George Clooney

George Clooney’s Latest 10 Movies vs. Greatest 10 Movies (NEW FEATURE)

George Clooney

A new feature here at Killing Time.  We’re going to look at directors, actors and actresses and assess the state of their career as it stands.  We’ll look back at the last 10 movies the artist has done, give it a grade and then average them out to see where they stand.  We’ll also rank their 10 best movies and give it the same treatment to see how an artist is doing now against their very best work.  If you have ideas for other kinds of artists to grade, let me know.  This is a bit of an experimental try for me so I’m totally open to tweaking suggestions.  (A quick side-note: if an artist is also a regular on a TV show we’ll grade the seasons as individuals if they fall within the last 10 projects and, clearly, you have to have done 10 projects to qualify).

Man, has George Clooney come a long way.  From Roseanne’s fix-it guy to the role that made him a star: Dr. Doug Ross on ER for five seasons.  Clooney was good on ER; occasionally outstanding, but he had this odd head-bobbing mannerism that he paired with a smile  that comprised the majority of his screen roles once he transitioned after leaving ER after five seasons.  He also then did a super hero movie that not only desecrated THE BAT, but nearly killed comic book movies as a genre right as the tech was being invented to make them possible.  His early career is not good.  NOT GOOD.

Then a funny thing happened.  We found out George Clooney is smart.  Really freaking smart.  Following Ocean’s 11, which was a tailor-made role for him, he formed a sort of fraternity of actors his age with Matt Damon and Brad Pitt and others.  Progress was slow at first and he flailed about making a bunch of indie films that didn’t quite work, but then he started finding his stride.  The film that really put him in serious actor territory for good was his Good Night and Good Luck directorial debut in which he also gave a fantastic supporting performance, but never upstaging David Staitham’s riveting portrayal of Edward R. Murrow.  Clooney seems to like to do stuff for fun for a bit and then he’ll buckle down and make important films.  Ides of March and The Descendents started this run and with Gravity, Monuments Men and Tomorrowland as his next three, I think it’s safe to say that this average is only going to rise (though it will lose the 10 from Michael Clayton, which is my favorite Clooney flick).

CLOONEY’S LATEST TEN:
1. Gravity (2013)………………………………………………………………10.00
2.The Descendants (2011)…  ……………………………………………….9.00
3. The Ides of March (2011)…………………………………………………8.50
4. The American (2010)………………………………………………………3.00
5. The Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)…………………………………………. .6.00
6. The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)…………………………………..2.50
7. Up in the Air (2008)…………………………………………………………9.75
8. Burn After Reading (2007)………………………………………………..6.75
9. Leatherheads (2008)………………………………………………………..5.75
10. Michael Clayton (2007)…………………………………………………10.00
GEORGE CLOONEY‘S CURRENT WORKING AVERAGE: 7.125

As mentioned before, Clooney has two pictures that look to be in the thick of the Oscar hunt this year and should bump his average even higher.  Friday he opens with Sandra Bullock in Alfonso Cuaron‘s space thriller Gravity (clearly I went back and revised his score post-Gravity and it knocked him up a whole point) and then in December he and Matt Damon lead a squad of art historians turned soldiers behind enemy lines to try to rescue as many cultural artifacts from the Nazis as they can.  The story is called Monuments Men and is incredibly based on a true story from World War II.  Clooney also currently shooting one of 2014’s biggest pictures, Brad Bird‘s Tomorrowland right now.

CLOONEY’S GREATEST TEN:
1. Michael Clayton (2007)………………………………………………….10.00
2. Gravity (2013)………………………………………………………………10.00
3. ER Season One (1994-1995)…………………………………………….10.00
4. Good Night and Good Luck (2005)…………………………………… 9.75
5. Up in the Air (2009)………………………………………………………..9.75
6. ER Season Two (1995-1996)……………………………………………..9.50
7. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)……………………………………………………..9.25
8. The Descendants (2011)…………………………………………………..9.00
9. ER Season Five (1999-2000)…………………………………………….8.50
10. The Ides of March (2011)……………………………………………….8.50
GEORGE CLOONEY‘S CURRENT GREATEST AVERAGE: 9.425

Clooney’s overall average is comparable with any actor of his era.  He’s the rare case that moved from being a dominant TV star to an increasingly versatile movie star, writer and director.  In looking at his greatest work, I put his two best movies first, but ER Season One is arguably the best season of dramatic television ever made.  Clooney’s strongest seasons were one, two and five and those need inclusion as part of an evaluation of his best work.  Having just seen Gravity, I was tempted to put it first, but Clooney’s best performance is in Michael Clayton so that’s why it gets the nod though Gravity is probably a better film.

10 thoughts on “George Clooney’s Latest 10 Movies vs. Greatest 10 Movies (NEW FEATURE)”

  1. I love this man beyond love. I’ve heard him in interviews, and he says that Batman and Robin changed his career; after that debacle he decided that he would ONLY pursue movies with top-notch screenplays. Also, he doesn’t seem full of himself. And, as you pointed out, he knows how to have fun (like with the Coens) and how to advance his career. I love love love The Ides of March, it’s so cynical but so brilliant.

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    1. I honestly feel like I could hang with George Clooney and not be uncomfortable. He’s old Hollywood, man’s man, etc., but he’s so damn likable. What lead me to forgive him for the Batman thing, and it was so early in his film career and how does he not take that level of role? I blame Joel Schumacher and WB for that horrorfest. I do love how he just owned up to it and re-examined everything and through doing that, has become more successful and more damn likable. I loved that he showed up on ER out of the blue unbilled twice after he left. That showed a dedication to that character to me that was really impressive. “Eh, well Doug would be there for that, so I need to go.” I feel like he would have been there when Anthony Hopkins died if they’d pinpointed a time for that to happen and hadn’t had that poor bastard dying for three seasons. Like Whedon and Abrams as directors as I was talking about in another post, Clooney is always re-examining himself and trying to improve even after huge success. Those are the legends. I felt bad giving him only a 6.1, but he did do Goats and The American and they were so bad they tanked his score. His next three look amazing though, so we’ll revisit him in a year or two and see how he’s doing. Lol I’m really enjoying this feature now, but after I use up the easy ones, since I have a 10 film/tv season requirement, I can see myself frantically watching an entire person’s career in a week just because I’ve run out of choices.

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      1. Do Francis Ford Coppola. He has had the weirdest career. Three masterpieces—Godfather 1, Godfather 2 and Apocalypse Now (wait, you don’t like that one, do you?)—and one near masterpiece, The Conversation. Everything else is mediocre, or highly flawed (although I have to come clean: I adore his version of Dracula). And he has quite a long filmography.
        Also, Oliver Stone. Another weird career.

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