Lists, Top 5 Performances, Top 5s — January 6, 2012 at 3:01 am

KAI’S 5 OVERLOOKED PERFORMANCES OF 2011

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First off, to be clear, when I say “overlooked”, I’m talking the big prize. I doubt you’ll hear any of these names being thrown around come Oscar time. I’d also say that’s fair. The only one on the list that I think is a strong contender is my #1. It’s my John Hawkes pick of 2011. However, I think all the performances were worthy of some praise so let’s do it here… at Man, I Love Films.

5. EVAN GLODELL in BELLFLOWER.

Bellflower is a strange movie. People seem to either think it was genius or just okay but everyone that sees it finds something to like. I feel like it had a ton more potential but I also can’t get it out of my brain. In fact, the more I think about it, the less I want to see anything changed because it’s just so cool being what it is… and what it is, is a fun little film written, directed and starring Evan Glodell. The film is anchored on Glodell’s heartfelt performance at the center of this film. I feel like this is Evan’s ticket and was a great introduction to Hollywood. I hope his career takes off from here.

4. RUTGER HAUER in HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN.

Believe it or not, I’m one of those people that loves these types of movies but did NOT like this movie. However, the whole time I was watching this film, I was transfixed on Hauer’s performance as he delivers his gravelly speeches with pure conviction to the part. He almost does the film a disservice by raising the bar so high that the rest of the film is unable to keep pace. I know this might sound ridiculous but I’ve watched Hauer in films since I was a kid and I think this might be the best performance of his career. Too bad it was in this film but enough people seem to like it that maybe that’s not a bad thing.

3.PAUL GIAMATTI in BARNEY’S VERSION.

Poor, poor, Paul Giamatti. Always the bridesmaid and never the bride. He was robbed of Oscar gold for his performance in Sideways and has been stellar in everything he’s done since. He was so good, in fact, that it seemed every performance that followed was much buzzed about come awards season. However, now he’s got a total Oscar-y role and nobody is buzzing. What happened? Did anyone else see this film? Giamatti is wonderful playing the title character of Barney throughout several decades of his life.

SIDENOTE: Honorable mention to Scott Speedman who is also great in Barney’s Version.

2. TOM HARDY in WARRIOR.

Tom Hardy is poised to become the greatest actor working in Hollywood. He reminds me of Christian Bale when he was posessed doing American Psycho and the films he did in the five or six years that followed. Anyone who saw him in Bronson knows what he’s capable of. That being, top notch acting that probably won’t shine through in next year’s The Dark Knight Rises and shouldn’t have shown through in a film like Warrior. Warrior was Hollywood’s new attempt to find their modern day Rocky using boxing replacement… MMA. I will admit that I was always looking forward to the fight scenes, as is typical with these types of films. However, when it was said and done, my favorite scene was on a beach as Hardy’s character confronts his brother for the first time in 14 years. A scene in which Hardy was so intense, I just kept saying Wow! out loud.

1. DOMINIC COOPER in THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE.

Dominic Cooper had a good year. Aside from this film, he also turned in a fun performance as Tony Stark’s father (Howard) in Captain America: The First Avenger. Though, The Devil’s Double is a completely different animal. The film has only made 1.3 million dollars to date so chances are many of you didn’t see it which is a shame because I think it features an Academy Award worthy performance. Cooper pulls double duty playing Uday Hussein (son of notorious Iraqi dictator Suddam) as well as Latif Yahia, the real life man who was recruited and forced to live as Uday’s double. The amazing part is how different these two characters are and how seemlessly Cooper goes in and out of both roles… not to mention, as he acts against his self. Do yourself a favor and see this film for the performance alone.

Remember, we here at Man, I Love Films don’t do definitive lists. We do our favorites and we want to hear yours. So, make sure and tell us about them in the comments section below.

14 Comments

  • I’m one of those folks that loved Hobo with a Shotgun. Although I’m sure most of that is due to Hauer’s performance.

  • I’ve got Devils Double by the TV right now, but Hobo with a Shotgun is the only one of these films I’ve seen. And I’m right with you. I love this type of movie too, but man did it suck, save for Rutger. Hauer’s so much better than this film. He gives it a 110% for a movie that really only needed about 17% of his talent.

    • Exactly what I thought but put much more eloquently.

      • Thanks. I can leave the ‘steaming pile’ and ‘donkey balls’ references out when I really try.

        I’ve got the chance to meet Hauer in a couple of months. To avoid Hobo talk, I want to keep my questions to movies like Hitcher, Blind Fury, Surviving the Game etc. (you know, the classics).

  • Haven’t seen The Devil’s Double, but I will when I can.

    I agree completely on Glodell in Bellflower, and while I didn’t like Hobo With a Shotgun much I did like Hauer’s performance there. It’s the sort of acting that toes the line between totally getting the joke and also being completely oblivious to it.

    For me, I’d go with Seth Rogen in 50/50. He’s almost the film’s secret weapon– in the background, not as prominent as Kendrick or JGL, but providing great work that really helps lift the film up. In a movie that’s as much about its protagonist reacting to his illness as it is about how his friends react, Rogen is the character that best emphasizes that idea.

    • Nice addition. I still need to see 50/50.
      And this is a perfect sentence: “It’s the sort of acting that toes the line between totally getting the joke and also being completely oblivious to it.”

  • I’d definitely add Michael Parks and John Goodman in “Red State” and Paul Rudd in “Our Idiot Brother”…

    • I’m watching Idiot Brother tonight so no comment on that yet.
      As far as Red State, not so much Goodman (though he is great in it and well cast) but a huge HELL YEAH! to Michael Parks. Great pick.

  • Hey Kai, thanks for the list! You’ve got me pretty interested in Bellflower, don’t think I’d heard of that one before. I kinda wanted to see The Devil’s Double when it came out, but was worried it would be all car-chasey and violenty. Is this not the case?

  • I thought Glodell as an actor held back the movie, actually.

    No disagreement on Hardy, though. The man is the real deal.

  • LOVED Paul Giamatti in Barney’s Version. I saw that film last week and thought it was most excellent. He did the Alzheimer’s part really well, too. I would quite like to see The Devil’s Double, but I have no idea when it even comes out here (I heard whispers that it was due out in June, which seems a bit late considering it is directed by a New Zealander). I’ve heard that Dominic Cooper is quite good.

    My overlooked performance from 2011 is Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Hesher. He was BRILLIANT in that. Can’t wait to see Warrior, either!

  • These performances are so ‘overlooked’ I haven’t seen a single one! Desperate to see Bellflower and Hobo though! Nice list, will get to most of these eventually!

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