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Old 08-18-2016, 12:30 PM
Sampiro Sampiro is offline
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Good or Great Performances from Actors You Usually Can't Stand

I'm sure it's been done before, but, here it is again: a give-the-devil his due thread.
Who are some actors you usually can't stand and don't respect as thespians but who did give a great performance or two?

For me:

Adam Sandler in Spanglish- I find his comedies almost unwatchable, but he was very believable, sympathetic, and even likable in this movie as the happily married chef who falls for his Spanish speaking domestic.

Mickey Rooney in Bill- he was an evil little troll off camera and usually phoned it in, but he had game as the mentally disabled title character. (Admittedly mentally disabled is not as hard to play as some people think it is, but it's still possible to do it wrong, and he did it right.)

Melanie Griffith in Crazy in Alabama- Melanie has ruined more movies than most actresses will ever star in. In an episode of Pinky and the Brain when Brain has to become a great thespian he reads the book How I Act Good by Melanie Griffith. But somehow lightning struck with this one. Perhaps her then husband knew her switches or whatever, but she was downright good.

There are others, but who would be some of yours?
  #2  
Old 08-18-2016, 12:43 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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I generally dislike Ashton Kutcher and would avoid watching a movie or TV show he was in. But I saw No Strings Attached and not only did I like the movie but I liked his performance in it.
  #3  
Old 08-18-2016, 12:48 PM
TroutMan TroutMan is offline
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Sam Rockwell in Moon. I don't know what it is, but I just can't stand the guy. I'm not sure it's anything to do with his acting; he just bugs me. But I really liked him in Moon. The excellent story certainly didn't hurt.
  #4  
Old 08-18-2016, 12:53 PM
John Bredin John Bredin is offline
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Jim Carrey's shtick usually irritates the crap out of me, but:

(1) he checked it at the door for Truman Show and turned in an impressive performance, and

(2) the shtick worked in Liar, Liar because there was a solid plot reason for his antics; his character was literally fighting back the impulse to tell the truth.
  #5  
Old 08-18-2016, 12:53 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is online now
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Ernest Borgnine in Marty. A heartfelt performance from one of the biggest scenery chewers in film history.

As mentioned in another thread: Jennifer Tilly (whom I loathe) in Bullets Over Broadway. How Woody Allen kept her from doing her usual baby talking, simpering simpleton act, I couldn't say, but she turned in a strong performance.
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Old 08-18-2016, 12:59 PM
Sampiro Sampiro is offline
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Jerry Lewis in King of Comedy. He was playing a lot closer to himself than a zany, but it worked. (I have never been able to sit through one of his comedies- and the ones he made with Dean Martin were the worst of the lot.)
His new movie looks surprisingly watchable.

Tony Curtis in The Defiant Ones with Sidney Poitier was the only time I was able to stand him. In Spartacus I was rooting for his crucifixion.
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Old 08-18-2016, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Sampiro View Post
Adam Sandler in Spanglish- I find his comedies almost unwatchable, but he was very believable, sympathetic, and even likable in this movie as the happily married chef who falls for his Spanish speaking domestic.
You might also like him in Funny People, where he does a good job playing a somewhat self-loathing comic who makes dumb movies and who finds out he has leukemia.

I don't really dislike John Wayne, I just thought he played John Wayne in almost every movie. And by the end of his career I thought he'd devolved into unconscious self parody. But he was awesome in The Shootist.
  #8  
Old 08-18-2016, 01:11 PM
Intergalactic Gladiator Intergalactic Gladiator is offline
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I certainly don't hate Keanu Reeves. He's got a certain niche that he plays very well but I don't think he can really do anything outside of that niche. To me, he doesn't seem all that convincing as a bomb expert, a scrappy replacement quarterback, or someone who would put 160 GB of data in his head.

All that being said, Keanu Reeves IS Ted Theodore Logan.
  #9  
Old 08-18-2016, 01:45 PM
edwards_beard edwards_beard is online now
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Originally Posted by Intergalactic Gladiator View Post
I certainly don't hate Keanu Reeves. He's got a certain niche that he plays very well but I don't think he can really do anything outside of that niche. To me, he doesn't seem all that convincing as a bomb expert, a scrappy replacement quarterback, or someone who would put 160 GB of data in his head.

All that being said, Keanu Reeves IS Ted Theodore Logan.
Whoa.....EXCELLENT!


I'm generally not a big fan of Tim Allen, but I really enjoyed him in Galaxy Quest
  #10  
Old 08-18-2016, 02:25 PM
TCMF-2L TCMF-2L is offline
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I know he is really popular but I generally find Bruce Campbell to be a poor actor. I know he aims for a cheesy style but I find it too contrived and one dimensional.

