Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Top Ten: Actors

These are my top ten modern actors, meaning, actors still alive and working rampantly today. Perhaps at a later date, I will create a list of my Top 10 actors of all time. That will take some serious thought, however. Not that this list did not. Anyway, here they are. I only commented on the Top 5. I do feel, however, that all of these men have careers that speak for themselves.

The List:

1. Robert Downey, Jr.
-Favorite Role(s): Terry Crabtree, "Wonderboys"; Tony Stark, "Iron Man"; Larry Paul, "Ally McBeal" (TV)
-Underrated Performance: Paul Avery, "Zodiac"
-Looking forward to...: "Iron Man" sequels and "The Soloist"
-That wry smile, that voice, the way he makes everything natural, as if he's bringing nothing but elements of himself. Everything's real with Bobby Downey. The life the he brings to every role. I think of the smallest things, like Larry Paul on "Ally McBeal," how he made half the women in America wish he'd sing them songs and leave them smiling next to snowmen. He's a quiet genius, and I love him. He's the kind of actor that doesn't let you forget that it's an art.

2. Mark Wahlberg
-Favorite Role(s): Tommy Corn, "I Heart Huckabees"; Troy Barlow, "Three Kings"
-Notable Performance: Dignam, "The Departed"
-Looking forward to...: "The Happening" and "The Lovely Bones"
-At first, he seemed an unlikely choice, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked the fact that he was an unlikely choice. Because Mark Wahlberg never fails to impress me. He continues to make good choices, to increase versatility while remaining well-abbed and deeply mysterious. He's the actor that seems like he should be one-dimensional but never is.

3. Michael C. Hall
-Favorite Role(s): David Fisher, "Six Feet Under" (TV)
-Notable Performance: Dexter Morgan, "Dexter" (TV)
-Looking forward to...: "Dexter," Season 3
-Obviously, he hasn't been in every movie ever. But I've seen all five seasons of "Six Feet Under," and it was enough to convince me. He's the unspoken king of subtlety. He's always the player with a secret, a very deep insecurity. Plus, he's fearless. Absolutely fearless.

4. Johnny Depp
-Favorite Role(s): James Barrie, "Finding Neverland"; Roux, "Chocolat"; Sam, "Benny and Joon"
-Notable Performance: Sweeney Todd, "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"
-Looking forward to...: "Public Enemies" and "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus"
-Irreplaceable. It's hard to think of any single Johnny Depp role manifested by somebody else. With every appearance on the silver screen, he reinvents himself, and that's something that, as a human who truly loves the art of film, I simply cannot ignore.

5. Ralph Fiennes
-Favorite Role(s): Harry, "In Bruges"; Justin Quayle, "The Constant Gardener"
-Notable Performance: Francis Dolarhyde, "Red Dragon"
-Looking forward to...: More Voldemort
-Fiennes is truly terrifying at times. He can scare us and make us cower beneath the covers. He's the boogie man, a visceral nightmare. And yet, he's often quite likable. It's the fact that he can simultaneously scare and entice me. That's what makes me love him so much.

6. Tom Hanks
-Favorite Role(s): Carl Hanratty, "Catch Me if You Can"; Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own"; Ray Peterson, "The Burbs"
-Notable Performance: Forrest Gump, "Forrest Gump"
-Looking forward to...: "Angels and Demons" and "Toy Story 3"

7. Terrence Howard
-Favorite Role(s): Jim Rhodes, "Iron Man"; Djay, "Hustle and Flow"
-Notable Performance: Cameron Thayer, "Crash"
-Looking forward to...: "The Crusaders"

8. Christian Bale
-Favorite Role(s): Bruce Wayne, "Batman Begins"; Alfred Borden, "The Prestige"
-Notable Performance: John Preston, "Equilibrium"
-Looking forward to...: "The Dark Knight"

9. Russel Crowe
-Favorite Role(s): John Nash, "A Beautiful Mind"; Det. Richie Roberts, "American Gangster"
-Notable Performance: Officer Bud White, "L.A. Confidential"
-Looking forward to...: "Body of Lies"

10. George Clooney
-Favorite Role(s): Michael Clayton, "Michael Clayton"; Chris Kelvin, "Solaris"
-Notable Performance: Fred Friendly, "Good Night, and Good Luck"
-Looking forward to...: "Burn After Reading"

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