Best and Worst of Actors: an Empirical List

So Patrick and I were discussing actors and trying to decide for each what was their a.) Best Performance, b.) Best Movie Overall, and c.) Worst Movie Overall. Of course, we only account for the movies that we have actually seen, so there is a relatively large margin for error. But without further ado, I give you the list:

Brad Pitt

a.) We both agree that his best performance ever was as the mentally unstable Jeffrey Goines in Terry Gilliam’s Twelve Monkeys. Probably the most challenging role I have ever seen him take on, it was manic and fun and believable-the perfect combo for the movie.
b.) This one is a toss-up between Babel or Fight Club for best overall movie that he has been a part of, with Patrick and I both supporting different sides. Both are great movies, but Fight Club has stood up to the test of time, and is based on a kick-ass novel. So I guess I just gave away which one got my vote.
c.) Worst overall movie involving Pitt, Troy. I can’t really say because I have not seen it, but Patrick assures me. (I think he’s just jealous of Brad’s chisled physique.)

Nicole Kidman
nicole kidman
a.) Her best performance was undoubtedly Lars Von Trier’s Dogville. I was literally blown away when she changes character in the car at the end. I think my jaw hit the ground, it was that good. The way she held the character so long and then slips into her new role so effortlessly, so believably… makes the whole movie worth watching for me. Her performance in The Hours is a second place too important not to mention.
b.) Best overall movie: Eyes Wide Shut. Although many appreciate the secret society, ritual cult side of the movie, I appreciate it for Kubrick’s realistic portrayal of marriage, love, boredom, and commitment.
c.) Worst overall movie, I don’t know, maybe Days of Thunder?

Mark Wahlberg

a.) Strongest performance could hardly be argued for anything but Boogie Nights. His portrayal of the vulnerable Dirk Diggler is one of the first times that I realized, hey, maybe there’s more to him than just Marky Mark. We also recognize his humorous performance in I Heart Huckabees and his excellent performance (which won him an Academy nomination) in The Departed.
b.) Best Movie: Boogie Nights, with The Departed a close second.
c.) Worst Movie: Rock Star, an obscenely bad film co-starring Jennifer Aniston. Walhberg plays a axl rose type singer for an 80s band. I kind of want to cry just thinking about it.

Natalie Portman

a.) Pat and I agree that her best performance was at the tender age of 12 in León, The Professional. She did a great job playing the sensitive Mathilda, and makes this movie really worth seeing. If you have not seen this one, we both highly urge you to check it out. You will not be disappointed. Her performance in Closer is the only other time that has been even close to the high high bar she set for herself.
b.) Best Movie would also have to go to León.
c.) Worst Movie we agreed is Star Wars I, although her personal worst performance was in Star Wars III.

(as a side note, I hated Garden State. Please do not mention it to me as a good performance. I hate Zach Braff, I hated Natalie Portman in it, and it even made me want to hate The Shins, who, under normal circumstances, I like very much. bah.)

Johnny Depp

a.) I have to say that Johnny Depp’s strongest performance is as the drug addled, hyperactive Hunter S. Thompson in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Fun fact: Depp actually lived in Thompson’s basement for a while to study him, and allowed him to shave his head for the movie. Allowing Hunter S. anywhere near his head with a razor officially makes Depp more adventurous than I am.
b.) Although Pat would hold out Fear and Loathing for this award too, I have to say Edward Scissorhands. Burton’s imaginative film is a classic and one movie (and performance by Depp) that I never tire of.
c.) Although technically this should probably fall to the campy Cry-Baby, I find that movie waaaaay too amusing to allow it that disgrace. “You’ve got it baby, you’ve got it raw!” Instead, I would say Secret Window, that movie was a royal waste of my $9.

Lastly, for good measure,

George Clooney
George Clooney
a.) His best performance was in Syriana. He also recieved a Golden Globe and his only Oscar for his supporting role in this movie.
b.) Best overall movie would have to go a movie which he also directed and co-wrote, Goodnight, and Good Luck. An incredibly beautiful and important movie. It is a joy to watch.
c.) Patrick says his worst movie is One Fine Day, but I am really unsure how it could possibly beat Spy Kids 3-D Game Over for the title.

This is getting long, so I will leave it at that… perhaps we shall continue this thread. Feel free to make suggestions for how you might change the list, but be aware that you are probably wrong.


5 responses to “Best and Worst of Actors: an Empirical List

  1. Yup. I’m pretty much with you on all of it.

    Except, I did like Garden State….

  2. I am ashamed to admit I don’t know how many times I’ve seen Cry Baby. I may have to buy it someday, even though the husband probably won’t let it go on the shelf with the other DVDs as it might taint them…

  3. Oh yes, and Dogville was great.

  4. cry baby! haha! i love it. so raunchy. so awful. but it was so great.

  5. Pingback: Actors and Actresses » Best and Worst of Actors: an Empirical List nothing ever happens to me

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