However I felt that in Bubba Ho-Tep (where he played an aged Elvis Presley who everyone else believed was a fake Elvis Presley) he gave a genuine performance. He acted like a resigned, bitter old man who no one believes. Became cheesy by the end of the film but he was good until then.

TCMF-2L
  #11  
Old 08-18-2016, 02:59 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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Originally Posted by TCMF-2L View Post

However I felt that in Bubba Ho-Tep (where he played an aged Elvis Presley who everyone else believed was a fake Elvis Presley) he gave a genuine performance. He acted like a resigned, bitter old man who no one believes. Became cheesy by the end of the film but he was good until then.

L
Yes, Bubba Ho-Tep was well done, but weird.

Will Ferrell in Stranger than Fiction, where he plays a IRS agent whose life is being narrated.

His stupid man-child trope in all his other films is unwatchable to me.

Maybe Elf.

John revolta in Grease!
  #12  
Old 08-19-2016, 01:53 AM
MrDibble MrDibble is offline
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Not a huge fan of Steve Carrel's comedies (live action - he does great voice acting), or his roles in Will Ferrel's ones, but he was awesome in Little Miss Sunshine and The Way, Way Back. I guess I should check out his other serious stuff.

Last edited by MrDibble; 08-19-2016 at 01:53 AM.
  #13  
Old 08-19-2016, 01:58 AM
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Helena Bonham-Carter in Fight Club
  #14  
Old 08-19-2016, 03:04 AM
Superdude Superdude is online now
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Nicolas Cage in "Raising Arizona."

/thread
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  #15  
Old 08-19-2016, 10:47 AM
Knowed Out Knowed Out is offline
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Tom Cruise as Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder
  #16  
Old 08-19-2016, 12:19 PM
TreacherousCretin TreacherousCretin is offline
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Al Pacino in Sea Of Love. I have no idea why I thought he was great in it, when I've never before or since been able to stand him.
  #17  
Old 08-19-2016, 12:30 PM
74westy 74westy is offline
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Originally Posted by Knowed Out View Post
Tom Cruise as Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder
I think my dislike of Cruise and, by extension, any character he plays is what makes him effective for me. I like a lot of his stuff.
  #18  
Old 08-19-2016, 12:47 PM
terentii terentii is offline
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Not a fan of Cruise either, but his performance in Rain Man was outstanding. I also though he was good in Top Gun, one of my guilty pleasures from the '80s.
  #19  
Old 08-19-2016, 01:01 PM
Personal Personal is offline
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Mark Wahlberg in Boogie Nights. I can't stand that guy, but he owned that role.
  #20  
Old 08-19-2016, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
Yes, Bubba Ho-Tep
Will Ferrell in Stranger than Fiction, where he plays a IRS agent whose life is being narrated.

His stupid man-child trope in all his other films is unwatchable to me.

[/I]
I came in here to say this.

I guess Terrance Howard would be my second. I've always had a visceral dislike for the guy. Then I saw him in Idlewild and was impressed enough to give him a chance.
  #21  
Old 08-19-2016, 04:09 PM
joyfool joyfool is offline
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I can't help but get my hate on for Marcia Gay Harden. I don't know what it is about her, but typically, I'd like to punch her in nads (because I'm sure she has some). However, I think she absolutely nailed the shrill, zealotty shrew screaming about how to prevent the apocalypse in The Mist. Doesn't mean I want to watch her ever again though.
  #22  
Old 08-19-2016, 08:22 PM
Mahaloth Mahaloth is online now
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Sam Rockwell in Moon. I don't know what it is, but I just can't stand the guy. I'm not sure it's anything to do with his acting; he just bugs me. But I really liked him in Moon. The excellent story certainly didn't hurt.
Have you seen Galaxy Quest? He should have been nominated for an Academy Award for his acting in that.
  #23  
Old 08-19-2016, 08:32 PM
Jim's Son Jim's Son is offline
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Never cared much for Anthony Quayle but in 1979 he played Falstaff in a BBC Shakespeare Television project of Henry IV parts I and II and was quite good in it.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079287/...nm_flmg_act_21
  #24  
Old 08-19-2016, 08:43 PM
Sitnam Sitnam is offline
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Kirsten Dunst cannot act her way out of a wet paper bag, but she did a great job in her role as a Midwestern hairdresser trying to 'get actualized' in the second season of Fargo.

