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As moviegoers and T.V. watchers, we all like to assume that everyone in Hollywood is talented. MTV has long since destroyed that notion and now the cynics among us view Tinsletown as a wasteland- a shell of its former self- a desolate spread of tabloid despair and pet pharmacies. In the land where Peck and Hitchcock once roamed, Kardashian and Lohan now dominate. But it isn’t all bad. In fact, many actors who seem to be irrevocable wastes of space- actually have a modicum of talent left in their surgery riddled bodies.
“Pearl Harbor”, “Gigli”, “Reindeer Games”, “Daredevil”. None of these titles inspire images of greatness. Ben Affleck, who started his career freezing in the massive shadow of Matt Damon, eventually shifted his career, providing moviegoers with competent, yet uninspiring performances. As an actor Mr. Affleck can be described as mediocre- he won’t make you shed a tear, but he isn’t going to provide ‘meme-worthy’ material like Gary Busey or Keanu Reeves would.
Affleck redeems himself in the areas of writing and directing. He co-wrote “Good Will Hunting” with Matt Damon - a film which proceeded to win many awards, including the “Faulkner- Beating Your A#@ with Words” award - for a memorable scene at a Harvard Bar (delivered by Damon of course). As a directing debut, Affleck teamed up with his brother Casey Affleck in “Gone Baby Gone”, which didn’t win any Oscars but was well received, nonetheless.
Randy Quaid looks more like somebody you’d buy meth from and less like someone who is an established actor. Then again, it’s Hollywood, so that gap might not be very large. Today, people know Randy Quaid's face more than his name. Instead of, “OMG its Randy Quaid!” Mr. Quaid is more likely to hear, “Aren’t you the drunk weird guy from Independence Day?” He was, in fact, that aforementioned drunk weird guy. Mr. Quaid is actually so proficient at playing the role (all the ‘Vacation’ movies) that causal moviegoers might mistake him for some inebriated fool who happened to wander onto the set. Mr. Quaid has a secret however. Mr. Quaid can act- a fact confirmed his performance in “The Last Detail”. Acting alongside Jack Nicholson, Quaid still garnered enough attention to his performance to earn a “Best Supporting Actor” nomination. Show me another drunk weirdo who can say that.
If you ever hear anyone say, “hey who is that short annoying Italian guy?” just shout out Joe Pesci - but be careful not to say it three times in front of a mirror or else he’ll follow you for a year saying, “Funny, whaadaya mean funny?”
Known for his role in the “Lethal Weapon” series (where he tried to not get shot by Mel Gibson) Joe Pesci is regarded by many as nothing more than a typecast curiosity. Short. Loud. Unique. Irritating. And very, very Italian. But Joe Pesci has shown commitment and execution when doing serious acting, on more than one occasion - something Mr. Quaid probably can’t say. Although nominated for “Best Supporting Actor” in one of the greatest films of all time, “Raging Bull”, it’s clear Joe wasn’t satisfied. Instead he waited a decade- and then in 1990, he teamed up with the Oscar-maker Martin Scorsese and landed a little, gold man for “Best Supporting” in “Goodfellas”, another supremely acclaimed film. So next time someone dismisses Pesci as bumbling crook #1 from Home Alone, do what he would do: shoot that person in the foot.
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