My Favorite Top Ten Actresses

I have noticed that in my posts regarding actors, I haven’t chosen many females, and as a feminist, it does not sit right with me. To that end, I decided to write a post dedicated to my favorite actresses. This is now a penis free realm. Hos before bros. Hos before bros. And I think you care about my opinion because…well let’s face it. If you didn’t you wouldn’t be reading my blog.

10. Amy Adams

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Best Role: Charlene Flemming in The Fighter

Amy Adams is on here because even though she hasn’t done as much work as some of the other women on this post, I think she has a large amount of potential. With just a few roles, she has shown more range than most actors have ever shown in their entire careers. I’m really looking forward to seeing the continued burgeoning of Adam’s talent.

9. Meryl Streep

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Best Role: Clarissa Vaughan from The Hours

Meryl Streep has become one of those actresses everyone thinks of when you mention Hollywood. When you watch one of her movies, it seems as if she slips into character as easily as a glove. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie in which she delivers a disappointing performance.

8. Judy Dench

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Best Role: Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love

So here is where I reveal what a history nerd I am by saying that I love the Elizabeth I performances of 3 of the actresses on this list. The other two are Helen Mirren and Cate Blanchett. But anyway, Judy Dench is always a pleasure to watch on the screen. She always commands a lot of feeling in her voice, plus a hell of a lot of power.

7. Emma Thompson

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Best role: Karen Eiffel in Stranger than Fiction

I love Emma Thompson. She acts a wide range, and yet every character she does has this fire beneath it that always makes me come back for more. Although I do have to say I was very disappointed that she chose to act in Men in Black 3. Oh well, I gues she has bills too.

6. Natalie Portman

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Best Role: Nina Sayers in Black Swan

I will be very honest. When I saw Natalie Portman’s performance in Star Wars: Episode III, I thought she was a terrible actress. “Anaken, you’re breaking my heart!” She has since redeemed herself in a way I never thought possible. First, she did such a great job in Garden State. She delivered a remarkable performance in V for Vendetta, and kudos to her for still being able to look sexy with a shaven head. Then she was like a bolt of lightening in Black Swan. Her performance in that movie was some of the best acting I’ve ever seen. She really deserved the Oscar she received for it.

5. Helen Mirren

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Best Role: Elizabeth II in The Queen

When I saw The Queen, I saw Helen Mirren perform for the first time, and she captured my heart. She did such a powerful performance as Elizabeth II that now whenever I think of the Queen of England, I don’t think of Elizabeth Windsor, I think of Helen Mirren.

5. Angelina Jolie

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Best Role; Lisa Rowe in Girl Interrupted

Angelina Jolie is an actress with the remarkable ability to make the audience believe that she isn’t Angelia Jolie anymore, but her character. Say what you will about her being a home-wrecker or that her lips have all the collagen in the Western hemisphere, Jolie is a masterful actress.

4. Keira Knightly

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Best Role: Sabina Spielrein from A Dangerous Method

For a while, I had thought Keira Knightley had the potential to be a great actress. Then she did a great job as Elizabeth Benett in Pride and Prejudice, then was astounding in A Dangerous Method. I feel like her career can only keep going up, and I eagerly await her Anna Karenina.

3. Hillary Swank

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Best Role: Alice Paul in Iron Jawed Angels

I don’t kow what it is about Hillary Swank, but every movie I see her in I have to watch it either at a movie theater or alone to make sure no one talks during it so I can hear every word, because she commands so much power and passion. Everyone thinks of her performance in Million Dollar Baby, which was amazing to be sure, but in Iron Jawed Angels, she has a speech in which she explains her cause for women’s rights and even though I’ve seen the movie 20 times, I’m floored every time I hear it. As an actress, Swank has the entire package.

2. Kate Winslet

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Best Role: Hanna Schmitz in The Reader

I love Kate Winslet so much. Not only is she a great actress, she only takes roles in movies that she thinks are high in quality. And whenever she has photo shoots, she doesn’t allow post-touch-ups. And damn, can she act. There are so many movies that I love mainly because of her presence, and I will basically see any movie if I know she is in the cast. She is that great.

  1. Cate Blanchett
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Best Role: Daisy from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

I’ll admit, I was going back and forth with Blachett and Winslet for a while as to who I’d pick as umber one, but I finally decided it needed to be Blanchett. She is a powder keg. She commits so much to every role that I feel whatever emotion she portrays. For example, if you’ve ever seen Babel, you know her character gets shot while she’s traveling with her husband in Morroco, and the nearest doctor is in a small village. She pleads with her huband not to let him operate on her, and her entire body, her every movement exudes terror. In that moment I was about to cry it was so tense. Her ability of transferring her emotions onto the audience made me put her as number 1. She is in my opinion the best actress.

Honorable Mention:

Kathy Bates

Maggie Smith

Julie Andrews

Jodie Foster

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

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This is yet another one of those movies that I have wanted to see for years but have only gotten around to today. In a word, it was delighted.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for A Day, directed by Bharat Nalluri, is a romantic comedy released in 2008. Guinevere Pettigrew (Frances McDormand) is an out of work governess in Pre WWII London. She lies her way into a position as a social secretary for American actress Delysia Lafosse (Amy Adams). Pettigrew quickly learns she is in over he head when she discovers Amy Adams is drowning in scandal after scandal, trying to balance three men, one who controls her future career, one who controls the purse strings, and one who actually loves her. Pettigrew has to keep Delysia and herself off the streets.

