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

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The Top Ten Guiding Characters in Movies

So, what do I mean by Guiding Characters? It’s very simple. I mean male or female characters in movies who look after the hero and guide them through trials, rather they be the journey to Mordor, or a kung-fu competition. I would have called them Wise Old Men, but I incorporated some women, so that didn’t work. These are a few of the characteristics I look for in these characters.

Wise: obviously.

Old: This is pretty flexible. The character does not exactly need a long grey beard. But they do have to be experienced so they can legitimately give good real-world advice.

Teacher and Guide: This is what these characters all do. They teach, aide, and offer advice to the hero. They may not physically guide the hero to a destination, but they at least guide them emotionally.

Power: This one isn’t a requirement. Not all Guiding characters are God, or have magical powers. But most of them have some power that they use to help the hero.

Ethical: All of these characters have a firm sense between right and wrong. They are incorruptible, and they will always work to do what is right. And one of the major roles of the Guiding Character is creating a similar moral compass within the hero.

Friendship: This one is the most important. The Guiding Character bonds with the hero. They usually become great friends, or even establish a father-son dynamic.

Sacrifice: Most Guiding Characters are willing to or actually do sacrifice themselves for the hero. It is usually after this moment that the hero becomes the strongest and triumphs.

10. Mr. Myagi: Pat Morita, The Karate Kid

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When I decided to create this list, I knew Mr. Myagi had to be on it. He is the paragon of a martial arts teacher. And for an old man who is sometimes quite hard to understand, Pat Morita put on quite the performance.

9. Professor Xavier: Patrick Stuart, X-Men

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Teacher? Check. Xavier is a professor and the headmaster of a school. Power? He can control people’s freakin’ minds. In the original X-Men, Xavier uses this power and his brigade of mutants to help the hero Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) become an X-man and later find answers about his past. This plus his sacrifice (OK, so he doesn’t sacrifice himself willingly and doesn’t die, but those are just details) makes him a prime guiding character. Add Patrick Stuart’s sexy voice, and it’s a win!

8. Lionel Logue: Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech

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First off, this is one of my favorite movies, and that is mostly because of Geoffrey Rush’s character. To be very honest, I think he, and not Colin Firth (although God knows I love the man) should have received an Oscar. Lionel Logue is an unconventional guiding character. He is not much older than Bertie, the hero he helps. He has no magical power. However, what counts is how Logue is able to help Bertie become the king he needs to be when WWII starts. In the movie (and in history) Bertie and Logue are close friends for the rest of their lives.

7. Mr. Keating: Robin Williams, The Dead Poet’s Society

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Another teacher. And as far as inspiring teachers go in movies, I think it’s easy for people to think of Mr. Keating. Although this is another unconventional case, because his hero, Neal, doesn’t triumph, but ends up (spoiler alert) committing suicide. But Keating is still a guiding character, because whether the hero fails or not, Keating still guided him and forged a relationship with him. If you’ve never seen Dead Poet’s Society, stop whatever you are doing right now, rent it, and watch it. And don’t say you won’t just because I gave away the ending. The ending isn’t as important as the journey. Sorry. I didn’t mean to sound so much like a fortune cookie.

6. Galadriel: Cate Blanchett, Lord of the Rings

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Don’t let Cate Blanchett’s beauty fool you. As any LOTR freak knows, as an Elf, Galadriel is probably the oldest character in the trilogy. Galadriel helps Frodo. She is not as close to him geographically or emotionally as Gandalf, but she does give Frodo advice, and helps him even when they are miles apart. And I’m sure some of you will argue, “But wait, Allison! Galadriel was tempted by the Ring! She’s corruptible!” Okay, true. She was tempted by the Ring. But so was everyone else, including Gandalf. The important thing is she said no and let Frodo keep it. As powerful as Galadriel is, to be able to see the most powerful and seductive weapon walk right in front of her and let it go, she is probably the most incorruptible character on this list. On top of that, she’s just awesome. I don’t know any other way to say it.

5. V: Hugo Leaving, V for Vendetta

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Yet another movie on this list that I love. Some people may be surprised about this choice though, because most people probably think V is the hero of V for Vendetta. V is a hero, but I think the hero of V for Vendetta is Natalie Portman’s character, Evey. The story of the movie follows her more than it does V. V guides Evey, makes her see the problems of the world and how to fix them. And not only do they become great friends, they fall in love. And V even makes the ultimate sacrifice (spoiler alert). He dies at the end of the film for the revolution Evey leads.

4. God; Morgan Freeman, Bruce Almighty

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Was there any way either God or Morgan Freeman were going to escape this list whether or not they would be put together? In Bruce Almighty, God guides Bruce (Jim Carey) through becoming a better man. And he’s a great character. If there really is a God, I hope he has this character’s sense of humor. But how can God not have a sense of humor? Case and point: the Platypus.

