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Nordling's Weekly Top 5! The 5 Best Acted Moments In A Spielberg Film!

Nordling here.

Trying something new today.  People like lists, and they tend to raise discussion, so I thought I'd start a column, inspired by HIGH FIDELITY's Top 5 Lists, about movies and moviemaking. I want to try to make this a weekly thing, every Sunday if possible - it's normally a slow news day and what better to do on a Sunday than to debate movies?  Nothing, that's what.  So here it is, Nordling's Weekly Top 5!

And what better to start than Steven Spielberg's movies?  I've been paying close attention to LINCOLN since the beginning, and it's almost here.  The poster's out, John Williams has released his track list, and it's only a couple of months away.  I'm really keen on seeing Daniel Day-Lewis, one of our finest actors, in a Spielberg movie.  It's not that Spielberg hasn't had great actors in his movies, but they really haven't been on the level of Day-Lewis, who could possibly win an unprecedented third Oscar for his performance.  That's putting the cart before the horse, but I don't think anyone doubts that DDL won't give it his all, and that his winning is a distinct possibility.

So this got me to thinking about Spielberg's movies, which my mind tends to do on an hourly basis, and onto something that really isn't discussed much when we talk about his work - the acting.  Most of the talk about Spielberg's movies is about the splendor, the scale, or the sheer filmmaking brilliance on display, but I think people tend to forget that Spielberg has a real affinity with his actors as well.  Performances like the kids in E.T. aren't made by a simple point-and-shoot style of filmmaking.  They require a director who has real empathy, and I think Spielberg has that skill in spades.  It's just not talked about much, in favor of Spielberg's overall vision.  But selling the fanciful, amazing worlds that he's created requires skilled actors and actresses who can make us believe it.

So, without further ado, here's my personal top five acting moments in The Beard's films.  Thanks to for the clips:

5.  E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL - "You must be dead... because I don't know how to feel."

The first couple of seconds of this scene, and I'm crying already.  Rarely has a child's performance reached the level of Henry Thomas in E.T., and it's mostly due to the wonderful rapport that Spielberg had with the children, so by the time E.T. does die, it's a real loss.  Those tears by Drew Barrymore when E.T. gets fibrillated aren't acting - that's real shock and horror at what's being done to him.  But Henry Thomas, talking to a dead E.T. and declaring his love and faith is still one of the finest heartfelt acting moments from a child ever made.  Even the magic and happiness after doesn't diffuse Elliott's sorrow and pain, and I never fail to cry at this scene.  The day I do, I may as well just give it up.

4.  SAVING PRIVATE RYAN - "I'm a schoolteacher"

I love how Tom Hanks isn't over-the-top here, showcasing an "ACTING!" moment.  But Hanks is one of our best actors and he knows how to sell his dialogue.  His Captain Miller is weary of war, or being away from home, and Hanks plays it with a quiet, subdued tone that makes the scene so believable and honest, without cliche and in the end, incredibly moving.  In a movie full of great acting moments (and an amazing supporting cast) this one stands out to me as a moment of clarity in a storm of chaos and war.

3.  The COLOR PURPLE: Celie Stands Up

I wish I had the clip to the entire dinner scene, as this just shows the tail-end of it, but watching Whoopi Goldberg's Celie wake up from years of abuse and torment is like watching someone rouse a sleeping dragon.  Her anger, passion, and dignity rise up in one powerful moment, and she finds strength in the people who love her to even attempt to stand up against Mister.  THE COLOR PURPLE, I think, gets accused a bit too much of sentimentality and emotionalism, and its detractors forget that film is supposed to manipulate and make us feel.  Spielberg plays our emotions like Yo-Yo Ma plays the cello, and we are in the hands of, yes, a master manipulator and yet at the end, we share in Celie's triumphant moment.

2. SCHINDLER'S LIST: "I could have saved one more person..."

It's always bugged me to no end when critics point at this scene in particular as to why SCHINDLER'S LIST isn't as great as people have been saying it is.  I think those critics fail to understand a basic point - that Spielberg, for one, isn't playing to them, but to the masses who read about the Holocaust in their history books and never really assigned much emotion to those facts and numbers.  Spielberg, and the performances of Liam Neeson and Ben Kingsley, do something amazing here - they make us feel it.  They make us feel the loss, the grief, and the horror of the Holocaust, even if it's only a mere fraction.  Spielberg isn't interested in a simple historical picture.  We cannot forget the horrors of the time, and as the years pass we lose more of the survivors of the Holocaust to old age.  But those emotions still endure, and it's the only way to draw people into a horrific time.  Steven Spielberg, for a brief moment, makes us stick our toes in the water, and those pieces of history become personal and more than just "things that happened."  It's stunning.

1.  The Indianapolis Speech in JAWS

Everyone knows by now the story of Quint's speech - all the writers involved, Robert Shaw's amazing performance, and just look at Richard Dreyfuss watching Shaw in literal awe of what he's doing here.  It's a brief glimpse into a broken man, still running in fear all those years later, and out to get his revenge.  But Shaw doesn't play it like an Ahab moment - like Hanks in RYAN it's also quiet and subdued, like he's been living with these ghosts for so long that they're almost comforting to him.  He's found his reason to keep living, and he's fine with that.  He's still fighting the war in some small way, and even in his vengeance he's found dignity and a sense of purpose.  It's an amazing scene, and I think that without it JAWS would be a lesser work.  It gives the movie the heart and spirit and propels an already good movie into greatness.

So what are your favorite Spielberg acting moments?  I'm certain I missed some and you may disagree with my choices.  Christian Bale's "Cadillac of the skies!" moment in EMPIRE OF THE SUN probably comes a close 6th.  Talk about it below!

Next week - I'm going full Coen.

Nordling, out.  Follow me on Twitter!

Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 26, 2012, 9:57 a.m. CST

    6. The ice cream eating scene in Jurassic Park.

    by blackmantis

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 9:58 a.m. CST

    Just kidding.

    by blackmantis

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 9:58 a.m. CST


    by blackmantis

  • Up until then the film was brilliant. That scene was a trainwreck.

