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Nicolas Cage

With a steady succession of one critical failure after another, it is time for Nicolas Cage to re-evaluate his career, and tap into that once creative and wild energy that made his films something to look forward to.

What is needed, then, is a series of character driven supporting roles that will make use of his talents, and not leave opportunity for Cage to over blow his performances, ala The Wicker Man.

Who knows, in doing so Cage might become the next generations answer to Christopher Walken.


Sacha Baron Cohen

The vastly talented and bold Sacha Baron Cohen has brought all 3 of his TV creations (Ali G, Borat, and Bruno) to the big screen, with Borat the lone entry worthy of praise.

Compare that to Cohen’s scene stealing supporting work, and it is clear that Cohen should follow a calling as a character actor, who specialises in blowing away his more popular co-stars, as evident in his turns as an Italian barber in Sweeney Todd; a gay racing car driver in Talladega Nights; and frisky Lemur in the Madagascar films.

Of course, Cohen could continue to mimic fellatio or wrestle naked men. But that would be a waste of time and talent, no?

Morgan Freeman

It is a shame that a calibre actor like Morgan Freeman has been typecast in not 1, but 2 roles: the patient and wise detective/lawyer who must use his expertise to solve high crimes (Kiss the Girls; Under Suspicion); and, the patient/wise old man who struggles with a physical/emotional handicap, leaving pearls of wisdom via narration(Million Dollar Baby, The Bucket List)

It has been a treat, then, to watch Freeman free himself from the shackles of his gravitas laced screen personality, and portray different characters in the likes of Batman Begins and Gone Baby Gone.

True, neither film boast standout performances from the Oscar winner, but one gets the feeling that Freeman relished in doing something different, opting to play characters rather than a caricature of himself.

Jack Black

As a leading man, Jack Black is often nauseating, as he swears, screams, shimmies, and sings all over the screen, stepping all over his co-stars and making many of his films insufferable chores to sit through.

Yet the 2000 John Cusack starrer High Fidelity still stands as the best way to enjoy Black’s theatrics, without being bogged in the excessive touches the Tenacious D front man brings to every role.

The reason that film worked so well  is because it utilised Black’s hyper and often demeaning personality in brief skirmishes, allowing breathing room and demanding for more, instead of begging for less, which is what is happening now.

Eddie  Murphy

Although a talented multi-player, Eddie Murphy has suffered from a string of stinkers, mostly due to his tendency to over extend his chameleon abilities in displays of excessive “acting”.

Thankfully, a reprieve came in his supporting turn as James "Thunder" Early in the musical, Dreamgirls.

In it, Murphy focused all of his energies on a single role with limited screen time, and received career best acclaim for it, a move which Murphy should make again and again.

Seth Rogen

Yes, his career as a leading man is young, but Seth Rogen has already proved to be an irritable and overtly vulgar screen presence whenever he is the main attraction.

Of course, it doesn’t help that in those films he plays irritable and vulgar variations of his screen persona.

Yet watch him again in films where his time is scaled back to supporting status (40 Year Old Virgin; Superbad) and Rogen proves to be quite the asset off the bench, strengthening his films as a supporting player rather than weakening them as the main act.

Keanu Reeves

Many would rather this thespian with the wooden screen presence disappear from movies altogether.

Yet a look at Keanu Reeves’s supporting work shows that there is indeed an actor hiding behind the poker face.

Reeves’s turn as a southern psychopath in Sam Raimi’s The Gift proves this point, while his humbling supporting turns in Something’s Gotta Give and Thumbsucker are examples of how this dourest of leading men can inject life in choice supporting character roles.

Matthew McConaughey

Once upon a time, Matthew McConaughey was touted as a successor to Paul Newman, thanks to his dramatic performances in Lone Star and A Time to Kill.

Yet as the years passed, McConaughey has become something of a joke, appearing in one rom-com after another and allowing his torso to dominate his acting.

This is a shame, since a look at key supporting roles – car hounds toner in Dazed & Confused; tortured soul in Frailty – proves that there is more to McConaughey than the beefcake.   

It is time for a throwback to those kind of career choices.

Ben Affleck

While his best mate, Matt Damon, is tearing up the multiplexes, Ben Affleck has proven to be quite a failure as a leading man.

Yet form the shadows of his poor choice of lead roles come stellar supporting work, in his Cannes Film Festival winning turn as George Reeves in Hollywoodland, and sizing up to Russell Crowe as a crooked politician in State of Play.

Earlier work in Dazed & Confused, Mall Rats, and Good Will Hunting display an entertaining actor, willing to play demeaning characters.   

Hopefully, Affleck will stick to playing support to more talented thesps rather than be top of the bill.

Al Pacino

While peers such as Dustin Hoffman and Robert Duvall have moved on to acclaimed work in supporting slots, Oscar winner Al Pacino has continued his steady downfall with one woeful lead performance after another.

There have been some brief interludes, to be sure. His work in the lauded mini-series Angels in America won acclaim and awards, while his turn as Shylock in Merchant of Venice saw the talented thesp flex his Shakespearian muscles.

Yet it was the triple wammy of Two for the Money, 88 Minutes, and Righteous Kill that proved the inevitable: Pacino needs a new career path, and he needs to start acting his age.

Pacino must focus on immersive character roles that match his age and talent, and work with great filmmakers while doing so.

And, with the likes of Scorsese, Mann, and Ridley Scott opting for modern leading men in their starring roles, opportunities are abound for Pacino to teach the young guys a thing or two with choice supporting slots.

In short, it is time for Pacino to be relevant again.   


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