Last edited by Sitnam; 08-19-2016 at 08:44 PM.
  #25  
Old 08-19-2016, 09:31 PM
burpo the wonder mutt burpo the wonder mutt is offline
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I can't help but get my hate on for Marcia Gay Harden. I don't know what it is about her, but typically, I'd like to punch her in nads (because I'm sure she has some). However, I think she absolutely nailed the shrill, zealotty shrew screaming about how to prevent the apocalypse in The Mist. Doesn't mean I want to watch her ever again though.
Doubly excellent because she in no way resembled the character's description in the novella--she was sort of attractive (for a harridan). But yeah, the actress gets under my skin.
  #26  
Old 08-20-2016, 02:48 AM
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Not a huge fan of Steve Carrel's comedies (live action - he does great voice acting), or his roles in Will Ferrel's ones, but he was awesome in Little Miss Sunshine and The Way, Way Back. I guess I should check out his other serious stuff.
Check him out in The Big Short.
  #27  
Old 08-20-2016, 09:55 AM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Adam Sandler in Punch Drunk Love. Perfectly cast for the quirky lead role, but he dials back the Sandler shenanigans, while still maintaining some of that oddness.
  #28  
Old 08-20-2016, 12:58 PM
LVBoPeep LVBoPeep is online now
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Richard Gere in Primal Fear. Normally, I can't stand the guy- he has this cocky, greasy vibe that I can't stand but it worked perfectly for this movie, especially since all the attributes I don't like about him end up contributing to his comeuppance at the end of the movie.

Last edited by LVBoPeep; 08-20-2016 at 12:58 PM.
  #29  
Old 08-20-2016, 01:04 PM
MyFootsZZZ MyFootsZZZ is offline
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Been listed, but those who said Adam Sandler and Jim Carrey should check out 'Punch-Drunk Love', 'Reign Over Me', 'Man on the Moon', and my favorite movie of all time; 'Eternal Sunshine'.

Just noticed those works haven't been listed.
  #30  
Old 08-20-2016, 05:33 PM
snoe snoe is offline
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I'll add another Tom Cruise role: Frank T.J. Mackey in Magnolia. Since his character just has to be hateable/punchable through 98% of the movie, it works great for me - I can't stand that guy.
Quote:
Originally Posted by faithfool View Post
I can't help but get my hate on for Marcia Gay Harden. I don't know what it is about her, but typically, I'd like to punch her in nads (because I'm sure she has some). However, I think she absolutely nailed the shrill, zealotty shrew screaming about how to prevent the apocalypse in The Mist. Doesn't mean I want to watch her ever again though.
It was interesting to hear someone with such a strong dislike of her - I think of MGH as Verna in Miller's Crossing, and I like that performance. So I went to her IMDB page; turns out that I have never seen any of her other movies. Including some pretty big ones.

Last edited by snoe; 08-20-2016 at 05:33 PM. Reason: early post
  #31  
Old 08-20-2016, 06:07 PM
snfaulkner snfaulkner is offline
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Nicolas Cage in "Raising Arizona."

/thread
This x100.

Also Leaving Los Vegas. Besides those 2 movies, I wish death upon him.
  #32  
Old 08-20-2016, 08:18 PM
Sunny Daze Sunny Daze is offline
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Nicolas Cage in National Treasure.
  #33  
Old 08-20-2016, 08:30 PM
Mahaloth Mahaloth is online now
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Kirsten Dunst cannot act her way out of a wet paper bag, but she did a great job in her role as a Midwestern hairdresser trying to 'get actualized' in the second season of Fargo.
She was good in Melancholia as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ddsun View Post
Nicolas Cage in National Treasure.
And he's good in Knowing. And in Bad Lieutenant.
  #34  
Old 08-20-2016, 09:15 PM
The Tooth The Tooth is online now
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And Wild at Heart.
  #35  
Old 08-20-2016, 11:07 PM
MyFootsZZZ MyFootsZZZ is offline
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Nicolas Cage in 'Adaptation' too

