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Movie Stars vs Actors


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23 replies to this topic

#1 of 24 OFFLINE   Steve Schaffer

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Posted July 24 2003 - 02:53 PM

The Keanu Reeves and Popcorn Movie threads got me thinking about the state of the "art" in movies these days, more specifically about the performers. It seems there are many stars who are big box office draws but are not necessarily skilled actors, and a number of excellent actors who cannot on their own attract a large audience to the theater, as well as a few who are not only skilled actors but also big stars capable of filling a theater. For example, I'd call the following Stars, but not necessarily the best Actors: Meg Ryan Angelina Jolie Julia Roberts Keanu Reeves (I admit it) Arnold Schwarzenneger Mark Wahlberg Excellent Actors: Giovanni Ribisi William H Macy Philip Seymour Hoffman Judi Densch Steve Buscemi Cissy Spacek Movie Stars who can act: Anthony Hopkins Bruce Willis Meryl Streep Julianne Moore Jessica Lange Johnny Depp I'm sure there are many more in each category, those are just off the top of my head. I know there are many here who can contribute more names for each category and also many who disagree with my amateur movie buff choices.
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#2 of 24 OFFLINE   SteveGon

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Posted July 24 2003 - 05:20 PM

Good topic!

[quote] For example, I'd call the following Stars, but not necessarily the best Actors: [quote]
Clint Eastwood would fall into this category. He's good in certain roles, but I doubt we'll ever see him play King Lear. Posted Image

I could come up with many more but it's late...

#3 of 24 OFFLINE   Yee-Ming

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Posted July 24 2003 - 07:49 PM

Stars: Harrison Ford Cameron Diaz Actors: Clint Howard Stars who can act: Al Pacino Robert De Niro Brad Pitt Marlon Brando (in his heyday) Ed Norton Reese Witherspoon Jim Carrey Is Dustin Hoffman an actor, or star who can act?

#4 of 24 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted July 25 2003 - 01:39 AM

[quote] Is Dustin Hoffman an actor, or star who can act? [quote]
Today he's an actor. There was a period when he was a big enough star to open a movie, but that was quite a while ago.

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#5 of 24 OFFLINE   Brent Hutto

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Posted July 25 2003 - 01:44 AM

Brando is almost sui generis in that he falls into all three categories. Actors Marlon Brando c. 1955 Stars Who Can Act Marlon Brando c. 1975 Movie Stars Marlon Brando c. 1995 Changing topics slightly, with his Oscar last year (and with a likely Oscar-bait performance debuting today) Chris Cooper might one day make the difficult jump from "Actors" to "Stars Who Can Act". Here's my question. Into which category would YOU put the oft-Oscared Tom Hanks? I'll probably grant him "Stars Who Can Act" but it's a close call for me.

#6 of 24 OFFLINE   george kaplan

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Posted July 25 2003 - 04:09 AM

Well, I agree that these distinctions between actor and movie star exist, but I think they always did. Just think of John Wayne and Laurence Olivier. Most people would agree that one of these was a much bigger movie star, and the other a much better actor. My point being that this is not a new phenomenon by any stretch of the imagination.
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#7 of 24 OFFLINE   ThomasC

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Posted July 25 2003 - 04:25 AM

Stars who can act: Gene Hackman (I can't believe I'm the first to mention him) Denzel Washington (read above)

#8 of 24 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

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Posted July 25 2003 - 04:55 AM

I think the main difference between a Movie Star and an Actor (and there's plenty of overlap) is that a movie star has a certain persona that they bring to their parts (and, sometimes, cannot escape). Even without seeing a preview for a movie, you sort of know what Jim Carrey will be like in it. Similarly, I wouldn't call Johnny Depp a movie star, not just because he can't open a movie, but because he doesn't really have that sort of pre-existing persona.
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#9 of 24 OFFLINE   Christopher P

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Posted July 25 2003 - 05:23 AM

In his commentary to Star Trek 2 The Wrath of Khan, Nicholas Meyer said something like "An actor is someone who pretends to be someone else, a movie star is someone who pretends that someone else is them." It's probably not usiversally accurate, but it was at the time in that he was talking about Shatner, and trying to get him to "be" Kirk instead of himself. Chris

#10 of 24 OFFLINE   Lew Crippen

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Posted July 25 2003 - 05:46 AM

I would have written what George wrote, if (1) I had really thought of it and (2) he had not already done so.
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#11 of 24 OFFLINE   Brook K

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Posted July 25 2003 - 06:15 AM

Yes but which is which George, cause I'm much more impressed by John Wayne in Red River, The Quiet Man, The Searchers, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence, etc than I am by Olivier in Hamlet, Wuthering Heights, or even Rebecca. Wayne was looked down on as a serious actor because he was almost exclusively in westerns and war movies, but he was capable of riveting, powerful performances as well as being adept at comedy, when the material and director called upon him to do so.
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#12 of 24 OFFLINE   TheLongshot

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Posted July 25 2003 - 06:59 AM

[quote] Nicholas Meyer said something like "An actor is someone who pretends to be someone else, a movie star is someone who pretends that someone else is them." [quote]

There is a lot of truth in that. Movie stars are good at being themselves, and are usually a known commodity. That's what makes them stars. They could, of course, be a great actor as well, but it isn't required.