  • One of the best crying scenes ever, it almost felt like snuff acting.. so real and intens. How he fights his tears and the tremble in his voice. This actor is so much more than a ruthless bad guy. Wow.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 10:04 a.m. CST

    8. Harrison Ford shooting the swordsman in ROTLA

    by sherlock_junior

    It's comedy acting at its finest. Just that look on Harrison's face when he turns toward the camera. As if he just squashed a fly. Brilliant acting in a small comedy moment.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 10:09 a.m. CST

    Nordling, your #2 and #1 are spot-on.

    by Last_of_the_Emurites

    Not too long ago I made a list of my "Favorite Movie Scenes of All Time," and the Indianapolis Speech made my #1. The same exact scene from "Schindler's List" made my top 5. One thing that I find amazing (and you may have pointed this out in the past) is that no actor or actress has ever won an Oscar for starring in a Spielberg film. It's almost like a curse - one that I hope Daniel Day-Lewis will rectify.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 10:09 a.m. CST

    Just watched the Jaws blu-ray last night

    by I am_NOTREAL

    Quint's Indianapolis monologue is still mesmerizing. The movie looks great, even on an older TV.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 10:14 a.m. CST

    "Give us a kiss because I need it" scene in Jaws.

    by john

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 10:28 a.m. CST

    Awesome list!

    by Jacob Underhill

    How about Spielberg's worst moments now? I nominate the scene in Jurassic Park where Wayne Knight slips in the mud and Spielberg decided a cartoon "ZIIIP!" sound would be perfect. Seriously though, very well thought out list.

  • That means he puts so much pennis in his mouth that now is breath is smelling like pennis. Heheheheheheheheheheh.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 10:29 a.m. CST

    Ford as the 'evil' Indy in Temple of Doom...

    by performingmonkey

    Acting at its finest!! :D

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 10:31 a.m. CST

    Knew Jaws would be #1

    by Richard Dickson

    How could it not be? And seconding renebatard's mention of the dining table scene with Brody and his son. I'd also add: - Not "Cadillac of the skies!" but the very end of Empire of the Sun, when Jim finally recognizes his parents. Bale just kills that moment. - The build up to and delivery of "Gives us free!" by Djimon Honsou in Amistad. Re-watched that for the first time in years last year and was amazed by how much I liked it. - Monica abandoning David in the forest in A.I. O'Connor and Osment are just devastating.


  • Aug. 26, 2012, 10:37 a.m. CST

    That scene always gives me goosebumps

    by ajit maholtra

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 10:38 a.m. CST

    Worst acting in a Spielberg movie:

    by MCVamp

    Harrison Ford and Kate Capshaw's scene with the fruit basket.

  • In honor of E.T., penis breath. I could have saved one more Jew, penis breath.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 10:40 a.m. CST

    In my book, the Saving Private Ryan scene is the best.

    by Ironhelix

    It doesn't feel like acting, it feels real. By comparison, the Schindler's List scene seems corny, and forced. Never liked that one. Should have let tat movie stand on it's own without forcing us to "feel" the ending. If you didn't get it by that point in the film, then you weren't ever going to get it.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 10:42 a.m. CST

    The most unbelievable moment in a Spielberg movie...

    by Jacob Underhill

    .... is at the end of Poltergeist when the screen reads "Directed by Tobe Hooper."

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 10:42 a.m. CST

    Two others from SPR

    by scors54

    Jeremy Davies as Uppham delivering a wordless scene of cowardice as Adam Goldberg is stabbed that is at once despicable, yet makes the viewer (if he or she is honest) wonder what they would have done. You could almost smell him wetting himself n that scene--and feel it in your own pants. The other was Giovanni Ribisi as Wade recalling the story about his mother as he re-copied Carpazzo's (Vin Diesel) letter.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 10:43 a.m. CST

    As good as Hanks scene is in SPR

    by Cartagia

    I prefer Matt Damon's story about his brothers and the girl who hit every branch on the ugly tree. Both are phenomenal. And I would just say the #1 is every moment of Shaw's in Jaws "Hooper! Ain't you watchin it?

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 10:45 a.m. CST

    Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan and Forrest Gump

    by Jaka

    For whatever reason, those movies get a lot of hate these days. I don't understand it, because they were hugely popular with audiences and critics alike at the time of their release. Both are exercises in restraint as an actor by Hanks (even playing mentally retarded man, because he's playing "straight", not Jerry Lewis or Jack Black over the top). During that same short period hanks also gave us Philadelphia, Toy Story and Apollo 13. All great work (as are a pretty long list of the films he did on either side of those), but of all of them, that "I'm a school teacher" monologue may actually be one of the best things he ever did on film (although he used the same 'quiet acting' very well in Philadelphia, too). The end of his speech, when all his soldiers tension has dropped and they just start walking again, it's like a giant cinematic exhale. Shit, I think I'll give that a watch today in fact.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 10:46 a.m. CST

    I'll second ANYTHING from Empire of the Sun

    by Jaka

    Classic movie that doesn't get enough attention in relation to Spielberg's other films.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 10:50 a.m. CST

    Best child acting scene ever in Close Encounters when...

    by pancomplex

    in the middle of the night after the toys "come to life" the kid comes down the stairs, into the kitchen and reacts to seeing the aliens off screen is absolutely the best and most complex range of emotions you will ever get out of a child actor of that age.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 10:54 a.m. CST

    Christopher Walken as Frank Sr. in Catch Me If You Can

    by Tacom

    Specifically the scene in the restaurant where he's talking about meeting Frank's mother(who he's now divorced to) in France during WW2 and he starts to break down. In the behind the scenes feature they talk how the first couple of takes Walken did the scene straight, where he's just wistfully reminiscing. Then Walken did one take where he suddenly get emotional as he says "and six weeks later she was-was my wife!" and cries. Spielberg was so moved by that that he used it in the movie. That scene I'm sure is what got Walken the nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 10:57 a.m. CST

    Nazi face melt wins.

    by UltraTron

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 11 a.m. CST

    Just want to dick whip him in the back o the head

    by UltraTron

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 11:02 a.m. CST

    The Brachiosaur scene in Jurassic Park

    by vadakinX

    Sam Neil in that scene where he sees his first living dinosaur was spot on because the audience was reacting in pretty much the same way. It's a perfect movie moment. It's not going to win any oscars for acting, it's not an extended monologue, but it perfectly captured the feeling of people watching that film for the first time and imagining what it would be like to actually be there and see that dinosaur.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 11:03 a.m. CST

