Five For FRiday: Stacked Actresses

With Travis still exploring investment opportunities in the East German Alps, Nathan and Tyler carry on Fiving your Fridays.  This week, a counterpoint to last week.  Our favorite working actresses.

Nathan: Jessica Chastain 

Between her performances in The Tree of Life and The Help it should be clear to everyone that Jessica Chastain can act across the spectrum. She doesn’t have a huge body of work under her belt now, but I get the impression that we’re going to be watching Chastain morph from one thing to another for years to come. She is the real deal.

Tyler: Emma Stone

Em-Stone may yet prove another in the long line of talented, humorous beauties whose careers seem impossible to maintain in today’s (or, really, any day’s) Hollywood (Rachel McAdams, Elizabeth Banks, etc., etc., so on).  But, for the moment, her cred boosted by presence in Oscar-bait The Help, her box-office status for the moment assured by her role as Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man, my adoration forever alight thanks to her white-hot performance in Zombieland (“It’s just been so long since she got to be a kid…”)…well, Stone, I’m rootin’ for you, girl.  Make the right choices.  Stay the course.  And, like, call me sometime.

Nathan: Kristen Wiig

Bridesmaids was a good comedy. The fact that it was good is enough, but to know that Kristen Wiig, the film’s writer and star is smart enough not want anything to do with a Bridesmaids 2 is something else entirely. This is the type of funny lady that Hollywood needs today. She’s capable of making intelligent comedies, she’s attractive, and above all she isn’t an idiot. The possibility of Wiig writing or maybe even directing something original is thrilling.

Tyler: Vera Farmiga

Even in dreck like Up In The Air, Vera Farmiga exudes a confident, adult sexuality that elevates often-thankless roles to that of real, visceral humanity.  Her presence in The Departed alone is perhaps the element that takes that film from gangster-pulp to true human tragedy.  Her looks are unusual, but her talents are impeccable.  “I have to say, your vulnerability is really freaking me out right now.”  Back at you, VF.

Nathan: Kirsten Dunst

Kirsten Dunst has spent most of her career acting in stupid movies (Wimbledon, anyone?). Dumb romantic comedies and playing Spider Man’s girlfriend have sort of boxed the girl in. But any fan of Sofia Coppola knows that Dunst has the skillz. But she just blew it out of the water with Melancholia. The fact that she wasn’t nominated for Best Actress this year is criminal. This girl, if she’s willing to drop the starlet career arc, will be a force to reckon with. The dimples might be sexy, but don’t let them fool you – this lady ain’t playin’.

Tyler: Julia Roberts

America’s sweetheart, still.  No.  Really.  Bring it, haters.  Actually, don’t.  ERIN BROCKOVICH BITCH also a bunch of other movies in which she shines like a satellite.  Julia=rulage.

Nathan: Julianne Moore

Benny and Joon, Short Cuts, The Fugitive, Safe, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Boogie Nights, The Big Lebowski, Psycho, Magnolia, Far From Heaven, The Children of Men, I’m not There, The Kids Are Alright, episodes of 30 Rock…and now she’s playing Sarah Palin in Game Change.

Julianne Moore can do anything.

Tyler: Helen Mirren

“Mummy Helen” has come a long, long way from her days slumming it in psuedo/eventually-pornographic Bob Guccione adaptations of Roman debauchery.  Oscar in hand, thanks to her liquid-nitrogen turn as Elizabeth II in The Queen, Mirren has only expanded her oeuvre in recent years, most notably in the underrated remake of Arthur, wherein her bone-dry reinvention of John Gielgud’s Hobson, paired with her natural rapport with lead Russell Brand, elevated standard Hollywood rom-com convention to something deeper, and deeply felt (not to mention her fabulous bon mot towards Evander Holyfield).  Atop that, her pivotal turn as “Mrs. Wilson” in Robert Altman’s masterpiece Gosford Park highlights the heights of her dignified elegance when best utilized on screen.  She’s magnificent, a Dame, and–somehow, after all these years–God damn sexy.

Or maybe it’s just this.  “My great trial was not falling ass-over-tit as I came up those stairs.”  God love a lovely broad with a broad sense of humor.

Nathan: Michelle Williams 

I’m not sure if we have enough documentation on this site of how gorgeous I think Michelle Williams is. The pixie haircut she’s been sporting lately isn’t really my thing, but I’ll let it slide for now.

I’ve never seen an episode of Dawson’s Creek in my life and somehow I missed her role in one episode of Home Improvement. Williams first registered with me in a rather hilarious Nixon/Watergate spoof called Dick (1999). Aside from these comic anomalies, Williams’ screen presence oozes a sort of strong vulnerability; she’s rarely weak. She’s the toughest cookie in Meek’s Cutoff; she’s being crushed by Ryan Gosling in Blue Valentine, but she refuses to be defeated, and we all know what Heath Ledger left her with in Brokeback Mountain. She’s full of grace and grit.

My favorite Michelle Williams performance is the the seldom seen Wim Wenders film Land of Plenty. The film itself is a mixed bag, but Williams’ take on Lana, a disgruntled Christian of sorts, is pure genius. Rarely do I feel a movie is worth seeing just for a performance, but Williams made an exception for me.

Tyler: Anne Hathaway

I fell for Anne Hathaway upon screening Rachel Getting Married.  I find the lady attractive beyond belief, all long dark locks and moonshot eyes, but her performance in that film threw back the curtains of stardom to reveal a true, rabid, ravaging talent, deliveries all ragged, appearance torn down, tortured soul borne before hand-held immediate cameras (Married is Jonathan Demme’s best work since The Silence Of The Lambs).  She’s soon to be Catwoman, and I cannot wait.  Bank all you need in romantic-comedy-land, Ms. Anne.  Yours is a rare and awesome ability.  Plus?  You dead sexy.

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