I am very aware that this is not a very deep movie. It is not very challenging or thought provoking. And yet I still had a blast watching it. I couldn’t stop smiling. I think that all comes down to a few specific things: First, Amy Adams put on a great show. Her character was willing to go to great farcical lengths to keep her three romantic interests at bay, much to the audience’s amusement. Second, the overall witty nature of the film and the snappy pace. It reminds me of a Restoration play. Sorry, English major, can’t help it. But my favorite thing about this movie was by far the music. Set in the late 1930’s, this film is full of big band music, swing and jazz. It really brought this movie to life. I was dancing in my seat. Not well, but that’s not the point.

But, as many romantic comedies do, this movie has quite a few cliché. It was most obvious in two places. When Delysia decides to marry the man that actually loves her, they of course kiss, and the crowd around them which doesn’t really know what’s going on, starts clapping. Yeah, that’s convincing. I’m eating dinner at a club and now suddenly the singer is making out with the piano player and even though I don’t know why their doing it this seems like a stepping stone for their relationship so I’m going to clap with wild enthusiasm. The other moment is at the very end after Miss Pettigrew finds herself once again unemployed and sitting at the train station. Of course, queue love interest. He shows up in a billow of mist and says “I’ve been looking for you all night. Actually, I think I’ve been looking for you all my life.” Very sweet sentiment to be sure, but couldn’t the screenwriter have come up with a line that hasn’t been used in fifty other movies?

Oh well. Since this was not a serious movie, I’m not going to take it too seriously. It was a grand two hours of fun. For that, I give it a 6 out of 10.

The Fighter: The Cruelty of Putting Wahlberg Next to Bale

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To start out this post, I have to say this: as far as actors go, Mark Wahlberg is pretty much at the bottom of my list. I think I even prefer Keanu Reeves to him, mainly because Reeves has the Matrix and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure to his credit. Mark Wahlberg couldn’t act well if someone held a gun to his head and ordered him to. He’s a vacuum of talent in every single movie he is in. And he’s not even that good looking, so I just don’t understand why he’s still in movies.

But somehow, through some miracle, The Fighter was still a good movie even with Wahlberg’s presence. But let me clarify: the movie was not good because of Wahlberg. The only reason the movie wasn’t dragged down with Wahlberg’s incompetence was because of the grand performances of Amy Adams, Melissa Leo, and especially Christian Bale. Without these impeccable actors to save the movie, it never would have been so successful. There is a reason Christian Bale got an Oscar and Mark Wahlberg did not. It’s because you have no fucking range!

The Fighter, directed by David Russel, was released in 2010. This sports drama was based on the life of Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and his relationship with his brother, Dickey Eklund (Christian Bale). Micky and Dicky (I have to say, their real mother was cruel to name her sons that. It makes me think they are animated ducklings.) are both boxers, but Micky has always been fighting in Dicky’s shadow, even when Dicky becomes addicted to crack. While Dicky is supposed to be Micky’s trainer, he is always showing up late. And Micky’s manager, his mother (Melissa Leo) does not serve his best interest. It’s not until Micky has the strength of his love for Charlene (Amy Adams) on his side (note my sarcasm) and Dicky runs on the wrong side of the law that Micky wakes up to just how much his family has damaged his career. After Dicky goes to jail, Micky fights to get out from under his family’s thumb and have a real chance at boxing.

One thing that I really loved about this movie was how it conveys very convincing family issues. You think your family is dysfunctional? Just watch this movie and you can gain perspective. Dicky and Micky have seven sisters for Christ sake. I have two, and that is difficult enough at times. How these guys made it out of their house without going batshit crazy is completely beyond me.

Also, Christian Bale’s performance is impeccable. Every other role I’ve seen him in, he’s usually very intense and dark. He completely transformed himself in this role. I didn’t even recognize him at first, his mannerisms were so different. There was a great scene after Dicky gets out of jail. He walks down a street and his eyes are veiled and he looks so angry and yet morose that I got chills. Melissa Leo also did a great performance. She very convincingly played a crazy mother, something I always appreciate, because I have one of my own (Love you Mom!) I also really enjoyed what Amy Adams did. Seeing her transform from a wide-eyed Disney Princess into a cussing bartender who is pulling out other girls’ hair was quite entertaining.

My complaint, other than Mark Wahlberg, obviously, is that I felt the fights, especially the championship fight, was unrealistic. Now, as a clumsy ball-shy klutz, I don’t play any sport of any kind, not even beer pong even though I’m a college student (mainly because I don’t like beer, and come on, you think just dipping the ping pong ball in the same cup of water over and over makes it sanitary? I do not believe you!). So I could be completely wrong about this, but for me, the idea that Micky would suddenly get better based on something inspiring his brother said just doesn’t seem realistic. No matter what my soccer coach said to me, I never got good. Of course, I was eight, but that is neither here nor there.

For some amazing acting and giving me the opportunity to see Christian Bale jump out of a two story window and land in a pile of garbage twice just so his character could escape his mother, I give this movie a 7 out of 10. And please stop using Mark Wahlberg, David Russel. He’s not wine. He’s not getting any better with age.