Sunday, August 23, 2009

Top Ten Performers of 2009 (So Far)

With the summer days winding down, I find myself reflecting on the year so far in movies. Looking at my screening list* so far, certain performances still linger. Before we get to the glut of the fall/Oscar movie season, I just wanted to highlight ten performers who left me wanting more.

1. Meryl Streep as Julia Child (Julie & Julia) - Was there anyone else who could've played Julia Child and done so with such a joie de vivre that the role demanded other than Meryl Streep. I don't think so. No knock on Amy Adams, but Meryl as Julia was a cinematic filet mignon cooked in butter i.e. delicious.

2. Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Tom Hansen (500 Days of Summer) - As someone who should already be a household name, Joseph Gordon-Levitt delivered yet another wonderful performance as a guy in love and then in turmoil over that love. In the film, he sings, he dances, he mopes, he laughs, and eventually he makes you fall in love with him.

3. Sharlto Copley as Wikus Van De Merwe (District 9) - This was the first time I've seen Sharlto Copley in anything, but his singular performance as Wikus definitely caught my attention. His character's transformation is such an integral part of the movie and Copley was able to let the audience in as he changed.

4. Tilda Swinton as Julia (Julia) - Tilda Swinton is just such a fascinating actor to watch, but she really went to a whole new level playing the alcoholic Julia. Swinton really got under the skin of this not-at-all sympathetic character to deliver one of the rawest performance I've seen this year.

5. Sam Worthington as Marcus Wright (Terminator Salvation) - I am probably one of the few people that wasn't disappointed with this film, but I still agree with most people declaring Sam Worthington's performance the best part of the movie. He instilled a certain kind of heart to his character that most action stars in their big blockbuster type of films usually lack.

6. Jackie Earle Haley as Walter Kovacs/Rorschach (Watchmen) - While I think the movie itself was way too laborious and in parts just a bit painful, Jackie Earle Haley as the deadly Rorschach was a joy to watch both because of his demented sense of justice and because he seemed to be the only one having fun in this film.

7 & 8. Zachary Quinto as Spock and Chris Pine as James T. Kirk (Star Trek) - In actuality, I'm just a wee bit in love with the whole cast of this film, but the lead performances of these two actors really lifted the whole film. Quinto seemed as if he was born to play Spock while Pine brought a rugged sexiness that seemed impossible to achieve. Plus their chemistry together was electric and making me wholly impatient for the next film.

9 & 10. Rachel Weisz as Penelope Stamp & Rinko Kikuchi as Bang Bang (The Brothers Bloom) - Not that the titular brothers played by Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody were bad, but the ladies really stole the movie for me. One talks a lot while the other doesn't speak at all and yet both of them were overflowing with wit and charm that felt just right at home in this quirky movie.

Honorable Mentions: The kids of Half Blood Prince especially Tom Felton as Draco Malfoy, Clive Owen and Julia Roberts in Duplicity, and finally Robert Downey, Jr. in The Soloist.

*I've only seen 23 films (theatrically released in 2009) this year so there are undoubtedly magnificent performances that I am missing.


  1. Good list, just because I'm tired of Streep, tired of hearing about her, tired of people hearing and about hearing her I'd have rathered if #1 and #2 swapped. [ha]

    I still have to see both movies though.

    Good list

  2. I agree especially with Joseph Gorden-Levitt, but I can't support anything watchmen even the crazy loon.


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