Tim Curry is an icon but I had no idea of the breadth of his voice acting. The Wild Thornberrys and FernGully I knew, but not Star Wars: The Clone Wars, TaleSpin, Tiny Toon Adventures, or Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego? (amongst others).
This scene is one of my favourite scenes in movie history. It shows Christopher Reeve as Superman in Superman II playing Superman, Clark Kent, Superman again, and then Clark Kent again. All it took was a change in body language and vocal tone and he was both characters.
There are many remarkable things about the first Superman film, up to and including the obvious influence on every comic book movie that came later. There wasn’t much of a blueprint in pop culture for what a serious look at a comic book character should look like. There were not yet giants who had shoulders on which Superman could stand.
But what really made the film so special was the performance of the late Christopher Reeve, the only actor who could make the idea that no one recognized Clark Kent as Superman due to his glasses even remotely plausible. His performance as both Clark Kent and Superman kept the characters distinct, and it was done through his body. Christopher Reeve was his own best special effect.
One scene shows this transformation perfectly.
It happens after Superman takes Lois flying, right before her date with Clark Kent. He nearly tells her the truth, and shifts into the part of Superman to prove he is who he’s about to say he is.
The amazing part of this performance is how clearly you can see Christopher Reeve shift his body from Clark Kent to Superman. His voice changes a bit, sure, but it’s all there in the body language. It’s a powerful, physical performance that doesn’t require a change into the costume or any of the special effects that went into the flying scene. The burden is on Reeve to sell the transition, and holy hell does he do it convincingly.
Shout out to the Alexander Technique, which Reeve and a host of other actors and authors used (although there is no scientific proof of its alleged health benefits—I have to make that clear).
I don’t pay attention to celebrity news but this caught my because I follow Hilarie Burton on Instagram and it was interesting.
In an interview with CBS News, she explained how she left Hollywood for a Rhinebeck, a small town in upstate New York, and found comfort.
“I found so much self-worth in this community that I hadn’t in work. […] When I’d accomplished everything I said I was gonna accomplish at a young age and still didn’t really like myself, there was a problem.”
Her reason for moving there with her husband Jeffrey Dean Morgan was “the memory — and destruction — of similar small towns where they both grew up”.
“The small towns disappeared. The mom-and-pop shops disappeared. Everything got replaced by big, massive chains. So when we found this community that was all mom-and-pop shops, it was so important to us that we preserved it and we honored it in a way that other people maybe saw the value in it.”
If this pandemic has taught me anything, it’s the time inside and away from everyone has been good for things like this — taking stock of where you are, what you’re doing, and why you’re here. For many of us, that can be difficult to face, especially if you were just getting your life together or at least trying to (myself included). I’m still doing it now and extracting yourself from an environment that leaves you unfulfilled can be liberating. I’m happy that she has found peace in her new surroundings with her family.
I’m currently reading through the archives of kottke.org and stumbled on this article from March 2002 commending Jim Carrey’s performance in Man On The Moon. And then I remembered the documentary about his behaviour on the set of the film.
For anyone who hasn’t seen the film before, Man On The Moon is a biopic about the late American comedian Andy Kaufman, with Carrey starring as Kaufman. It looks at his life from childhood to his infamous personas including Latka Gravas and Tony Clifton.
The film got mixed reviews at the time and made a loss at the box office but Carrey managed to win a Golden Globe for his performance.
Was Carrey’s method acting unnecessary?
In 2017, Chris Smith directed a documentary about the film called Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond – Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton (known simply as Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond).
It showed Jim Carrey’s performance as Andy Kauffman on-set, including his commitment to method acting even when they weren’t filming. And that was the basis for Nitpix’s critique of Carrey’s behaviour in Jim Carrey Is An Asshole Method Actor.
Method acting is where an actor immerses themselves in a role, taking on that persona as if it were really them. The technique first came into prominence during the 1930s. Famous method actors include Daniel Day-Lewis, Marlon Brando, and Robert De Niro.
The critique makes some good points about Carrey’s decision to stay in character(s) beyond reasonable levels of decency. But I feel like the meta jokes and tangents reduced its credibility (although that might have been the point).
The questionable portrayal of Andy by Jim
The pivotal point made in the critique was the fact that Carrey overacted. The essence of Andy Kauffman’s comedy was his awkward, anti-joke delivery. In comparison clips, you see Andy’s real-life performances against Jim’s and you see a clear difference.
As one YouTube commenter said, “Jim doesn’t even play Andy Kaufman like Andy. He plays Andy like Jim Carrey.”
I certainly didn’t think he’d be the same person who voiced Tigger and Pete from Goof Troop. It was one of those things I questioned but had no deep inclination to research. When I found out it was Jim Cummings, I was blown away by the breadth of his voice acting career and how many of my childhood faves he voiced.
Ever watched Sunset Beach? I used to watch it with my mum and sister in the late 90s. It was “so bad it was good” and now any show that lives up to that accolade gets called “a bit Sunset Beach”. But sometimes bad acting is just atrocious. Like Birdemic, an indie romantic horror about a couple in a small town attacked by birds. Wait, that sounds familiar.
In The Best of Bad Acting, we see a host of terrible performances and we can only assume some are bad on purpose. You can tell some of them have low budgets (like Birdemic, with a budget of around $10k) but movies like Mortal Kombat: Annihilation cost $30m to make.
Some of my favourite quotes:
They’re eating her. And then they’re going to eat me. Oh my goooooooood!