Top Ten Lists: Best Actors/Actresses

I was going to write down the reasons why I picked these actors/actresses, but then I decided against it. My choices speak for themselves. My mark of a great actor/actress is his or her ability to transform on the screen as well as the capability of having range. These are in no particular order, but might change by next year. For now, here they are.

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My Top 10 Under Age 55 Actors (Living)

Michael Fassbender was born on April 2, 1977.

Christian Bale was born on January 30, 1974.

Brad Pitt was born on December 18, 1963.

Ryan Gosling was born on November 12, 1980.

Domhnall Gleeson was born on May 12, 1983.

Peter Dinklage was born on June 11, 1969.

Will Ferrell was born on July 16, 1967.

Tom Hardy was born on September 15, 1977.

John C. Reilly was born on May 24, 1965.

Joaquin Phoenix was born on October 28, 1974.

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My Top 10 Under Age 55 Actresses (Living)

Emily Blunt was born on February 23, 1983.

Kate Winslet was born on October 5, 1975

Charlize Theron was born on August 7, 1975.

Nicole Kidman was born on June 20, 1967.

Laura Linney was born on February 5, 1964.

Anne Hathaway was born on November 12, 1982.

Cate Blanchett was born on May 14, 1969.

Jessica Chastain was born on March 24, 1977.

Lili Taylor was born February 20, 1967.

Marion Cotillard was born September 30, 1975.

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My Top 10 Over Age 55 Actors (Living)

Daniel-Day Lewis was born on April 29, 1957.

Steve Buscemi was born on December 13, 1957.

Forest Whitaker was born on July 15, 1961.

Sean Penn was born on August 17, 1960.

Samuel L. Jackson was born on December 21, 1948.

Bill Murray was born on September 21, 1950.

Sidney Poitier was born on February 20, 1927.

Christoph Waltz was born on October 4, 1956.

Choi Min-sik was born on April 27, 1962.

Christopher Plummer was born on December 12, 1929.

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My Top 10 Over Age 55 Actresses (Living)

Helen Mirren was born on July 26, 1945.

Judi Dench was born on December 9, 1937.

Angela Bassett was born on August 16, 1958.

Glenn Close was born on March 19, 1947.

Francis McDormand was born on June 23, 1957.

Meryl Streep was born on June 22, 1949.

Katey Sagal was born on January 19, 1954.

Tilda Swinton was born on November 5, 1960.

Jennifer Jason Leigh was born on February 5, 1962.

Jamie Lee Curtis was born on November 22, 1958.

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My Top 10 Actors (Not Living)

Gregory Peck was born on April 5, 1916 (died 2003).

J.T. Walsh was born on September 28, 1943 (died 1998).

Humphrey Bogart was born on December 25, 1899 (died 1957).

John Hurt was born on January 22, 1940 (died 2017).

Philip Seymour Hoffman was born on July 23, 1967 (died 2014).

Marlon Brando was born on April 3, 1924 (died 2004).

James Dean was born on February 8, 1931 (died 1955).

Paul Newman was born on January 26, 1925 (died 2008).

Alan Rickman was born on February 21, 1946 (died 2016).

James Stewart was born on May 20, 1908 (died 1997).

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My Top 10 Actresses (Not Living)

Grace Kelly was born on November 12, 1929 (died 1982).

Elizabeth Taylor was born on February 27, 1932 (died 2011).

Judy Garland was born on June 10, 1922 (died 1969).

Marilyn Monroe was born on June 1, 1926 (died 1962).

Ingrid Bergman was born on August 29, 1915 (died 1982).

Natalie Wood was born on July 20, 1938 (died 1981).

Lynn Redgrave was born on March 8, 1943 (died 2010).

Vivien Leigh was born on November 5, 1931 (died 1967).

Audrey Hepburn was born on May 4, 1929 (died 1993).

Lauren Bacall was born on September 16, 1924 (died 2014).

