stabbed. He was incredible in an incredible film.

Jennifer Connelly in House of Sand and Fog

I still have only seen this film once. That’s how much this wrecked me. The story surrounding Ben Kingsley and his family was sad enough but the real kick in the gut was watching Connelly come to terms with her life that she no longer has control of. She has always been a good actress but I feel most will remember her going ass to ass in Requiem rather than delivering a knockout performance in this film. The scene with the gun and the car killed me.

Michael Shannon in Take Shelter

I think I could have really put any Michael Shannon performance on this list and it would have been applicable. This is my favorite though. His breakdown at the community dinner scared the shit out of me and made me realize what a dangerous mental illness schizophrenia is. That isn’t a spoiler per say, rather a nod at Shannon for perfectly portraying what paranoia can do to a person.

Sam Rockwell in Moon

This will be short because I don’t want to give anything away to people who haven’t seen the film yet. Let’s just say Rockwell knocks it out of the park with a duel role. The film has now reached a sort of cult status on the internet and for once I totally agree to it being there.

Stephen Mchattie in Pontypool

The dude was born for this one. McHattie plays a shock jock DJ in this unconventional zombie film. He’s in almost every shot and carries the film which takes place entirely in a radio studio. The film may have a bad ending, but the premise and McHattie’s performance make it a cool watch.

Lubna Azabal in Incendies

One of my top ten favorites movies. Azabal is a force in this once. Her character goes through so much shit over the course of the film that only an incredible performance could have kept the film centered. The bus fire scene stands out a lot as well as her time in the prison. Incredible performance in an amazing film.

Simon Pegg in Shaun of the Dead

WHY DOESN’T ANYBODY TALK ABOUT SHAUN? His performance is my favorite part of this entire film that while remains hysterical, also goes into some very serious areas with the whole living dead eating people and stuff. Pegg is at his best when Shaun gets pissed off and of course at the end with Ed. The dude can flat out act.

David Carradine in Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2

He steals every single scene he is in. The showdown at the end of Vol. 2 is my favorite part of both films and it’s all because of Carradine. It’s a shame the guy had to go all crazy masturbation death on us because he coudl have really been something else towards the end of his career. Bill may have been a bastard, but he was a cool as shit bastard.

Michael Parks in Red State

The dude is batshit crazy. He made the entire film for me and is to this day the best example of a lunatic cult leader that doesn’t go too over the top or cartoony. He scared the shit out of me.

Colin Farrell in In Bruge

One of my favorite “comedies” or at least favorite screenplays. Farrell, who has the real life personality of the guy who comes to your party whom you hate automatically, just flat out delivers a genuine knockout performance. His portrayal of working through a serious depression is something that I’ve come to relate to in recent events. He may be dead inside from killing a little boy but that doesn’t mean he won’t do coke with a midget.

Michael Caine in Children of Men

The bright light in a bleak dim world. I love Michale Caine in this film. We don’t know him for that long but when we leave him we feel the greatest gut wrenching sadness. That’s acting. It’s one of my favorite small roles in any film. Pull my finger.

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