    I never got "Schindler's List"

    by James_Camera_On

    I read the book, loved it, saw the movie and was not moved. People hate me for it, I might as well should "I love Hitler!" but the movie does not work for me. I thought the movie lost the character of Schindler, had no idea who he was or what to do with the man, very complicated entreprfeneur. It lost all the grim internal politics of the list. The scene that Nordling highlights I consider one of the worst in the movie. It's hide-your-eyes awfulness. Another is the scene where the director has Schindler state (in answer to the Ben Kingsley taunt of what is he needed for), that he brings "a certain j'ne sais qua to the business" (or some such stupid line, sorry about the spelling). I almost walked out at that point. Or the scene where the we get to see the Ralph Fiennes character piss as if we needed to be reminded that we are disgusted. Maybe if I hadn't read the book, it would have worked for me. I wondered how many in the audience had? Of course this isn't the aintitcoolbook site.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 11:04 a.m. CST

    Surprised that Close Encounters isn't on here

    by Punisherthunder

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 11:04 a.m. CST

    How about not a scene, but a performance for the whole film?

    by Detached

    I think Hanks gave perhaps his best performance in The Terminal. Spielberg said so too. It's not a "moment," it's the whole film, but for me, it certainly counts.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 11:05 a.m. CST

    Or Poltergeist.....c'mon we all know he directed it and not Tobe Hooper

    by Punisherthunder

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 11:09 a.m. CST

    the best acted scene scene in a spielberg film is

    by emeraldboy

    saving private ryan where the jewish soldier is being hunted by the german soldier.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 11:09 a.m. CST


    by DocPazuzu

    When Osment gets his emotional imprinting initialized by his mother. One second he's vacant robot boy, and the next, he's suddenly real. An utterly, UTTERLY, amazing moment because even though it's played so subtly, the impact is like a brick to the head. Fantastic.

  • The fact that he was doing it in front of a whole bunch of people made me feel embarrassed for him and not the emotions Spielberg wanted me to feel.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 11:14 a.m. CST

    Jude Law as Gigalo Joe in A. I. was a great performance

    by SifoDyasJr

    Also Djimon Hounsou in Amistad

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 11:18 a.m. CST

    Sugarland Express

    by BroVinny

    The scene where Goldie Hawn and William Atherton are watching a Road Runner cartoon at the drive-in, this look of foreboding slowly spreads across Atherton's face as he realizes he is ultimately doomed, and it's priceless.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 11:27 a.m. CST

    Chief Brody and his youngest at the dinner table

    by TheFlyingWasp

    I agree with your top choice but for me, Spielberg's smaller moments are his most powerful, especially the scene I just mentioned. Here, through body language, we can see just how much Chief Brody is racked with guilt over Alex Kintner's death. His son starts to imitate him in a completely innocent manner that many children do with their parents. Chief looks at him and you can see that there is joy in there over the fact that his boy is alive. He tells him to give him a kiss, his boy asks why, and he answers "because I need it." Just a very real moment that both parents and children can relate to. Ellen Brody adds to the scene as she observes the two, with both concern for her husband and the love she has of seeing her family together. This moment is, in my opinion, the best and absolute purest Steven Spielberg moment ever.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 11:28 a.m. CST

    "Give us a kiss because I need it" scene in Jaws.

    by TheBoyFromUlster

    Is the correct answer

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 11:29 a.m. CST

    Love Spielberg, but...

    by PalmerDeighton

    Schindler's List never needed a score and is a worse movie for having one. Kilar's music on the trailer was subtle. Poor John Williams was giving the job of telling us that what we were seeing was bad when the images and performances had already succeeded

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 11:34 a.m. CST

    Glad to see the love for A.I.

    by lochkray

    The acting (and, we can assume, directing) creates such a heart wrenching movie, I find it nearly impossible to watch. That and the twenty minute ending part, which was too sacharine. If the movie had just faded to black with robot-boy at the bottom of the ocean, caught in an endless loop of asking a statue to make him a real boy, I would rate it as the best movie ever, that I will never watch again. Jude Law was phenominal, nobody ever mentions that role when they talk about his impressive resume. Same with Haley Joel Osmont. Fantastic.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 11:35 a.m. CST

    Sean Connery: "Indiana...Indiana, let it go."

    by Raymar

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 11:39 a.m. CST

    John hurt's "They come from the spaces in between spaces" line in Indy 4

    by RedBull_Werewolf

    It still gives me a lump in my throat

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 11:43 a.m. CST

    Dreyfuss' son at the dinner table in Close Encounters

    by murray_hamilton

    Amazing moment where Dreyfuss' character is having a nervous breakdown over a plate of mashed potatoes and the kid slowly starts to cry. Brilliant scene.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 11:45 a.m. CST

    Don't know story behind JAWS speech, can anyone elaborate?

    by BlueSkittle

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 11:47 a.m. CST

    I am with docpazuzu...

    by gdprof27

    Osment flipping the switch is eerily perfect... Great idea, Nordling. Keep 'em coming.

  • Sammy Neil is a national treasure. His JP goodwill got me hrough the Vow last night

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 11:52 a.m. CST

    Rarely has a child's performance...

    by Raymond Shaw

    Nonsense..there are a lot of films where children give incredible performances...this is not rare.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 11:53 a.m. CST

    It was hard for me to come up with a top 5 acting scenes for Spielberg

    by Robert Evans

    As much as I like, nee LOVE his films, I don't think they are acting showcases. Much of his films are actors reacting, which is fine and all but much more subtle and harder to pinpoint the nuances. There are great set pieces and he has added to cinema but most of these were visual or action Oriented. THE finest acting performance in any of his films was Christian Bale. That I am sure of. Pure and unfiltered perfection. Playing off professionals in his first film is no easy feat and yet he carries the film. If you have never seen Empire of the Sun, I highly recommend it.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, noon CST

    9. Slapstick groin injury in Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls

    by spire_walk

    The scene where Mutt is straddling the two vehicles, and plants are hitting him in the balls. And Spielberg makes us feel for his balls... like OW, MY BALLS!