3. Morpheus: Lawrence Fishburne, the Matrix

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I’m sure if Morpheus were not on this list, I was going to receive a bunch of anonymous hate-mail and get bricks thrown through my windows. Morpheus is close to a perfect guiding character, but he’s also a bad-ass. My question to the makers of the Matrix. Couldn’t Morpheus be the main character? I for one found him much more interesting than Neo because of Keanu Reeve’s poor acting skills. But no one listens to me…

2. Gandalf: Ian McKellen, Lord of the Rings

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I usually don’t like to put two characters from one movie in the same list, but I had to. And it’s my blog so get over it. Gandalf is one of my favorite characters of all time. He fits my characteristics to a T. And Ian McKellen played him to perfection. All of that gave him a top spot on this list. Gandalf is perhaps second to Merlin the most remembered character in terms of fantasy. And that is for a very specific reason. Everyone loves Gandalf: his wisdom, his strength, and his devotion to Frodo. I think we all wished we had a bit of Gandalf in us.

  1. Obi-Wan Kenobi: Sir Alec Guinness, Star Wars

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I don’t think anyone can argue with my choice for number one. Obi-Wan is iconic as a guide. He fits every characteristic. he’s wise, old, definitely powerful, and he sacrifices himself for Luke. This phenomenal, memorable character will continue to go down in film history. And if Star Wars hadn’t had Obi-Wan, I don’t think it would have been near as successful. Well, as time has told us, though, there are other ways to ruin Star Wars, like letting George Lucas off his leash.

Honorable Mention

Merlin: Karl Swenson, The Sword and the Stone

Asland: Liam Neeson, the Chronicles of Narnia

William Forrester: Sean Connery, Finding Forrester

Glinda: Billie Burke, The Wizard of Oz

Albus Dumbledore: Ed Harris, Harry Potter

Thor: An All Powerful Thunder God is Arrogant, I Totally Wasn’t Expecting That

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After I saw the Avengers and was confused by a few things I decided to watch some of the prequels I had neglected to see. I started with Iron Man 2 which sucked. Thor wasn’t much better.

The foolhardy Thor (Chris Hensworth), Prince of the planet of Asgard is banished to Earth by his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) for his arrogance. On Earth, very few people offer Thor patience for his rude ways. Only the scientist Jane (Natalie Portman) is able to trust him, and he finally starts to learn humility. Then he learns his brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has betrayed Asgard to its enemies, the Frost Giants, and Thor has to return home to defend his throne.

This movie was fun, I guess. There were definitely some funny moments and Chris Hensworth is incredibly gorgeous. The best part, however was Tom Hiddleston’s performance as Loki. He made a perfect, devious villain, and I am tempted to put Hiddleston in my list of The Top Ten Actors Who Are so Good at Being so Bad.

Unfortunately, that’s where the positive aspects of this movie end. There are quite a lot of difficult things about Thor. The action was too hard to follow. I thought the portrayal of Asgard shallow. It was basically an Arthurian kingdom in the sky, and it seemed like any second Hugo Weaving was going to pop out and say “Gandalf, the ring cannot stay here.” Asgard is an alien planet for Christ sake. Couldn’t it have been provided with some more creative touches so it didn’t seem like a place so close to earth or a creation of Peter Jackson leftovers?

My biggest complaint however is Thor’s lack of character development. In two respects. First, Odin. The major conflicts of this movie happen because Loki learns he is actually a Frost Giant and decides to betray Asgard. Odin reveals this information to Loki, saying that he had intended to hide it from him for all his life. So, why exactly did Odin feel the need to tell him suddenly? Was Loki threatening suicide or Oden’s life? Was Loki suspicious and water boarding Oden? No. The way the movie showed it, Loki was whining about Thor always being seen as greater. Yes, oh mighty Odin. That seems convincing motivation to reveal your darkest secret. Obe Won Kanobe was just going to spill the beans about Darth Vader when Luke started sniveling.

Even worse, the title character of the film is developed as unevenly as Gary Busy’s face. Pretty much 45 minutes of the film is devoted to making Thor look like an arrogant hammer swinging asshole. He’s basically the douche in Super Smash Brothers who gets the hammer and kills everyone he touches. (Queue the appropriate music). And yet, while the movie is supposedly about his redemption, the movie spends more like fifteen minutes to show his transformation. Thor basically goes from hammer-happy douche, to a guy making people breakfast, to a man willing to sacrifice his life in the name of protecting others in ten minutes. Does anyone else not see the flaws in this attempted character arch? This change happens way too fast to be believable. And the audience is never explained why exactly Thor begins to love Jane and her friends and is willing to die for them when just two days ago he was a total barbarian. Like Gary Busy, it makes no sense. The film would have been much improved if it spent more time fleshing out Thor’s change and spending less time making him seem arrogant and foolhardy. Because honestly, put a giant hammer in a Viking’s hand, and that doesn’t take too long to achieve.

So, for Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hensworth’s exquisite abs, I give Thor a 4. I really hope Captain America will be better.