I actually had this ready to go Friday, but then wanted to just tweak it a little... and naturally forgot all about actually posting it. Until today, when I finally looked and it wasn't there. Doh! Sorry about that.
So, here is Friday's belated: Top Ten Underrated Actors
Undeniably subjective, but open to discussion-- just add your thoughts after clicking the little "0 comments" link at the bottom of this post. I saw Tombstone last week (yes, I know its over 10 years old, but I hadn't seen it before) and was fairly impressed with it-- quite a bit better than I expected. Part of the reason was Val Kilmer's portrayal of Doc Holliday. He was excellent-- stealing the show from Kurt Russell's more reserved, pragmatic Wyatt Earp.
It occured to me that Mr. Kilmer has been excellent in everything I've seen him in-- though checking this filmography, I haven't seen the majority of his work. Still, I think he is under-appreciated as an actor. Started me thinking about other actors that are under-appreciated, and voila:
Top 10 Underrated Actors/Actresses
10. Cate Blanchett. Doesn't seem to get the same recognition of the Gwyneth Paltrow's of the world, but she is sublime in everything she does. She has a chameleon like nature and an ability to go from cold to warm to sexy in just a heartbeat.
9. Lee Marvin. Old school, bay-bee. Never got the same recognition as some of his contemporaries, but his work in The Dirty Dozen, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and Paint Your Wagon is just fine, thank you (yes, even the singing). And he does comedy pretty well, too.
8. Clint Eastwood. Gets a lot of recognition for his directing, and deservedly so, but the man can act, too. Dirty Harry and the spaghetti westerns, sure, but his work in The Outlaw Jesse Wales, Honkytonk Man, Play Misty for Me and Two Mules for Sister Sarah is very very good. Far more wide ranging than most people know.
7. Harrison Ford. Certainly a known, A-List name, but doesn't really get enough credit for his actual acting. His work in Blade Runner is generally overlooked, as are his roles in Working Girl, Witness and Regarding Henry. And with Han Solo and Indiana Jones, Ford virtually defined the action hero for an entire generation. I personally believe part of the reason that the original Star Wars movies were so much better than the recent ones was because the cast was SO good they managed to not only overcome the mediocre to horrible writing, but to transcend it-- and Ford was linchpin of that talented bunch of actors.
6. Kevin Spacey. Gets quite a bit of press, but he's still underrated in my mind-- I would put him up there with the Deniros and Pacinos of his generation. His work in American Beauty, L.A. Confidential and The Usual Suspects was just superb. He's not quite as good in A Time To Kill and The Negotiator, but he does a great bad guy voice in A Bug's Life.
5. Vincent D'Onfrio. A bit annoying, at times, as the uber-genius cop in Law & Order: Criminal Intent, but he's got serious acting chops across a wide range of genres and much of his work on L&O: CI is riveting. Awesome performance as the "bug" in Men In Black.
4. Bill Murray. A comic genius, of course-- Ghostbusters, Caddy Shack, Stripes, Meatballs-- but also skilled with less over-the-top comic material and more serious fare. Scrooged, Groundhog Day, and Lost in Translation, for example.
3. Sigourney Weaver. Comic gold in Ghostbusters and Galaxy Quest and not your typical damsel in distress in Alien and Aliens. Also plays the bad guy well, ala the mean, merciless "warden" in Holes and everybody's favorite boss to hate in Working Girl.
2. Val Kilmer. Has done a bit of everything, and done it well. Comedy? Johnny Dangerously and Real Genius. Drama? The Doors and Tombstone. Action? Batman Forever and Tombstone.
1. Michael Keaton. Kinda got stereotyped with Mr. Mom, I think, but he ranged from Beetle Juice to Bruce Wayne with ease. Has a Tom Hanks like every man quality, but plays the bad guy as well as he does the good guy.
Now it is entirely possible that some, or all, of these actors have sucked out loud in the films I haven't seen, but in the ones I have seen they have been excellent, yet don't get critical acclaim for their acting. And I'm sure I've forgotten lots of folks, so feel free to add nominees in the comments.