Due to a protracted business venture in the distant Andes, FR writer Travis will be absent the next set of Fives. Nonetheless, your boys Nathan and Tyler will be here to carry on and provide you, dear readers, with elongated observations, elaborate personal history, and elegant levels of ownage. This week, our favorite working actors. Pop the corn, get dreamy on silver-screen testosterone, and Recondition.
Tyler: Jeremy Renner
RENNER bumps my boy Adam Scott from this list, as much as I love my Henry Pollard/Ben Wyatt stuttering hilarity. RENNER, though, is the manliest man you can find on a big screen right now, bar none. He took the formidable Hurt Locker and swallowed it whole, all steel balls and tetchy conflict; he’s the new Jason Bourne. He’s also ferocious with cool, his success a long time coming, his ability to drink notorious, his romantic spirit undisguisable, his mind forever thoughtful. See, this quote from a recent interview with Details:
“Being conscious in life is hard. It’s easy to be unconscious, to be drunk and a lot of things. I want to be those things! But I’ve been cursed with the desire to get aware . . . Goddammit!”
Preach, God RENNER. Preach.
Nathan: Phillip Seymour Hoffman
The truest sign of a great actor is that they are able to save an otherwise unbearable movie from being a call to suicide. Case in point: Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Synechdoche, NY. His performance may not be enough to make me want to see that garbage pile of a movie again, but it says something of Hoffman’s ability to act so effortlessly even when he’s surrounded by so much obvious effort.
I discovered PSH in Boogie Nights and haven’t looked back.
Tyler: Brad Pitt
Remember Kalifornia? Yeah, I remember Kalifornia. I mean, I never saw it–nor did I see in entirety Legends Of The Fall–but I was aware of those films’ beefcake star due to my sister’s obsession with his stringy-haired poster-ready beauty. As the ’90s unfolded, he popped up here and there in cheesy nonsense–Meet Joe Black the first flop that comes to mind–but, somewhere around Ocean’s Eleven, Pitt matured into a leading man of grace, versatility, range, humor and non-physical charisma. (Yes, I know I’m supposed to give props to Fight Club, but I hate that damn movie.) With Moneyball this past fall, Pitt cemented his abilities as a dramatic actor, rich with depth and subtlety one might never have expected all the way back in those early pin-up days.
Plus, he’s Lt. Aldo Raine. And he waaaants his scalps.
Nathan: George Clooney
I highly doubt that anyone will ever match Cary Grant for sheer movie starability, but if anyone is going to give him a run for his money, it’ll be George Clooney. The Cloon embraces being a star with less effort than anyone I can think of in the current cinema and he’s a fine actor to top it off.
Consider the range. His credits include O Brother Where Art Thou?, The American, From Dusk Till Dawn, Out of Sight, The Descendants, Solaris, Three Kings (where he went nuts on David O. Russell), and Batman and Robin (not really a plus on his resume, but you gotta give him some credit). Yes, he has played politicians, newsmen, vagrants, idiots, lawyers, and over-nippled superheros; and to top that off, he has loaned his voice to productions as disparate as South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut and The Fantastic Mr. Fox.
It’s so rare to see a true movie star these days, which is why I always have a grand time watching Clooney have his own grand time.
Tyler: Tommy Lee Jones
Tommy Lee disappeared for some time there, maybe after Space Cowboys, but the 2000s brought him back swinging. No Country For Old Men, The Company Men, In The Valley Of Elah, and his directorial debut The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada reminded audiences that no actor evinces dirt-hardened Texan toughness like TLJ. Whenever I see him on screen, it’s a pleasure–some weird kind of comfort. (And this from the cat who played, perfectly, slithery Clay Shaw.) I especially love it when he busts out his impeccable delivery of any kind of Spanish.
Jones also runs an actual ranch and treats interviewers like irritant dirt. These things only make me adore him more.
Nathan: Brad Pitt
When I tried to write an entry for Pitt, I found that I was thinking many of the same things I’d thought while writing for Clooney. Pitt doesn’t need to have the nausea-inducing charm that Clooney carries with him at almost all times, so this gives him the edge over his Oceans 11-13 pal.
Again, consider the range. Moneyball, The Tree of Life, Inglourious Basterds, Burn After Reading, The Assassination of Jesse James…, Fight Club, 12 Monkeys, True Romance, and Kalifornia. Yeah.
And again, this is a real movie star.
Tyler: Jon Hamm
Jon Hamm waited tables unto the verge of thirty, waiting for his big break. This information knocks me sideways, as–not only as related pantheosis of man Don Draper, but in any role he essays–Hamm epitomizes heartfelt, relatable, masculine ownage, all concealing a forever-pounding heart of gold. The dude’s a Cardinal fan, sure, and he’s far better looking than any we other guys have any right to ever imagine. But he’s damn fucking talented. Understated, firm, forever portraying intelligence with the slightest hint of total vulnerability lurking beneath…Don Draper is the role of a lifetime. But I think JH has even greater achievements waiting in his future wake.
Nathan: Nick Offerman
Therefore, I am interested in anything Nick Offerman should choose to act in.
Tyler: George Clooney
True friend to his friends, pure-honest with the media, liberal to a T (personal swoon), handsome to the point of insanity, lover of life. Also, brilliant. Clooney’s filmography–both as actor and director–grows more diverse by the calendar year, and he hits far more often than he misses. Out Of Sight is one of my favorite flicks of all time. “Thirty-two, huh? Outta what–twenty?”
Nathan: Ryan Gosling
The idea that Ryan Gosling might be my favorite working actor became apparent to me while watching Crazy, Stupid, Love. a couple weeks ago. There he was, tangled up with the always lovely Emma Stone, and I couldn’t take my eyes off him. The girl? I lost track of her somehow.
No matter what Gosling is doing and no matter how good or bad the movie itself might be, I find myself transfixed by his presence. He seemed to be burning a hole right through my TV when I saw The Believer. He transformed from idealist to cutthroat by the end of The Ides of March. I loathed him and loved him in the aforementioned Crazy, Stupid, Love. I saw him as a real human being in Drive, but still couldn’t help being scared shitless. I wanted to punch his pretty mug into next week while he destroyed Michelle Williams’ life in Blue Valentine. And only the Lord knows what to think of the drug-addicted schoolteacher he played in Half Nelson. He seems to be capable of just about anything.
Gosling is young, handsome, and equipped with the skills of a chameleon. I expect a long career for him and I can’t wait to see where he takes us in the years to come.