  • Aug. 26, 2012, noon CST

    Before I cllicked this open . . .

    by Nice Marmot

    . . . I thought, "he better include that scene from Color Purple." That movie brings some cheese, but I will always love it. The scene where Oprah has to turn right back around and miss that family Christmas dinner because her dumbass boss can't drive the car home makes me well up every single time.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 12:10 p.m. CST

    I'll say it...

    by Murchmo

    Tom Cruise in War of the Worlds. That scene where he sings her to sleep. And I don't like Tom Cruise. Hard to pick a top 5.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 12:16 p.m. CST

    ... who could possibly win an unprecedented third Oscar for his performance...

    by Bob Loblaw Law Blog

    Nordling, you do know that Jack Nicholson already has THREE Oscars, right? Just having three for acting isn't unprecedented. And, of course you know that Meryl Streep has three and Katharine Hepburn won four. But I assumed you were talking about dudes. Now, if you had said "an unprecedented third Oscar Best Actor," you'd be correct, as one of Jack's Oscars is for Best Supporting Actor.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 12:18 p.m. CST

    by Kev

    The Harrison/Shia interactions in KotCS were all pretty amazing.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 12:22 p.m. CST

    Dreyfuss being surrounded by the little aliens in Close Encounters

    by kstewandthecuntsman

    I can watch this movie as much as Jaws, I feel like it has that many great moments in it. But for me, the moment when we all see that Dreyfuss, the ordinary joe, is truly something special to the aliens, always gets me. The approving looks from Melinda Dillon, and especially Truffaut, also make the scene amazing. It really drives home the honesty of Lacombe telling Roy that he envied him.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 12:41 p.m. CST

    Other moments

    by shutupfanboy

    Grant seeing the Dinos for the first time is pretty damn amazing. I'll second the "Give us a kiss."

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 1:11 p.m. CST

    Actor's Reacting

    by maxwell's hammer

    That's a really astute observation. When I try to think of why I love "Close Encounters" so much, its all those reaction moments that make the movie sing so beautifully. * The kids reacting to the old kook's bigfoot story... * That techinician at Devil's Tower reacting to the UFOs display... * Roy's son reacting to his dad going crazy... * Barry reaction to seeing the off-screen aliens... * Roy's laughter when we sees the UFOs forming the Big Dipper in the Wyomong sky... Every one of those moments gives me the chills everytime I watch that movie, and its filled will dozens more just like them...

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 1:11 p.m. CST

    nordling: i enjoy your writing style

    by Calvin_Crack

    and look, no hate in the talkback. everyone follows your lead and has a fairly calm rational discussion about the topic.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 1:13 p.m. CST

    Streep shouldn't have 3 Oscars.

    by shutupfanboy

    Last year was a fucking joke. It should have gone to Roony for Dragon Tattoo or anyone else.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 1:22 p.m. CST

    PLEASE don't encourage Spielberg -- or any other director -- to be mawkish

    by No Respectable Gentleman

    Very few directors do it well. All the listed scenes above are painfully self-conscious. They bring the film to a grinding halt for an Oscar-bait moment. Off the top of my head, the best-acted Spielberg moment is the confrontation between Dreyfuss, Truffaut and Balaban in CLOSE ENCOUNTERS.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 1:29 p.m. CST

    detached, re: Tom Hanks in The Terminal

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    There's a moment in that film that's achingly resonant, and Hanks pulls it off with virtually no dialogue. His Viktor Navorski has been put in "on-hold" limbo in the airport terminal. He's sitting around, confused, hungry. And then he catches a glimpse of a news report on one of the television monitors sprinkled around the waiting area. It's news from his homeland of "Krakozhia" (or whatever it's spelled), which has suddenly been wracked by war right after Viktor left for New York. Hanks cannot understand what is being said, but he recognizes the images as HOME. He then chases the news report as it gets transferred from monitor to monitor, becoming more and more agitated. He attempts to make a telephone call home, but he cannot figure out how to make his phone card work, and his pleas to the various people swirling around him are misunderstood or just plain ignored. Finally, he stands outside of a food court (or something like that), the doors opening and closing in front of his face, as he continues to watch the news broadcast inside, holding his useless ticket/visa in front of his mouth as his eyes well up in tears. Overall, The Terminal is a very sitcommy, "safe" movie, but in that moment, Spielberg and Hanks totally bring it, adding a surprising emotional heft to an otherwise slight (if enjoyable) entry in Spielberg's filmography. A lot of people bag on that film, but for that moment alone, it's worth sitting through.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 1:36 p.m. CST


    by Lou_Sassel420


  • Aug. 26, 2012, 1:40 p.m. CST

    Or Cameron. It's definately an epic director whoever it is.

    by UltraTron

  • He was cold blooded and terrifying.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 1:49 p.m. CST

    by ufoclub1977

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 1:56 p.m. CST

    Watched Jaws again a couple of days ago...

    by Octavian


  • I did enjoy a lot of the acting in "Catch me if you can", and Munich. Those were two films where Spielberg seemed to put more faith in the actors than in the script.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 2 p.m. CST

    A question..

    by james glaus

    Will this be limited to directors only? Could you even get crazy and follow a cinematographers work?? Just a thought. Love this column Nordling. Thanx for the entertaining read. Cheers!

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 2:10 p.m. CST

    Don't forget Dennis Weaver

    by The StarWolf

    In DUEL, Spielberg's first film, if I'm not mistaken. He put in a terrific performance. And the bit just at the end when he realizes his trick has worked and that's he's still alive and the lunatic who'd been trying to kill him for no discernible reason is dead ... his character's reaction was perfect.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 2:22 p.m. CST

    I thought I'd lost you boy!

    by loafroaster

    I though I'd lost you too, sir. Niagara Falls, every time.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 2:22 p.m. CST


    by loafroaster


  • Aug. 26, 2012, 2:44 p.m. CST

    Spielberg's best acting moment...

    by BubbaDestructo

    ...was obviously at the climax of The Blues Brothers, when he stamps their tax form.

  • Eerily reminded me of going to stay with my dad every second weekend as a kid.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 3:07 p.m. CST

    Empire of the Sun

    by nemov

    Young Christian Bale sees the nuclear bomb from a distance.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 3:15 p.m. CST

    The entire running time of "Lincoln"...

    by Darth Saruman

    ...oh and Jeff Goldblum "in a car by himself, uhhh...uhtalking to himself....that's chaos."

