FIRST DICUSSION

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The Best and Worst

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One of the best acting jobs I have seen in my life is Bryan Cranston playing the role of Walter White in the TV series breaking bad.  Walter White's transformation from high school chemistry teacher to crystal meth mad scientist, AKA Heisenberg, is an amazing representation of the American internal acting method portrayed to supreme effect.  Cranston’s journey through the character of Walter displays the human experience of being backed up against the wall and finally having that 'screw it' moment.  When you just have nothing left and you are going to die, you want to leave something – at first, just protection and security for his family, but later on Walter decays, it becomes about something more personal – about his legacy and respect for what he has accomplished.  A true transformation from caring, loving father and husband to maniacal, self-centered criminal.  The series truly benefited from Cranston’s ability to internally analyze the character of Walter.  It is clear that Cranston spent a lot of time developing this shift in character motive and you can feel this shift throughout the series.  

When thinking about the worst bit of acting I have seen, I have to go back to an old, yet very familiar movie, The Matrix.  In playing the role of Neo, Reeves received a lot of criticism for the bland, monotone character he developed.  The movie is not so much remembered for its acting, but for its technological advancements, specifically with the use of slow motion.  A lot of the films popularity was due to it being a psychological warning to the future, the one we live in now, where artificial (virtual) worlds are actually very real and we will have to determine how we interact with them.  Usually, action films spend time and money more on special effects then character development.  It makes for great scenes, maybe even movies that develop into cult classics, but that doesn't mean the acting was good.  The Matrix actually gained more popularity because of the buzz around the sub-par acting, and the discussions surrounding the character of Neo.  All in all, I like Reeves, and the Matrix, but I think he has done much more in depth, meaning work elsewhere in his career.  

Cohen, R., & Sherman, D. (2019). Theatre, Brief (12th ed.). McGraw Hill.

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SECOND DISCUSSION

Discussion Board

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I have always wondered what happens behind the scenes in movies and television shows.  We see the final production and walk away with our own thoughts about it. Told that a movie is coming out in 2024, I often wonder why it is taking so long to come to theatres. After reading this week’s chapter, pieces are put together that make sense now why productions take so long to show up.  It takes a long time for characters to come to life as they need to “try to be the character onstage, not just present the audience with a made-up imitation of an imagined individual” (Cohen 2020). The following is my version of one of the best actors of this century, as well as the worst actor.

Best

Melissa McCarthy – There have been several movies and television shows Melissa has been a character in. Some include The Spy, The Heat, Tammy, and the ever-loving show Mike and Molly.  Each of these movies she has portrayed a character with either style, seriousness, laughter, and she always puts her own twist into a film. Her characters can be aggressive or sweet as she is great at blowing up different stereotypes. She is one not to hide her emotions on screen as that “can seem robotic and uninteresting” (Cohen 2020).

As I was watching an interview with Melissa and a talk show host, Melissa stated that she started performing as a stand-up comic in New York City, then proceeded to stage productions, which led her the big screen on Gilmore Girls and Private Practice. Separate from her stage presence, she is known to be extremely generous to different charities, has a great personality and heart, and is very intelligent. Compile those attributes with acting, she is known to be a genius, and as the instrument that “includes the psychological gift of imagination, and a willingness and ability to use it in the service of art” (Cohen 2020).

Worst

Charlie Sheen – In my opinion, Charlie does a great job creating his characters, however, Charlie is missing the third aspect of actor’s training. That third aspect is discipline. “Artistic discipline keeps an actor within the established bounds and at the same time ensure artistic agility” (Cohen 2020). Charlie is known for being a dangerously self-destructive person and actor on and off screen. Sheen’s career goes all the way back to the early 1980s and has slowly deteriorated.  One would think that being on screen for that many years that the acting and attitude could only get better because after all, “veteran actors can determine quickly how to ride the crest of audience laughter, and how to hold the next line just long enough that it will piece the lingering chuckles but not be overridden by them” (Cohen 2020). It was noted that Charlie was fired from the hit show Two and a half Men not only due to his destructive behavior, but due to his drug and alcohol abuse.

Growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, I have watched many different actors and actresses. From the star of Leave it to Beaver, Sanford and Sons, and Happy Days, I have come to the determination that Hollywood nowadays is just spoiled. Most of them are extremely overpaid and somewhat political. I do not recall Hollywood being like that back in the earlier days. Although they, in my opinion, are somewhat spoiled, actors and actresses all have one thing in common. They are paid to make the audience believe in their character to the point that the audience wants more of them. They work hard with the goal of “living the life of the character” (Cohen 2020).

References

 

Cohen, R. (2020). Theatre: Brief Version. McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages.

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THIRD DISCUSSION

Module 3 Discussion

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Robert DeNiro is one of the best actors of the 20th and 21st centuries. His acting is so brilliant that he makes his characters seem so real. I remember watching the movie Casino and he performed as Sam “Ace” Rothstein so well that I felt like I was a part of the movie as he told the story of the wild events that had taken place when he ran the Tangiers casino in Las Vegas. His ability to create a paradox, effortlessly by executing and mastering both internal and external acting is unmatched.

One example is his role as Travis Bickle in the movie Taxi Driver. In this role, he is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam War veteran who became a taxi driver that battled with porn addiction, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and loneliness in NYC. He flipped the script from being a plain and miserable taxi driver to a militant, mohawk wearing, maniacal killer for the sake of making the world a better place by ridding it of what he believed to be living scum. In each of his roles, he effectively and consistently uses excellent and creative acting techniques that defines each character he portrays to his audience.

For one of the worst actors, I am going to go with Quentin Tarantino. Although he is an excellent writer and director, acting is not his forte. Whenever he casts himself in his movies, he looks so uncomfortable and unnatural in his roles. In his movie Pulp Fiction, he plays the supporting character, Jimmie Dimmick who helps his friends dispose of a dead body. However, his external acting was unconvincing and subpar. His posture made him appear to lack confidence and he did not flow with his lines, as it seemed as if he was reading from an autocue.

Reference:

Cohen, R. (2020). Theatre: Brief Version. McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages.

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