best film: The Thin Red Line is a top 100 film of all-time—it’s the only such film Clooney has been in. Cuaron’s Gravity is also a masterpiece and his role is more substantial than the quick speech in Malick’s film (Malick is notorious for shooting actors and then cutting them down – (Adrien Brody’s “Fife” here in this same film is semi-famous) or completely out of a film). If you’re looking for a film starring Clooney I’d go with Out of Sight or O, Brother—neither are quite at the masterpiece level but they’re fantastic films.

best performance:   Out of Sight though I think I’d accept Michael Clayton as the correct answer. Clooney is endlessly charming and approachable in Out of Sight. It’s a role Paul Newman could’ve played in the middle of the 60’s—an affable outlaw. It’s one of Soderbergh’s best films and a hell of a coming out party for Clooney in 1998 as a 37 year-old actor. He’d been in a few films and television work of course but this is his first in the archives, and, still his best performance. He’s incredibly smooth and making it look that easy takes both incredible talent and tremendous acting skill.

stylistic innovations/traits: Clooney’s good looks and charisma come to mind first. His confidence could lead an ensemble that needed a leader (Ocean’s Eleven). There’s depth here in the form of his work with the Coen brothers (they tend to cast him as a buffoon and accentuate his screwball comedic talents (a la Cary Grant and there’s a resemblance there)). You could make a strong top Clooney performances list (I got to five quickly without mentioning solid work in The Descendants and Up in the Air though I fear both will fade over time). He has 15 archiveable films total, one Academy Award win (Syriana which nobody thinks is his best work). I think he’s been a little distracted by his mediocre career as a director. Also, and I think this is bad luck more than anything, out of his four films with the Coen brothers, two of them have been at the very bottom of their filmography (Hail, Caesar!, Intolerable Cruelty) and none of them have been in the Coen’s best eight films. Unfortunate.

directors worked with:   Coen Brothers (4), Soderbergh (3) and then once a piece with Malick, Cuaron, David O. Russell, and Alexander Payne

Top 5 Performances:

  1. Out of Sight
  2. Michael Clayton
  3. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
  4. Ocean’s Eleven
  5. Three Kings

Archiveable films

1998- Out of Sight
1998- The Thin Red Line
1999- Three Kings
2000- O Brother, Where Art Thou
2001- Ocean’s Eleven
2003- Intolerable Cruelty
2005- Good Night and Good Luck
2005- Syriana
2007- Michael Clayton
2007- Ocean’s Thirteen
2008- Burn After Reading
2009- Up In the Air
2011- The Descendants
2013- Gravity
2016- Hail, Caesar!