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Poem: Because I’m Human

Because I’m Human

I woke up hungry

and not because I hadn’t eaten the night before.

I did.   Okay, I really did.

Still, my stomach made noises right away,

and not those painful ones accompanied by growls.

I didn’t deny myself anything last night,

and yet the reminder before things get crazy,

before I become really mad,

and not able to control myself continued.

Hold on.

First things must come first.

I must brush the nasty taste out of my mouth,

and rid myself of what I drank the previous day.

No one likes cotton mouth.

No one likes bad breath.

No one likes to hold it.

 No eggs.  I understand.

The punishment of it all, but this was a year ago. 

There must’ve been some change within me.

I know.  I’m kidding myself.  I know.

Open the door and look inside. 

It’s the same thing.

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Midterms: Blue or Red or Neither

Here is the breakdown of the two major party lines in the United States based on Gallup Daily Tracking for 2017. The midterm elections are coming up this November as most of us know who live in the United States. For those who can vote and even for those that can’t or don’t want to vote for some odd reason, here is how the blue (Democrat) and red (Republican) stack up. There are other parties besides the primary two, the Libertarian and Green come to mind, but not included in this tracking poll. There were 20 solid and lean Democratic states in 2017 compared to 14 in 2015. There were 16 solid and lean Republican states in 2017 compared to 21 in 2015. There were 15 competitive states in 2017 compared to 16 in 2015. As the presidential election was mind-blowing in 2016, this should be interesting, as well, in 2018.

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Random Quotes I Made

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Artist of the Month: Wilhelm Lehmbruck

September 2018: Wilhelm Lehmbruck

Born: January 4, 1881 in Duisbur, Germany

Died: March 25, 1919 in Berlin, Germany

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Wilhelm Lehmbruck was a German sculptor, printmaker, and painter who is best known for his nude sculptures. He studied in Düsseldorf and moved to Paris where his sculpting flourished. When World War I started, he returned to Germany and worked in a military hospital taking care of wounded and dying soldiers. Despite being elected to the Prussian Academy of Arts in 1919, he committed suicide on March 25th. The majority of his works today is housed at the Lehmbruck Museum in Duisburg, Germany. In addition, they can be found at the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art (NYC), the National Gallery of Art (Washington D.C.), Städel Museum (Frankfurt), and the Tate Gallery (London).

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Weiblicher Torso (Torso der Großen Stehenden) (1910) By Leonce49 = Hans Weingartz. [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons
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Der Gestürzte (1915/16) By Leonce49 = Hans Weingartz. [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons
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Emporsteigender Jüngling (1913) By Leonce49 = Hans Weingartz. [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons
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Porträtkopf Fritz von Unruh (1918) By Leonce49 = Hans Weingartz. [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons
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Male Nude Model at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1912) Metropolitan Museum of Art [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

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Wilhelm Lehmbruck, 1911, Femme á genoux (The Kneeling One), cast stone, 176 x 138 x 70 cm (69.2 x 54.5 x 27.5 in), Armory Show postcard

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Schlaf (1907) By Leonce49 = Hans Weingartz. (selbst fotografiert)) [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
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Kniende (1911) By Leonce49 = Hans Weingartz. [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons
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Große Sinnende (1913) By Leonce49 = Hans Weingartz. [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons
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Kniende (c. 1911 – Bronze) Spazzo [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
stehende weiblichefigur.jpg Stehende weibliche Figur (1910) By Leonce49 = Hans Weingartz. (selbst fotografiert)) [CC BY-SA 3.0 de

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Movie Review: Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

Quote from Smokey and the Bandit by Cledus Snow: “Hey, we really ought to pay somebody for the mess we made.”

