Bright Lights Film Journal

20 Actor Meme


For the Actress Meme I chose the theme of actresses I fell in love with, and the movies I fell in love with them in. For actors it’s men I admire in the sort of older brother I never had way. I like them tough, but not that tough, not tough to the point of camp, like jocks but tough to the point of being brave enough to be their whole self, feminine side and all, and yes, that includes John Wayne. Tough enough to hold their liquor and never let go of it, or facsimile thereof, and yes, that includes Dick Burton. They exhibit none of the self-righteous narcissism (Tom Cruise, Richard Gere, Andy Garcia), spastic insecurity (Jerry Lewis, Chris Tucker) or neutered blandness (Fred MacMurray, Greg Kinnear) of my least favorites.

The other type on this list are guys who I just adore because they are total freaks, and yes, that means Peter Lorre. These guys may not get the girl or destroy the world like they’d like, but in the end, isn’t it better to have a spectacular death scene than a happy ever after?

Obviously these in no particular order, except in a sitting them around the dinner table sense, i.e. aesthetically. In addition to listing the films in which I most fell in love with them I’ve supplied a favorite quote from one of the movies. If you know which movie each quote is from then I love you like I love the rain, and the autumn leaves, and pills.

1. Cary Grant – His Girl Friday, Only Angels Have Wings
“I don’t care if there’s a million dead!”
2. Vin Diesel – Fast and the Furious, XXX
“What’d you put in that tuna?”
3. Peter Lorre -The Face Behind the Mask, M
“People who look at me, they see a mask – artificial. But the face behind the mask , it’s mutated, hideous, a horrible nightmare out of which I can never awake!”
4. Humphrey Bogart — The Big Sleep, To Have and Have Not
“Or a Ben Hur 1860 with a duplicated line on page 16?”
5. Bela Lugosi – -The Raven, Dracula
“I tear torture out of myself by torturing you!”
6. John Wayne – Rio Bravo, El Dorado
“Want another beer? You kind of wasted some of that last one.”
7. Lee Marvin – Cat Ballou, The Wild One
“Sir, if I could just have a nip to steady my hands”
8. Javier Bardem – Dance with the Devil, Live Flesh
“You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight? That’s from Batman”
9. Robert Duvall – Apocalypse Now, The Apostle
“Outstanding, Get you a case of beer for that one.”
10. Marlon Brando – Streetcar Named Desire, Last Tango in Paris
“You have to go into the ass of death, into the womb of fear…”
11. Rutger Hauer – Bladerunner, Nighthawks
“I’ve done some… questionable things.”
12. Christopher Walken – King of New York, Wild Side
“It’s because you’re peachy… because you’re fucky.”
13. Josh Brolin – Planet Terror, American Gangster
“No more dead bodies for daddy tonight.”
14. Jason Robards – Long Day’s Journey into Night, Ballad of Cable Hogue
“I want you to succeed so bad, I’m gonna to do everything in my power to make you fail.”
15. Orson Welles – Touch of Evil, MacBeth
“Ah, it’s either the candy or the hooch… wish I could say it was your chili I was gettin’ fat on, Varla.”
16. William Powell — The Thin Man, My Man Godfrey
“That’s not true, he never came anywhere near my tabloids.”
17. Jon Voight — Runaway Train, Coming Home
“Come on! I got nothin’ left to live for!”
18.Richard Burton — Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Night of the Iguana
“You’re either a stud or a houseboy so which is it?’
19. Paul Robeson – The Emperor Jones, Showboat
“Look here white man, there’s little stealing like you does, and there’s big stealing like I does.”
20. Daniel Day Lewis – There Will Be Blood, Gangs of New York
“Now that’s a wound.”
RUNNERS UP: Montgomery Clift, Robert Mitchum, Dean Stockwell, Mickey Rourke, Warren Oates, Paul Newman, Boris Karloff, John Barrymore, Dennis Hopper, Larry Fishburne, Harvey Keitel, James Coburn, Sean Connery, Akim Tamiroff, Roger Livesey, Burt Lancaster, Clark Gable, Roy Scheider, Gene Hackman, Nick Nolte, Jean Paul Belmondo, James Dean, Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Kenneth Tobey, Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro, Peter Sellers, Anton Walbrook, Kris Kristofferson, Max Von Sydow, Clark Gable, Rod La Roque, Richard Widmark, Laird Cregar, Chester Morris, Charles Laughton