Tag Archives: Good Night and Good Luck

George Clooney’s 10 Best Movies

George Clooney

George Clooney was a journeyman TV actor until he became the initial breakout star from one of the best dramas in TV history: ER.  The first five years of ER can stand against any drama, and Clooney’s departure signaled an end to the show’s best creative period.  Despite nearly breaking Batman, Clooney quickly transitioned from standard box office fare to more cerebral dramas over which he has exerted more and more control as his career has progressed.  Despite a slump over the last few years, Clooney’s resume has more than its share of outstanding films like Michael Clayton, Up in the Air, Goodnight and Good Luck, The Ocean’s Trilogy, The Ides of March, Syriana, and more.  Clooney’s acting has improved enormously from his initial days on ER (during which he seemed to rely primarily on head bobbing and smiling) to powerful performances that have justly earned him critical acclaim.  Half of his award nominations, though, are for his work behind the camera either as producer, director, or screenwriter.  He’s at his best when dealing with complex, intelligent material and in control of as much of the process as possible, which can’t be said for many talents. Continue reading George Clooney’s 10 Best Movies

Robert Downey Jr.’s 10 Best Movies

Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr. managed to do what few actors have: overcome his personal demons and even use them to become one of, if not the, most popular actors in the world.  Downey was an acting prodigy, and earned early praise, most notably for his astounding performance in 1992’s Chaplin, but then was laid low by drug and alcohol problems.  He began his climb back with small parts in great films like Bowfinger and Good Night and Good Luck and the massively overlooked Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, as well as contributing to David Fincher’s masterful Zodiac in 2007.  However, it was the next year that his ascent culminated when he took on the role of Tony Stark in 2008’s Iron Man (a character who he essentially IS) and jump-started the most successful franchise in movie history: The Marvel Cinematic Universe.  His character has been the fulcrum of that universe (he’s appeared in some capacity in 10 of the 19 films at time of writing), and it’s hard to imagine what the MCU will look like when Downey finally hangs up the armor.  Before 2008, Iron Man was a B-level hero at Marvel with little public recognition.  Now the character is as recognizable worldwide as Spider-Man, Captain America or Wolverine.
Continue reading Robert Downey Jr.’s 10 Best Movies

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.