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Hail to Reynolds and Needham

When Burt Reynolds died, I hadn’t seen many of his movies.  I had seen five of his movies (Deliverance, The Dukes of Hazzard, Without a Paddle, Striptease, Boogie Nights, and six if you count his voice in All Dogs Go to Heaven).  Now, I can say seven because I watched Smokey and the Bandit.  This movie was not only a Hollywood success for Hollywood itself, but for the writer and director, Hal Needham.  He left behind a legacy (appearing in 4,500 TV episodes and 310 movies) and is still regarded as one of the highest paid stuntmen/stunt doubles.  The movie was the second highest grossing movie in that year, behind Star Wars: Episode IV.

Git in the Damn Car and Shut Up

Smokey and the Bandit is a movie whose story and direction was under Hal Needham.  Known for his stunt work in movies and television spanning 30+ years, he sought the help with his story idea from Robert L. Levy and hired James Lee Barrett, Charles Shyer, and Alan Mandel to write to screenplay.  The story centers around two friends, Bo Darville (Bandit) and Cledus Snow (Snowman), who are willing to risk their freedom for a large payout to carry Coors beer from Texarkana, Texas to Atlanta, Georgia.  Everything goes smooth on the ride from Georgia, but coming back is a different story.  Watch out for the big bad Smokey.  The movie stars Burt Reynolds as Bo Darville (Bandit), Jerry Reed as Cledus Snow (Snowman), Sally Field as Carrie (Frog), Jackie Gleason as Sherrif Buford T. Justice (Smokey), Pat McCormick as Big Enos Burdette, Paul Williams as Little Enos Burdette, and Mike Henry as Junior Justice.  It is a Universal and Rastar Pictures Production.  It had the release date of May 27, 1977.  The rating is PG for language, violence, smoking, and some sexual references.  It has a running time of 96 minutes.  There are a few spoilers in this review so you have been warned.

A Few Cowboy and Trucker Hats on the Long Road Trip

There’s nothing like seeing a man with a cowboy hat snoozing in a gaudy looking hammock at an Atlantic fairgrounds and then being woken up by a tall Texan man and his short Texan son in equally gaudy outfits, but this is how Smokey and the Bandit begins.  The question is will Bandit be up to the challenge: driving 400 cases of Coors beer back from Texas so the Enos’ can celebrate after they win the truck rodeo.  Never mind the Enos’ are that confident with themselves.  The real issue is the 28 hour time constraint and whether it will be successfully accomplished by Bandit and his trusty friend, Snowman, who seems a little too attached to his blood-shot eyed basset hound. 

As one would expect, Bandit flies down Southern roads with a purpose with Snowman effectively driving the truck behind him.  He reaches Texas with little trouble and they load up the truck with ease.  But what good is it to hire an actor solely for his distinctive speech and laugh such as Burt Reynolds?  Enter Sally Field, as Carrie, who is the first nemesis to Smokey and his son, wannabe Smokey Jr.  She comes complete with a wedding dress and no cake when she hops into Bandit’s car and away they go at high speeds back to Georgia.

The chase continues and here is where you see the core of why this movie was made.  In front of the humor and hijinks, the stunts are what you watch: high-speed chases, driving through crowds, trucks ‘dancing’ with each other in close proximity, cars jumping bridges, cars landing on flat beds, etc as we watch them cross each state line.  Texas?  Check.  Alabama?  Check.  Mississippi?  Check.   Arkansas?  Check.  Georgia?  Not looking so hot.  Yet, Bandit and Snowman were given a job to do and even though it’s illegal, it’s do or be put behind bars for a long time time.  Good thing for persistence and equally good that the Enos’ probably own more cars than both sets of teeth combined.  What’s better than for Bandit, Cledus, and now Frog to gain even more reward for all their work?  The answer is simple: another chase across states lines.  Boston?  Here we come.