Great actors can subjate themselves into the role and sacrifice their own persona for the one in the role. There are some who are iconic for certain types of roles(Christopher Walken comes to mind), but that doesn't make them a movie star.

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#13 of 24 OFFLINE   Dave Gorman

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Posted July 25 2003 - 07:01 AM

[quote] Into which category would YOU put the oft-Oscared Tom Hanks? [quote] I would put him in Stars. I'm probably in the vast minority, but I've never thought he could act his way out of a paper sack, or be anything other than just plain annoying.

Actors:
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#14 of 24 OFFLINE   Scott_lb

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Posted July 25 2003 - 07:16 AM

Star: Carrot Top. You watch "Chairman of the Board" and tell me that this guy isn't golden!
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#15 of 24 OFFLINE   ChuckSolo

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Posted July 25 2003 - 07:52 AM

I think his roles in "Road to Perdition", "Saving Private Ryan", and "Philadelphia" definately put Tom Hanks in the Stars who can act catagory. As far as John Wayne goes, check him out in "Fort Apache", that was a role he acted his butt off in as well as in "Sands of Iwo Jima" and "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance." I agree that most of the movies he made in the 1970s were basically the same character, i.e., "Big Jake", "Chisum", "Rio Lobo" , "McQ", "Brannigan., etc. This fact though, doesn't make those movies any less enjoyable to watch. The most ironic fact is that the man, John Wayne, new what he should act in and what not to act in. The evidence is his irritation with Kirk Douglas when the latter made "Lust for Life." John Wayne told Kirk Douglas that actors such as they should stick with "action hero" type roles. I have to agree, I still find Kirk Douglas playing Vincent Van Gough kinda disconcerting.

#16 of 24 OFFLINE   Mikel_Cooperman

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Posted July 25 2003 - 08:05 AM

I always use the Gwyneth/Cate example. Cate Blanchette is an actress and Gwyneth is a movie star. Funny Gwyeth won the Oscar for Shaekespeare in Love over Cate Blanchette for Elizabeth the same year they were both nominated for an Oscar. There is no justice. Other actresses that dont get the notice they deserve and are Wonderful are: Mary Louise Parker, Jennifer Jason Lee and Lily Taylor. Are these actresses better than say Julia Roberts or Hallie Berry? Yes but they probably arent as Pretty.This is Hollywood after all.

#17 of 24 OFFLINE   george kaplan

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Posted July 25 2003 - 08:19 AM

Brook,

I've been through this debate already (especially with Rain), which is why I left it vague. Posted Image I will say that there are roles I like and ones I don't like by both of them, but with the exception of Liberty Valance, I find all of those Wayne westerns you mentioned vastly overrated, and his acting in them passable at best.
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#18 of 24 OFFLINE   Jim_K

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Posted July 25 2003 - 09:20 AM


This is soo depressing. Posted Image

Is Mark Wahlberg really a movie star? How many people here go to see a film just because his name is on the marquee?? This would be the definition of a true movie-star. I must be completely in the dark on this one. It's obvious he's been landing plenty of roles over the years but I'd give that credit to what must be the world's greatest agent. Posted Image

Now I admit I have a certain bias against Mr. Wahlberg as his acting always comes across as wooden (though it's always good for chuckle when you watch him try to emote) & he lacks anything that remotely resembles charisma or for that matter anything resembling a personality.

I guess he wouldn't bother me so much if he just stayed away from the films I want to see. I'll probably skip seeing The Italian Job on the account of his participation. A shame as I really dig a good caper film.
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#19 of 24 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted July 25 2003 - 10:37 AM

[quote] Star: Carrot Top. You watch "Chairman of the Board" and tell me that this guy isn't golden! [quote]Don't say that... no deserves to be tricked into such torture.


As for John Wayne, he explained his acting technique in some documentary I was watching as follows (paraphrasing): 'You see, if you want to act and hold the audience's attention, you do what I do. You take your line, and see where it can be split in two. You read the line, and then pause at that point. The director won't dare cut away from you, and it makes anything sound pretty damned important." And then they showed Rooster Cogburn, where he did exactly that for the whole movie.

Of course, it takes John Wayne to make it work; noone else could pull it off.

#20 of 24 OFFLINE   Steve Schaffer

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Posted July 25 2003 - 02:43 PM

The Cate Blanchett/Gwyneth Paltrow example is classic and so true. Oddly they both showed up in Talented Mr. Ripley, though the film might have been better if their roles were reversed. There are a number of non-Stars who can pull me into a theater. How about Actors who get enough critical acclaim that they are expected to be able to open a movie and it turns out they can't?? I'm thinking specifically of Kevin Spacey, one of my favorite actors and one who can definitely make me buy a dvd of a movie I know nothing about. Got an Oscar, was capital S Starred in a couple of films that didn't do well at the box office, seems to have sorta dropped off the radar screen. And I like that some have mentionned Actors who became Stars who are back to being Actors, like Dustin Hoffman. How about Stars who desperately would like to be considered Actors? Burt Reynolds thought he had a chance at this transformation with Deliverance and again a decade or more later with Boogie Nights. I'm sure we can come up with some others.
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