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In The Films in Our Lives, Uncategorized on August 25, 2009 at 12:08 pm


We as an audience sometimes fall victim to disregarding talented actors because they are the best part of shitty film. We qualify their performance by saying that he/she ‘were good, but…’, which is an attempt to distance ourselves from liking something that we deem unlikeable, whatever the reason.

A Perfect Getaway , which is not a shitty film, stars Timothy Olyphant and Milla Jovovich, actors who have fallen into this category often in their career. (Hitman, The Girl Next Door & Resident Evil, The Messenger)

I will not argue the fact that these films are good or bad, or that I’ve seen them all and enjoyed them. (Well, not The Girl Next Door it’s absolute shit, but I really loved Timothy Olyphant.)

Timothy Olyphant: probably best known for his portrayal of Seth Bullock in Deadwood, and that more than likely he was born with a Cheshire Grin. His first noticeable role was the villain in Scream 2. (Which more or less was a knock off of the villain that Matthew Lillard played in the original.) He played the unnamed hitman in Hitman. A pimp in The Girl Next Door. A pissed off computer tech in Live Free or Die Hard. He’s played the gamut of villains, high & low, and always been the best part of those films.

He has spent the better part of his career wasted in films unsuited for his talent. ‘A Perfect Getaway’ is a great role for him. It plays off his villainy, as no one trusts a man who smiles too much, they seem to have something to hide.

‘Outstanding!’ Nick (Olyphant’s character) smiles. But it’s more like ‘Out.Standing!’ (The period is properly spaced.) The key to every Olyphant performance is reading his smile. Is it joy? Is it masochism? Is it the fact that he knows he’ll get away with it?

There is revelry in his performance.

And there is too little joy in cinematic performances; film actors seem to think that you have to be tortured to be believable. (Benecio Del Toro, have some fun, you’re really talented.) Or you have to be careless to have fun. (Transformers, I’m looking at you.)

Olyphant is measured.

Milla Jovovich: model/actress not always a great combination. Rule of thumb, model/actresses tend to be able to pose like they know what’s going on, but fail to connect with the emotion behind it.

Milla Jovovich is not measured.

Watch The Messenger, she fidgets, emotes, wiggles, and generally suffers from some mild form of Parkinson’s for the duration of the film. She’s almost unwatchable in her movements. (For the sake of your time and energy, don’t watch The Messenger.) Now watch Resident Evil, again, she emotes, she kicks ass, she plays the scenes and according to the DVD Commentary, she also made her outfits. Point I’m making, she throws herself into the roles (literally, if she could, she would), who cares what people think of it.

She’s a committer.  What she lacks, more times than not, is a director to guide her to realistic, human outcomes. That’s is to say, you can present emotions but not the right emotions at the right time.

In fact, watching the Resident Evil Trilogy there is nothing wrong with her performance. There is a lot wrong with the script, the direction, the leaps of faith. But she follows the path of her character come hell or high water.

In A Perfect Getaway she has a little monologue that ends with ‘It’s amazing how much you talk about yourself when you’re on vacation.’ (Paraphrase.) A bad actress would not be able to say that with the right amount of conflicting emotions, she does.

Final point: no one wants more shitty films. What we want is good films that entertain us. Films that we enjoy, films that make us think, films we can walk away from and go on with our day. One way we can do this is find actors whose performances we enjoy, flock to the cinema to support them.

Support Timothy Olyphant and Milla Jovovich.

(Another post could be made to follow Steve Zahn, but he is often referred to as brilliant and a comedic force, neither of these arguments I disagree with. But the case for Timothy Olyphant & Milla Jovovich, is much more interesting to me at this moment.)


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