Today’s Top Ten List will feature my favorite actors.
- Tom Hanks: I know. he is on everyone’s top ten list … and for good reason. He is excellent at everything he does. One of my all-time favorite movies is The Burbs. You can see his comedic genius in this role. In this movie, you can tell, he is destined for greater things. Another one of my favorite movies of his was Philadelphia. He was outstanding in it. This was a time when AIDS was still coming out into the mainstream. It was a daring role to take. My dad, a rough and stern guy, commented to me that the scene when Tom Hanks leaves the final lawyers office was outstanding for the emotion and the utter feeling of being lost in the world. Wow. Not only was it a good movie, with a great performance, but I had a little moment with my dad.
- Leonardo DiCaprio: Honestly, everything he does is fantastic. I was never really into Titanic, so my adoration for him as an actor is not born out of a teenage crush. His body of work is impressive. My favorite performance of his was in The Departed. I firmly believe no other actor to could do what he did in that movie. He conveys his increasing stress, anxiety, and fear throughout that movie overtly, and, more impressively, subversively. His facial expressions, the way he carries himself, all add to the increased tension in the movie. Love it. How this man does not have an Oscar boggles the imagination.
- Paul Newman: I loved watching Paul Newman movies with my dad. My favorites of his was Cool Hand Luke, The Sting, and Road to Perdition. Cool Hand Luke — what else is there to say? I probably watched the egg eating scene 100 times with my dad. The Sting is one of my all-time favorite movies. I love it, right down to the soundtrack. The last one, Road to Perdition, was one of his last films. He is fantastic in it.
- Steve McQueen; Oh, man was he cool — that makes sense, his nickname was The King of Cool. He really just was. My favorite movie was Papillon. My dad came to visit me in San Francisco and we spent an entire afternoon trying to find the street he lived on in Bullitt. This was before internet was on your phone. We were already out for the day and it dawns on him that this is what he wants to do. I really wish I could have found it for him. If he had mentioned it before hand, we could have rented the video (yes, the video), and figured it out before hand.
- Paul Rudd: I love him. I love everything he is in. One of my all time favorite movies, which, I liked the first time I saw it, but as I watched it a few more times, I now adore. His improvisational scene with Seth Rogen in 40 Year Old Virgin is nothing short of genius. Plus, who doesn’t love him in Clueless. This is my entry for maybe not the best actor in the world, but boy do I love to watch any movie that he is in.
- Robert De Niro: He is so good in everything he does, from comedies to drama. The crazy thing is he does both so very well. Best performances (yes, yes, I know Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, and Awakenings, and Cape Fear, and …) that I have truly enjoyed over the years that aren’t the big ones are Meet The Parents (who would have thought he could be so funny), Analyze This, The Godfather Part 2, A Bronx Tale.
- Sandra Bullock: Here’s the thing. She’s not a great dramatic actress. That’s okay. She is a GREAT comedic actress. I think the general public and other actors look down on actors who are a main stay of comedy. They shouldn’t. When someone tries comedy and they aren’t good at it, it is the most cringe-worthy thing. That’s why when there is a great comedic performance, it’s seamless. The actor makes it look easy. It’s anything but. Faves are: The Proposal, Miss Congeniality, and my absolute favorite, Two Weeks Notice.
- Cameron Diaz: See above. Faves are There’s Something About Mary, My Best Friend’s Wedding, and The Holiday. I love The Holiday.
- Meryl Streep: She always gets all the glory. There is a reason. Every time you think to yourself that you are so over her winning all the awards, just take a quick look at her IMDB page. Her resume is truly awe-inspiring. Her performances in Sophie’s Choice, The Deer Hunter, and Silkwood are so good it’s ridiculous. But, shoot. Don’t forget about Kramer vs Kramer or The Devil Wears Prada. Her all time best movie in my opinion? Bridges of Madison County. I love that movie. Maybe not her best performance, that probably goes to Sophie’s Choice, but that movie is so outstanding. Do you or don’t you? It’s different for everyone. Oh, and one more …I love her in Defending Your Life.
- Keira Knightley:I love her in everything that she does. I think she is completely underrated. Pride & Prejudice, Atonement, Bend It Like Beckham.
Robert Redford: He was amazing in The Sting. That smile — ugh — to die for. Favorite movie? The Natural.
Dustin Hoffman: He’s such a good actor. I really think he is one of the best actors ever. Tootsie, Papillon, Kramer vs Kramer. All so good.
Gary Oldman: Honestly? Every time I see him in something he is so good.
Michael Douglass: Romancing The Stone … enough said
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***Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Francisco. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook at madelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com