Let’s fight: The best actors under 40

I few months ago I realized that everyone I thought of as the best actors working today are over 40. This startled me and got me to thinking about who are the top actors under 40, since they’re the ones who will take over, in a sense. I wrote out a list of nearly thirty names (over sixty when I included actresses, whom we’ll deal with next week), and started Netflixing away. Over the next couple of months, I began winnowing down my list. For example, I realized that while I like Shia LaBeouf and think he’s talented, he tends to make crap movies. The last few years have shown a dearth of good taste, a kind of lowest-common-denominator thinking that concerns me. Sure, Shia will deliver quality to your crappy blockbuster, but the result for him, as an actor, is a kind of stagnation I can’t admire. So he was removed from the list. Continue reading “Let’s fight: The best actors under 40”

Jesse Eisenberg makes The List

I’m a list maker, I admit it. I have lists detailing everything from Why Sharks Are Scary (it’s their black soulless eyes) to Things You Can Do With Pam Cooking Spray Besides Cooking (homemade flame thrower). I keep a small notebook in my bag at all times in which I keep track of my grocery lists and my movie-watching schedule, as well as the all-important People To Call For Bail Money. The thing is, I forget things if I don’t write them down. Look at my Freebie Five—I can’t remember from one day to the next who’s on it so I end up with, as my friend T says, a Freebie Thirty-Five. Continue reading “Jesse Eisenberg makes The List”

The Social Network

The hype on this movie got so intense just before its release last Friday that it amounted to a guy running into the room and shrieking, “The Social Network is the BEST MOVIE EVERRRRR,” as he wept and rent his clothes asunder. Well, the movie is good. Really good. Even in a year flooded with excellent dramas, The Social Network is a standout. But is it the BEST MOVIE EVERRRRR? No.

From the beginning I had one reservation about The Social Network: I feared writer Aaron Sorkin’s habit of oversimplifying characters to fit his narrative construct. With Sorkin you get superb dialogue and smart characters that usually do simple, borderline stupid things in service of Sorkin’s Idea (see also: Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip). I wondered if David Fincher’s direction, always so nuanced and attentive to environment, could overcome what I consider to be Sorkin’s inherent shortcoming. Answer: Um, kind of. Continue reading “The Social Network”