Jason Bateman has had more success at making a career out of being hilariously deadpan since anyone since Bob Newhart. Bateman was a child star, first appearing way back in 1981 in Little House in the Prairie before, more famously, in Silver Spoons from 1982-1984, and in Valerie from 1986-1991, growing up on the small screen. Bateman was a journeyman, but quality TV actor until the cult-turned-mainstream success of the wonderfully subversive Arrested Development made him a huge star and also made him in-demand for film roles as well. He’s had some great comedies, most lately the awesome Game Night, as well as surprising by showing dramatic range in films like Juno, Up in the Air, and The Gift. As his career nears 40 years already, Bateman has become extremely good at picking projects that showcase his type of laconic humor and expect him to continue to be a fixture on TV and film as long as he wants to act. Continue reading Jason Bateman’s 10 Best Movies
“You can fail at what you don’t love, so you might as well do what you love. There’s really no choice to be made. What do you want to be?”
Over the last couple months, I’ve posted a few videos (click here or here) from Jim Carrey. I’m fascinated by what’s happened to the comedian over the last 15 years. He was the biggest star in the world and, as it turns out, he was utterly miserable being it. A lot of the things he’s been so candid about since “Bearded Jim” emerged on the scene have really resonated with me. The notion that you have to take a chance on people liking you for who you really are or kill yourself and walk around wearing a mask particularly hit me, because I’m quite the mask forger and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned how toxic that can be.
Most of these clips have come from an outstanding Netflix documentary called Jim & Andy, which I could not recommend more. Universal finally gave Carrey the behind-the scenes footage he shot on the set of The Man in the Moon while he stayed in character as the late comedian Andy Kaufman for months. Universal was terrified it would get out and the likable Carrey would be seen as a lunatic. Netflix weaves the footage with Carrey talking about his transformation, and it’s mesmerizing stuff. I don’t think there’s ever been a movie star like Carrey who’s gone through this kind of transformation, and I like him more NOW than I did when he was making me laugh as a kid.
Martin Freeman looks like an accountant more than he does a major star, but Freeman’s star has catapulted from the early days of the BBC’s version of The Office to roles in the biggest films Hollywood has to offer. Freeman has always bounced back and forth between television and films. He redefined Dr. Watson for a new generation in Sherlock, starred in a better Fargo than the film, and began The Office revolution. He’s also traversed Middle-Earth, traveled the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and starred in a trilogy of Edgar Wright’s most bizarre comedies. He has astounding range for someone who looks like a midwestern insurance salesman (he just changed careers from accountancy), and while is terrifically funny, can be menacing, charming, or heart-breaking in turns. Anything that has Martin Freeman in it is instantly worth watching, because if it’s good, he’s going to make it great, and even if it’s bad; he’ll make it tolerable. Continue reading Martin Freeman’s 10 Best Movies
John Mahoney passed away this week from cancer at the age of 77. Originally born in the UK, Mahoney earned his US citizenship serving in the armed forces. A veteran of the stage his entire acting career, Mahoney was one of film’s best character actors in the 1980s and 1990s in films like Say Anything, In the Line of Fire, and The American President before transitioning to television. His career-defining role was in the most successful spin-off in television history, Frasier, playing the cranky father of fussy psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane for 11 seasons. Mahoney spent most of the rest of his career as a high-caliber addition to limited series and guest starring in shows while splitting time returning to his roots onstage. His legacy as one of television’s most beloved and memorable fathers is perhaps best summed up by the reaction to his death by actor Kelsey Grammer, who played his son for over a decade. “He was my father,” Grammer said. “I loved him.”
Continue reading John Mahoney’s 10 Best Movies
Idris Elba is an actor whose career has been equally divided between defining roles on both the big and small screens. A career television actor, Elba broke out in HBO’s The Wire as Stringer Bell and has continued to create and expand one of TV’s best charactes in DCI John Luther for the BBC. Joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Asgard’s gatekeeper, Heimdall, gave Elba feature film exposure that has caused the actor’s star to continue to rise. Elba has probably had the best two years of his career over the last two using both his live-action talents in Beasts of No Nation and Molly’s Game as well as the intensity and versatily of his voice in The Jungle Book, Finding Dory, and Zootopia. Hero or villain, TV or film, voice or full presence, Elba commands the attention of audiences, and his best is yet to come. Continue reading Idris Elba’s 10 Best Movies