The 90th Best Actor of All-Time: Jack Lemmon

  best film:  JFK (1991) is actually Jack Lemmon’s best film. This is no extra or cameo role either – Lemmon plays Jack Martin – and although Walter Matthau is also in JFK – they do not share any scenes together. Instead, Lemmon has some strong scenes with both lead Kevin Costner (as Jim Garrison) and Edward Asner (as Guy Bannister). The Apartment (1960) would be the runner-up in this category with Robert Altman’s Short Cuts (1993) placing third (3rd). It is certainly interesting that over Lemmon’s long and storied career – two (2) of his best three (3)

The 90th Best Actor of All-Time: Jack Lemmon2023-08-18T13:16:38+00:00

The 89th Best Actor of All-Time: George Clooney

  best film:  George Clooney is not front and center in Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line (1998) – Nick Nolte, Elias Koetas, Sean Penn, and Jim Caviezel stand out from the rest – but Clooney has a scene – and he handles himself well in it - even if this film cannot be considered a big part of his resume. The all-star cast ensembled is one of the best of the late 20th century. It is said that the actors lined many offering to work for free or nothing, for the enigmatic Malick. Massive stars like John Travolta (certainly

The 89th Best Actor of All-Time: George Clooney2023-08-16T15:49:55+00:00

The 88th Best Actor of All-Time: Alec Guinness

  best film:  For all but a few actors in cinema history, David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia (1962) is going to be that actor's best film if they were a part of it – and that holds true for Alec Guinness. And though it does not happen to be one of his best performances - Lawrence of Arabia is a testament to Guinness' abilities as a shapeshifter – Guinness plays Prince Faisal. Lawrence of Arabia is Peter O’Toole’s show – but Guinness, Anthony Quinn and Omar Sharif, in particular, do not back down or blink at all in the

The 88th Best Actor of All-Time: Alec Guinness2023-08-14T19:59:52+00:00

The 87th Best Actor of All-Time: Christopher Walken

  best film:  Pulp Fiction (1994) is Christopher Walken’s best film and that is saying something because his filmography includes Annie Hall (1977), The Deer Hunter (1978), Heaven’s Gate (from 1980 - and yes, Michael Cimino’s follow-up to The Deer Hunter belongs in this company). It is tempting to pick The Deer Hunter because Walken just has a few minutes in both Woody Allen’s Annie Hall and Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction – but Walken is so memorable in those two (2) films. Walken’s deadpan “oncoming traffic” monologue (as Duane - Diane Keaton’s character’s brother) in Annie Hall is so

The 87th Best Actor of All-Time: Christopher Walken2023-08-12T14:00:16+00:00

The 86th Best Actor of All-Time: Martin Sheen

  best film:  The story goes that Al Pacino turned down the role of Captain Willard – and then of course Harvey Keitel did not work out – so it was Martin Sheen who was tapped on the shoulder by Francis Ford Coppola for the coveted lead role in Apocalypse Now. Any way you slice it, this is one of the best films of all-time, if not the single greatest – so even if Sheen is also in Terrence Malick’s debut Badlands (1973) and Martin Scorsese’s The Departed (2006) – this is a fairly easy best film category answer

The 86th Best Actor of All-Time: Martin Sheen2023-08-10T02:15:23+00:00

The 85th Best Actor of All-Time: Jean-Pierre Léaud

  best film:  The 400 Blows is the correct answer here for Jean-Pierre Léaud because the rest of the main competition - the others on the masterpiece level - need to be disqualified due to his lack of substantive contribution to those films. When tackling the question of Léaud’s best films, one has to start by parsing and then extracting the miniscule roles and cameos. Counting everything, Léaud is in at least three (3) masterpieces – but it is not fair to count Pierrot le Fou (1965) and Weekend (1967) with Jean-Luc Godard as Léaud is just sort of

The 85th Best Actor of All-Time: Jean-Pierre Léaud2023-08-08T15:19:52+00:00

The 84th Best Actor of All-Time: Russell Crowe

  best film:  Russell Crowe’s prime is something to behold. He did not miss often between 1997 (L.A. Confidential) and 2003 (Master and Commander) and going back even before that – Sam Raimi’s The Quick and the Dead (1995) is much stronger any anyone remembers (and it is Russell Crowe, not Leonardo DiCaprio, who looks more like the talented actor on the rise here). Ultimately though, Michael Mann’s dramatic saga – The Insider (1999), featuring heavyweight performances from Crowe and the great Al Pacino, is Crowe's best film. Number two (2) and number three (3) on Crowe's best film

The 84th Best Actor of All-Time: Russell Crowe2023-08-06T15:11:07+00:00

The 83rd Best Actor of All-Time: John Cazale

  best film:  The Godfather. This is a fun category for John Cazale. He can match best films with almost any actor. How about flipping this sort of upside down and doing a category for “best worst film” – Cazale may win that in a landslide.  He is in both early Godfather films (1972 and 1974) - both towering masterpieces. He is in The Conversation (1974) - another masterpiece even if we remove the word "towering" this time (and for the remaining mentions considered).  So far, all three (3) films from Cazale are with Francis Ford Coppola during Coppola's

The 83rd Best Actor of All-Time: John Cazale2023-08-05T15:30:10+00:00

The 82nd Best Actor of All-Time: Song Kang-ho

  best film:  Song Kang-ho has connected early and often with the three (3) greatest directors of the Korean New Wave: Lee Chang-dong, Park Chan-wook, and Bong Joon Ho. And even though the occasional great film from the group will miss Song Kang-ho (Peppermint Candy may be the one with a prime role for him) – he has still managed to be in some of the best films of the 21st century and Korean film history. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) is a key film in the movement – and the likely champion here. Still, 2003’s Memories of Murder

The 82nd Best Actor of All-Time: Song Kang-ho2023-08-04T17:34:21+00:00

The 81st Best Actor of All-Time: Viggo Mortensen

  best film:  Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003) is an artistic behemoth – an epic – and it lands as the best film of Viggo Mortensen’s career. Jackson’s magnum opus adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien is one the seminal works of the 21st century and it is fruitless to talk about the differences between the three separate films except for when it comes to description. Mortensen has collaborated often with David Cronenberg of course – and their bet work together is 2005’s A History of Violence followed by 2011’s A Dangerous Method. Mortensen’s contributions to

The 81st Best Actor of All-Time: Viggo Mortensen2023-08-03T22:26:13+00:00

The 80th Best Actor of All-Time: Warren Beatty

  best film:  Even though Warren Beatty only has twenty-four (24) total film credits, he has been in three (3) masterpieces and another two (2) entries just a step below. Bonnie and Clyde (1967) helped to reboot Hollywood entirely and made Beatty a major player in the industry. It also has a dazzling montage slow-motion finale that makes it an artistic heavyweight as well. McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971) is Robert Altman’s melancholy mood piece allegory with sublime music from Leonard Cohen. It is set in a muddy little town. Beatty plays John McCabe – an entrepreneur with greasy

The 80th Best Actor of All-Time: Warren Beatty2023-08-01T20:07:46+00:00

The 79th Best Actor of All-Time: James Dean

  best film:  James Dean may have never made a masterpiece, but he never made an unarchiveable film either – or for that matter, even a film that did not at least flirt with the top ten (10) of its respective year. His best film is Nicholas Ray’s Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and it is not because of the iconic red jacket or drag race. Ray was at the height of his powers during this stretch (Johnny Guitar was just the year prior in 1954). Rebel bests East of Eden (from the consummate Elia Kazan) and Giant (directed

The 79th Best Actor of All-Time: James Dean2023-07-30T19:03:26+00:00
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