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  #36  
Old 08-20-2016, 11:41 PM
Princhester Princhester is offline
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I think my dislike of Cruise and, by extension, any character he plays is what makes him effective for me. I like a lot of his stuff.
Yeah, can't stand the guy but I've hardly seen a movie of his where I didn't find him compelling.
  #37  
Old 08-21-2016, 07:04 PM
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I've only enjoyed Adam Sandler in Hotel Transylvania.
  #38  
Old 08-22-2016, 10:59 AM
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John revolta in Grease!
I was going to name him for Phenomenon. His portrayal of a simple guy trying to cope with something strange happening to him at the same time that he is trying to court a hard-to-get girl was really good.
  #39  
Old 08-22-2016, 11:13 AM
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I think it's funny how so many here are saying they can't stand Nic Cage, but naming all these movies he was great in. And I agree, I think he was excellent in many of them, but the thing about Nic Cage is that, when you look at his whole career, he seems to have only taken the very best and the very worst scripts that have come across his desk.
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Old 08-22-2016, 11:14 AM
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I was going to name him for Phenomenon. His portrayal of a simple guy trying to cope with something strange happening to him at the same time that he is trying to court a hard-to-get girl was really good.
This is a good one, too.
  #41  
Old 08-22-2016, 11:46 AM
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But an Oscar nomination for "Pulp Fiction"
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  #42  
Old 08-22-2016, 11:51 AM
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I've never cared for David Duchovny, but after rewatching Twin Peaks, I have to say that he did a fine job as the cross-dressing DEA agent. No ego, no brooding. He understood the show's vibe and fit right in.
  #43  
Old 08-22-2016, 01:27 PM
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Mel Gibson in Gallipoli
Barbra Streisand in What's Up, Doc?
  #44  
Old 08-22-2016, 01:34 PM
TreacherousCretin TreacherousCretin is offline
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Ryan O'Neal in Paper Moon.
  #45  
Old 08-22-2016, 03:38 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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I think it's funny how so many here are saying they can't stand Nic Cage, but naming all these movies he was great in. And I agree, I think he was excellent in many of them, but the thing about Nic Cage is that, when you look at his whole career, he seems to have only taken the very best and the very worst scripts that have come across his desk.
It's because he hasnt made a good film for a decade. Two dozen bad films in a row.
  #46  
Old 08-22-2016, 03:52 PM
74westy 74westy is offline
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Yeah, can't stand the guy but I've hardly seen a movie of his where I didn't find him compelling.
It seems to me that his most compelling roles are when he plays a douchy Tom Cruise-like character who at some point has to face up to his douchiness.
  #47  
Old 08-22-2016, 05:15 PM
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I know he is really popular but I generally find Bruce Campbell to be a poor actor. I know he aims for a cheesy style but I find it too contrived and one dimensional.

However I felt that in Bubba Ho-Tep (where he played an aged Elvis Presley who everyone else believed was a fake Elvis Presley) he gave a genuine performance. He acted like a resigned, bitter old man who no one believes. Became cheesy by the end of the film but he was good until then.

TCMF-2L
I think the trick with Bruce Campbell is realizing just how well he does the cheesy style; it could be so much worse than he does it. There's a kind of a wink and a nudge style self-aware quality to it that I can't quite explain, and other cheesy actors like Will Ferrell's performances don't quite have that. They're notable for almost the exact opposite- an absolute obliviousness that in some roles is absolutely perfect, and grating in others.

For example, Bruce Campbell does a great sort of action-hero send-up character, which is why he was good in the Evil Dead movies and in Burn Notice, while Will Ferrell's oblivious characters do well in Elf and Anchorman. But in say... Old School, it's a bit unbelievable that anyone in his position would be THAT clueless, so it was kind of jarring, even for a rather absurd movie. Similarly, Campbell's schtick wouldn't have worked in a lot of movies.

But Campbell's a solid character actor- like has been mentioned, check out the beginning of Bubba Ho-Tep for an example.
  #48  
Old 08-23-2016, 02:27 AM
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It seems to me that his most compelling roles are when he plays a douchy Tom Cruise-like character who at some point has to face up to his douchiness.
Edge of Tomorrow! Got to watch him die over and over and over again and again. It was truly wonderful. Then he went out and was actually a good guy.
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  #49  
Old 08-23-2016, 05:53 AM
TYphoonSignal8 TYphoonSignal8 is offline
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I really liked "Edge of Tomorrow". But I thought it was the plot that carried it, not the acting. Tom Cruise got up my nose as he always does but I suppose that was the point of his character.

Having said that I really liked Tom Cruise in "Interview with the Vampire". He played a truly evil, sadistic villain without any redeeming qualities at all. It was a unique role for him (I vaguely recall he copped some flack about his role in that movie immediately after its release, specifically from fans in the audience of an episode of "Oprah". Cruise seemed to struggle with their complaints. It was an unfair thing for an actor to deal with).
  #50  
Old 08-23-2016, 09:40 AM
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I really liked "Edge of Tomorrow". But I thought it was the plot that carried it, not the acting. Tom Cruise got up my nose as he always does but I suppose that was the point of his character.

Having said that I really liked Tom Cruise in "Interview with the Vampire". He played a truly evil, sadistic villain without any redeeming qualities at all. It was a unique role for him (I vaguely recall he copped some flack about his role in that movie immediately after its release, specifically from fans in the audience of an episode of "Oprah". Cruise seemed to struggle with their complaints. It was an unfair thing for an actor to deal with).
Cruise is a total weirdo in real life, but despite that, he's a solid actor. Watch "Interview with the Vampire", "War of the Worlds", "Tropic Thunder" and "Edge of Tomorrow", and you'll see four very different, well-realized characters. They're all very clearly Cruise- for one thing, his voice is kind of hard to miss, but I never thought that Ray Ferrier was Lestat, or that William Cage was Les Grossman, or any of the other characters.

Can't say that about a lot of other actors, where they more or less play the same character over and over again, a-la Keanu Reeves or Nicholas Cage.
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