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 3:24 p.m. CST

    Dan Ackroyd's "Americans fighting Americans" speech from 1941.

    by UsultheMahdi

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 3:26 p.m. CST

    Not Top 5 Worthy, But...

    by Brian

    ...Anderton telling Leo Crow that he has the right to remain silent in MINORITY REPORT is one of my favorite moments in Cruise's filmography, and the pain and subsequent relief is incredible that Spielberg captures. #justsaying

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 3:26 p.m. CST

    nasty re Hanks:

    by Detached

    Good call. That is a very good scene. I was not a huge fan of the movie itself- I thought it was a bit unwieldy, uneven, etc. Some of it doesn't quite work, at least for me. But Hanks owns it, and you're right, that scene is a strong example.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 3:27 p.m. CST

    Also, Bob Loblaw...

    by Brian

    Nordling meant three Best Actor Oscars. Chiding him for not being as specific isn't really helpful, do you think?

  • That's the one scene I dread so much I can't watch it again.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 3:29 p.m. CST

    For those mentioning Cruise in WotW...

    by Detached

    I thought of him too. Even though the script, well, shall we say, is "lacking," Cruise is very good overall at what he's called on to do. Spielberg decided to focus the movie on Cruise's journey - an absolutely horrible choice, IMHO. We can see movies about "the bad dad learns his lesson" any time, but aliens don't attack as often, and I think more people were interested in that than the "bad dad" angle. But Cruise does play the part well.

  • When Tom Cruise wants to kill Leo Crow but instead reads him his rights knowing that this is the man who killed his son, even though it wasnt, that was soooooooo great. Really good acting.

  • Lists like this can promote discussion, just don't let it slip into lazy writing like other sites do

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 3:38 p.m. CST

    let's extend #1 to include the entire third act of Jaws

    by Monnie Knapp

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 3:53 p.m. CST

    The Leo Crow scene from Minority Report

    by D.Vader

    Just stellar acting all around. So many emotions are wrapped up in this scene. It's heartbreaking and tense and scary and cathartic. Watching Cruise go from angry to hopeful to sad and broken to pissed off to determined is just a marvel. It's a fantastic scene wonderfully played by everyone involved. Runner up from the same movie- Agatha relates to Cruise and his wife how Sean grows up as they sit in Sean's abandoned bedroom.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 3:57 p.m. CST

    I did Quint's monologue for a directing class in college

    by D.Vader

    I mean, I delivered it for myself (our first assignment). The directing teacher liked it (I was nervous as hell) and asked how I approached the material. I told her I saw it as a story Quint was extremely familiar with, a story he had told over and over and over again throughout his life. But this was the first time he had actually told it out loud and to someone else. She liked that.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 4:05 p.m. CST

    Indy in doom: "we...are die!" (hilarious frownyface)

    by FleshMachine


  • Aug. 26, 2012, 4:08 p.m. CST

    every scene in jaws is a classic. just pitch perfect.

    by FleshMachine


  • too tom hanksy

  • And then not accomplishing said task

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 5:05 p.m. CST

    Minority Report!

    by aphextwin

    Tom Cruise's character confronts, beats up and about to shoot the supposed killer of his son...chilling scene, just great acting...pure rage and sadness...and yes I am aware TC is a weirdo in real life.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 5:34 p.m. CST

    This means something.... this is important

    by charleydontsurf

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 5:42 p.m. CST

    Pancomplex: agree!

    by harp121

    That kid in CE3K goes through so many different emotions in one shot that its incredible...

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 5:43 p.m. CST

    newc0253: totally disagree

    by harp121

    That scene tore me apart.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 5:47 p.m. CST

    ghostofmurrayhamilton: yep

    by harp121

    That mashed potato moment is incredibly well done...

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 5:58 p.m. CST

    Needs to do a movie with Kat Dennings. Let me tell you something-

    by UltraTron

    I would find all the receipts in that ham wallet, boyo

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 6:20 p.m. CST

    Monkey giving the Heil Hitler in Raiders....

    by westie

    ....watching it now, gets me every time. I can still hear the laughter from the theater when I was a kid.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 6:22 p.m. CST

    Best part of The Beard's movies.....

    by westie

    ...the houses always look real life, all shitted up like mine. Hate movies where the places are fucking immaculate, no one's house looks that way.

  • One of my favorite things about that scene is how quickly Hooper goes from drunk and silly to 100% serious when he hears about the Indianapolis. And I love the little fact that Hooper knows about what happened (obviously, since he's an academic and has studied sharks for years), but Brody doesn't. Brody sort of half jokingly asks him what happened, and Hooper just gives him a look, like he can't begin to explain, in front of Quint, anything about the tragedy. It's tremendous acting, but also really clever editing to give you this feeling of import and dread leading into Quint's speech. And little stuff like how he refers to Hooper when discussing the young pilot, just so natural and masterful work by Shaw. One of the best delivered monologues in cinema history, for sure. And it comes in the middle of a summer action movie. I mean, Jaws is more than that, but you know.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 6:38 p.m. CST

    I viewed Shindler's List on Opening Night in Dallas....

    by Clio

    It was cold so I wore a coat that my brother bought for me at an Army Surplus store. It was a Swiss Army great coat. Standing in line for my ticket I suddenly realized that it looked just like a German officer's coat you see in any WWII movie. Good God, I was praying I wouldn't be thrown out! By the time I went in, there were only a few seats left--mine was center left on the front row. When the movie ended, you could hear a pin drop, not just for a minute or so, but all through the credits. Not a soul got up to leave, not a word or whisper, but a stunned silence. It was the greatest film I had ever seen. Not my favorite movie, but the best thing I had ever seen on film. And that Liam Neeson scene at the end. No one thought it anything but good at the time. Only later did it become a joke--one I never laughed at. I had never seen an audience pinned to their seats in silence like that, and I never have since.

