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The Three Greatest Movie Performances Ever
Dec 6th, 2009 by Pinback

1. This was originally going to be a top five list, but I couldn’t think of two others that fit the criteria I will list in #2 below. Which is not to say there aren’t any, so if I think of them, I will add to this list. Hopefully you one or two people who still read this BBS can come up with your own nominees and I’ll add them where appropriate.

2. There have been hundreds, maybe millions of great performances in movies over the past thousand years, and this list is not to discount any of them. However, what I’m going for with this list is performances that electrified and defined a movie, performances that command full awe and attention for every second the actor is on film. Not just great acting, but something where you go such and such film was great, but I don’t remember much else about it except for (performer’s name). Pacino DeNiro was fantastic in Taxi Driver, but I remember the movie Taxi Driver more than his specific performance. Hopefully you’ll see what I mean as the list is listed:

#3: HEATH LEDGER, THE DARK KNIGHT

The Dark Knight was a good, but not great, action/comic book movie.EXCEPT for the 24-some-odd minutes that Ledger was on the screen, because from the very first shot of his back, as he stares up at the bank, there is no way to take your eyes off him or otherwise not be completely enthralled in what he did up there. He seems like he’s in the movie a lot longer than he actually was, because who the hell cares about any of the rest of it. Added to the performance was just the fact that it was the JOKER, but so fantastically reimagined that all other Jokers kinda totally suck now, I think. And then he died. But damn. Way to go out, buddy.

#2: DENZEL WASHINGTON, TRAINING DAY

He’s had a wonderful career playing largely moral, conflicted, good guys, but Jesus Christ, nobody who’s seen this movie could ever see him as anything but Alonzo ever again. I’m conflicted on how good a movie this actually is, because once again, I do not care. Every single inflection and movement and delivery he offers here is so perfect and adrenaline-infused that you don’t want anyone to hurt him because then he’ll stop saying and doing things and then there’s no reason to keep watching the movie. Holy Christ, I can’t believe how great this goddamn performance is, from the first frame to the last. King Kong truly ain’t got shit on him.

#1: CHARLIZE THERON, MONSTER

What else is there to say other than Charlize Theron broke acting with this. Since this came out, they are still having to come up with something else for actors to do because she already won at it. You probably haven’t seen this movie, though, because you only like movies about spaceships and teen roadtrips.

There ya go. Other performances I considered for this were the aforementioned Pacino, Cage in Leaving Las Vegas, Ellen Burstyn in Requiem for a Dream, and a couple others I can’t remember anymore.

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