VOTD: A Supercut of Actors Acting Like Actors

Actors Playing Actors

There are plenty of times when specific actors play themselves in a movie, like Bill Murray in Zombieland or Ben Affleck and Matt Damon in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. But it’s a bit more interesting when actors simply have to act like they’re actors. It adds a self-aware layer to the proceedings, and more often than not, results in a truly genuine performance.

A new supercut from editor Phil Whitehead runs through dozens of instances where actors played actors in movies and on television. From Julia Roberts in Notting Hill to Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie to Ricky Gervais in Extras, it’s cool to see the range of fake acting being accomplished by real acting on display. Read More »

funniest screenplays ever

Comedy is no laughing matter, especially when you’re ranking some of the most hilarious┬ámovies of all time. The Writer’s Guild of America has released a list of the 101 funniest screenplays ever written, and like any list on the internet, there are plenty of obvious picks, more than a few surprise choices, and handful of selections that are a little baffling. Also like any list on the internet, this ranking doesn’t feel like a┬ádefinitive statement. It’s more of a window into a larger discussion.

In other words, prepare to read over the list and starting arguing. Check out the full list of the 101 funniest screenplays ever written (according to the WGA) after the jump.

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Director Sydney Pollack passed away today due to cancer at his home in Los Angeles. He was 73.

Notable films as a director: They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (nominated: Best Director 1970), Tootsie (nominated: Best Director/Best Picture 1982), Three Days of the Condor, The Way We Were, The Yakuza, The Firm, Jeremiah Johnson, Out of Africa (Winner: Best Director/Best Picture 1986)

As a producer: Recount, The Quiet American, Forty Shades of Blue, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Searching For Bobby Fischer (!), King Ralph (!!), Sense and Sensibility

Pollack was recently praised for his supporting performance in the Best Picture nominee Michael Clayton. He also appeared on The Sopranos in a small but highly memorable and resonant role. His producing partner and fellow director , Anthony Minghella, passed in March, aged 54.

If you want to take a look back via Netflix, I’d recommend They Shoot Horses…, Condor, Tootsie and Jeremiah Johnson in that order. As an actor, Tootsie, Husbands and Wives, Eyes Wide Shut, and Clayton. To people under 25, Pollack served as a fine representation/presence of a Hollywood long past, where smart films for adults were a priority (imagine that, even if you’re not a film snob!) and where franchises and event films didn’t yet have a deathgrip on the market.

Casual moviegoers responded to his voice and mannerisms on screen—you knew this guy, he seemed smarter than most—and as you watched, or at least as I watched, what came across was that Pollack cut through the modern day industry bullshit and greed, and man, he fucking knew it. Some of his films like The Yakuza still seem a little over-fawned upon, but he’s a prime example of a talented cineaste who didn’t sell out and who aged with grace, eyes open.

I’d hate to get a raised eyebrow from the man, is all I’m sayin’. When I think of a respectable film director, Pollack’s voice and face often pops up (yes, those “do not interrupt” commercials help). I wonder and, have wondered at times, who the hell will be there to take Pollack and his peers’ place. That’s usually when a walking-talking mega cup of soda bursts through the door to say “hi.” Sydney Pollack will be missed, but his work and reputation will also be discovered for generations. You can say his name in any film class that is nearly worth the cost, and a certain communal respect will hit.

R.I.P.

Discuss: How will he be remembered by you?