  • That man goes crazy and makes a mountain of mashed potatoes. Then there's a movie about a retard who likes to eat french fried potatoes and then he kills one man. And then there's a movie about another retarded man who eats potato tots and likes disco dancing, and then he marries Tina Majorino.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 7:03 p.m. CST

    The dinner table scene in Close Encounters

    by annie_michael_hall

    CE3K is one of my top 10 films of all time - EASY. And the dinner table scene is one of the most damn fine scenes in any film EVER. To see Dreyfus' character act with such fervor and conviction for a belief that is a conventionally insane notion, and to know that even if he is "right" he will still be destroying his family, is a piece of powerful cinema that is as good as anything that Spielberg has directed before or since. Even Spielberg has said that were he to remake CE3K, he would not be able to film Dreyfus' character in that same way again.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 7:05 p.m. CST

    Schindler's list haters

    by MurderMostFowl

    People who hate that scene need to have their head examined or checked for ADHD. There's so much symbolism and depth in that scene. We could talk about it for hours. Shindler is realizing what the true meaning and value of life is. The irony of them presenting a ring to him is not lost on him. They had nothing. They were people lower than dogs. He realizes fully at that moment what giving and sacrifice is. What he has done he does not feel pride for. He is experiencing the moment overwhelming guilt that had he done just a little more, he given just a little more, he might have saved someone else. His whole prior life felt instantly empty and meaningless.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 7:13 p.m. CST


    by MurderMostFowl

    forgot to mention that this is also the final moment of goodbye from Ben Kinglsey's character. The promise that the men both made to each other, at the risk of so much had succeeded. The inscription too reminds him that he saved Ben Kingsley's life, and that the war is over, symbolically ( and a tad bit coincidentally ) he has indeed changed the world.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 7:15 p.m. CST

    What you call discovery, I call the rape of the natural world!

    by Daniel Herrera

    Jeff Golblum ftw

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 7:42 p.m. CST


    by amnesiac108 nailed it with that "Close Encounters" scene. Took the words right out of my

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 8:33 p.m. CST

    Spielberg is also a master of the elusive antagonist

    by I Max U Mini

    Many people believe the problems with "Bruce" forced Spielberg to slowly reveal the real beast. I digress and say he had already used the technique during Duel. That old Peterbilt 281 (and the driver we don't even see until the end) were just as much a directed character than any directed by that Bay kid.

  • someone didn't read the book apparently

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 8:46 p.m. CST

    Eric Bana and Daniel Craig in Munich

    by chubasqueiro

    When in stone coldblood kill the hit woman; they shoot her, notice she didn´t have enough, and reload to finish. In fact, I think Munich´s best Spielberg film ever.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 9:29 p.m. CST

    Another great Minority Report acting scene...

    by Nasty In The Pasty


  • Aug. 26, 2012, 9:57 p.m. CST

    The last 5 minutes of Last Crusade

    by Mugato5150

    In a lot of ways The Last Crusade was goofier than Crystal Skull but the last few moments of Last Crusade were gold.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 10 p.m. CST

    Ellie vs Raptor in Jurassic Park

    by Chaz Harris

    Laura Dern's face off when that raptor comes through the wall at her is one of my top Spielberg acting moments. I've never seen an actress show fear that real with a movie monster before or since. As she makes it out alive, that gasping noise she makes by the gate is just so real. There's no acting going on there, it's pure adrenaline and I love it :)

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 10:22 p.m. CST

    Herbie in 1941

    by LizardMan

    Pretty much any line. They're all aces.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 10:27 p.m. CST

    The Schindler's List scene actually happened

    by David Duchovny

    Let's not forget that. It was described exactly as Steven shot it by more than one survivor. So, fuck you.

  • by Francois Truffaut and Bob Balaban's characters. Is that it? Is that all you're gonna ask me? Well I got a couple of thousand goddamn questions, you know. I want to speak to someone in charge. I want to lodge a complaint. You have no right to make people crazy! You think I investigate every Walter Cronkite story there is? Huh? If this is just nerve gas, how come I know everything in such detail? I've never been here before. How come I know so much? What the hell is going on around here? Who the hell are you people? Loved all of Dreyfuss' acting in the film, but especially this scene. He totally sells the character's mounting frustration and confusion.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 11:11 p.m. CST

    Spielberg Directed/Sort-of-Directed

    by gaygoonie

    Jobeth Williams in Poltergeist - "I could feel her." One of the best "mother" performances of all time.

  • Aug. 26, 2012, 11:33 p.m. CST

    Dennis Weaver in "Duel"

    by pr0g2west

    Through the whole movie, I felt that dude's terror.

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 12:12 a.m. CST

    I have to go with the refrigerator scene

    by Smartacus

    When Indy sees that fridge and knows it's his only chance. Mesmerizing stuff.

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 12:31 a.m. CST

    No love for Munich ?

    by gb

    Eric Bana talking to his new born child for the first time on the phone.

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 2:12 a.m. CST

    Indianapolis - Check.

    by Hunter Graybeal

    I remember being in a high school drama class a long time ago and assigned to bring a movie monologue to perform, and my brain went straight to Quint. Didn't even think about another one. So I memorized it, took pains to mimic every mannerism of Shaw's as well as any high school kid could, and proceeded to get a 100 on the assignment. Having since studied as an actor for years since then, it's funny to look back on that and think that instead of trying to make such a speech "my own," all I could hope to do to make it good was just copy the hell out of Shaw. That was literally the ONLY possible way to come off looking good. No one could ever do that like he did in that one take, maybe not even him. That made his incredible performance in that last take all the more incredible to me. I DARE any dumbass producer to remake this movie, and try to top that scene. I'll burn my own house down if they can even come close. (Or maybe just burn their houses down for trying to remake Jaws.)

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 2:16 a.m. CST

    #2 should be #1

    by Col. Tigh-Fighter

    otherwise for me, I reckon #5 Jurassic Park. The T Rex chasing the jeep #4 Close Encounters. The music communication scene #3 Raiders. The rolling ball! Come on, its the perfect blend of excitement, comedy, and genuine inventiveness, that still holds today. #2. Saving Private Ryan/ The beach scene. The rest of the film can be a bit clunky, but that opening?! Damn! #1. Schindlers List. I could have done more! You did so much.

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 2:53 a.m. CST

    I'm going to throw out a #6 too

    by Col. Tigh-Fighter

    I always loved the opening of Temple of Doom. A full song and dance number of a Cole Porter song, but sung in Manderin. Then Indy gets poisoned, has to get the antidote for which he trades a very large diamond. Then cue much shenanigans with the diamond and antidote being kicked all over the floor by a stampeding crowd. The timing in that scene is perfect.