Over the Top, but Under the Roof

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Here is where I might get the backlash from readers of this and viewers of the movie.  I have no clue what the original dialogue was supposed to be for Smokey.  I would like to think it was somewhere in between the slapstick comedy of Gleason and maybe, some more serious lines of the script.  While I realize the movie is supposed to be a comedy first and foremost, the character of Smokey played off a little too much like a cartoon to me.  I understand the concept that Southern law men have a different way of ‘doing things’ and is always right when it comes to the law, but to me the interaction between the father and son seemed lopsided.  If Gleason didn’t ab lib and/or tone it down a notch during the emotional scenes (and by emotional I mean getting angry because that’s all he really did in terms of emotion) as much throughout the movie, I feel it would’ve been better.  Or, if the son wasn’t so terrified of his father and actually said a few lines that showed he had a backbone, it also would’ve ended on a better note for me.   Yet, I understand some actors you don’t direct and let them do their own thing. It goes without saying that Gleason is one of the best comedic actors from Hollywood back in the day, but its a given some of the dialogue used wouldn’t sit well with some people today.  Therefore, I found many of the words he used to make the scene further comedic falters by 2018 standards, but as a viewer I understand the decade in which it was made. 

The Road Continues On

I sometimes grapple with the concept of what is considered a good movie by today’s standards, but more important, what is acceptable.  You can’t be overly rigid because it restricts expression, but you also can’t go into thinking how you portray something doesn’t matter.  I find this a big slippery slope and currently I’m not sure where I fall on the mountain.  Would I recommend Smokey and the Bandit?  Yes, I would.  The thing to remember is this is an action movie when you compare it to 1970 standards.  There are plot holes in the script and certain things didn’t make sense to me based on what I knew about the characters (mainly the Smokey character).  I forgave the lack of attention on the son and suspended the absurdity at the end.  I forgave the mishap of Cledus leaving his beloved dog, Fred, behind and miraculously appearing again in the truck.  Would I watch it again?  Probably not.  Would I watch the sequels?  Maybe.  I struggled with this one a bit.  It isn’t a great movie, but it is a good movie.

Pisaries Creator’s Rating

I rate Smokey and the Bandit with Three Fingers at 80%.

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One Sheet and Trailer by Universal/Rastar

 

Three Random Quotes I Made

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Trifecta #21 for October 2018

Word of the Month

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Picture of the Month

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Video of the Month

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TV Movie Recommendation: Bastard Out of Carolina (1996)

Quote from Bastard out of Carolina by Narrator: “The day I was born started off bad and only got worse.  I guess I was lucky I got born at all.”

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Producer: Amanda DiGiulio and Gary Hoffman

Director: Anjelica Huston

Writers: Dorothy Allison (book) and Anne Meredith (teleplay)

Major Cast: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ron Eldard, Glenne Headly, Lyle Lovett, Jenna Malone, Dermot Mulroney, Christina Ricci, Michael Rooker, Diana Scarwid, Susan Traylor, and Grace Zabriskie

Rating: R for strong depiction of sexual and violent abuse, including rape of a young girl

Running Time: 1 hour and 38 minutes

I don’t remember the first time I watched this, but after it was done I was completely engrossed in what I saw.  Bastard out of Carolina is an adaptation from Dorothy Allison’s novel with the same title.  I can’t say enough about the cast, both main and supporting, because the performances are believable in every second of every scene.  Ron Eldard as Glen Waddell will go down as one of my best performances of a “bad guy.”  It was when I was first introduced to Jena Malone as a child actress and her effortless ability to transform into Bone.  The story focuses on Bone and her mother, Anney Boatwright, during the 1950s South.  When illegitimacy is looked down upon and sexual molestation is thought as a family problem, the mother and daughter try to find love and forgiveness for each other.  We are still a family no matter what happens is the mantra of this familial line, but things become fractured when it is clear Bone is not safe around Anney’s second husband, Glen.   She is passed around among her aunts and uncles, sometimes finding freedom away from Glen and sometimes getting caught in his trap.  This coming of age story is ripe full of issues and some that never go away.  The sad thing is the problem still exists today, but the good thing is there isn’t as much stigma surrounding it or the lack of resources available.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed by giving this TV movie a shot.

Bastard out of Carolina gets a rating of 100%.

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October Random Information

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