Rachel Syme on Michelle Pfeiffer's considered career

For The New Yorker, Rachel Syme interviewed Michelle Pfeiffer about her life and career which hasn’t followed the same kinds of paths most Hollywood actresses have taken (on purpose):

You’ve given different reasons over the years why you don’t love being interviewed, but the one that stuck with me is that you were always afraid people would “find you out.” That if you told too much, you’d be exposed as a fraud.

Well, that’s typically my fear about my performances, that this will be the performance I will be discovered as the fraud that I have known all along that I am. That really comes from not being classically trained. I didn’t go to Juilliard. I didn’t study a lot. I studied in workshops and things like that, but I didn’t come from the theatre. There was a real snobbery when I started acting. In fact, one of my first jobs was a television show, and I played the blonde bombshell where I had fake breasts and was in hot pants, I didn’t even have a name, she was just called “the bombshell.” I was working with a lot of actors who were all from New York. I just felt really unworthy, and I think that never leaves you.

In terms of my discomfort with doing interviews, I think it’s early on not understanding the difference between things that you say, and the way things look in print, and things coming off in a way that was not your intention. I think you just get really guarded. I just had a hard time even formulating a sentence because I was so guarded.

When people talk about Michelle Pfeiffer and wonder why she wasn’t “bigger” (whatever that’s supposed to mean in any context), I think of Daniel Day-Lewis. Now retired, he was an actor who chose his roles carefully, was notorious for his method acting and that time he went to Italy to become a shoemaker. He won awards and was applauded for his journey. But somehow Michelle Pfeiffer is questioned for being careful and considered and choosing her own paths alongside her career and parenthood. We know what the difference is between them (and it’s interesting that they both starred together in The Age of Innocence and how their careers diverged and converged since then) but the criticism is unfounded.

Oh, and that TV role where she played a blonde bombshell? That was in episode 12 of Delta House, a TV spin-off of National Lampoon’s Animal House. Stream that below.

Delta House - Episode 12 - Hoover and the Bomb (Animal House Spin-off/Sequel)

Another funny video about Daniel Day-Lewis's acting

Living With Daniel Day-Lewis

There is/was(?) something so intriguing about DDL’s acting, allowing for some very funny parodies. This one imagines Daniel Day-Lewis as a frustrating roommate, involving his portrayals of:

Goddamn it, Daniel Day-Lewis.

Hilarious video from The Onion picking holes in Daniel Day-Lewis's acting in Phantom Thread

'Phantom Thread' Producer Points Out All The Times Daniel Day-Lewis Fucks Up At Acting

We stayed wide for this entire scene so we could avoid drawing too much of the audience’s attention to Daniel’s lifeless embodiment of his character.

And if you want to read a serious review of the movie, check out Cultrface fave Dom Griffin’s for Baltimore Beat.

More on DDL: Another funny video about Daniel Day-Lewis’s acting, and the origin of the milkshake line in ‘There Will Be Blood’

20 minutes of Tim Curry's voice acting

Many Voices of Tim Curry (Wild Thornberrys / FernGully / Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

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).

Voice actor related: Phil LaMarr on his most iconic voices and Jim Cummings telling stories behind 4 fan-favorite characters he’s voiced

Superman as Clark Kent as Superman

Superman changes to Clark and then back and forth

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.

Here’s what Ben Kuchera from Polygon had to say about it:

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).

How Michael Keaton perfected the role of Batman

How Michael Keaton Perfected BATMAN

No one has come close to Michael Keaton’s live-action portrayal of Bruce Wayne/Batman (emphasis on ‘live-action’ as Kevin Conroy goes toe-to-toe in the animated series). In the above video, iamthatroby explained why he loved Keaton’s Batman so much.

I have a hot, hot take for all of you: I believe that every single component of Batman the general audience loves is as a result of Michael Keaton’s performances in Batman and Batman Returns. The mannerisms, the sound, the look, the Batcave, the Batsuit. The two Burton films established this language for Batman that has been replicated time and time again.

I completely agree. Keaton set the standard that ever other Batman actor has followed.

Hilarie Burton on leaving Hollywood

Hilarie Burton

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.

Was Jim Carrey an asshole on the set of Man On The Moon?

Jim Carrey as Andy Kauffman in Man On The Moon

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.”

Stream it below and judge for yourself.

Jim Carrey Is An Asshole Method Actor (Jim & Andy) - NitPix

Jim Cummings tells stories behind 4 fan-favorite characters he's voiced

jim-cummings

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.

Cummings was born in Ohio but relocated to New Orleans, where he worked as a deckhand on riverboats. After a few years in the mid to late 80s voicing characters in The Transformers, Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears, and Duck Tales, he joined the voice cast of The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh where he voiced Winnie the Pooh and Tigger. Since then he’s appeared in a plethora of animated and live action movies and series.

In this video, Jim Cummings discussed four of his best-loved characters and the inspiration behind them. You can check out the video below.

Jim Cummings Gets Totally Nostalgic with 4 Stories Behind 4 Fan-Favorite Characters

Disney related: The history of Walt Disney Home Video

The Best of Bad Acting with Tommy Wiseau

The Best of Bad Acting

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!

Troll 2

YOU’RE TEARING ME APART, LISA!

The Room

GARBAGE DAY!

Silent Night, Deadly Night 2

Great for film-related memes, not for tips on how to act.