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 2:57 a.m. CST


    by Shady Drifter

    Eric Bana gave a great and intense performance in Munich ... I feel he deserves a mention. Tom Cruise in Minority Report also has an amazing scene when he realises that indeed he must kill the man he had predicted he would kill without knowing why.

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 3:26 a.m. CST

    People slam Spielberg for the acting in his movies

    by kwisatzhaderach

    but a quick look at this list (and some of the other suggestions, A.I., Empire of the Sun, shows that Spielberg is a ctually a skilled director at getting amazing performances from his cast). Hopefully Day-Lewis will win just so Spielberg's critics can finally shut the fuck up.

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 3:26 a.m. CST

    Couldn't disagree more on number 2...

    by Hank

    This is a decent list and an interesting discussion but Schindler's List is emotionally short changed by that ham fisted jam it down you throat ending. We get it Spielberg; please don't feel the need to be so on the nose when dealing with such morally ambiguous subject matter. Let us think for ourselves. Trust your audience to at least try to answer the big questions themselves. When you do it for us the danger is that many will come away feeling like the horrors of the holocaust have been neatly resolved for them. It's easier and more pleasant to not have to think about these ugly issues but putting a button on them is patronizing to all involved. Amen on all other counts though.

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 7:54 a.m. CST

    great idea!

    by Jackson

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 8:15 a.m. CST

    My favorite Harrison Ford moment in the Indy series...

    by Nasty In The Pasty in Temple Of Doom when Willie says, "Can we get out of here?", and Indy growls, "Right, ALL of us!", and we cut to one of the Thuggee guards about to beat one of the slave children, and he sees a sillhouette of someone standing in the tunnel, and all the kids look up, and there's a classic Spielberg dolly-in shot moving into Ford's face looking all pissed-off. THAT'S why I don't get people to hate Temple Of Doom...that moment, followed by Indy punching that Thuggee guard so hard he slides, like, twenty feet on the ground, might be the best "stand up and cheer" moment in the entire series.

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 8:36 a.m. CST

    weird thing about liam neeson

    by animas

    he really sucks at acting, but I enjoy him in everything. ralph fiennes just blows him away though.

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 9:12 a.m. CST

    6. I value my neck a lot more than three thousand bucks, chief.

    by Brian Hopper

  • I wouldn't totally had that scene in there, that's an instant classic.

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 9:25 a.m. CST

    1. My god, we've been cut off!

    by Brian Hopper

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 9:26 a.m. CST

    -1. every scene in Hook

    by Brian Hopper

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 9:49 a.m. CST

    2. Roger, AirEast 31. Continue descent at your discretion, over.

    by Brian Hopper

    Possibly Spielberg's best scene... certainly one of them. Incredible, realistic tension.

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 9:53 a.m. CST

    3. I ain't got no spit.

    by Brian Hopper

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 9:59 a.m. CST

    Agree about potato scene in CE3k

    by Chris

    And even though it's not an acting scene, per se, when the mother ship comes over the mountain. Why, because Spielberg just spent half an hour showing us that the mountain is real with Dreyfus and co. climbing all around it and then we see the mother ship dwarfing it. A truly remarkable scene. And just so there's no mistake Quint's scene in jaws, imo, can't be topped

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 10:11 a.m. CST

    academy to streep

    by emeraldboy

    here is your third oscar now fuck off.

  • That's not my take on that scene at all. The most important line in that scene is when he says he'll never put on a life jacket again. He realized that the basis for the terror was hope. (That's also why he's the most frightened while he's waiting for his turn to get on the rescue ship.) He'd rather just die if he ends up in the water again. He's not a broken man who's still running. He stopped running and he'll never run again.

  • But of those scenes, probably the best are when Malkovich realizes that the kid failed to protect his stuff; followed by the scene where the kid crawls under the wire, followed by the scene on the boat where the kid is trying to prove to Malkovich that he has some value and can bring him to rich houses.

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 10:50 a.m. CST

    Oh, followed by the scene at the costume party where

    by FluffyUnbound

    Bale runs over the hill and sees the Japanese army. Reaction shot FTW

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 11:21 a.m. CST

    Indy's Scottish accent when he enters the Nazi castle.

    by loafroaster

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 11:38 a.m. CST

    David in A.I.

    by CuervoJones

    Where is he?

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 11:55 a.m. CST

    Who the hell are you people?

    by John Brown

    How this list cannot contain Richard Dreyfuss in CE3K is beyond me.

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 11:59 a.m. CST

    Toshiro Mifune Vs Christopher Lee in 1941

    by CuervoJones

    Good comedy.

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 12:25 p.m. CST

    @ loafroaster:

    by sherlock_junior

    Hahah yeah classic and it's a brilliant one -two in fact with the castle dude saying, 'than I am Micky Mouse' !!

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 12:30 p.m. CST

    Jurassic Park----Ian Malcolm lunch scene

    by thelordofhell

    Where he very deliberately takes down the whole idea of cloning dinosaurs.......brilliant scene and classic Jeff Goldblum acting!!

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 12:42 p.m. CST

    Hanks has never sold dialog for me.

    by bah

    He's entertaining enough, but everything I've seen him in is ACTING!, as Nordling puts it. I like his comedy and wish he would do more.

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 12:44 p.m. CST


    by SeXX ED

    ... completely agree - best moment of the series. Plugging the Cairo swordsman on the street in RAIDERS comes in second.

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 1:10 p.m. CST

    What is that?...A large negro, sir.

    by blackmantis

    That joke in 1941 is vaguely racist but damn if it doesn't make me laugh.

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 1:15 p.m. CST

    Close Encounters...

    by Chuck Bomet

    I could probably come up with 5 favorite moments just from this movie alone. The one that stands out to me is Richard Dreyfuss in the bedroom with Teri Garr begging her to "hold him," to tell him that he's "not crazy." and early on in the film, the natural interaction of the family is really remarkable acting and directing. It's the kind of work that never truly gets appreciated. Real acting as opposed to simply performing.

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 2:06 p.m. CST

    John Goodman in The Flintstones

    by UsultheMahdi

    Excellent stuff.

