Thursday, 23 August 2012

Essential Performances of the ‘90s Tournament: Round Two, Showdown 3

Round 2 of the Essential Performances of the 90s Showdown went underway yesterday and all the performances qualified can be seen HERE.

If you’re interested in defending any of the eligible performances on your blog, send me a link before the respective polls go up (link HERE) and I’ll include it with the posts.

Annette Bening in American Beauty (1999) as Carolyn Burnham
I think it’s fair to say that without Bening on hand to lend her character heart and believability one of the biggest films of the nineties would not have had nearly the impact it did. - Michael

It wasn’t until about three years ago that I realised that I was (apparently) supposed to dislike Carolyn Burnham in American Beauty. The first few times I’d seen the film, for all her annoying tics and harsh behaviour I always cared for her more than the other players in the film. Under Bening, almost every scene with her daughter plays out like a sad representation of what her life has become. I read the script years later and detached from the film itself the character reads as, perhaps, a villainess type in the most prosaic of ways). But, when I see Bening’s wok and the desperation she imbues each potentially harsh line reading I can’t help but care and be impressed. Randomness: “When I was your age we lived in a DUPLEX!” is still the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of this film *slap*

Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski (1998) as The Dude
Bridges, very in touch with the hazily created specimen renders the character more expertly than you’d expect. - Andrew

I’ve already written about Bridges the last time he won the poll, and I’ll reiterate that there’s something very difficult in being asked to play someone in a state of addled (mild) confusion who is so easygoing that key emotions are significantly tempered. And Jeff Bridges is such a smart actor (who I remember foremost for his much more aggressive work in The Fisher King, for example) that there’s significant kudos in order to him for making The Dude work and not get lost in ambiguity. Also, significantly, he nails the dissatisfaction The Dude might feel with his surroundings without trying to look down on the character. Also, line readings.

Defending the Dude: Jess of Reel Insight ; Colin of Never Mind Pop Film

Bridges zen turn or Bening's manic one?


Colin Biggs said...

Hoping the Dude pulls out another win.

Paolo said...

I just realized that the Dude and Maude are in the same battle. against each other. May the best Lebowski win.