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 2:53 p.m. CST

    From Catch Me If You Can...

    by WriteForTheEdit

    Hanks telling the knock-knock joke in the car to the other guys. It's not a Top Five moment by any stretch, but that's one of my favorite of Hanks' scenes. Belly laughs ever time I see it. This column is a great idea, Nordling. Looking forward to more.

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 3:07 p.m. CST

    My Sucky Teen Romance Pajama Party this Friday!!

    by James

    Ain't it Cool?

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 3:39 p.m. CST

    @iamlegolas- oh, yes, i read the book

    by Detached

    Back around 1966 or so. And then parts of it again later. I know what you're saying. I'm pointing out that Spielberg deliberately avoided showing up parts of "the war" to focus on Cruise, something Wells didn't do. The prime example of that is the scene on the hillside when his son leaves and he has to go back & get his daughter. The fighting is happening right over that hillside, and Spielberg specifically avoided showing it to keep the story about the "bad dad" rather than letting the audience seeing US/Earth forces fight back. Just changing that one scene (letting us see that battle) would have made it a better film. Spielberg's version of the story can't hold a candle to the Pal/Haskin film in 1953, which is a true classic.

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 4:22 p.m. CST

    Any scene between Christopher Walken and Leonardo Dicaprio

    by Samuel Fulmer

    In Catch Me If You Can.

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 4:27 p.m. CST


    by IAmLegolas

    Understood. Yeah I love the Pal movie, too, but wish they maintained the tripod walker design. Still waiting for a proper movie, complete with Victorian time period. :)

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 4:29 p.m. CST

    Kind of shocked there isn't any Bale from Empire of the Sun on there

    by Samuel Fulmer

    Considering he not only gives the best child performance in a Spileberg film, but the best performance period in a Spielberg film.

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 5:42 p.m. CST

    iamlegolas- i hear you...

    by Detached

    fans of the book have wanted a movie set circa 1898 forever. i doubt we ever see it- although, now that i think about it, it could be done. do a film that starts with the martian invasion around that time, their defeat- and then their return 100+ years later. who knows? that might work. (and if anyone ever does it, i want a percentage! :) btw, strictly speaking, the '53 movie did keep the tripods, they just updated them & by making them electronic or magnetic or whatever. once or twice you can actually "see" them (in an effect). i think gene barry at one point says something about the martian war machines being supported by "legs" (or something) of magnetic/electronic force.

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 6:49 p.m. CST

    There are better, but Tom Cruise in Minority Report

    by Maxer

    The whole scene in the hotel room 'orgy of evidence' with Tom finding the pictures, putting the pieces together, and confronting Crow. He's a great actor.

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 7:22 p.m. CST

    @col. tigh-fighter

    by Glenn

    This was a list about ACTING scenes, not scenes of overall spectacle. Please pay attention.

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 7:44 p.m. CST

    What he's best at is comic relief

    by Glenn

    This is really Spielberg's gift to mass audiences. Imagine JAWS without Dreyfuss (or with Jon Voight or Timothy Bottoms, both who turned it down). I'm gonna be broader than the OP, and list whole performances, rather than scenes, since I'm more about accumulation than singularity: --Goldie in "Sugarland"? Completely different from anything she'd done up to this point. --Both Jobeth and Craig T. in "Poltergeist." Does anyone question throughout this movie they're anything but a loving couple? The saving dynamic of this film, unlike movies today where too much conflict is unnecessarily jammed in, is that it's the family vs. the ghosts; there's no infighting. I honestly have always felt these were two oscar-worthy performances -- in a HORROR film, no less. (You didn't see shit like this in Lifeforce so don't start up with the Tobe bunk.) --Bob Balaban. Sorry, I always appreciate the little character guys, they never get due attention. But in a way, he's the sober anchor of the film. Serious, professional, outsider (he's a cartographer), and his 'solving' of the numbers-as-coordinates is beautifully revealed. --Robert Stack, 1941. I don't think this needs explaining, especially in light of this manic disaster of a movie. --Paul Freeman. You're only as good as your villain. I also think this is Harrison's best work, his face most open in this film. The best portrayal of a physical hero ever. By the way, it's "Raiders" I'm talking about, not "Always." --Dee Wallace is always forgotten. Why? --Danny Glover is multi-faceted in Color Purple. Brutal, sadistic, in love, cowered. Versatile guy. --In "Hook", there's this scene where Dustin Hoffma-- just kidding. --Amy Adams in "Catch Me if you Can" --Ciaran Hinds in "Munich" -- this guy grounds everything he's in, into reality

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 7:51 p.m. CST


    by Glenn

    Please do not question my choices as I have great taste in actors and performances and do not cave to easy sentimentality. I'm closing the Talkback now to prevent harrassment. (Can't wait to see who thinks I'm being serious; cue all the "FACT!" and name-calling!)

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 10:08 p.m. CST


    by big_dicks_cum_from_small_beginnings Zee part vere zee juden fraulein falls funny to zee ground.

  • Aug. 27, 2012, 10:25 p.m. CST

    Wayne Knight's indulgent overeating in JP

    by Bill George

    Obese folks actually objected to Wayne's rendering of a gluttonous fatty. That's acting in my book. Civic-minded organizations wrote the studio, chastising them for casting an overweight actor as a bad guy. Nobody, however, objected to Oprah Winfrey in THE COLOR PURPLE (which drew critical/Oscar acclaim) though some suggested she actually played the brontosaurus in JP. Double standard, I guess.

  • Aug. 28, 2012, 4:38 p.m. CST

    im on the CE3K bandwagon

    by Dr.007

    Dreyfus kills it throughout as his obsession replaces his family. its unsettling every time i watch it. Minority report definitely deserves the love as well

  • Aug. 28, 2012, 4:42 p.m. CST

    He chose ... poorly

    by Dr.007

    I loved all the moments with the surviving knight, the look on his face as the temple comes crashing down and he knows he will have no release is priceless.

  • Aug. 29, 2012, 5:57 a.m. CST

    Haley Joel Osment in AI

    by ballyhoo

    He pretty much carried the film, but the moment I think is the best is when his mother activates the emotion in him. You can see the change in just his face. That's freaking talent.